Over the weekend, Zootopia joined the ranks of all-animal animations created by Disney, and certainly made its own mark on the genre by showing animals living in a world just like ours. The use of the latest in animation technology makes the movie a visual delight and all the more believable when it comes to tackling social and emotional issues — but it's not all about the serious message.
Even if you've seen the film once, you'll probably want to see it again, not just because it's brilliant (which it really is) but because despite having only been in theaters for less than a week, it's already being hailed as the 'most Easter Egg-packed' Disney movie EVER. Director Byron Howard said so himself.
When interviewed about all of the Easter Eggs dotted throughout the movie, Byron and fellow director Rich Moore said that they "went for it because we wanted it to feel like our world. In their world, they have their version of Disney movies." And it's not just Disney movies either. Zootopia started dropping hints before it was even released, with these promotional posters mimicking this year's Oscar nominees.
On to the Easter Eggs! Did you spot them all?
1. Sign gags
There are tons of them. Alongside giant ads for 'Lululemmings' (Lululemon), Just Zoo It (Just Do It) and Preyda (Prada), we also see Trader Doe's, Urban Snout-fitters, and Snort's Illustrated. Directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore explained why:
"There is signage all over the movie. With crazy amounts of puns. There’s literally hundreds of signs, and the guy who was doing them… he was an uncontrollable pun master. His name is Marty. He’s got a problem! He went bananas. Every sign you see is Marty’s doing. … You will enjoy it."
2. Silly puns
There are lots of these hidden in the movie too, including some punny takes on upcoming Disney movies: Mewana (Moana), Giraffic (Gigantic), and Floatzen 2 (Frozen 2).
3. References to other movies
We see Aladdin's lamp tucked away on a shelf, a villain wearing a T-shirt from the bar in Patrick Swayze's Road House, and two sheep working in a meth lab named Jesse and Walter (any Breaking Baaaaaad fans in the house?) — but the winner here hands down has got to be Frozen. There's a pastry shop owned by someone called Hans...
...two little elephants dressed up as Anna and Elsa...
...and Chief Bogo literally tells Judy to 'let it go.'
Perhaps the cheekiest hint of all comes with a certain weasel who is only a minor character in the story. You may have recognized the voice of Kristen Bell (Princess Anna in Frozen) as Priscilla the sloth, but what about this little guy? Notice anything familiar?
His name is Duke Weaselton for a start. Weaselton. Yep, if you've seen Frozen more than a few times, you might remember the Duke of Weselton, who frequently has to correct people when they pronounce it 'Weasel Town.'
The Duke of Weselton is voiced by Plano-raised actor Alan Tudyk, and I'll give you three guesses as to who voices Duke Weaselton. Well played, Disney. Well played.
Zootopia is in theaters now, and is already off to a roaring start at the box office. Watch the trailer below: