Disney / Zootopia

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It’s a Zoo(topia) in here!

"In the world of Zootopia, humans never happened. Which makes Zootopia a modern, civilized world that is entirely animal."
—From the first trailer

Zootopianote  is the 55th film in the Disney Animated Canon, set in a World of Funny Animals.

Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is an idealistic, cheery and optimistic young bunny who's left home to be a police officer in the big city of Zootopia. There, she encounters Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a fast-talking fox Con Artist whom she manages to blackmail into helping her solve a missing persons case. Soon however, the two become involved in a conspiracy that threatens all Zootopia, which forces them to overcome their differences, and ultimately become friends.

The film was released in America on March 4, 2016 (it had an earlier release in Europe and Asia), and is the third Disney Animated Feature to use exclusively anthropomorphic animal characters after 1973's Robin Hood and 2005's Chicken Little (outside of the 40s package films, at least).

Watch the teaser trailer here, the second trailer here and the third trailer here. Watch the Japanese trailer (w/ English subtitles) here.

And if you want to go into the film fresh, be wary of reading ahead. The film's junior novelization was released on January 19, 2016 in both print and eBook formats, along with an essential guide book and several other tie-in products. A read-along with a CD featuring character voices was also released in early February.


Zootopia contains examples of:

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     A-H 

  • 555: Doug's phone number is (805) 555-0127.
  • A Bloody Mess: In the play at the beginning, Judy really hams it up while pretending to be bitten, throwing red streamers everywhere as well as squirting bottled ketchup all over her to simulate High-Pressure Blood.
  • Accidentally Broke the MacGuffin: When Judy and Nick find a train car being used as a lab to create the Nighthowler poison, containing all the vital evidence they need to close the case for good, Judy's first instinct is to steal the entire train car and drive it to the police. At the end of the ensuing Chase Scene, the train gets derailed, and everything in it is destroyed in a fiery explosion. Thankfully, they managed to escape with a small briefcase of evidence, which is what Nick wanted to do to begin with.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Finnick is a guy with a short temper (no pun intended), but he laughed his head off when Judy managed to blackmail Nick into helping her with the Otterton case by catching the tax evasion confession on her carrot pen recorder.
    • Judy found Nick asking if Bellwether counted herself to sleep pretty amusing, despite how she chastised Nick for petting her wool immediately beforehand.
  • Adults Are Useless: A minor example during the flashback to Nick's Ranger Scout initiation; not a single troop leader or any parent/guardian is present during the entire scene. Justified, in that the late-night "initiation" by flashlight reeks of unauthorized hazing practices.
  • Adult Fear:
    • When Judy and Nick have to flush themselves down a toilet to escape the hospital, they end up going over a waterfall. Nick surfaces first, and panics when Judy doesn't surface immediately after. It's also the first time (and only time) Nick uses her real first name.
    • Judy's parents are terrified by both their daughter's chosen career path and the fact that she's moving to a big city so far from home.
    • Nick's parents, or only his mother, finds out that Nick was bullied and even muzzled by his fellow scouts just because he is a fox. Heck, your kids are trying to be good, honest people but they will grow up prejudiced just because of what species you and they are.
    • Mr. Big's daughter is nearly crushed to death right before her wedding.
    • Mrs. Otterton's husband, the father of their two children, goes missing. The police are powerless to help. And when they do find him, he's completely lost his mind and doesn't know her from a hole in the riverbank. The look on her face as she stares sadly through the glass at the now-feral Emmitt is heartbreaking as she says, "That's not my Emmitt..."
  • Advertised Extra: Many of the minor characters, including Finnick, Yax, and even some background characters who hardly get any lines, can be seen throughout the film's advertisements, hanging around Nick and Judy on posters or videos used to promote the movie.
  • Aerith and Bob: Pretty much everyone has normal given names, but then there's Leodore and Gazelle (although the latter is most likely a Stage Name).
  • The Alleged Car:
    • While it's in perfect working order, Judy Hopps' meter maid cart is rightfully referred to as a "jokemobile" by Nick Wilde. It barely moves faster than walking speed (except for one scene where Judy uses it to aggressively cut off Nick).
    • Finn's van. Driver's door is silver, the rest of the van is some kind of rusty red, and has the most awesome mural on the side panels. It backfires a lot, too.
  • Alphabet News Network: ZNN, unsurprisingly. The anchors are a female snow leopard and (depending on the region) a male moose, jaguar, koala, panda, or raccoon dog.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • Clawhauser acts rather effeminate at times, some of his body language suggests it, and he has a soft lispy voice.
    • Judy's neighbors are a pair of bickering male antelopes (an oryx and a kudu) with the same hyphenated last name.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Inverted, as usual. While the US trailers focus more on comedy, the Japanese trailer is more serious and focuses on the action and drama, which greatly shifts the tone of the movie.note 
  • Amusing Injuries: The teaser has Nick tripping Judy because they're "natural enemies", not realizing she's a cop. After Nick tries to escape, she shoots him with an elephant tranquilizer gun that results in him face-planting on the ground from what looks like the ceiling.
  • An Aesop: A few:
    • Stereotyping is wrong.
    • Be Yourself, of course, and don't listen to what other people tell you to be.
    • Well-intentioned people can sometimes make mistakes out of ignorance. If you're the one offended, you should realize that they're doing their best and forgive them. If you're the one who made the mistake, learn, apologize to the one you offended, and don't stop trying.
    • Anyone can be racist. Anyone of any race can be a carrier or a victim of racism. Doubly so for people who have been the victims of prejudice, who often themselves hold prejudice.
    • If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
    • Racism can't be solved by promoting racism against a different class.
    • Fear is used by the unscrupulous for power, don't fall for it.
  • Animal Eyes:
    • Ironically enough, anyone normal, has rounded, cartoonish eyes. Preds who have gone "savage" have eyes that have reverted to this state. This is another subtle sign that Nick is only pretending to have gone savage at the end, as his eyes remain round.
    • Played straight with most sheep (with the exception of Bellwether and the lambs in the primary school), who sport their very distinct elongated pupils. The uncanny valley effect caused by this is most likely intentional, to make Doug and his ram assistants look more creepy.
  • Animal Jingoism: This society suffers from barely-suppressed racial tension between "predators" and "prey". It ends up seriously bubbling to the surface late in the movie.
  • Animals Lack Attributes:
    • In keeping with its PG rating, or else we'd need Brain Bleach during the "Naturalists" scenes.
    • Played with by Judy and Gazelle, whose designs show them as more feminine, but this effect only occurs with them due to being fully clothed. Gazelle wears a fairly risque outfit with a top that seems to conform to a set of breasts, complete with a deep neckline. Judy's civilian clothes downplay her curves, but the vest on her upper torso while in uniform seems to make her chest a bit more obvious in comparison with them. This may be due to her outfit not appearing to be standard, as her outfit looks completely different from those worn by the other cops in the Bullpen. As she is the first of her kind on the force, her uniform may be custom made as she is the only officer of her size. Until Nick joins the force at the film's end, and he's roughly a head taller than she is.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Played With in all kinds of ways. Sometimes Averted, Subverted, Inverted, Defied or Played Straight, in different instances. Overall it's Deconstructed as Fantastic Racism, in contrast to its typical use as a cheap characterization shortcut.
    • Bunnies are seen as cute and harmless. This stereotype makes it very difficult for Judy to be taken seriously as a police officer.
    • Foxes are seen as sneaky and untrustworthy. Nick fits this stereotype perfectly, but it turns out this is entirely due to him having a "Then Let Me Be Evil" moment as a result of childhood trauma.
    • Yax thinks that Nangi the elephant must have a good memory, due to the stereotype that "elephants never forget". Actually, her memory is terrible, while his is much better, though somehow he hasn't noticed that.
    • Sloths are seen as unbearably slow at everything. This seems to be accurate, at least until the end where Flash the sloth surprisingly turns out to be the illegal street racer that Judy and Nick are sent to catch.
    • Cheetahs are seen as fast, graceful, and slender. Clawhauser is absolutely none of those things, though he fully admits to being a dead ringer for a completely different stereotype.
    • Beavers are thought of as hardworking builders. In possibly the straightest example in the entire film, the group of construction workers pouring the concrete that Judy accidentally steps in are all beavers.
  • Animals Not to Scale: There's not as much size disparity between different species of animal as there is in real life. That being said, the size disparities are extreme, just not quite as much as they should be.
  • Anti-Hero:
    • Nick is dragged unwillingly into helping Judy and is a con-artist. However he eventually stands up for Judy and becomes a full hero by the end.
    • Judy is a very minor example. She has purely heroic goals and is a very nice person, but she blackmails Nick into helping her solve a case and later on gets the mafia to help her scare a criminal into revealing information.
  • Appropriate Animal Attire: Animals in this story are, normally, fully clothed - except for shoes - and Judy feels uncomfortable about the "naturalists'" lack of clothing.
  • Arc Words:
    • "It's called a hustle, sweetheart." First said by Nick after Judy discovered his popsicle bootlegging racket. Then by Judy, when she conned Nick into helping her crack the Emmitt Otterton case. Finally by Judy to Bellwether, after recording her confession to the Nighthowler poisonings of predators.
    • Also "It's my word against yours!" "No, it's your word against yours." in similar situations in the middle and at the end.
    • "Sly fox." "Dumb bunny." First said by Nick, in that no one is able to escape their assigned role, to which Judy vehemently disagrees. Then by Judy, joking that she may be dumb, but as a bunny, she's good at multiplying. Then as a part of a tear-filled apology. Finally inverted at the end, where Nick and Judy call each other "dumb fox" and "sly bunny".
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Judy makes some insensitive remarks about predators, Nick demands to know, "Are you afraid of me?" Judy does not have a good answer.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The film, besides the obvious examples of the animals being anthropomorphic, etc., does its best to avert this, as seen in Shown Their Work below. That said, it doesn't always succeed.
    • The female elephants are all depicted without tusks. This is not a problem with Asian elephants, but African ones should have tusks in both genders.
  • Artistic License – Law:
    • Zig-Zagged. Sometimes, ZPD procedure matches how police departments work, but not always.
      • Do not: Judy sees that her own car is parked at an expired meter, and dutifully writes herself a ticket. In reality, parking enforcement officers are immune from parking tickets while on duty.
      • Do Not: For example, in real life (depending on the police department), uniformed patrol officers and detectives are often two different things. Uniformed officers do not generally investigate cases, and detectives do not usually perform parking enforcement duties. ("Meter maid" is a derogatory sexist term, but then Nick was doing his best to be insulting.) In fact, meter checkers are usually city employees unconnected to the police department (though police officers can also hand parking fines).
      • DO: Most small to medium, and some large (even in metro Los Angeles) cities consider parking enforcement as a part of their police department's traffic division, in which they're uniformed officers for whom doing more than writing parking tickets is beyond their pay grade.
      • DO: Averted in Chief Bogo's accurate dressing-down of Judy after her arrest of Duke Weaselton. In addition, Bogo is trying to get rid of Judy by any means possible, as Nick points out later — letting her get in over her head is just the shortest path he can see to throwing her out on her long ears without upsetting the Mayor.
  • Artistic License – Physics: During her training montage, Judy manages to punch out a much larger opponent by jumping into the elastic edge of the boxing ring, gaining momentum from the elasticity, and recoiling into her opponent's face.
  • Art Major Biology: The backstory about how the animals all evolved to have the same high intelligence, bipedal locomotion, and vocal mechanism all at the same time, despite originally being very different species. It's highly implausible for anyone who knows anything about biology, but it's necessary for the basic premise to work, so you just have to ignore it.
  • Asshole Victim: Mayor Lionheart is one to his assistant, and is a victim of a frame-up by her.
  • Ass in a Lion Skin: When some of the officers go incognito at the end, the wolf pulls on a sheep costume. It also counts as a Literal Metaphor!
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Relatively speaking, where even a hare and a weasel tower over the residents of Little Rodentia and cause havoc in the district.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The film has intense subject matter that certainly warrants the higher rating, but just in case it wasn't enough, the naturalist scene was certainly designed to ensure it happened.
  • Award Bait Song: Shakira's Try Everything.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Almost the entire cast eschews shoes. Even characters who wear spats (such as the cops, including Judy, and Mr. Big) have their toes uncovered. Exceptions include Gazelle (who is The One Who Wears Shoes, though her strappy high-heels also show her hooves), and the nudists (who aren't the trope, as they weren't wearing anything else to begin with).
  • Bare Your Midriff:
    • Gazelle's outfit on the promotion art is based on what her voice actress, Shakira, usually wears during her concerts, bare midriff included.
    • Duke Weaselton wears a shirt that's a few numbers too short for his long, slinky weasel body.
  • Batman Gambit: An epic one pulled by Judy and Nick during the climax. Judy has badly injured her leg and can't run or fight. She tries to get Nick to escape the museum without her, knowing that Bellwether won't hesitate to use the Night Howler on him if she gets her hands on it, but he refuses to abandon her. He starts using the kerchief that he's carrying the blueberries in to get the wound bandaged up, which gives both of them an idea. Since both the concentrated Night Howlers and the blueberries are the exact shape and size, they quickly replace the poison with the fruit and try to bolt for the doors. Bellwether has her goons grab them and throw them into the pit. Just like they expected, she fires the "serum" at Nick, thinking that Judy can't escape due to her injury and Nick will kill her in his crazy state. Nick and Judy pretend that the former has gone savage long enough to get Bellwether's gloating taped on the carrot pen recorder (complete with Nick fake-biting Judy to completely sell it). And then when the rest of the ZPD shows up, they have enough evidence to arrest her and her minions, bring peace back to the city, and get those affected with the Night Howler cured. What makes it even more awesome? The movie doesn't show them replacing the blueberries, so both the audience and Bellwether get fooled, and Nick and Judy put on an extremely convincing performance. Also, Bellwether was the one who called the police about Judy being "attacked", so she basically set up her own downfall!
  • Bears Are Bad News: Mr. Big, the shrew crime lord, has polar bear bodyguards. Later, a different polar bear from Tundratown is shown in a news report, having gone savage and mauled a caribou.
  • Being Good Sucks: More like "Being the meter maid sucks". In addition to Judy not being allowed to be a real police officer, on her second day on the job a lot of ticketed drivers whine at her because she gave them tickets, which includes the requisite bullcrap "My tax dollars pay your salary" excuse.
    "My mommy says she wishes you were dead."
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Bellwether tries to hide her dissatisfaction, but she has good reasons to resent Mayor Lionheart.
  • Big Applesauce: Zootopia's aesthetic takes a lot from New York, with subways, NYPD-esque badges, etc. note  Though it also has areas to resemble certain animals' environments.
  • Big Bad: Mayor Lionheart...is made to look like the main villain, when in truth he was trying to secretly contain the damage of the savage predators to keep the population from finding out there was a wrongful connection between the victims and predators. The real Big Bad turns out to be a literal Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Nangi", the name of the nudist Elephant yoga instructor, means "naked" in Hindi.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Bellwether is probably the most literal example in film history, since in addition to her amiable behavior masking her prejudiced views, she actually is a sheep.
  • Black Mesa Commute: A non-video game version. As Judy is riding the train to the city district, she passes over all the locations the film takes place in.
  • Black Site: Leodore's Lab, where all the savage animals are kept.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • Just in the teaser poster there's Preyda (Prada), Lululemmings (Lululemon), Bearberry (Burberry) and "Just Zoo It" ("Just Do It"). The official poster adds DNKY (DKNY) and Snarlbucks (Starbucks) to that.
    • The premiere is sponsored by Zoogle Photos (Google Photos).
    • In another scene if you pay close attention, one of the characters has a shopping bag from Targoat (Target), as they're coming out of Mousey's (Macy's).
    • One shot in Tundratown in the actual movie also has an Zuber advertisement.
    • One of the dining places in the background is Trader Doe's.
    • One of Nick's and Finnick's scams involves selling Pawpsicles ("popsicle" being a Brand Name Takeover for ice pops).
    • The smartphones are iPhonies, where the logo is a carrot with a missing chunk. Judy's parents call her via "MuzzleTime," and it uses the "PB&J" phone network. There are also iPad-style tablets labeled "iPaw".
    • The lemmings leaving for lunch are exiting the "Lemming Brothers" building (Lehman Bros).
    • A sign for "Hoof Locker" is briefly seen when Nick is giving Judy his speech about how her future will be. It's maybe 1 foot tall by 3 wide, set into the facade of a building.
    • Bobby Catmull, the little cougar doing sound FX during Judy's play at the beginning, rips out the final "da-da-da-daaaah" chord that ends the play on a "Catsio" electronic keyboard. Written in the same font!
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Bogo saying that he's working on the missing mammal cases when it's obvious to both Clawhauser and the audience that he was actually playing with the Gazelle app.
    • After an interminable period of time waiting at the DMV because Nick distracts Flash:
    Judy: You wasted the day on purpose!
    Nick: Madam, I have a fake badge. I would never impede your pretend investigation.
  • Bloodless Carnage:
    • Judy gets a few scratches but none of them bleed. (The movie does acknowledge that bleeding is a thing, particularly when Young Judy fakes it.)
    • The crime scenes Judy and Nick stumble upon are shocking because of extensive claw mark damage, but there's not a drop of blood.
  • Bookends:
    • When Judy arrives to Zootopia for the first time, she listens to Gazelle's "Try Everything". The ending has Gazelle giving a concert while singing this song with most of the cast listening.
    • The film starts with A Minor Kidroduction of Judy participating in a play about the savage beginnings of their world and later has her defending her sheep friends from a fox bully. The final act has Judy fighting against a group of criminal sheep with her fox friend, with the climax taking place in a museum showing the savage beginnings of their world.
  • Bowdlerise: A minor, voice acting-related, case of this happens in the Mexican Spanish dub: When Mr. Big accuses Nick of selling him a rug made from a skunk's butt, in the Mexican dub it was changed with Mr. Big accusing him of selling a rug made from a Smelly Skunknote  instead. It still sounds funny anyway due to how Mr. Big says that to Nick.
  • Buddy Cop Show: The plot can be summarized as: An eager young officer out to prove herself and the two-bit con man she coerced into helping her gradually develop an odd friendship while investigating a missing persons case and eventually uncovering a huge conspiracy.
  • The Bully: In a prologue set in grade school, Gideon Grey is a fox who harasses a sheep; this leads young Judy to her Establishing Character Moment when she takes him on. Gideon reappears as an adult who's had a Heel Realization and become The Atoner.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Judy trying to strong arm Mr. Big into giving her info - despite the fact that the otherwise-unflappable Nick is utterly terrified of him. (And the fact that they are in his lair and surrounded by his mooks).
  • Busy Beaver: Several beavers in hard hats are seen pouring the concrete Judy winds up stepping in.
  • Call Back:
    • Nick acting like he's crazy and attacking Judy after being "shot" with the blueberry looks very close to the opening scene, where a young Judy plays an ancient rabbit being preyed upon. No ketchup this time, though.
    • During Judy's second meeting with Nick, after she realizes he's a con man, he says that even though she came to Zootopia with big hopes and dreams, she is probably going to end up living in a box under a bridge somewhere. Near the end of the movie, where does Judy find Nick after they had been separated for a few weeks? Hanging out under a bridge!
    • During Nick's flashback to his Ranger Scout initiation he recites the following oath: "I - Nicholas Wilde - promise to be brave, loyal, helpful, and trustworthy!" This is exactly what he proves to be to Judy as their cooperation and relationship progresses. He got to be what he had sworn to all those years ago, it just took him some time to get there.
    • When Nick is coaching Judy before she gives an interview after finding all the missing mammals, he tells her that in an interview, when someone asks you a question, you answer that question with another question, and then answer your question. At the end, Lionheart uses that exact technique while being interviewed in jail.
    • When the two are checking the security camera for Manchas's whereabouts and see the wolves taking him away, Nick, a fox, gives an offhand comment about the wolves' tendency to howl at night, causing Judy to have a Eureka Moment when she came to a conclusion that this is the 'Night Howlers' that Manchas mentioned earlier. Later in the movie, Gideon Gray, another fox, also offhand comments about how the flowers that turn animals savage are nicknamed 'Night Howlers'. This helps Judy to have another Eureka Moment when she finally learns what the Night Howlers really are.
  • Canis Latinicus: The flower bulbs Judy stops Duke Weaselton from stealing and which turn out to be the kind of flower being used to turn predators savage are from a fictional crocus varietal with the scientific name of Midnicampum holicithias. Only the first word is even an attempt at Latin, and translates very loosely as "between the fields". The second word is vaguely Greek, in which it translates just as roughly as "all shepherd". Somewhat appropriate despite the linguistics — Judy's father plants them between his fields to keep the bugs off ("shepherding" the crops). Their common name of "Night Howler" presumably derives from how they make animals act, just as one of the real plants called "loco weed", Oxytropis campestris, has a name which translates as "sharp keel of the field".
  • Cartoony Eyes: Most animal characters play it straight, but some background characters, such as the lemmings and the rams (such as Doug and his assistants) have realistic animal eyes note . They certainly look very awkward among the characters with humanlike eyes. Also, any predator that turns "savage" reverts to Animal Eyes.
  • Caught on Tape: This trope is used three times.
    • This is how Judy blackmails Nick into working with her - she records him boasting to her about how much his schemes have made, then threatens to run him in for tax evasion - since he hasn't declared any of it - unless he helps her.
    • Judy tapes the conversation between Mayor Lionheart and a doctor about the berserk animals, making him look like the one responsible for their disappearance.
    • It's also used again with Judy's pen/recorder recording Bellwether's confession.
  • The Cavalry: Chief Bogo and the rest of the force, in the museum scene. In this case, though, it is the villain who called them, expecting a feral Nick to kill Judy in the meantime. Instead, Nick was faking being feral, and the villain's whole gloat was Caught on Tape.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: After Nick opens up to Judy about a traumatic childhood event that shaped who he decided to be, he decides to change the subject to the traffic after Judy tries to physically comfort him, which he then realizes is a lead on their case.
  • Character Development:
    • Thanks to Judy, Nick learns that he's a better person than he gives himself credit for and shouldn't let other people's bigotry due to his species stop him from realizing his full potential. As a result, he decides to give up his conman ways and join the ZPD at the end.
    • Thanks to Nick, Judy learns that she's not as free of prejudice as she initially thought she was, which lets her vow to work to overcome this flaw and take responsibility for her mistakes when she makes them. This is how she earned Nick's forgiveness after their fallout. She also realizes that while Zootopia wasn't as perfect as she initially thought it was, she still decides she can make it a better place, albeit much more realistically this time.
    • This also happens off-screen to one of the supporting characters. We first see Gideon Grey as a schoolyard bully who victimizes prey species, leading young Judy to an Establishing Character Moment when she defies him. By the time he re-enters the film as an adult, he's had a Heel Realization and apologizes to Judy.
    • Gideon's re-entering the film as an adult also showcased some Character Development for Judy's parents. Early in the movie, they are extremely distrustful of foxes in general. But later on, inspired by Judy, they overcome their distrust of foxes, becoming Gideon's business partners and having a genuinely friendly and respectful partnership with him.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Judy's carrot-shaped pen/recorder. It's how she blackmails Nick into helping her. Then she uses it to trick Nick over a fence so she can frame him. It's then used by Nick to tape Judy's teary-eyed confession that she needs him. Finally used to tape Bellwether's confession.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Many.
    • The stolen onions Judy recovered after catching Duke Weaselton in Little Rodentia. They are actually Night Howler bulbs for growing them.
    • Judy's parents calling her via "MuzzleTime," which will happen again at an awkward time.
    • The Night Howlers mentioned by Manchas. Judy at first believes them to be wolves responsible for kidnapping Zootopians. She then learns after she returns home that they are a species of flowers which cause Hate Plague-like behavior.
    • Blueberries. Nick is first shown to like them early on in the film—he takes one as he strolls past a fruit cart while Judy is berating him for his dishonesty. Later, Nick helps himself to some of the blueberries grown by Judy's family which she brought along in her truck. Shortly after Nick packs some into a handkerchief in his pocket, the two of them discover the Night Howler-extract pellets that have been causing the outbreaks of insane rage, which are shown to closely resemble blueberries. This resemblance later becomes an important plot point.
    • Judy falling into the over-sized toilet during her training sets up for her and Nick later flushing themselves down an over-sized toilet to escape.
    • In a darker sense, the fox-repellent spray Judy's parents give her. She never uses it in the film - but Nick notices she's wearing it and is hurt. He brings it up to her in their argument as proof that she really is prejudiced toward foxes.
    • Judy's nose-twitching earlier in the movie, which she normally does when she's scared or nervous. When Nick is pretending to be savage at the end of the film, Judy's nose isn't twitching at all, letting observant viewers know that it's all an act.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The shrew Judy saves from a flying donut later turns out to be Mr. Big's daughter Fru Fru, who in turn saves Judy and Nick from being iced and gets them on good terms with her father.
    • Also, Duke Weaselton, who's apparently nothing but a common thief when Judy first met him, but turns out to be a supplier of the Night Howlers for the antagonists, whom Judy and Nick had Mr. Big interrogates for the location of the Night Howlers laboratory.
    • Gideon Grey. He at first appears to be simply a one-shot antagonist bully to provide the conflict for Judy's Establishing Character Moment and to set up the racial tensions between predators and prey for the audience. He returns much later as an adult to apologize to Judy for his bullying years ago, and highlight the idea that people can change and also that people like Judy's parents can overcome their prejudice. In a plot-related manner, however, he is inadvertently responsible for revealing the true nature of the night howlers.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Nick's not exaggerating when he boasts about knowing everyone in Zootopia; his knowledge proves critical several times in the movie.
    • Judy's acting from her play in the prologue.
  • The Chessmaster: Once you know who the actual villain of the piece is, that character's behind-the-scenes manipulation of events becomes fairly obvious in hindsight.
  • Compliment Backfire: Judy calls Nick "articulate" after the scene in the cafe (a word that can have decidedly racial connotations considering rabbits and foxes don't get along). Though he doesn't show it, Nick's "It's rare that I find someone so non-patronizing" is clearly sarcastic, though Judy doesn't pick up on it.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In her second day of work, Judy chases after a thief weasel and saves a female shrew from being crushed by a giant donut. Both of them turn out to be relevant to the plot later, as the weasel, Duke Weaselton, happens to be a supplier of the Night Howlers, and the female shrew, Fru Fru, happens to be the daughter of one of the city's notorious crime lords, who saves Judy from being killed in return for saving her life, and also because it happens to be her wedding day, and she doesn't want her father killing anyone during it.
  • Convenience Store Gift Shopping: How bad is Mayor Lionheart's relationship with Dawn Bellwether? She winces as he refers to her as "Smellwether" but tries to put a positive spin on it for Judy and Nick by pointing out the nice mug he got her. She uses it as a pencil holder, and it says World's Greatest Dad with the last word scrawled out in red marker, and "Assistant Mayor" written in the tiny space above it. He may not even have bothered with the Convenience Store; he might've just pulled the mug out of a cupboard.
  • Cool Car:
    • At the end, Judy and Nick get issued a state-of-the-art interceptor vehicle to track down drag racers.
    • Extends to every car in the film, as they were all designed by the legendary J Mays.
  • Cooldown Hug: Nick gives Judy one of these after they reconcile as further reasurrance that he forgives her for what happened at the press conference.
  • Creative Closing Credits: After the Dance Party Ending, the credits are particularly colorful, and only lose the backgrounds toward the very end.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The ZPD is a top-tier goon squad. Even Mr. Big's polar bear thugs come in undersized next to the ZPD. Unfortunately they don't appear too effective at dealing with quick, small animals that are good at hiding. Fragile Speedster Officer Hopps proves much better at cornering these types, when she catches the weasel.
  • Cry into Chest: Judy cries into Nick's chest when they reconcile after the Third-Act Misunderstanding.
  • Cultural Translation: Depending on region, the male news anchor of ZNN is either a moose named Peter Moosebridge who's in the USA, Canadian, and French versions; a koala in the Australian and New Zealandese ones; a Tanuki (named Michael Tanukiyama) in the Japanese one; a panda in the Chinese one; or a jaguar in the Brazilian one, as you can see here.
  • Cute Is Evil: Isn't Bellwether so adorkable and fluffy and non-threatening? What a perfect cover for a sinister agenda. This trope is not played consistently, of course, or Judy wouldn't be a hero.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Nick being hazed by the other Mammal Scouts as a kid, which causes him to become The Cynic as he, with a smile, informs Judy that her dreams mean nothing to the social standing of her kind in Zootopia, vaguely referencing his past.
  • Da Chief: Chief Bogo questions Judy's ability to be helpful to the megafauna-dominated police force. He gives her 48 hours to solve a case or turn in her badge.
  • Dawson Casting: In-universe example. Nick's hustle involves buying an elephant popsicle for his "baby son"—who is actually a fully-grown fennec fox accomplice.
  • Dance Party Ending: The movie ends with Gazelle singing "Try Everything" in a concert, attended by major and minor characters and many Zootopian citizens where everybody is dancing and having a good time (even prison inmates watching the concert from a TV screen; except Bellwether).
  • Deadly Dust Storm: The desert obstacle course in police training simulates one.
  • Deconstruction: Although the main plot is a mystery, the movie also deconstructs the World of Funny Animals trope along the way. Habitats for animals of different sizes and climates, the need for civilized behavior against base instincts, and prejudices based on racial stereotypes are all essential aspects of the plot.
  • Demoted to Extra: Several characters who were intended to be very important in earlier drafts of the film were kept around for the final version, but in much reduced roles. For instance, Kozlow the polar bear mafia goon (the one carrying Mr. Big's chair) was originally a Russian mobster who played Mr. Big's part. Madge Honey Badger, who appears for less than a minute as the doctor helping Lionheart cure the savage animals, was intended to be Nick's friend and a Conspiracy Theorist.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Duke Weaselton's description of Doug the ram:
    Weaselton: Doug is the opposite of friendly; he's unfriendly.
  • Destructive Savior: Downplayed. After Judy successfully catches a floral shop thief, Chief Bogo rips into her for causing more harm in Little Rodentia chasing down the thief than the thief's crime apparently warranted.
    Chief Bogo: Abandoning your post. Inciting a scurry. Reckless endangerment of rodent lives. But, to be fair, you did stop a master criminal from stealing two dozen moldy onions.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • During the climax, Bellwether is accompanied by rams from the ZPD whom she was apparently able to convince to aid her schemes, either through a mutual desire to see "prey" come out on top and/or good old fashioned bribes.
    • Judy becomes one herself after befriending a mafia don and using him to assist in interrogating a suspect. Though technically she had quit the force at that point.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: There are a lot of layers to the characters, world and story telling. It's easy to see even some of the same situations through a racial/sexist/general stereotyping lens, and get different messages out of it. It's also never as cut and dry as 'one group of animals corresponds to one real world group.' Who is on which side of the fence is fluid throughout.
    • Among other things, a peace rally involving predator and prey activists happens after Judy tells the media that the reason why predators are going savage may be biologically related. One of the signs used by the activists says "Pred Pride".
    • The police unfairly harassing a minority race due to them being stereotyped as dangerous.
    • People making implications that certain people are prone to violence because it's In the Blood.
    • The offense taken by the Innocently Insensitive comments Judy accidentally utters sounds an awful lot like how people are treated in real life whenever this trope happens.
    • Nick touches Bellwether's wool on top her head, saying that it's "so fluffy" and that sheep never let him get this close to them. Judy has a minor freakout and tells him he can't just touch a sheep's wool without their permission and swats his paws away.
    • Assistant-Mayor Bellwether says Mayor Lionheart probably only hired her to "get the Sheep vote."
    • Judy being told she's just not capable of performing the duties of a real cop, despite the fact that she's got the highest scores of her police academy, mirrors the many ways women were told they couldn't engage in various activities (school, sports, certain jobs) either because of their temperament or their body.
    • During the peace rally, a pig in the crowd yells at a leopard activist to "Go back to the forest!" while she retorts that she's from the savanna. "Go back to [X]" is a common slur against immigrants, and (when used inaccurately) can garner much the same response from the target.
    • When Nick calls Judy out on her Innocently Insensitive comments about predators "reverting back to their savage ways" during the press conference, he begins invading her personal space and angrily demanding things like, "Do you think I'm going to eat you?" She takes a wary step back and reaches for the fox repellent the way many real women reach for their pepper spray when they feel threatened by bigger, stronger men. (And considering "predator" can have different connotations in real life... and our main character is a female prey animal working with a male predatory animal...)
    • This comes directly after when Judy is talking to the press, her accidental comments about predators "reverting back to their savage ways" sound pretty similar to Hillary Clinton's "Super Predator" speech about blacks back in 1996. So you can read this as both a sexually and racial charged offense, just look at the page image for Unfortunate Implications.
    • Clawhauser is removed from the front desk and moved to a job in the basement because they don't like having a predator as the first face you see coming into the office.
    • A media-savvy politician manufactures a threat from a minority group they're prejudiced against in order to gain power with the majority populace. This could apply to many politicians, but one obvious candidate is literally Adolf Hitler.
    • Mayor Lionheart's "Mammal Inclusion Initiative," which helps certain animals get into schools and jobs they would traditionally be excluded from, sounds similar to many real-life Affirmative Action programs. If Chief Bogo's reaction to Judy is any indication, it even carries the same baggage.
    • The prey vs predator issue wherein the prey outnumber the predators can easily be seen as a racial conflict between a majority race and a minority one. However in Assistant Mayor Bellwether's apparent case, the issue can be interpreted as a conflict between the many who have to work extra hard just to accomplish something and the few whose accomplishments come naturally to them. Basically, it can be interpreted as the many who're at the bottom of the food chain vs the few who're on top, figuratively or otherwise.
    • Another interpretation can be class warfare. The bottom 90% earners (prey) versus the privileged 10% (predator).
    • The whole Howling flowers plot could sound very similar to the infamous "Bath Salts'' drug, a drug that can also turn a person into a rampaging lunatic.
    • Judy's assertion to Clawhauser that rabbits can call other rabbits "cute", but that it's quite rude for other animals to do so, is a nod to N-Word Privileges.
    • The fact that the film shows that even people who are seen as victims of prejudice can themselves be prejudiced. This mirrors many real world instances of people claiming they can't be racist because they are a minority, which in turn gives them the privilege to being incredibly racist to the ones they see as privileged.
  • A Dog Named "Dog":
    • Shakira plays a gazelle named... Gazelle.
    • Chief Bogo is a Bilingual Bonus example; bogo comes from "mbogo", which is "cape buffalo" in Swahili.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Officer Benjamin Clawhauser eats so many doughnuts his hands are always covered in sprinkles.
  • Door Judo: Nick does this against a ram battering at the glass window in a door.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Judy's greatest physical asset is her agility. During the climax she's injured in the leg, which means she can't just escape or fight.
  • Dramedy: The topic of the story deals with racism and it's effects. Everybody, Judy and Nick included, is a carrier (intentionally or not) and a victim of it. To top it off, a poison is being used by an anti-predator conspiracy to divide and destroy the city. That being said, it has several hilarious and slapstick moments.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: The female polar bear drill sergeant from the police training academy is strict and no-nonsense.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Flash, who is a sloth.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Judy and Nick are nearly killed several times, but in the end they solve the case and restore peace to Zootopia.
  • Easily Forgiven: Downplayed, but it's still there. Nick doesn't take Judy's accidentally bigoted comments towards predators at the press conference well, and storms out of the police station after calling her out. After Judy's Eureka Moment about the Night Howler poison a week later breaks her out of the Heroic BSOD caused by the fallout and riots, she manages to track him down at the park. Nick doesn't really want to talk to her, but does stop walking away and listens as she begins to tearfully apologize for what happened and admits that she really is a dumb bunny. Turns out that he was recording the entire thing with the carrot pen she gave him. After a few seconds playing the dumb bunny comment back and forth, he turns around with a smile and promises her that she can delete the recording in 48 hours. Nick then lets Judy hug him and cry it out for a while, further rebuilding their friendship. Nick keeping the pen implies that he ''did'' want to reconcile with Judy; he just wanted to hear an apology from her first.
  • Easter Egg: Depending on the region, the male news anchor that appears with the female snow leopard will either be a male moose, jaguar, koala, panda or raccoon dog and they can all be seen on the same movie poster.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: At Judy's first briefing, Chief Bogo states that he wants to address the "elephant in the room". To the audience, Judy's presence could be this in metaphor. But Bogo goes for the literal elephant: Francine, who was celebrating a birthday.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Anticipating Bellwether will shoot Nick with a Night Howler dart to turn him savage, Judy and Nick secretly replace the Night Howler darts with the harmless blueberries from Judy's farm and plan a staged attack that gives them enough time to record Bellwether gloating about her evil plot while she waits for Nick to kill Judy.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Both the main characters get one, Judy's extended Minor Kidroduction and Nick's con at the ice cream parlor. What makes the latter more interesting is that it actually ends up being plot-relevant, since knowing of the scheme allows Judy to recognize both him and his pawsicle in the photo of Mr. Otterton.
  • Eureka Moment: When Nick and Judy look at the traffic cam footage to find where Manchas was taken, the appearance of the timber wolves makes her realize his and Mr. Otterton's phrase "Night Howlers" was in reference to them. Subverted when it turns out they're actually flowers which cause the apparent savage regression symptoms, although the scene where she discovers this is also a Eureka Moment.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Mr. Big might be a crime boss who's known for "icing" his enemies, but he spares Nick and Judy when he discovers that the latter was the one who saved his daughter Fru-Fru's life earlier, and gives them a valuable lead to find Mr. Otterton. He also cares deeply about his family, his clients, and his polar bear henchmen, which is why he's horrified by the Night Howler conspiracy and the race riots; he willingly helps Nick and Judy interrogate Duke (who was the one who indirectly threatened Fru-Fru in the first place) about who he was selling the Night Howler bulbs to by threatening to ice him. He also allows Fru-Fru to make Judy her unborn child's godmother.
  • Exact Words: Nick uses this as part his Loophole Abuse cons, like saying wood from red Pawpsicle sticks is "red wood".
  • Explosive Breeder: The tendency of bunnies towards this trope is referenced a few times, such as Judy's 200+ siblings, the population counter for her hometown continually growing... and when she tells Nick how rabbits know how to multiply (when she's calculating his owed taxes).
  • Expressive Ears: Judy's ears goes down when she's sad or annoyed while staying straight up when she's happy. The same can be seen with the other animals. The supplementary book Zootopia: The Essential Guide notes that Judy's mother, Bonnie, can always tell if her children feel bad by the way their ears droop.
  • Eye Scream: Manchas the black panther has deep scratch wounds across one of his eyes courtesy of a Night Howler-infected Otterton shot through an open car window by Doug. It's downplayed in that his eye is perfectly fine. It just looks bad.
  • Failed a Spot Check: You'd think Judy would notice that the carrot packet is suspiciously light and mostly devoid of contents before buying it.
    • But then again Judy has never lived in the city before, her entire life has been spent on a farm growing food and it's totally possible she's never had to deal with packaged food before.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Discussed by Nick when he calls Bogo out, noting that he gave Judy 48 hours to solve a case that his seasoned officers haven't resolved after several weeks.
  • Failure Montage: The beginning has Judy trying to make it through a series of obstacle courses based on Zootopia's regions. She is buried in sand in the desert one, slips down a wall of ice in the tundra one, falls off the monkey bars in jungle course, and falls into a toilet when she tries to use the bathroom. (To be fair, the bowl was twice as big as she was.) This is punctuated by the polar bear drill sergeant shouting that she's dead after each failure (since each failure on the obstacle course represents one death out in the field.) Yes, even in the bathroom (the polar bear is in the next stall over).
  • False Utopia: While on the surface, the titular city looks like a place where animals now live in harmony and anyone can become anything, actually living there makes one realize how deeply the Animal Jingoism still runs.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: While not to the level of intense violence as previous Disney films or any blood present in the film, it can still be intense. There's the beginning where Judy gets a cut on her face by Gideon and the climax where Judy gets a big cut on her foot as she's running away at the museum.
  • Fan Boy: Benjamin Clawhauser, a cheetah, is a huge fan of Gazelle the gazelle. Ironically, in Real Life gazelles are the primary prey for cheetahs. (Then again, Real Life cheetahs don't consume so many donuts.)
  • Fantastic Caste System: The careers easily available to you are determined by preconceived notions about your species. Judy, a rabbit, is shunted to a meter maid position due to her small size and her species' stereotype of being timid and dainty.
  • Fantastic Racism: The characters having to deal with prejudice, both others' prejudice about them and their own prejudices towards others, is a major recurring theme throughout the film. An unusually complex example, as discrimination in this world seems to run in multiple separate dimensions; in addition to the predators vs. prey issue, there is also the issue of small animals not being respected by larger ones, and beyond that there seems to be species-specific stereotypes (e.g. foxes are all supposedly shifty and dishonest, rabbits are all supposedly hick farmers, elephants all supposedly have good memory, etc.)
    • Judy tries to fight against the stereotypes that say she can't be a cop, but still holds onto some herself. A big part of her Character Development is realizing that she has biases like everybody else, then vowing to work past them.
    • Nick has decided that if a sneaky fox is all anyone will see, then why bother being anything else? He becomes more confident during the events of the film, to the point where he gives up his conman ways and joins the ZPD at the end.
    • Chief Bogo and the police system in general seem unwilling to take small animals seriously as officers, although they change their attitude after Judy's accomplishments eventually earn their respect.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Bellwether gloats to Judy while she's being attacked by a Night-Howler affected Nick about her motivation for the anti-predator conspiracy and how she'll make every predator go savage if it means she gets to stay in power. Then it turns out that Nick was faking being affected the entire time (him and Judy replaced the serum with blueberries before Bellwether could grab the gun) and that they got Bellwether's entire confession on tape. She tries to run, but then the ZPD shows up and arrests her.
  • Female Flatfoot and Snarky Guy: Judy and Nick. Judy is a naive and idealistic rookie cop trying to make a difference in a world full of prejudice. To solve a case with her career on the line, she's forced to work with the cynical and sarcastic Con Artist Nick because he knows the city better than anyone. Initially, Nick doesn't want to cooperate and tries to make things harder for Judy to make her give up, but she eventually gets on his good side and her influence brings out the best in him, even convincing him to go straight and become her official partner.
  • Film Noir: A Lighter and Softer version with a happy ending, but this is still a detective story in which a simple criminal investigation brings to light political corruption, cover-ups, and conspiracy at the highest levels in a city racked with racial tension while exploring the hateful and savage impulses that underlie the veneer of civilized life.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Judy and Nick. They at first hate each other and are stuck working together for the case because he's her only guide and she would have him thrown in jail for tax evasion if he didn't help her, but after they help each other through the case, they start to become friends.
  • Five-Finger Discount: In the end credits, Weaselton is shown picking cash out of a bystander's hip pocket.
  • Foil: Judy looks like a By-the-Book Cop, but is willing to be a Cowboy Cop in pursuit of justice and defy her species role, while Nick is a conman who deliberately lives up to prejudices about foxes while following the law to the letter as closely as possible for his pawpsicle scam. note  Both faced prejudice, but while Judy became a determined optimist (who can also be manipulative), Nick became a manipulative cynic (who gradually becomes more of an optimist).
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The very first scene in the movie foreshadows how the story will get resolved, with Judy getting mauled to 'death' by a 'savage' predator. The first time is when she was a child performing a play, the second time is when Nick pretends to be savage and attacks Judy while she tricks Bellwether into revealing her plan.
    • The play also foreshadows Judy's future innocent insensitivity toward predators. When she mentions their "savage ways" in her monologue, the predator kid who "mauled" her is visibly uncomfortable.
    • When Judy is scolding Nick after she discovers his con, he takes a blueberry from a fruit stand as he walks by, foreshadowing his enjoyment of them later in the movie.
    • A blink and you'll miss it can be found in Bellwether's office. A sticky note with the telephone number of Doug, her lackey who's been making predators go savage.
    • The flashback to Nick's past which shows just how nasty prey animals can be toward predators because of their prejudice, when coupled with how dismissive/benignly species-ist Lionheart is to Bellwether (literally shoving her out of the way in the scene where he introduces Judy) and how often Bellwether either goes out of her way to be kind and sympathetic toward Judy or is directly of help to her in her case, makes who the mastermind is even more obvious in retrospect.
    • After Judy's press interview regarding the 14 missing predator animals she found - which was obviously bad and kicked off the predator/prey "racial" tensions that harmed Zootopia - Ms. Bellwether tells her she did fine.
    • The fact the missing person who gets Judy involved in the case turns out to be Mr. Big's florist foreshadows the eventual cause of the Hate Plague (and why he was involved in the first place).
    • Another blink and you'll miss it: in Nick's introductory scene, he nearly gets run over by a truck driven by Doug the ram.
    • You have Gideon, a fox, harassing a sheep, before he harasses Judy. Much later on, Bellwether, a sheep, harasses Nick, a fox, with a Night Howler sample to make him kill Judy.
    • The guy who creates the Hate Plague, and his lackies, are rams. A ram is a sheep, like the Big Bad.
    • When Judy tries to find a way to bust Nick for his "Pawpsicle" scheme, she discovers he's gone to great lengths to get all the documents he needs to conduct his business as legitimately as possible (there was still the tax evasion problem, but that's something Judy didn't take into account until she needed to blackmail him later). This is an early hint that Nick would rather do things straight and honest than be the con artist everyone thinks he is.
    • The predators hit with the Night Howler pellets have their cartoony eyes revert to Animal Eyes. When Nick gets shot by Bellwether and "goes savage", his eyes remain the same as he stalks Judy. This is a stuble hint that serum was switched out before the rams grabbed the gun and Nick's just faking it long enough for Judy to get Bellwether's confession secretly taped.
    • When Nick and Judy are reviewing the canopy footage, Nick sardonically notes that the kidnapper wolves will howl moments before one does and the other joins in. Later, at Leodore's Lab, they distract all of the wolves by inciting a howl, allowing them to approach unnoticed.
    • The DMV scene and Judy trying to hurry Flash up by finishing his statements for him foreshadows her Innocent Bigot tendencies. In Real Life, guessing what a person with a Speech Impediment is about to say and helping them by finishing the sentence is highly insulting.
  • Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better: Normally, all animals in this world walk on two legs at all times, under all circumstances, at all speeds, in all environments. One of the things that makes the infected animals so horrifying in-universe is that they start walking "down on all fours!"
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: An in-universe example, (young) Judy pulls one on Gideon at the end of the play.
  • Frameup: When Judy and Nick start getting too close to the truth, Bellwether makes it look as if Mayor Lionheart is at least complicit in the scheme through his cover-up attempt, thus allowing her to have him arrested and take over as Mayor. Played with, as it seems as if the target of the frameup got involved for his own reasons and the framer was simply taking advantage of the seemingly-damning evidence against him Judy got on tape, though it is never revealed exactly how he found out what was going on or got involved... A more direct version would have been employed against Judy herself, if the Big Bad had succeeded in their final gambit.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Many, many jokes and sight-gags in the background, especially signage containing brand names, or Duke Weaselton's display of pirated DVDs.
    • On the "Wrangled" DVD cover, Rapunzel (who in this universe is a horse) is holding her hair in the same pose as the cover of "Tangled". However, if you look closely, you'll see that 1) the hair she's holding is actually her tail, and 2) there's an extra length of hair strewn across the grass compared to the "Tangled" cover. That's the end of her mane.
    • As Judy comes out of the train station after first arriving at Zootopia, several Junior Ranger Scouts (of the sort Nick wanted to join) can be seen to her left.
    • The Pig getting her picture taken at the DMV is also the prison guard seen in the end credits.
    • Near Bellweather's desk is a sticky note that has Doug's phone number on it, tying her to him.
    • One of the missing animals on the ZPD's metro map is apparently Zootopian Keanu Reeves.
    • After Nick gives Judy his filled out application form before storming out, at the bottom of the form, one question asks if he's been arrested or charged in the past. You can see he checked "Yes", but then scribbled it out and checked "No" instead, and in bold too. This is even accurate, if (as he indicated earlier) he's never been arrested before. (Judy, as he may have briefly forgotten, didn't count — at no time was he read his rights or placed in police custody, so he was never really under arrest.)
  • Full-Circle Revolution: In the prior history of this world, prey animals like Judy and Bellwether have been oppressed and bullied by predators, leading to measures like the Mammal Inclusion Initiative to give "us little guys" more chances to rise. In the present, because of their enmity in the past, predators have become the unwelcome, mistreated, mistrusted, feared class.
  • Furry Female Mane:
    • Gazelle, Mr. Big's daughter, and the pig prison guard who is getting her picture taken in the DMV seem to be the only characters who have hair beyond what's natural for their species (Yax's dreadlocks, Bellwether's curls and Lionheart's mane are all typical characteristics of a yak, sheep and lion).
    • Inverted with Gideon Grey. He's a fox with medium length middle-parted hair.
  • Gilligan Cut: Weaselton insists that nothing Judy and Nick can do will make him talk. Cut to Mr. Big's henchmen about to ice him…and all of a sudden, Weaselton is only too happy to talk.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: All the infected predators show these tapetum lucidum. It's also a major clue that Nick was pretending to be infected after being shot by Bellwether when he doesn't have them.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!:
    • Played straight with Officer Clawhauser, who exclaims "O M Goodness!"
    • Played straight by Judy after hearing why Nick was on Mr. Big's bad side. "Oh, sweet cheese and crackers..."
    • Averted; Fru Fru, when walking with her friends out of Mousy's, says "Oh my God..."
    • Nick says "By God" while telling his backstory.
    • Nick has the reaction of "Oh my God!" upon finding Mr. Big's rat pack discs in the glove compartment of the limo.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Zootopia isn't as unified as it is on the surface; everybody, both in the city and out of it, holds some kind of prejudice against and/or stereotypes a species/prey/predator, even the main characters themselves. Everybody is a victim of racism, but everybody is also a carrier of it, even if they don't mean/realize it until they get called out. However, there are those who are obviously on the light and dark ends of the spectrum. Those, like Judy, Nick, Gazelle, and Clawhauser, who try to move past their biases, acknowledge and apologize for their mistakes, and try to unify others in racial harmony are the ones who manage to get along with others and help Zootopia truly become better, so they're on the lighter end. Those, like Bellwether and the others involved in the anti-predator conspiracy who refuse to let go of their held views even when the evidence that it's not true is piled up against them and honestly don't care who gets hurt/killed in their campaign, are definitely on the darker end.
  • The Grovel: Judy has one after badly hurting Nick's feelings with her press conference. She says she doesn't expect him to forgive her, but it's clear through her genuine emotional breakdown that she desperately wants him to. He does.
  • Guile Hero: Nick and Judy both get through problems primarily by being smart and fast-thinkers. Nick is arguably the more clever one, having grown up on the streets as a con artist, but Judy is no slouch herself (and makes up the difference with her police training).
  • Hammerspace: Where did Judy store the wheel lock that she used on Nick's stroller? And how does her uniform hold a panther-sized cuff and chain? For that matter, how did Nick pull out that briefcase behind him? But that could just be him laying the suitcase on the floor.
  • Hartman Hips: Judy and Gazelle both have curvy hips so that they look more feminine. (In Gazelle's case, the hips were added specifically at Shakira's request.)
  • Hate Plague: Actually, hate drug. The Night Howler berries cause anyone struck by them to go berserk.
  • He Knows Too Much: While not said word-for-word, the fact that Manchas was targeted with a bullet strongly comes off as this, given who he was talking to when he was attacked.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: The 'your face photoshopped into dancing with Gazelle' app does this, Mad Libs Dialogue included. "Wow! You're one hot dancer, Benjamin Clawhauser!"
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: Judy and Nick's smug smiles when they reveal to Bellwether how they faked Nick's attack and recorded her confession. "It's called a hustle, sweetheart."
  • Herbivores Are Friendly:
    • Subverted. Judy and Bellwether look nice, but they are prejudiced against predators. Judy is passive-aggressive, while Bellwether straight-up despises them and tries to rid Zootopia of them.
    • Inverted with the blunt, aloof, and harsh buffalo, Chief Bogo, the angry and prejudiced elephant, Jerry Jumbeaux Jr., and Doug the ram, who is described by Duke Weaselton as "the opposite of friendly."
  • High-Pressure Blood: Done In-Universe during a play at the movie's opening: Judy tosses a red streamer for the effect of gushing blood. Then she follows it up by emptying an entire squeeze-bottle of ketchup.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Judy tricks Nick into confessing to tax evasion on tape, after he tricked her into participating in his con. His friend Finnick gleefully notes the irony.
    • The villain's plan is to trick the whole city by making them think predators are dangerous. Judy and Nick trick her into confessing by making her think Nick is dangerous. And she might've been able to get away with it, somehow, if she hadn't called the police to witness Nick killing Judy.
    • In addition, Bellwether was the one who overrode Chief Bogo's attempt to fire Judy in order to put Judy on the case in the first place. Bellwether didn't anticipate Judy would eventually solve the entire thing.
  • Honest John's Dealership:
    • Pretty much any "business" that Nick was involved with before he met Judy.
    • Duke Weasleton's Officially Licensed Movies.
  • Humanlike Animal Aging: Nick Wilde is thirty-two years old, and Judy is in her twenties. Foxes and rabbits in real life live much shorter than that. However, this is most likely due to the fact that all animals have evolved.
  • Humanlike Foot Anatomy: Animals who normally walk on their toes (such as carnivores and ungulates) are redesigned this way, so that their bipedal walk looks more natural. When Manchas goes feral, however, his feet revert to digitigrade.
  • Humiliation Conga: A small one, but big for Judy. She innocently repeats what she heard about the facts of the case, and insults Nick so badly that he proves to her she's prejudiced too before walking out on her. Then she sees the effects her clueless words have on the citizens of Zootopia. On the heels of that downer, and despite Chief Bogo finally respecting her, Judy finds the ZPD wants to use her as a "hero cop" recruitment poster child when she still feels like she's broken the city and can't fix any of it with the optimism and idealism that carried her along until now. So she turns in her badge and resigns.
  • Hurricane of Puns:
    • From the soundtrack album: "Grey's Uh-Mad At Me," "Ticket To Write", "Write", "Work Slowly And Carry A Big Shtick", "Case Of The Manchas" and "Three-Toe Bandito". No prizes for guessing who scored the movie.
    • Duke Weaselton and Judy also rapid-fire at each other as she chases him through Little Rodentia. Most notable being him exclaiming "Catch me if you can, flatfoot!" as the flat-footed police rabbit runs after him, "Have a donut, copper!" as he kicks a giant donut at her, and finally Judy triumphantly stating, "I popped the weasel!" after she caught him.

     I-R 

  • Implausible Deniability: Clawhauser walks in on Bogo playing with the Gazelle app. Bogo tries to hide this and even outright denies that it was Gazelle Clawhauser just heard. This is not even remotely convincing because the app's audio is playing loudly the entire time. Eventually he tries to change the subject by saying he was working on the missing mammal cases.
  • Impossible Task: Chief Bogo gives Judy 48 hours to solve the Otterton case or resign if she fails. Nick calls him out on it later, pointing out that there was practically no way a rookie cop could solve a case in two days that the entire force hasn't cracked in weeks. She still manages to solve the Otterton case in time.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Doug tags Otterton through the window of a moving vehicle, at night. He is later completely unconcerned about an assignment to shoot a cheetah, the fastest land mammal in the world.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • A number of the various brands that we see in promotional materials and in the movie itself are animal pun versions of real-world brands. Likewise, the groups and album names on Judy's MP3 player on the train are also animal puns on real-world acts.
    • Judy's parents are Bonnie rabbit and rabbit Stu.
    • Judy has a moment after dragging Duke Weaselton back to the station.
    "I popped the weasel!"
  • Inferred Survival: In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, the wolf the mafia thugs are threatening in a photo they show off appears to be the same one later shown being busted at the station when Judy calls for help, presumably to make them slightly kid-friendly and sympathetic.
  • Ink-Suit Actor:
    • Gazelle is essentially Shakira as a gazelle. Both of them are pop stars, have blonde curly hair, broad hips, and wear similar outfits. One inversion, though: Gazelle is one of the few characters in the film to wear shoes, while Shakira usually performs barefoot.
      Shakira: "A lot of the details are mine: the eye color, the eyelashes, the hair, including the clothes. That skirt is very 'me.' I felt she needed more hips... and I asked them for more and they did it!"
      (From People Magazine) "The one thing they took as a suggestion was that she was a little too skinny for me," she said. "So I asked them to give her a little – to give her bigger hips. And I said to the director, 'Come on, guys, give her some meat!' And they did."
    • Canadian news anchor Peter Mansbridge has a small role as a moose news anchor, Peter Moosebridge.
    • A B Roll clip of voice actor recording sessions shows some actors, especially Nate Torrence (Clawhauser), emoting with expressions very similar to the ones their characters ended up using on the screen. Disney movie voice-recording sessions are filmed and used as references by the animators, so they can capture more of the actors' overall performances than just their voices.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • Judy compliments Nick on being so "articulate", he responds by telling her she's not very condescending.
    • While Judy's certainly making an effort to be open-minded, her comments about predators being naturally predisposed to violence almost starts race riots in Zootopia and nearly ruins her friendship with Nick. As Nick points out, wearing fox repellent around a fox is in very poor taste.
    • Judy scolds Nick for pawing all over Dawn Bellwether's fluffy wool without her permission. He's thrilled to get the chance to touch it and doesn't realize what he's doing is rude at best and as prejudiced as following any other stereotype.
    • A subtle one happens between Judy and Bellwether after Judy volunteers to take the Otterton case. Bellwether says that "us little guys have to stick together," to which Judy responds, "Like glue." Bellwether chuckles uncomfortably, but says nothing beyond a quiet, "Good one". Glue is traditionally made out of the hooves, hides and bones of ungulates, so comparing a sheep to glue could be construed as racist. (Double-edged, at that — one of the other things glue can be made from is rabbit skin. No wonder Bellwether's so uncomfortable.)
    • A fairly mild instance occurs between Judy and Clawhauser early on. He gushes over how cute she is and clearly means no harm by it, but Judy replies that it's very condescending for a non-rabbit to call a rabbit cute.
  • In Spite of a Nail: The basic premise of the movie is that even though human beings never existed, some highly improbable convergent evolution came along and anthropomorphized every single mammal species in existence, and civilization all the way up to modern society emerged in almost exactly the same way as it would have with humans.
  • Insult of Endearment: Nick Wilde gives Judy the nickname "Carrots", with the intention to remind her she's only meant to be a carrot farmer. After they become friends, it becomes a casual pet name between them. "Dumb bunny" and "sly fox" also crop up between them.
  • Intelligent Gerbil: The animals act more or less like sapient versions of their real-life counterparts. For example, small rodents use a network of convoluted tubes as sidewalks and bridges. Real rodents adore them, as they simulate their claustrophobic burrows.
  • Interspecies Friendship: One develops between Judy the rabbit and Nick the fox.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • The phrase "It's called a hustle, sweetheart" recurs throughout the film. First Nick says it to Judy, then Judy says it to Nick, and finally they both say it to Bellwether.
    • A fun example: right before her press conference, Judy admits to nerves because she's never done one. Nick advises her to listen to the question, answer it with a question of her own, and then answer the question she asked rather than the one asked by the reporter. At the end of the film, Judy playfully spins it in response to a quip from Nick.
    Nick: You know you love me.
    Judy: Do I know that? Yes, yes I do.
    • Amusingly (and showing his skill as a politician) even Mayor Lionheart does this during his final appearance in the movie proper from his jail cell: "Did I falsely imprison those animals? Well, yes, yes I did. It was a classic doing-the-wrong-thing-for-the-right-reason kind of a deal.".
    • Judy manages to get Nick to work with her by recording him admitting to tax evasion and she promises to let him delete the recording after 48 hours. After their friendship fell apart and Judy apologizes for her actions, Nick recorded the part where she called herself "a dumb bunny" and tells her she can delete the recording after 48 hours.
    • More than once Nick calls Judy a "dumb bunny" and she calls him a "sly fox". At the end it's reversed after they become partners.
    Nick: Sly bunny.
    Judy: Dumb fox.
  • Ironic Name:
    • The eponymous city's name is a play on "Utopia," a theoretical paradise where everything and everyone works in perfect harmony. As Judy comes to realize, Zootopia is not as perfect as she initially believes. (It's even appropriate — the Utopia of which Thomas More wrote was far from perfect by modern standards.)
    • Flash the sloth who is very slow (however it is suggested he is the fastest sloth). Subverted when he turns out to be a street racer.
    • Mr. Big the shrew who is tiny.
  • Irony: The biggest example is Judy having to partner up with a fox, the kind of animal that indirectly helped her not to give up on her dreams. It's even more ironic considering her family mainly detested foxes in general.
  • It Was Here, I Swear: Happens when Judy tries to bring the police to the feral Manchas after she'd cuffed him to a post.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: After Nick bandages up Judy's leg, she tells him to get the case to the ZPD:
    Nick: I'm not going to leave you behind, that's not happening!
    Judy: I can't walk!
    Nick: Just— we'll think of something!
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Nick switches the Night Howler toxin in the gun with blueberries.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Downplayed. Weaselton has info on who he's been supplying Night Howler bulbs to and he won't talk. What do Judy and Nick do? Gilligan Cut to Mr. Big ready to "ice him" just as he was going to do to them earlier in the film. Weaselton talks soon after.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • The police chief telling Judy "It's not about how badly you want something, it's about what you are capable of." It's harsh, and being used to justify the Fantastic Racism against her, but he's right that her desire to be a cop is entirely secondary to whether or not she can actually perform a cop's duties. Additionally, he's totally in the right for chewing Judy out early on for her complete disregard for procedure and initial recklessness.
    • The mayor was keeping the missing mammals imprisoned in order to prevent a panic while he attempted to cure them. He had a point with the public reaction, and in fact people might well have been more understanding of him if both political and personal self-interest hadn't played into his actions. He straight up says that it's an example of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Nick Wilde is a jerk to Judy for a good chunk of the movie, but from his flashback on, it's obvious there's a decent heart behind all that fronting. Judy eventually brings it all the way out.
    • Played with in the case of Mayor Lionheart. He's a complete jerk to 'Assistant Mayor' Bellwether, but his heart is in the right place when it comes to protecting and helping the citizens of Zootopia. Even the 14 missing animals were not harmed even though they were imprisoned, and he had doctors working to figure out how to help those afflicted.
  • Jump Scare:
    • Emmitt Otterton does this in Manchas' flashback to his turning feral.
    • Nick and Judy are exploring the hospital above the dam and a feral tiger suddenly appears out of nowhere and scares Nick.
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: Judy attempts this on Nick by stating his arrest on felony tax evasion if he doesn't assist her in the Otterton case.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Averted. Even after it's proved he was ultimately framed, Leodore is still in prison for his illegal mishandling of the crisis.
    • Duke Weaselton is a major supplier of the Night Howlers for the villains, but aside from being threatened by Mr. Big for almost killing his daughter, he's only punished for stealing onions.
    • Mr. Big himself is a major crime boss who's implied to have murdered several people he didn't like in the past, but he gets treated as an ally of the protagonists and never suffers any consequences for his actions.
  • Kids Are Cruel: In both Judy's and Nick's backstories, they are victims of prejudice and bullying from other kids. While not outright stated, it's implied that the kids inherited these prejudices from their parents, but are also capable of growing out of it.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Mr. Big decides to ice Nick and Judy after she says that she's a cop and is going to "get to the bottom of this". Fortunately his daughter intervenes.
    Nick: Please, I swear I won't tell anyone!
    Mr. Big: And you never will.
    • More figuratively with Emmitt Otterton and Manchas. Doug darted them, making them unable to communicate intelligibly, before either of them could say much about the Night Howlers.
  • King of Beasts: The mayor of Zootopia is a lion named Lionheart.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The "savage" predators and the mad sheep behind them tend to considerably skew the tone away from comedy.
  • Lampshadehanging: Benjamin Clawhauser is well aware of the fact that, as a fat doughnut eating cop, he is a walking stereotype.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Judy saving that shrew lady paid off for her big time. It just so happens that she's the daughter of Mr. Big, a crime boss she encounters later. This not only saves her and Nick's life but also helps with her interrogation of a suspect.
  • Left the Background Music On: Judy can't find a radio station that isn't playing a sad song, and apparently shuts off the radio; but then a few minutes later the noisy neighbors yell at her to cut it out with the the depressing music, which we thought was just soundtrack.
  • Lip Lock: The film was retitled Zootropolis in Europe and for the UK version the actors re-recorded lines with the city's alternative name, but the characters' mouth movements remain the same.
  • Literal Metaphor:
    • Mr. Big threatens to "ice" Judy and Nick, which involves dropping them in freezing water. Interestingly it retains the euphemistic meaning as well as the literal meaning, as being submerged in freezing-cold water for any length of time would be lethal to most animals.
    • Chief Bogo mentions that they need to address the "elephant in the room". He then turns to an elephant officer and wishes her happy birthday.
    • Near the end of the movie, an undercover wolf officer pulls on a sheep costume.
  • Little "No": After Manchas' disappearance, Bogo demands that Judy hand over her badge, saying that she has failed to solved the case. Judy is just about to do it when Nick suddenly pipes up with a calm, but firm "no." He then chews Bogo out for setting her up to fail and points out that they still have ten hours left, so they're going to go solve the case.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": Many (if not most) characters have names like this. Lionheart, Moosebridge, Otterton and Weaselton's surnames are all puns on their species name. Judy Hopps and her parents are rabbits, known for their hopping. The parents' first names are Bonnie and Stu, i.e. "bunny" and "rabbit stew". Chief Bogo's name comes from M'bogo, Swahili for cape buffalo. Manchas is Spanish for spots. Bellwether is an expression for a sheep leading a flock. And there's also Finnick the fennec fox and Yax the yak. So far, the only characters whose names aren't a play on either their species or some trait of their species (e.g. Nick Wilde is a wild animal, Officer Clawhauser has claws, Flash is slow) are Mr. Big's polar bear minions, Kevin and Raymond.
  • Look Behind You: Nick pulls this on Judy after she confronts him about tricking her into supporting one of his cons.
    Judy: I stood up for you, and you lied to me, you liar!
    Nick: It's called a hustle, sweetheart. And I'm not a liar, he is. (points, runs when Judy turns to look)
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • After Judy witness Nick and Finnick use the giant Popsicle she bought for them to sell them in smaller portions and sold the used Popsicle sticks as lumber to a construction site for small rodents, she tries to arrest Nick for selling food without a permit and false advertising. Nick then points out that he has the permits to sell them and he never said the lumber were redwood but "red wood" lumber; wood that is red.
    • When Judy doesn't have a warrant to enter the parking lot Otterton's limo is stored in, she tosses her pen recorder on the other side of the fence, tricking Nick into climbing the fence to retrieve it. Judy uses Nick's trespassing as "probable cause" to enter the parking lot.
  • Lost in Translation:
    • The joke with Chief Bogo referencing Frozen by telling Judy that "life isn't some cartoon musical [...] so let it go!" is hard and even impossible to replicate in several languages due to the different translations of said song. A couple versions manage to avert this:
      • The French version. Chief Bogo essentially says that singing and dancing won't release her, neither set her free from her problem. It refers to the French version of the song, as "Let it go" was localized to «Libérée, délivrée» (released, got free).
    • The "red wood" pun doesn't work in Portuguese, so in the Brazilian dub Nick explains the lumber's color as "it's from a cherry tree". Because the jumbo popsicle was cherry-flavored.
  • Loud Last Name: When Judy brings Duke Weaselton into the precinct, after breaking several rules, Bogo appears and angrily yells "Hopps!" over the railing before gesturing her to his office.
  • Lucky Translation:
    • In the Brazilian dub, the sloth Flash is renamed Flecha, meaning arrow, retaining both the sound and the connotation of speed.
    • Judy finds it distressing when a predator calls her "cute". In the Italian dub, it was translated as "tenera", which can mean cute, cuddly, soft, or tender. As in tender meat. Which makes her discomfort even more justified.
    • The French dub translates "dumb bunny" as "lapin crétin". This happens to be the original name of the Raving Rabbids series, making this a possible shout out.
    • Mayor Lionheart refers mockingly to his assistant Bellweather as "Smellweather". In the Italian dub it was translated as "Bruttweather", a pun around "Bella" (beautiful) and "Brutta" (ugly). The same joke was used in the French dub, as "Mocheweather".
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Try Everything" is a bouncy, energetic song about getting up after you've been knocked down, with a lot of emphasis on the knocked down part. "I wanna try even though I could fail" is a very... blunt way to say that you're determined.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: Gazelle's app. "Wow! You're one hot dancer, [Benjamin] [Claw][hauser]!"
  • Malaproper:
    • The "naturalist" club; a naturalist is an expert or student of natural history. The club members are nudists, which would make them naturists.
    • A child during the school play mentions that they want to become an actuary when they grow up, though by context, they mean tax accountant.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Bellwether, who manipulates Judy into finding out the mayor has the missing mammals, so she can do a Frame-Up and seize power.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Parodied during the training sequence when Judy "dies" repeatedly on the obstacle course (and the bathroom). "You're dead! You're dead! You're dead!"
  • Market-Based Title:
    • The film is released in the United Kingdom and several other European countries such as Italy, Hungary and Sweden as Zootropolis. This may explain why.
    • It's known as Zootopie in France and Zoomania in Germany.
    • In Poland, it's titled as "Zwierzogród''note 
  • Match Cut: Judy's aghast expression when seeing that Clawhauser is being moved to records fades to her smiling picture on a poster in the following scene.
  • Maybe Ever After: The L-word is thrown in at the tail end (Nick says "You know you love me." Judy says yes she does.), and is quickly buried by a sloth gag. But of course, there are plenty of ways to love someone, and it's never explicitly stated just whether their relationship is romantic or not.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Mr. Big's daughter, Fru Fru, is named for the word ''froufrou,'' which means "showy or frilly ornamentation."
    • A "bellwether" is "someone or something that leads others or shows what will happen in the future." The term is derived from the practice of placing a bell around the neck of the lead sheep in a flock to be able to hear where the sheep are when they're out of sight (though in that case, the lead sheep was a castrated ram, not an ewe). Given that Deputy Mayor Bellwether was the ringleader behind the plot to sow discord in Zootopia, this turns out to be even more meaningful in hindsight.
  • The Millstone: Nick deliberately tries to be this to Judy at first, purposefully delaying her after she conscripts him to help her track down Mr. Otterton. Thankfully, he cuts it out once he realizes what's at stake.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Cases of seemingly unrelated mammals' disappearances; a discovery of a strange phenomenon that apparently turns predator mammals feral; a conspiracy plot by the Assistant Mayor to cause an all-out war between prey and predators.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The first few scenes are set 15 years before the rest, when Judy was 9.
  • Mistaken Nationality: Subtly done when a leopard protester is told to "Go back to the forest!", but replies that she's from the savannah. Presumably, the bigot meant the rainforest, in which case he's mistaken her for a jaguar.
  • Mister Big: Mr. Big. His bodyguards are polar bears, amongst the largest predators in the world. He himself is a shrew, one of the smallest.
  • Mocking Music: After her first day on the job, which ended with her being hustled by Nick, Judy's radio plays depressing songs, including "Everybody Hurts" and "All by Myself".
  • Motive Rant: Dawn Bellwether, Assistant Mayor reveals herself as the Big Bad, and goes on a doozy of one. Too bad the natural enemies Odd Couple are a couple of quick-witted types who tricked her into making the ranty confession.
  • Mouse World: There's an actual part of Zootopia for small rodents, where everything is shrunken in size.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • A glimpse of some side characters gives us a weasel named Duke Weaselton, referencing back to a character mispronouncing the Duke of Weselton in Frozen. (When she confronts him at his pirate DVD shop, Judy mispronounces his name as "Weselton" and he corrects her, thus echoing and inverting the joke from Frozen.) They even share the same voice actor, Disney Animation regular Alan Tudyk.
    • When Judy confronts Chief Bogo about sidelining her, he bluntly tells her that "life isn't some cartoon musical" and to "let it go."
    • At the climax, the deer mannequin the "savage" Nick mangles is recognizably Bambi.
    • Gazelle having tiger backup dancers is a reference to how Shakira often uses feline motifs and this line from her song "Loca". (Which also makes this Getting Crap Past the Radar and a Parental Bonus):
    "Yo soy loca con mi tigre, loca, loca, loca." (I'm crazy with my tiger, crazy, crazy, crazy.)
    • Manchas, the panther chauffeur, bears a striking resemblance to Bagheera.
    • Bears are enjoying themselves in the "Naturalists" Club as they scratch their backs against palm trees... just like Baloo does in The Jungle Book.
  • N-Word Privileges: Downplayed. Judy claims only other rabbits are allowed to call a rabbit "cute," while the term used by other species can be considered insensitive. This is treated more as a stereotype than an outright racial slur with Judy wanting to be judged on her actions and not dismissed due to being adorable. Which is revealed to be a very real problem in Zootopia.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The main source of humor at the Mystic Springs Oasis Club is that it's a nudist club in a setting where animals are, normally, fully clothed. Although Animals Lack Attributes is thankfully in full play, Judy reacts to their nudity as if the attributes were still there, and the shots are clearly intended so the audience can easily imagine them there.
  • The Napoleon:
    • Finnick is so grumpy that, if someone's at his door, he greets them with holding a baseball bat and shouting at them. However, considering he has to pretend to be a baby in a scam (including sucking on a pacifier and wearing a diaper and elephant onesie), it's hard not to understand why he's so angry... plus the baseball bat incident occurred during a period of severe racial tensions directed at predators, so Finnick likely was legitimately prepared to fight someone off if need be.
    • Mr. Big is a tiny shrew, but he's also a powerful and cruel crime lord who holds a grudge against Nick Wilde. He wants to ice him and Judy for showing up on his daughter's wedding day.
    • Bellwether turns out to be one, leading a gang of rams and behind the predators turning savage by creating chemical weapons that induce aggressive behaviour.
  • National Animal Stereotypes: The male news anchor of ZNN in many international versions of the film is an animal stereotypically associated with that country: a moose named Peter Moosebridge in the USA, Canadian, and French versions; a koala in the Australian and New Zealandese ones; a Tanuki in the Japanese one; a panda in the Chinese one; and a jaguar in the Brazilian one.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted. The characters use words such as "kill" and "dead" when appropriate.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • That tranquilizer gun Judy uses in the first trailer? Never seen in the film. Neither does Nick's phone.
    • The first ads that show Gazelle are a play on Adele. In the film, it turns out she's actually Shakira.
    • The second US trailer makes you think that the other police officers mock Judy because of her parking assignment. While they are not particularly supportive, her colleagues are never shown to be dismissive either - and during the assignment scene, Judy is in fact the last cop in the room.
  • Newscaster Cameo: CBC's Peter Mansbridge voices the ZNN anchor Peter Moosebridge.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Judy's Innocently Insensitive comments about predators in the press conference towards the end not only shatters her friendship with Nick, but very nearly causes an all out race war between Predators and Prey.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Bellwether manipulates Judy into arresting her boss after she frames him, but her actions also allow Judy to figure out what she was up to and stop her, and may well have inadvertently gone a long way to helping make Zootopia a better place in the long run.
  • Non-Answer: Crosses the line. Before Judy takes the podium at a press conference, Nick coaches her not to answer the reporters' questions directly, but rather to respond with another question and answer that instead. She starts off using that gambit successfully to avoid questions, but then she starts giving more straightforward answers that are Innocently Insensitive to Nick and the other predators.
  • No Cartoon Fish: Implied. Not only are there no piscine characters shown, the presence of a food store named "Fishtown" implies that the carnivores are still using fish as a food source in this world.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The buildings in Little Rodentia don't appear to have proper foundations, allowing even a relatively modest-sized weasel running on the rooftops to make them fall like dominoes.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: At the climax, Judy badly cuts her leg when she and Nick are trying to escape Bellwether and her thugs. She tells Nick to get the evidence case to the ZPD, because she realizes that Bellwether won't hesitate to use the poison on him, since her conspiracy is targeting predators. Nick refuses and bandages up the wound with his kerchief, vowing that both of them can and will make it out alive. They do, and they also get Bellwether's confession on tape.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • Contrary to his gruff no-nonsense exterior, Chief Bogo makes himself one of Gazelle's backup dancers using her popular smartphone app.
    • A massive part of Judy's character development is realizing that like everybody else, she has her own hidden prejudices against other species, and realizing that she can act small-minded if she's not careful. Her admitting this to Nick during her tearful apology is how she earned his forgiveness for the press conference incident.
  • Not So Different: Judy and Nick. Judy was judged for being a small animal rather than a big strong one capable of becoming a cop, while Nick was harshly ostracized for being a predator trying to fit in with boy scouts who were all judgmental prey people. While Judy moved on from her experiences, Nick twisted his image to avoid facing the issue head-on.
  • Oblivious Mockery: When Clawhauser sees how small and unhelpful the case file is for Mr. Otterton, he laughs and jokingly tells Judy that he hopes she didn't stake her career on solving it. Little does he know that in the previous scene, Judy has done exactly that.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Zootopia's DMV is staffed exclusively by sloths, who do all their tasks (i.e pressing a camera shutter button, stamping a document, and stapling papers together) extremely slowly. However, they aren't villainous, just naturally very slow and easily distracted.
  • Oh Crap!:
  • Once More with Clarity: When Judy overhears one of the Big Bad's Mooks talking about how he had shot Emmitt Otterton with the serum, the audience is treated to Reveal Shots showing how both Emmitt and Manchas were targeted; the latter is a quintessential example of the trope, since it shows something the audience was deliberately kept from seeing the first time (the panther getting shot through the window, previously blocked by the closed door).
  • Once More With Volume: Nick's response to Chief Bogo when he tries to take Judy's badge.
    Nick: Ah, no.
    Bogo: What did you say, fox?
    Nick: Sorry, what I said was nooo!
  • One Dose Fits All: Blueberry-sized capsules of Night Howler toxin equally affect animals ranging in size from an otter to polar bears.
  • One Head Taller: Since Nick is a fox, a larger animal than a rabbit, he tops Judy's height by about this much. His application to join the police force explicitly lists him as four feet tall exactly. Presumably not counting his ears. This is especially noticeable when he comforts her after she apologizes for her Innocently Insensitive comments at the press conference, and her face matches up with his chest, though she's standing almost fully erect aside from her ears, which when fully erect probably would add just enough height to match him, if ears are counted in an animal's height in-universe.
  • The One Who Wears Shoes: Gazelle, the sultry singer voiced by Shakira, wears strappy heels (that still leave her hooves visible) despite every other character being a Barefoot Cartoon Animal.
  • One-Word Title: Zootopia.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Nick is normally calm and unflappable. But Mr. Big utterly terrifies him.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: The feral animals are evocative of this, especially in the scene where Judy and Nick are attacked by Manchas. However, since all the characters are already animalistic in appearance, there is no transformation: the victims simply adopt a Primal Stance and a hyper-aggressive behavior. They are also associated with something (what exactly is unknown at first) called the "Night Howlers", and the story of Mr. Otterton and Manchas suggests the condition can be transmitted by claw wounds. This last one proves to be a Red Herring.
  • Out-Gambitted: After Bellwether and her mooks trap the protagonists in the museum exhibit, Bellwether hits Nick with the serum and calls the police, thinking that Judy can't escape due to her injured leg and that her death at a savage-induced Nick's paws will help convince enough prey animals to get predators banished from Zootopia. Turns out that Nick and Judy replaced the serum with blueberries while they still had the gun. Bellwether managed to grasp a straw by threatening to frame them like she did with Lionheart. That straw broke when Judy and Nick reveal that they caught Bellwether's gloating during the "attack" on the carrot pen recorder. So needless to say, when the ZPD show up at that exact same moment, the tables quickly turned on the villian.
  • Overly Long Gag: Nick and Judy try to get details off a licence plate number, but the employees at the DMV are all sloths and do everything slowly. Cue a long sequence as "Flash" laboriously exchanges greetings with Nick and slowly inputs the plate number into his computer as a frustrated Judy tries to hurry him along. Then Nick decides to mess with Judy by telling Flash a joke, extending the sequence by another 30 seconds.
    Judy: Hurry! We've got to beat the rush hour and—[crickets chirping] it's NIGHT?!?!
  • Parental Bonus:
    • Aside from the racism, when Judy meets her childhood bully, he immediately rattles off a speech about his issues when he was a kid, followed by a more natural "I was a real jerk". This indicates that he went to anger management or therapy. He's also been buying produce from the Hopps Farm, which indicates he may be trying to make amends by proxy.
    • The Shout-Out to The Godfather can be seen as this, as one would certainly hope that any children in the audience would not have seen that film.
    • Doug and his abandoned train car where he makes powerful blue drugs, with two assistants named Walter and Jesse, is an obvious reference to Breaking Bad.
    • In the Brazilian dub, they made shout outs to The Elite Squad (Chief Bogo saying "pede pra sair" when telling Judy to quit).
  • Parents as People: Judy's parents. While they love her very much and try to be supportive of her dream, they just can't help trying to talk her out it, they're naturally worried about her moving to a big city littered with predators, especially foxes, they encourage her prejudice against foxes by making her promise to carry fox repellent everywhere which almost costs her friendship with Nick, and would rather see her become a carrot farmer than a cop. Still, they want her to be happy and try to be supportive of what she wants even if it's not what they want for her. And her influence rubs off on them later in the film, when they go into business with Gideon Grey and his family of foxes, something they never would have done before, had Judy not encouraged them to look past their prejudices against foxes.
    Stu Hopps: It's okay to have dreams. Just as long as you don't believe in them too much.
  • Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: No actual walking in is involved, since it happens via cellphone, but Mr. and Mrs. Hopps couldn't have had worse timing when their call interrupts The Sting where Judy is investigating Cliffside, with the resident doctor and the seeming-mastermind, Mayor Lionheart, only a few feet away. It's even still a variation on the usual usage of the trope, since if no one had been nearby and she'd have been able to answer, it would have been extremely awkward explaining why she was in what appeared to be a prison cell, with a fox.
  • Patchwork Map: The titular city has several extremely climate-controlled suburbs - a snowed-over polar zone is sandwiched between an extremely dry and windy desert and a wet equatorial jungle. It's justified in that the city's infrastructure works to transfer atmospheric conditions from one area to another, creating extremes in both. For example, the air conditioners that freeze Tundra Town produce a lot of heat exhaust, which heats the adjacent Sahara Square.
  • Petting Zoo People: All the cast members are anthropomorphic animals... but you shouldn't go around petting them. Judy scolded Nick for doing so.
  • Plot Hole:
    • A minor one in that Judy is able to get Nick's tax records without any comment, even though the very same scene establishes that she has no access to the police records.
    • A slightly forgivable one, in that given that Judy can identify Night Howlers on sight by their scientific name (just not the vernacular, which we never hear her father use) and that they're a Class C Botanical (presumably meaning they're a controlled substance, albeit not an illegal one), and they're used for pest control on the farm, you'd think she'd have heard the story about her uncle eating one and going savage before.
    • The savage predators are surrounded by doctors, yet none of them thought to do any blood work that should've detected the Night Howlers in their system. The stuff is well known enough to have a drug classification, so they're a known quantity. This could be justified by the fact the doctors couldn't get near enough the Night Howler victims to get a blood sample without nearly getting ripped apart, and they didn't want to knock them out out of fear of making the condition even worse. Not to mention, in Judy's family anecdote, the Night Howler is normally an ingested poison and none of the omnivores or carnivores targeted are known for eating flowers — it simply may not have occurred to them to check for plant-based toxins.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure:
    • After solving the 48-hour case and finding all the missing mammals, Judy and Nick have started to become close friends, with Judy even asking him to join the police and become her official partner. However, during the press conference Judy makes some Innocently Insensitive comments about predators "reverting back to their savage ways". Given the bullying and discrimination he suffered from prey animals for being a predator as a child, Nick is deeply hurt by Judy's words and breaks off their friendship until Judy gives him a heartfelt apology.
    • When Nick confronts Judy and asks whether she finds him scary, his size and aggressive mannerisms remind her of her childhood bully, Gideon Grey, causing her to instinctively reach for her fox repellent. This in turn make Nick realize that after everything they've been through, she's still somewhat prejudiced due to her past experiences, and doesn't fully trust him, which clearly hurts him. She makes it up to him later, but still.
    • Nick points out that Judy has been wearing fox repellent the whole time she's been around him, which has to come off as fairly insulting.
  • Police Are Useless: If the officer's name isn't Judy Hopps, then they accomplish nothing. It's justified: While Mayor Lionheart has the police out searching, he knows exactly where the missing mammals are - in his custody while doctors try to cure them of the Hate Plague. In effect, Lionheart is having the police "look busy" in order to pacify the voting public, and is likely blocking all leads on the official cases. Otterton's disappearance, however, is not part of the same investigation, allowing Bellwether to manipulate Judy into revealing the Mayor's actions.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In this case, communication was deliberately poor. The Mayor knew that certain citizens were 'going crazy' but not why, and until he could determine a cause, revealing that predators and only predators were undergoing atavism would have generated massive racial tension. For the public's good, as well as his own desire to keep his career, he abducted the afflicted citizens and kept the police completely in the dark.
  • Population: X, and Counting: Bunny Burrows has a population indicator. It's ticking upward like mad.
  • Predators Are Mean: Subverted and exploited. Bellwether's plan revolves around making the animals believe that the predators are "returning to their savage ways", but the real villains are the sheep involved in the scheme, and the predators aren't mean, they're poisoned. Many of the most blatant acts of bigotry in the movie - Nick's bullying, Judy's reception, even the elephant ice cream parlor - are by prey animals. By contrast, the sweetest, most harmless major character in the movie is an obligate carnivore (who doesn't pay attention to those dietary guidelines), and most of the other predators are presented as pleasant, or at worst cranky.
  • Pretend to Be Brainwashed: Nick does this after being shot with the fake Nighthowler serum.
  • Primal Stance:
    • Manchas, the black panther, stands on all fours once he turns savage and attacks Nick.
    • Nick too after getting shot with the Nighthowler serum, but he wasn't actually infected and is just pretending.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Doug the ram, who is responsible for weaponizing the Night Howlers, didn't follow his two friends to pursue Judy and Nick and simply enjoyed his coffee on the railway. It's unknown what happens to him afterwards, but presumably he is arrested along with Bellwether and the other collaborators.
  • Race Against the Clock: Judy is only given 48 hours to solve her case. Nick is able to stop Bogo from taking her badge early by reminding them that at that point, she still had ten hours left.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Judy leaping at a chance to catch a real criminal almost gets her fired from the force entirely, since she left her post and caused mass panic, endangering the lives of hundreds of rodents in the process of arresting the suspect.
    • Despite becoming friends with Nick, Judy still has some prejudice against predators and foxes, which kinda bites her in the tail during the press conference. In real life, your prejudice doesn't just go away, even if you recognize it.
    • Part of the reason why Judy earned Nick's forgiveness for the above incident was because she found it in herself to acknowledge her biases, and swore to work to move past them. Her sincerely apologizing for what happened at the press conference also helped.
    • While Mayor Lionheart turned out to be framed by his assistant, he's still in jail because while he was trying to figure out what was going on and help the animals that went savage, he still committed false imprisonment and a political cover-up while doing so.
    • Bellwether becoming the Big Bad by the Night Howler plot demonstrates that an oppressed person can develop racist feelings towards the oppressors if they let it get to them, and that racism goes both ways.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • In some states, you only need the consent of one (not all) of the parties to record a conversation without a warrant, meaning it's perfectly legal to record a conversation in which you yourself are a party; it's also generally legal to record or photograph anybody in a public place (such as a street, park, or museum) without consent, as long as it is not for a commercial purpose. Assuming Zootopia is such a state, Judy would have had Nick and Bellwether dead to rights, no Hollywood Law required.
    • We know from Judy's call for backup that Zootopia has the equivalent of California's Welfare and Institutions Code 5150: An involuntary psychiatric hold authorized when the person is a danger to themselves and/or others. This means that Mayor Lionheart's crime, rather than false imprisonment, was failure to file a 5150 due to wanting to avoid public disturbances. If it needs to be said, yes, 5150 has been abused in real life on occasion.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Judy is given multiple ones over the course of the movie, first by Nick as he rips apart her dreams by saying This Is Reality, and then by Bogo who chews her out for violating procedure and causing chaos by running off to be a Cowboy Cop for a relatively unimportant robbery. Judy, however, is The Determinator, so she doesn't let it get to her much.
  • Red Herring: While investigating the missing mammals, Judy and the audience are led to believe that Mr. Otterton's ranting about "Night Howlers" refers to the wolf mercenaries that abduct the predators that go savage. The truth isn't revealed until much later, when Gideon casually mentions that Night Howler is a common name for a plant that will make anything go savage.
  • Reformed Bully: Judy was bullied as a child by a fox called Gideon Gray. As an adult, she discovers that Gideon has reformed and now does business with her parents. He even apologizes to her, saying that he had a lot of problems back then and it was wrong for him to take them out on her. She forgives him.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Once you know who's actually behind it all and why, certain early events that seemed innocent on first viewing take on a more sinister cast. The way Bellwether happens by at just the right time to force Chief Bogo into putting Judy on the Otterton case no longer seems quite so coincidental in retrospect—and her excusing herself from her office as Judy and Nick look through the traffic cameras no longer seems unintentional.
      • On a similar vein, at the beginning of the movie, Judy chases down a thief, who turns out to have stolen a dozen mouldy onions. A careful look, however, sees that he's stolen from a florist. Why would a florist be selling mouldy onions? Well, that wasn't actually what the thief stole...
    • There are enough Funny Background Events, Freeze Frame Bonuses, and Scenery Porn to give you plenty of things to look for on a second viewing.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat: Nick uses the carrot pen recorder to play back Judy sobbing "I really am a dumb bunny!" multiple times to rib her before he assures her she is forgiven.
  • Righteous Rabbit: Judy, a police officer who tries to prove herself to a police force that thinks she's too tiny and fragile to do anything worthwhile by cracking a big case.
  • Rousing Speech: Judy gives a speech the new police cadets about how Zootopia isn't perfect but they can help move it closer to being so, as well as a summation of the movie's stance on racism and co-existence.
  • Rule of Funny: If you think about it, the idea of an app that puts a random person's face onto the body of a dancing tiger makes even less sense in a world of talking animals than the put-someone's-face-onto-someone-else's-body gimmick does in the real world. After all, it ought to be painfully obvious that a cheetah's or cape buffalo's face doesn't belong on a tiger's body. Yet not only does Clawhauser enjoy the app (to the point where he feels the need to tell someone that's not really him), but the supposedly more rational and down-to-earth Chief Bogo does, too.
  • Rules Lawyer:
    • A police officer, not a lawyer, but Judy knows the laws of Zootopia backwards and forwards and uses that very often to work her way around obstacles, such as blackmailing the owner of an ice cream parlor with a health code violation, Nick with felony tax evasion, and working her way into a locked vehicle compound citing probable cause because Nick went in there without permission to grab her pen and she simply followed him inside.
    • Nick pulls this on Bogo when he orders Judy to resign from the case, by pointing out that Bogo gave her 48 hours to solve it, and she still has ten hours remaining.
  • Running Gag: Judy's tape recorder pen is as funny as it is useful.

     S-Z 

  • Sapient Eat Sapient: Plays heavily with this trope. The animals don't actually eat each other... any more. Though they have made peace, just underneath the surface there is still a great deal of racial tension between the species that used to be predators and the ones that used to be prey.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Nick and Judy to a tee. He's a snarky, cool and cynical guy, she's an optimistic and feisty dreamer. Some promotional images show Judy literally dragging Nick along by his tie.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • The tram from the Burrows to Zootopia takes the scenic route, and for good reason. It is a newcomer's view of the wonder that is a metropolitan city of many different climates and regions.
  • Scout Out: The Junior Ranger Scouts.
  • Screen Shake: A minor one when the ZPD is celebrating Francine's birthday. Used to show that the police (except for Judy) are all large animals.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Among others, a fennec fox, gazelle, and honey badger are all characters.
  • Self-Deprecation: When Bogo first pulls Judy into his office, he berates her for her Wide Eyed Idealism, uttering this line:
    Life isn't some cartoon musical where you sing a little song and your insipid dreams magically come true. So let it go.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: In-universe. After Chief Bogo tells Judy that it shouldn't be a problem for a top police academy graduate like her to write at least a hundred parking tickets, Judy takes it upon herself to write two-hundred tickets, before noon, then proceeds to do just that.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The major supporting cops are the leader of the precinct, Chief Bogo, a no-nonsense, intimidating, bossy, muscular cape buffalo, and the front desk officer, Benjamin Clawhauser, a flamboyant, sweet, accommodating, rotund cheetah.
  • Sequel Hook: The end of the film leaves an opening for one with Nick joining the ZPD and becoming Judy's partner.
  • Shameful Strip: What the carnivores in the detention facility are subjected to after going savage.
  • Sherlock Scan: Nick performs a minor one on Judy when they first meet. From observing that she's a bunny cop in a meter monitoring outfit, he correctly deduces that she came to Zootopia with big dreams, but got shunted to a low position due to her status as a bunny and that she originally comes from a carrot farm. He also accurately predicts that she will give up her dreams and go home, though it's only temporary and not exactly for the reasons he anticipated. Also, although he doesn't reveal it until later, he also noticed that she was wearing fox repellant.
  • Ship Tease:Nick to Judy "You know you love me." Judy to Nick "Do I know that? Yes, yes I do"
  • Shoe Phone: Judy's carrot-shaped novelty pen is also a tape recorder.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: You can tell things in Zootopia got really bad when Clawhauser gets moved to the records station in the basement when the higher-ups decided that they don't want mammals to see a predator face when they first come into the ZPD headquarters. Even though Clawhauser (while obviously upset over the forced job change) makes it clear that he does not blame Judy for anything that's happened, the shock at seeing such a sweet and harmless guy treated like that is part of the reason why she temporarily quits her job. Fortunately, Bogo moved Clawhauser back to the front desk the first chance he got after the climax.
  • Shown Their Work: The filmmakers did their research on animals for this film.
    • A very surprising one is that Fru Fru is heavily pregnant within a week or two. This is actually accurate, as the gestation period for female shrews is 17-32 days, depending on species.
    • It's repeatedly stated that prey are 90% of the population of Zootopia, with predators making up the remaining 10%. In ecology, this is called the Rule of Ten: for every predatory animal, there must be ten times as many prey animals to sustain them.
    • With the Zootopia Express, the animators actually managed to show the subtle rocking and swaying that trains do when moving at higher speeds. This is especially noteworthy as most animated films lack this, as do most Live-Action films.
    • See Wolves Always Howl at the Moon below for how that is based in reality.
    • Al Capone was arrested for tax evasion, and criminals often go to great lengths to make sure that they can launder their earnings to prevent that from happening to them, something Nick forgot to do.
    • Nick doesn't wear Cool Shades just because they look good on him. Foxes are nocturnal creatures and being in direct sunlight is probably uncomfortable for his species. Though they also have slitted pupils like cats in real life, Nick's are round. He even puts "good night vision" in his talents when he signs the police recruitment form.
    • Similarly, Bogo is shown wearing glasses at the police station. Cape Buffalo in real life are known to have poor eye sight. This was specifically mentioned in a Q&A with the directors.
    • The black panther Manchas is only ever referred to as a jaguar. This makes sense as black panther is a term for both jaguars and leopards with black coats, and being such a broad term it probably wouldn't fly in a city of anthropomorphized animals. Also, unlike just about every other depiction of a black panther in animation, his spots can still be distinctly seen in some shots.
    • When rabbits are attacked they scream loudly, one of the few times they ever vocalize. Judy does a fairly close approximation when Nick pretends to kill her, before she starts hamming it up.
    • Judy and her family do not have protective soft pads on their paws or feet. This is because Rabbits are one of the few animals to lack them in real life.
    • Overlapping with Insistent Terminology, the audience may wonder why Judy is only called a "rabbit" a few times, generally opting instead for "bunny". This is because, as mentioned in supplementary materials, Judy is not a rabbit — she's a hare. This means she lives above ground (not in a burrow), she's larger than a rabbit would be, and she was born with a full fur coat, ready to go. (About the only Artistic License – Biology employed is one for which viewers will be grateful — no coprophagy.) note 
    • The filmmakers did their homework in more than just zoology, as well. When Judy and Nick are being chased by Manchas, she calls in "a 5150, predator gone savage". In California, 5150 is the section of the Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) dealing with persons who, by reason of a mental disorder, are a danger to themselves and/or others, and subject to a temporary psychiatric hold.
  • Show Within a Show: The play at the beginning is put on by Judy and her friends.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!:
    • Directed at a literal rabbit, no less. When Judy runs into Nick again after buying him a Jumbo Pop for his son (who is really an adult fennec fox as part of a con), Nick gives her quite the speech about this:
    Tell me if this story sounds real to you. Naive little kid with good grades and big ideas decides "Hey look at me, I'm gonna move to Zootopia! Where predators and prey live in harmony and sing Kumbaya!" Only to find, whoopsie: we don't all get along. And that dream of becoming a big city cop: double whoopsie; she's a meter maid. And whoopsie number three-sy: no one cares about her or her dreams. And soon enough those dreams die and our bunny sinks into an emotional and literal squalor living in a box under a bridge until finally she has no choice but to go back home with that cute fuzzy-wuzzy little tail between her legs to become... You're from Bunnyburrows, that what you said? So how about a carrot farmer. That sound about right?
    • Nick is actually right, because towards the end of the movie she does go back to Bunnyburrows to work as a carrot farmer after she has a falling-out with Nick and thinks she's responsible for touching off civil unrest. It doesn't last long, because thanks to her going back, she's able to discover the nature of the Night Howlers and then subsequently makes up with Nick.)
    • Though, Nick himself takes a level in idealism after working with her, and by the end of the movie, he becomes part of the ZPD, as Judy's partner.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Judy verges on Butt Monkey in some scenes.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Plays heavily with multiple levels of the scale. Originally the animals were just that: mere animals. Then, (all at once, despite otherwise being very different species, somehow) they evolved into sapience and a few other humanlike traits, ending up as Funny Animals with very humanlike lifestyles and society. Civilized Animal is implied to have been there also as a transitional period, where for a while they were already sapient, yet modern society had not yet developed and the traditional food chain was still in place, although the development of intelligent tactics and weapon technology quickly began to upend the food chain (there was a scene at a natural history museum where an exhibit showed a group of small prey animals dressed like cavemen and holding spears surrounding a large predator). The legacy of this history causes racial tensions between the former predators and prey. This, in turn, bubbles over into social unrest when the public finds out about some unexplained cases of predators "going savage" and appearing to drop back to the bottom of the scale as ferocious wild animals, and are afraid that any predator could spontaneously do the same thing.
  • Smelly Skunk: Mr. Big holds a grudge at Nick for selling him a rug made from a fur of a skunk's butt, most likely for this reason. In fact, the Mexican Spanish dub refers it as such just to avoid to use the word butt on the film.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat:
    • Nick and Judy engage in back-and-forth snarking at various points throughout the movie. Despite not being as snarky as Nick by default, Judy holds her own quite well.
    • In a brief example, in the last scene at the precinct, Bogo makes an openly dismissive comment about Nick, which he responds to with sarcastic praise.
  • The Sociopath: Bellwether and her ram lackeys fall underneath this. They didn't care about making innocent predators lose their minds and sanity to the Night Howler serum that they developed. And considering how the prey animals who were unlucky enough to be near them were hospitalized thanks to the attacks, they honestly didn't care who was going to get hurt or killed as long as they got into power.
  • Soft Water: Judy and Nick fall off a cliff into water at one point, and emerge completely unharmed. Notably, Judy takes a good cliff-diving posture before hitting the water; Nick, not so much. They do have a greater surface area to volume ratio than humans, but still...
  • Solar Punk: Zootopia (the city) fits this aesthetic. Although the perfect utopian aspect of this trope is somewhat Subverted, as there are still some quite severe problems in this society lurking just underneath the surface.
  • Source Music:
    • The soundtrack as Judy rides the train into the city, Gazelle/Shakira's "Try Everything", is what Judy herself is listening to in her earphones. During the Dance Party Ending, again, it's the music at the concert everyone is attending.
    • After her depressing first day at work, Judy turns on the radio to cheer herself up, with no success. A somber instrumental accompanies her subsequent funk, until her neighbors yell to "turn that depressing music off!"
  • Spanner in the Works: Nick and Judy unravel Bellwether's Evil Plan just when everything was coming together for her.
  • Species Surname: Mrs. Otterton, Duke Weaselton, Mayor Lionheart.
  • Spiritual Successor: Of Robin Hood, which was co-director Byron Howard's inspiration for doing this movie.
  • Spoiler Title: Two tracks on the soundtrack album have one: "A Bunny Can Go Savage", which gives away a plot point, and "Ewe Fell for It", whose Punny Title might reveal the Big Bad to savvy fans.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The daughter of Mr. Big, the shrew mafioso, is getting married. She appears to be loud, whiny, and nagging... which some might call being a shrew of a wife.
    • Drug lab in an large, inconspicuous vehicle. Hazmat suit and mask. Blue chemicals. Three sheep, including Woolter and Jesse at the door. Breaking Baa-d, anyone?
  • Stripper/Cop Confusion: Implied by Mr. Big, when he sees Judy in clearly a police uniform and asks if she's "some kind of performer" hanging around with Nick.
  • Stylistic Suck: The children's play at the beginning looks like it was, well, put on by children. What did you expect?
  • Surprise Creepy:
    • While the film appears to mostly focus on the life of the citizens of Zootopia, there's a surprisingly creepy and scary mystery case about animals going feral/savage. Then there's the third act where Judy talks to the public about the reason behind the animals going savage.
    • While the entire scene isn't creepy, it does hit pretty close to home and it is surprisingly depressing and dead serious at the same time following scenes of the predators and prey at a peace rally while some are having a serious argument, and a yak getting taken to an ambulance. This can catch any viewer off guard especially since this was made by Disney.
    • The Flash Back to Nick's childhood where he gets picked on and is forced to wear a muzzle is also a shocking, depressing, and traumatic scene.
  • Symbolism: After the secret lab crashes, Judy and Nick happen to find themselves underneath the Natural History Museum. Not only does this lead to them and the bad guys running through dioramas of the animals' primitive savage past, but the Big Bad ends up doing their Motive Rant about bringing down predators and giving prey the rightful rule they deserve right in front of one such display. Nick and Judy end up falling in a sunken Stone Age pit for the climax where Nick gets "shot" and "attacks" Judy in what appears to be a natural setting.
  • That Liar Lies: Judy, after Popsicle scheme, says to Nick, "...you lied to me, you liar!"
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: A non-villainous example: this is basically what Nick's backstory is. He initially wanted to be a good, honorable member of the scouts, but after he's been ostracized for being a predator and a fox, with everyone having a preconceived notion that all foxes are sneaky and cannot be trusted, he decided that he can't really fight it, and must just roll with it in order to survive.
  • They Fight Crime: She's a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed rabbit cop ready to change the world. He's a shifty, sly bushy-tailed fox con artist with a heart of gold under his cynical exterior. She brings him around and by the end of the movie, he's a cop too and they really do fight crime.
  • Third-Act Misunderstanding: After finding the missing mammals, Judy says some Innocently Insensitive comments to the media about predators "reverting back to their savage ways". Judy didn't really mean to discriminate predators, but from Nick's perspective, the one prey animal to ever look past his species just called his entire zoological order a bunch of violent savages on national television. This leads to Judy and Nick having a Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure, but they fortunately make up later.
  • Those Two Guys: Judy's next-door neighbors, Bucky and Pronk Oryx-Antlerson.
  • Toilet Teleportation: This is done by Judy and Nick in order to escape a lab. This case is justified by the fact the supersize toilet bowl was intended for large mammals, which describes neither protagonist.
  • Token Minority: Judy is one for the police force, in-universe, even getting announced at a press conference by the mayor. She is, however, well aware of their intentions and refuses to accept the label. Judy herself even mentions it.
    Judy: Sir, I'm not just some token bunny!
  • Tom the Dark Lord: The menacing and intimidating giant polar bear who happens to be Mr. Big's right-hand man? His name is Kevin. His equally-intimidating same-species colleague? Raymond.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Judy and Nick are captured and taken to Mr. Big at his home, due to earlier doing an unwarranted search of his limousine, and what does she do? Does she try to be diplomatic with him? No! She threatens him (made more jarring is that she does so while he is surrounded by several of his large polar bear guards). They are only saved from death when his daughter arrives and informs him that Judy saved her life.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Nick is very fond of blueberries.
  • Training Montage: Judy goes through a through tough training at the Zootopia police academy, which even includes a boxing match.
  • Trickster Archetype: No wonder both Nick and Judy are Guile Heroes, the Fox and Rabbit have always been Tricksters.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Bogo gives Judy 48 hours to figure out a missing-mammals case or else resign. When she brings him to see the now-feral Manchas, he's gone and Bogo demands her badge. She's about to give it, but Nick speaks up, reminding him that her time isn't up yet. Bogo grudgingly relents.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: If Nick going from a boy scout to a sneaky and snarky con artist when he grows up is any indication.
  • Vegetarian Carnivore: Played with. It's clearly established that the traditional food chain is no longer in place, averting Sapient Eat Sapient in a World of Funny Animals. Officer Clawhauser, an overweight cheetah, is only ever shown eating donuts. However, it's also been confirmed that there is a fast food restaurant called Bug Burger that makes their food out of insects, and several fish markets can be seen in an establishing shot of Tundratown during the monorail ride, so it's clear that the carnivores still typically eat animal protein as a substantial part of their diet, even though mammalian prey are off limits to the point that eating them would be seen more or less as cannibalism.
  • Verbal Tic: The sloths in the DMV all have incredibly long pauses between words.
  • Vice President Who: Assistant Mayor Bellwether is a "glorified secretary" who has an office in a file closet and mostly serves as Mayor Lionheart's Butt Monkey.
  • Vine Swing: Nick and Judy swing on a vine in the Rainforest District to escape from a crazed predator.
  • Visual Pun: At the end, a wolf preparing to go undercover dons a sheep outfit. A wolf in sheep clothing.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The whole divergence of the missing-persons plot into getting captured (and nearly killed) by Mr. Big seems like this, but it actually turns out to be critically important. It not only leads them to Manchas, the last person to see Mr. Otterton, but it also plants the seeds for how everything will be resolved: Mr. Big explains about Otteron being his florist, how he was coming to tell him something very important, and about the Night Howlers. It even becomes a case of Chekhov's Boomerang when Judy and Nick use Mr. Big to intimidate Duke Weaselton into giving them the info they need—aside from the fact he wouldn't want Zootopia dissolving into predator-vs-prey either, the plot had turned Otterton savage and he had called the florist "part of the family". Talk about the ultimate result of Laser-Guided Karma!
  • Weak, but Skilled: Judy succeeds despite not being as strong as her megafauna coworkers by studying her cotton tail off and learning to use their size and strength to her advantage.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The mayor, who kept the missing predators imprisoned in order to try and cure them and prevent a panic. He even lampshades in his interview from jail at the end as a "classic doing-the-wrong-thing-for-the-right-reason kind of a deal".
  • Wham Line:
    • At the museum, Judy saying, "How did you know where to find us?", in context, reveals who the Big Bad is.
    • At the farm:
    Gideon: Now there's a thousand-dollar word... My family always just called 'em Night Howlers!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Duke Weaselton and Finnick. We are never told what happens after the climax where Nick is now a cop and probably parted ways with his partner in crime Finnick. They are probably still out and about as con artists. note 
    • We do see Duke Weaselton at the Gazelle concert, in the credits, where he pickpockets someone.
    • Considering Nick has a Pawsicle, as a police officer, it is suggested that Finnick is still at it. Is he still on good terms with Nick, though?
    • Mr. Big, is he still a crime lord? He now has ties with Judy and the police, so he probably won't pull off crimes for now.
  • With This Herring: Bogo gives Judy 48 hours to solve the case of disappearing predators. When he tries have Judy turn in her badge after a scene she called backup for has no evidence, Nick straight-up tells him that he deliberately set her up to fail by giving her no resources and an incredibly short time frame to solve a case that the entire police force hadn't solved in weeks.
  • Wolves Always Howl at the Moon: Judy distracts some wolf security guards by imitating a howl, which makes all the guards involuntarily join in. Justified, to an extent: not only do real wolves howl to inform competing packs where their territory is, but real wolves have to grow out of the tendency to respond to everything that sounds like a howl, and once they get started...
  • World of Funny Animals: Probably one of the most (if not the single most) in-depth exploration and Deconstruction of the concept to date, exploring how such a society would work and how inevitable issues such as prejudice, corruption, etc. would manifest in such a world.
  • World of Pun: The teaser poster shows that Zootopia is full of animal-related puns.
  • Would Hit a Girl: A couple male characters Judy meets had no qualms about hurting her:
    • Judy was beaten up badly by Gideon, a fox bully, during her youth, which led her to possess some deep buried anti-fox biases.
    • Mr. Big almost had her iced along with Nick until his daughter walked in and recognized Judy as the one that saved her life the previous day.
      • His polar bear guards had no problem with physically manhandling her, either; one of them even picked Judy up by the back of her shirt when she and Nick were sentenced to being iced.
    • There's also the rams who are making the Night Howler bullets for Bellwether.
  • Wunza Plot: She's a bold rabbit police officer who wants to prove herself. He's a cunning fox Con Artist. Together, they solve a mystery related to the disappearance of an otter and a plague that turns animals feral!
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race:
    • When Nick gets upset by Judy's Innocently Insensitive comments about predators during a press conference, Judy assures him that doesn't mean she has anything against him because "You're not like them." Wrong thing to tell her friend.
    • In an example from their first meeting, Judy calls Nick "an articulate fella." to which he responds that it's rare he meets someone so non-patronizing. She misses his sarcasm. note 
  • You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: Hopps and Wilde have just taken a long, harrowing fall into deep water. When Nick surfaces and can't find her, he calls for her with increasing urgency going from his mildly derisive nickname for her:
    Nick: Carrots? ...Hopps?! Judy?!
  • You Have 48 Hours: To solve the case of Mr. Otterton's disappearance, or else Judy resigns, according to the terms of her deal/bet with Chief Bogo.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: An interesting one. After Judy's speech causes widespread panic across Zootopia, Bellwether insists that she's doing fine, and rewards her by making her the face of Zootopia Police Department. Judy is ashamed by this and responds by quitting the force. Later on, it's revealed that Bellwether is the villain all along, and it becomes clear that she complimented Judy's actions because it's precisely what she had wanted, playing this trope straight.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Near the end of the second act, Judy and Nick finally find all the missing mammals, the person responsible for abducting them has been arrested, easily, at that, and Judy finally gets the recognition as a police officer that she's always wanted. However, what caused the abducted mammals to turn feral in the first place is still unknown, and Judy's speech during the press conference ends up causing widespread panic across the city and breaks up her friendship with Nick, which drives her to resign from the force temporarily until her Eureka Moment kickstarts the final act.
  • Your Favorite: When Clawhauser gets moved back to the front desk after the race riots die down and Bellwether gets caught, a couple prey police officers gladly welcome him back with two huge boxes of donuts, much to his delight.

Alternative Title(s): Zootropolis

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Disney/Zootopia