Directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, the 2016 movie “Zootopia” followed Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Nick (Jason Bateman) as they uncovered a major conspiracy in the titular city. “Zootopia+” is comprised of six animated shorts that take place between the events of the movie. So, technically, it’s a show that has been directed by Trent Correy and Josie Trinidad. But to be very honest, it feels like a compilation of the scenes that were cut from the original film. There’s no doubt that a lot of work has gone into it in terms of animation and voice work. However, it looks like an extension of the original film (which stands on its own) and not in a fun, enjoyable way because the creators are content with filling plot gaps that don’t need to be filled, instead of moving forward.
Major Spoilers Ahead
‘Hopp On Board’ Recap And Ending
Bonnie Hopps (Bonnie Hunt) and Stu Hopps (Don Lake) bid goodbye to Judy as she boards the express train to Zootopia. But as the train departs the station, they realize that one of their babies is missing. After looking around for a bit, they notice that Baby has climbed to the top of the train in an attempt to stay with Judy. So, in order to get the baby bunny back, Bonnie and Stu switch gears into action mode and follow the train all the way to Zootopia. At one point, Stu even gets atop the train and tries to get Judy’s attention so that she can get to her sister before them. However, their plan fails, and they continue their pursuit all the way to the station and save Baby before it gets crushed by an oncoming train. When they take a moment to heave a sigh of relief, they realize that the baby has boarded the train going out of Zootopia, thereby forcing them to get back into semi-action mode. I say “semi” because Stu’s back pain acts up after all that falling, jumping, and running.
This is a really bad introduction to the world of “Zootopia.” We all remember the sweetness and tenderness of the moment Judy left Bunnyburrow. All of us related to that feeling of sadness (because we are leaving something familiar) mixed with a sense of optimism (because we are heading toward a new future). But now that moment is ruined because of the knowledge that, while Judy was mentally preparing for the life ahead of her, Stu was hanging onto the train for dear life, Bonnie was driving like Dom Toretto, and her sibling was about to get crushed. You can say that “Hopp On Board” shows that for couples with multiple kids, life doesn’t come to a halt when the eldest of them goes off to live on their own. They’ve to take care of everyone else, thereby leaving little to no time for themselves. However, wasn’t that already established pretty well in the original movie when Judy went back home, and we saw the life Stu and Bonnie were living? So, I don’t quite see the purpose of this short.
‘The Real Rodents of Little Rodentia’ Recap And Ending
Fru Fru (Leah Latham), the daughter of Mr. Big (Maurice LaMarche), is about to get married, and she needs to choose her maid of honor. That process is apparently being televised and broadcasted across Zootopia as a “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” kind of show. It features Brianca (Katie Lowes), Christine (Prosha Williams), Charisma (Crystal Kung Minkoff), and Mandy as potential candidates. But then Fru Fru’s cousin Tru Tru (Michelle Buteau) drops in to be the shrew of honor. So, in order to bypass her overbearing presence, Fru Fru and the rest of the girls decide to conduct the wedding ceremony on their own. This leads to a full-on fistfight between Fru Fru and Tru Tru. But after nearly getting crushed by a giant donut, Fru Fru decides to let bygones be bygones and assigns Tru Tru as the maid of honor. That said, Tru Tru does make one big mistake. She adds “Night Howlers” to the wedding bouquet, which eventually causes the ceremony to go sideways.
I am sure you remember that the flowers known as “Night Howlers” were shown to be the main cause of mammals going absolutely feral. The one manufacturing them and turning them into sniper darts was Doug (Rich Moore), and the one commissioning him to do the same was Dawn Bellwether (Jenny Slate). Because Dawn was against the idea of predators and prey staying together under one roof, she wanted to artificially make them go feral, label them as a threat to prey (who have a larger population), and oust them from Zootopia. But even in its unprocessed state, the flower is capable of turning any animal feral, as explained by Judy’s parents and how her uncle bit Bonnie after consuming one of the flowers. At Fru Fru’s wedding ceremony, we see Tru Tru and the rest of the girls sniffing the “Night Howlers” and proceeding to wreck the whole place. What does that say about this particular story? Well, maybe it’s sending the message that, even after planning everything to perfection and mending broken bridges, something can come out of the left field and ruin it all.
‘Duke the Musical’ Recap And Ending
Duke Weaselton (Alan Tudyk) gets released from jail and feels embarrassed that he’s not a famous criminal anymore. He’s the butt of the joke in Zootopia now. So, he feels the need to change his ways by becoming someone who earns money instead of stealing it from everyone else. He launches into a full-blown musical where his thoughts start off on an honest note. However, he soon starts dreaming of becoming a jack of all trades and fooling anyone and everyone in order to become a millionaire (or a billionaire). During the song-and-dance sequence, he absent-mindedly steals the wallet of a goat. But when he realizes that all this thieving and scheming is going to bring about his downfall anyway, he tries to return the wallet to the goat. That’s when a truck full of bags of cash rams into the goat (without killing it) and presents Duke with two options: stealing a bag of cash or not stealing it. Of course, Duke steals it, thereby proving that he’s not going to change.
In “Zootopia,” Duke stole a bag of onions and was pursued by Judy (because she saw that as an opportunity to be a real cop). He went into Little Rodentia, wreaked all kinds of havoc there, and nearly killed Fru Fru with a decorative donut. But Judy saved Fru Fru and arrested Duke. So, this episode of “Zootopia+” takes place after that arrest. On the surface, it does seem like the creators are sending the wrong message by not making Duke take the path toward self-correction. However, since the movie showed that Duke went on to sell bootleg versions of Disney-Pixar films and Night Howlers to Doug after his release, it makes sense that the Disney+ short doesn’t change his overall trajectory. If you are wondering what the point of it all is, then we are all on the same page. Feel free to see it as a fun musical with inventive visuals and a great Alan Tudyk performance. Nothing more, nothing less.
‘The Godfather of the Bride’ Recap And Ending
During Fru Fru’s wedding ceremony, Mr. Big talks about his origins and the making of Little Rodentia. Apparently, he and his mother traveled to Zootopia and started a bakery shop where they made, you guessed it, cannoli (because it’s an “homage” to “The Godfather” trilogy). But Big faced a lot of issues while delivering them safely because they were the smallest animals in the city. Still, with the help of a self-made tricycle and new friends, Big and his mother managed to make ends meet. However, that was upended by Rhino Boss (Imari Williams) and his goons, as they wanted a share of Big’s money. That’s the day Big realized that the more they’ll cower, the more they have to pay up. So, he took a stand, and the people around him backed him up as well, thereby leading to the end of Rhino Boss’s reign. From there, Big, the rodents, and the polar bears went on to create Little Rodentia, where everyone lived happily ever after.
The ethos of this short is spelled out by Mr. Big himself. He says that the family that one chooses is the thing that makes one rich. And the friends that one chooses are what makes them a family. I don’t know how sincere this message is because it’s essentially a parody of “The Godfather.” To be specific, it’s a parody of “The Godfather II,” because that’s the movie that showed Don Corleone (Marlon Brando/Robert De Niro) escape from Sicily and build his empire in New York City. That said, at least this one tries to show us an aspect of a character that featured in “Zootopia” instead of just serving as filler for the 2016 movie. We get a little backstory regarding Big’s penchant for icing people as we see him punishing Rhino Boss by putting him into a block of ice. We also see why Mr. Big has a bunch of polar bears as his bodyguards. However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that even if you parody a classic like “The Godfather,” it’s going to yield good results.
‘So You Think You Can Prance’ Recap And Ending
Clawhauser (Nate Torrence) sees an advertisement for the titular dance program and finds out that the winner of the competition is going to be one of the backup dancers for Gazelle (Shakira). But the competitors have to appear in pairs. So, Clawhauser lies to Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) that he needs backup in order to protect Gazelle so that he can trick him into partaking in the tournament. Bogo doesn’t realize that even after wearing the makeup for the dance. However, when they’ve got to get on stage, Clawhauser tells him the truth, and Bogo apparently bails. With no other option left, Clawhauser begins his performance and is rejected by every judge, including Gazelle. When he falls off the stage, though, Bogo appears in full costume and flips the judges’ decision to disqualify him. Sadly, it turns out to be a dream that Clawhauser conjured when he fell asleep while eating bagels. The only thing that isn’t a figment of Clawhauser’s imagination, though, is that Bogo is a fan of Gazelle’s as well.
In “Zootopia,” while searching for Mr. Otterton, Judy and Nick come across a lab that is keeping “savage” predators captive. After escaping that place, Judy realized that they needed to inform Bogo about this whole situation. When Judy called in, Bogo was seen using the Gazelle app to visualize himself dancing with the pop star. That was when Clawhauser barged in and realized that Bogo is a fan of Gazelle as well, thereby giving birth to the “aww” meme that you often see on the internet. Then the duo went on to attend Gazelle’s concert as well, along with Judy, Nick, Mr. Big, Fru Fru, and the rest of the cast. So, in case you needed any more context for Clawhauser and Bogo’s love for Gazelle, well, there you have it.
‘Dinner Rush’ Recap And Ending
Sam (Charlotte Nicdao) works as a waiter at a restaurant in Zootopia. She needs to leave early because she wants to attend Gazelle’s concert. And just when she’s about to wrap things up, the sloth couple, Flash (Raymond S. Persi) and Priscilla (Kristen Bell) drop in to have a quick bite and a drink. The funny part is that “a quick bite and a drink” for them isn’t synonymous with the words fast, rapid, or hasty because they’re sloths. So, Sam tries to hurry things up. But nothing seems to go her way. She even irks the rest of the customers and the owner of the restaurant by messing up orders and setting a champagne bottle’s cork off on a rampage. However, as soon as Flash pulls out the ring, goes down on one knee, and proposes to Priscilla, everyone calms down. Sam even gets a ride to Gazelle’s concert because Flash and Priscilla are headed that way too. After getting into Flash’s car, though, Sam thinks that walking would’ve been a better option because his driving is pretty rash.
The DMV sequence from “Zootopia” is one of the most iconic sequences of all time. That’s where we saw Flash’s relationship with Priscilla. And during the concluding moments of the film, we saw Nick and Judy catch Flash for speeding. So, “Dinner Rush” essentially lets us know where Flash is coming from, who is in the backseat, and where the trio is going. Also, it goes to show that maybe the slow pace of the sloths just allows them to relish everything better. Yes, the slow reveal of every word in a sentence probably gives them mini-heart attacks because their ability to punctuate is all over the place. Still, they are a wholesome lot, and maybe everyone should learn to move at their pace instead of rushing them.
“Zootopia+” is a 2022 Animated Anthology series streaming on Disney+.