Bush and Phil Johnston wrote the screenplay for "Zootopia," but a diverse group of seven writers receive story credit, including "Frozen's" Jennifer Lee, former "Simpsons" writer Jim Reardon and story artist Josie Trinidad.
In a scene in "Zootopia," the heroine, a well-intended bunny police officer named Judy Hopps, condescendingly calls a character of another species "articulate."The dubious compliment — reminiscent of a cringe-worthy comment Joe Biden made about then-candidate Barack Obama in 2007, is the kind of sharp-edged, topical joke you might expect from a late-night talk-show host or a grown-up animated show that plays on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block.
Instead the nuanced moment comes smack in the middle of a Walt Disney Animation Studios movie, and it's not the only edgy reference — "Zootopia," which opens Friday, also includes sly innuendoes about police profiling and workplace discrimination as well as allusions to grown-up pop culture favorites "The Godfather," "Chinatown" and "Breaking Bad."Yes, the studio known for its fairy tale castles and doe-eyed princesses has sneaked a tart, subtle examination of bias into the middle of a talking-animals movie."There were moments when we were making this that we would say, 'Is this just playing to us?
'" said "Wreck-It Ralph's" Rich Moore, who directed "Zootopia" with Byron Howard ("Tangled") and co-director Jared Bush. We've been happy to find that both the humor and the meat of it are resonating, that people are finding meaning in the film beyond just jokes and a caper."------------For the Record March 4, a.m.: An earlier version of this post said Jared Bush is one of "Zootopia's" directors.
His title is co-director.------------Whereas Pixar films such as "Up" and "Inside Out" relied on sophisticated psychology, and Dream Works Animation's "Shrek" included knowing inside jokes, "Zootopia" takes the idea of animated family film into new terrain, combining a visually rich world with smart, timely ideas. Critics have embraced the movie, which is rated 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and early box office reports suggest "Zootopia" may open nearly as strongly as another Disney Animation juggernaut, "Frozen," did in its first weekend.
The ad, and the painting recreation at the end of the clip, show how much the country has evolved since the Declaration of Independence was created by seven white men in 1776.