TV Review: “Zootopia+” Matches the Hilarity of the 2016 Film Through 6 Brand-New Shorts

A bustling metropolitan city with all manner of land mammals, Walt Disney Animation Studios welcomed the world to Zootopia in 2016 through the eyes of Judy Hopps. The film introduced so many memorable characters and now Disney+ subscribers can expand the world of the film with the new short-form animated series Zootopia+. All six shorts are now available to stream.



Running concurrently with the events of the film, each Zootopia+ short follows a different character and takes on a different genre. Starting with Judy Hopps’ departure from Bunny Burrows, her parents discover that one of their youngest daughters, Molly, has stowed away on board the train, leading to a high-speed action adventure with “Hopp on Board.” Shifting to reality TV, “The Real Rodents of Little Rodentia” follows Fru Fru and her posse of bridesmaids as they prepare for her wedding, with plans sidetracked by a crime chase through the tiny streets to apprehend small-time crook Duke Weaselton. Released on bail, Duke Weaselton considers an honest life in “Duke: The Musical.” With Fru Fru’s big day finally here, Mr. Big makes a toast in “The Godfather of the Bride” as he recalls his journey to Zootopia in classic film style. As Gazelle’s big concert approaches, Clawhauser takes a break from his desk duties to compete on “So You Think You Can Prance.” And lastly, a romantic comedy dinner date between Flash and Priscilla, the sloth couple from the DMV, in “Dinner Rush.”

Filled with the same sense of humor that made Zootopia a big hit six years ago, each short in the Zootopia+ series proves to be both uniquely funny while also telling new side stories with characters who didn’t get much screen time in the film. Many of the original voices are back, including Ginnifer Goodwin as Judy Hopps, Bonnie Hunt and Don Lake as her parents Bonnie and Stu, Alan Tudyk as Duke Weaselton, Nate Torrence as Clawhauser, Idris Elba as Chief Bogo, and Kristen Bell as Priscilla. And diehard Disney fans will love looking for Easter Eggs, like wedding dresses that should be familiar to Disney Princess fans.

Directors Trent Correy (Once Upon a Snowman) and Josie Trinidad (Co-Head of Story on Zootopia) primarily stick to familiar characters and locales from the first film, although there are a few exceptions. Most notably, “Dinner Rush” really centers around a waitress otter named Sam (voiced by Charlotte Nicdao) who has tickets to the Gazelle concert and is hoping her sloth customers can finish dinner in time for her to make it to the show. Where they’re allowed to truly be bold is in the tonal changes between each short’s genre. The reality-inspired “The Real Rodents of Little Rodentia” is done in such a way that the animation camera appears to be handheld, compared to “The Godfather of the Bride” with its sepia tone palette, film grain, and fixed cameras.



The most elaborate of the episodes is “Duke: The Musical,” which not only features an original song written by Michael Giacchino, Elyssa Samsel, and Kate Anderson, but presents as an elaborate dream sequence. It leads to numerous costume changes for Duke Weaselton and incorporates hand-drawn elements to bring the musical dream to life. While all of the episodes are winners, this one in particular feels like a technological marvel.

As the second short-form series from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Zootopia+ satisfies what Zootopia fans have been begging for since 2016 – more. Unlike Baymax!, which was set after the events of Big Hero 6, Zootopia+ takes place concurrently with the events of the film. It offers a fun addendum to the adventure of the film and for the ambitious, the ability to have a “machete cut” where you can watch the original film and pause it, screening each short where they fit into the larger story.

I give Zootopia+ 5 out of 5 Duke Dollars.

Zootopia+ is now available to stream only on Disney+.

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