Disney / Zootopia

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"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.

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.

Character tropes go on to the Characters Sheet.

Zootopia contains examples of:

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     A-H 
  • 10-Minute Retirement: It didn't take too long for Judy to return from her farm job to ZPD.
  • 555: Doug's phone number is (805) 555-0127.
  • Accidentally Broke the MacGuffin: When Judy and Nick find a subway 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 subway 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 with some ampoules of the poison and a pellet gun to shoot them, which is what Nick wanted to do to begin with.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene:
    • Judy's night of depression after her first day of work.
    • Nick opening up to Judy about a group of bigoted scouts hazing him for being a fox when he was little.
    • In the third act when Judy is apologizing to Nick for what happened at the press conference; there's no music, just dialogue until Nick forgives her.
  • 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.
  • Adult Fear:
    • 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 Junior Ranger 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.
    • On that same note, Judy's parents finding out about Gideon Grey beating up their nine-year-old daughter and clawing half of her face. While we never saw their initial reactions to the incident, it probably wasn't too great for either of them to find out that it happened while they were maybe 200 feet away and that they had no idea what was happening to Judy until she needed medical attention. In fact, it's still fresh in Bonnie's mind, as the train station scene shows.
    • 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..."
    • Near the end of the film, how one big incident can surface all of the submerged racial tension in the city, causing a previously peaceful city to become filled with tension and conflict practically overnight. Children are not as likely to pick up on the full gravity of the situation, but it's scarier for adults since, assuming they are familiar with how racial troubles have played out historically in real life, will know that the small things like Clawhauser getting reassigned to the Records Department are only the first step, a sign of worse things to come.
  • 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: Most characters have normal given names, but then there's Leodore and Gazelle (which is her real name, and not a Stage Name, according to Word of God).
  • An Aesop: A few:
    • The overarching one? Try, as it's the only way anything will happen.
    • Even if stereotypes are often true, stereotyping is still 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Always on Duty: Apparently Chief Bogo and Clawhauser work day and night.
    • One night Clawhauser takes Judy's 10-91 call and Chief Bogo shows up to receive Judy and Nick after their escape from Manchas.
    • The next night Clawhauser informs Chief Bogo that Judy has located all 14 missing mammals. Chief Bogo is then seen at Cliffside walking off Mayor Lionheart - although given that the arrest involved a high-profile figure, odds are he wanted to deal with it personally.
  • 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:
    • In the teaser, Nick trips 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.
    • During the first section of her Training Montage, Judy's many failures include injuries that are played for laughs.
  • 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.
  • And the Adventure Continues: In the end, Nick Joins the ZPD and becomes Judy's police partner, implying that the two will continue to have exciting adventures together for the foreseeable future.
  • 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. Gideon Grey, on the other hand, while plays Predators Are Mean straight, averts the Cunning Like a Fox stereotype by being a thick-headed bully. He later subverts the Predators Are Mean stereotype too, by becoming a friendly Reformed Bully as an adult.
    • Bulls are seen as the living embodiment of masculinity. Chief Bogo, a top-heavy Cape Buffalo bull with a gruff demeanor, seems to mostly fit with this, but he is also secretly a huge fan of Gazelle.
    • Weasels are seen as deceitful. Judy's father plays Cribbage with one who he claims "cheats like there's no tomorrow", and Duke Weaselton is greedy, cowardly, and all-around crooked, a weasel in the metaphorical sense as well as literal.
    • Otters are seen as playful and harmless. Emmitt Otterton is a Happily Married florist who is close personal friends with a mafia boss. He also turns into a bloodthirsty, feral beast once shot by the Night Howler pellet.
    • Yax the yak 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.
    • Jerry Jumbeaux Jr., the elephant ice cream vendor, averts the Honorable Elephant stereotype by being a racist jerk who isn't willing to serve foxes.note 
    • 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 (as well as, presumably, another).
    • Beavers are thought of as hardworking builders. Played straight with the group of construction workers pouring the concrete that Judy accidentally steps in, who are all beavers.
    • Lions are seen as noble, bold, if a bit pompous leaders. Lionheart Zig-Zags this trope, seeming at first to be a very respectable leader, but he is quickly shown to be a complete jerk to his assistant and eventually found to have been secretly imprisoning the savage predators. While this was in part to protect his own reputation and livelihood, he certainly had a point about how letting the public know about the Hate Plague before the cause was found would unleash widespread civil unrest.
    • Sheep are seen as meek and mindlessly following their herd. Bellwether appears to be a straight example, but is actually a very cunning, manipulative mastermind who poisons predators to ignite a race war and seize power through it.
    • Lemmings are also seen as mindlessly following the herd, and are shown to in fact be actually prone to this behavior, which Nick exploits when selling them his pawpsicles.
  • Answer Cut: When Nick wonders how Judy could possibly get access to the jam cams, she replies that she knows somebody who could help. Cut to Bellwether at City Hall.
  • 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 Pawpsicle 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. A rhetorical variety comes up when Judy assures Nick that he's "not like them"; Nick retorts "so there's a them now?"
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: Hilariously subverted. Chief Bogo points out all the damage Judy incurred while hunting down Weaselton and when it comes to the livesaving part he sarcastically notes the moldy onions she managed to retrieve.
    Bogo: Abandoning your post. Inciting a scurry. Reckless endangerment of rodents. But, to be fair...you did stop a master criminal from stealing two dozen moldy onions.
  • 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.
    • Nangi, an Asian elephant, is drawn with very small tusks, which is correct; but Francine, an African elephant, is drawn without tusks, which is incorrect.
    • When Manchas, the Jaguar, and other big cats of the film 'go savage', they have slit pupils. Big cats in real life don't have slit pupils, however, that trait ironically belongs to domestic cats. Interestingly, one animal that does have slit pupils, but don't have them in the film, are foxes. Of course, Nick just pretends going savage, so his pupil remains round for a good reason - we don't know whether his pupil would turn slit, like the cats', if he actually did go savage.
  • Artistic License – Physics: During her training montage, Judy manages to knock out a much larger opponent by jumping into the elastic edge of the boxing ring, gaining momentum from the elasticity, and using that momentum to kick her opponent's fist into their face. She's clearly using mostly her leg strength for this; what makes it an example of the trope is that the opponent she's facing is a rhino, a species infamous for delivering heavy blows with their face.
  • Art Major Biology: The backstory about how the animals all evolved to have the same high intelligence, bipedal locomotion, opposable thumbs, 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 officers go undercover at the end, a wolf officer pulls on a sheep costume. It also counts as a Visual Pun (as he's literally, not metaphorically, A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing).
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: Just after Bogo gets caught using the same Gazelle app that Clawhauser had, he's informed that Judy's found all of the missing animals, leaving him in Stunned Silence.
    Gazelle App: Wow, I'm impressed!
  • 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".
  • Bag of Holding: Officer Hopps pulls a set of handcuffs from her police utility belt to restrain the savage Manchas from attacking Nick which are bigger than she is. The cuffs are big enough to fit around a lamppost and the chain between the cuffs is as long as Nick is tall.
  • Bandage Wince: Judy groans in pain as Nick's performing first aid on her injured leg during the climax.
  • 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 ironically, her voice actress, Shakira, prefers performing barefoot), 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, then calls the police to report Judy being attacked by a savage fox. Nick and Judy pretend that the former has gone savage long enough to get Bellwether's gloating recorded on the carrot pen recorder (complete with Nick fake-biting Judy to completely sell it). And then when the rest of the ZPD (which she called) 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.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Played with in-universe when Nick and Judy are awaiting the arrival of crime lord Mr. Big, and a series of progressively-larger polar bears enter the office, culminating in the towering Koslov who carries Mr. Big, who turns out to be a shrew, in his paws. Played straight later on when a polar bear from Tundratown is shown in a news report, having gone savage and mauled a caribou. Also somewhat subverted with the Drill Sergeant Nasty at the police academy. While she is a polar bear, she is clearly smiling when Judy begins to excel at her training indicating that while it's her job to be tough and demanding, she's not heartless.
  • Being Good 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, including the requisite "My tax dollars pay your salary" excuse.
    Hippo Kid: "My mommy says she wishes you were dead."
  • Berate and Switch: Judy's surprise assessment of her situation when she moves into her apartment at Zootopia:
    "Greasy walls. Rickety bed. Crazy neighbors. beat I love it!"
  • 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.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Nangi", the name of the nudist Elephant yoga instructor, means "naked" in Hindi. Similarly, the name of Manchas, the jaguar chauffeur, means "spots" or "blots" in Spanish.
  • Black Bead Eyes: A few background characters, such as the lemmings, beavers and shrews (except for Fru Fru) have this kind of eyes instead of the Cartoony Eyes most animals sport in this movie.
  • 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: Cliffside Asylum, 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!
    • Clawhauser is shown eating Lucky Chomps (Lucky Charms).
  • 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 in 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.
  • 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).
  • 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 Junior 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". This could indicate the discovery of this particular Crocus - having more or less exhausted appropriate Latin words, scientists in the last 40 years have taken to making up Latin-sounding words for species names that are puns, sound like English words, or are simple tributes to colleagues or famous people (such as a particular owl louse being named Strigiphilus garylarsonii.
  • 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 records 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.
  • Character Witness: Judy saves an innocent bystander in Little Rodentia from death by misadventure. It didn't seem important at the time, but when she and Nick cross Mr. Big and are about to be "iced", that same bystander steps forward to return the favor - and then some.
  • 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 to climb over a fence so she can cite probable cause. It's then used by Nick to record Judy's teary-eyed confession that she needs him. Finally used to record 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 a handful as he strolls past a street vendor 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. The anti-fox airhorn and tazer do not return, however.
    • As a child, Judy's nose twitches when she's scared, and this even holds true twice as an adult—when Mr. Big is explaining how Otterton could have gone savage because underneath their civilized exterior they're all still animals, and when Nick threatens her after the press conference. When a "savage" Nick is about to bite her, it doesn't twitch at all, giving away that the whole scene is an act they're putting on for Bellwether's benefit.
  • 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.
    • Judy first spots Nick, he's yelled at by an angry ram driving a car. This ram is Doug, the chemist / sniper who poisons the predators with the Night Howler pellets. Bonus point for being a literal gunman.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
  • Chewing the Scenery: In-universe, Judy does it in the play at the beginning of the movie when she plays a meek prey mauled by a vicious predator. Then again at the end of the movie, after convincingly pretending to be killed by a "savage" Nick to get the confession from Bellwether, she jokingly does this again, as Nick points it out to her: "Now you're just milking it".
  • Children Are Innocent: Nick and Finnick exploit this trope for their scams.
  • Close-Call Haircut: A ram gets the fur shorn off his belly after just missing being crushed by a subway car.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Bellwether's "Come on out, Judy" in a very trembling and disturbing tone during the hide and seek at the museum.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • When Chief Bogo congratulates Judy for stopping a criminal from stealing two dozen moldy onions, she corrects him by noting that those onions were actually a crocus varietal.
    • Just before Nick starts his "The Reason You Suck" Speech with Judy, he says he assumed she came from some metaphorical "carrot-choked Podunk". Judy irritably corrects him saying that "Podunk is in Deerbrooke County" and she comes from Bunnyburrow. Nick even rolls his eyes at her literal interpretation before he continues.
  • 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.
    • In the same vein, in Emmit Otterton's last known photo, he's eating one of Nick's pawpsicles, and upon further inspection, Nick himself is in the photo. If Judy hadn't met Nick and witnessed his hustle on her first day, this would be meaningless to her and she'd have absolutely no leads.
  • 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.
  • Convenient Cranny: When chased by Manchas, Nick and Judy are able to hide in a tree trunk which Manchas is unable to fit into.
  • 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.
  • Cool Train:
    • The passenger train Judy Hopps rides to Zootopia at the beginning.
    • The speeding freight train that the runaway subway car avoids colliding with, complete with a rhino-like nose on the front of the locomotive.
  • Cooldown Hug: Nick gives Judy one of these after they reconcile as further reassurance 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 most ZPD officers. Unfortunately they don't seem very effective at dealing with quick, small animals that are good at hiding, like Duke Weaselton. (Fragile Speedster Officer Hopps proves much better at cornering him.) And they can't even enter neighborhoods like Little Rodentia without leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
  • Cry into Chest: Judy cries into Nick's chest when they reconcile after the Third-Act Misunderstanding.
  • Cue the Falling Object: A two phase example when the subway car that Judy and Nick tried to commandeer has crashed.
    • First Judy hopes that maybe some of the evidence survived. Cue the car exploding into a flaming mess including a burning propane tank flying away from the wreck that explodes behind them.
    • Next Judy dejectedly admits that it's all gone. Cue to the car, fires dying down as a metal part comes off the wreck and falls down with a loud clang.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs: A downplayed example, when Judy tries to start the subway car containing the Night Howler lab:
    Nick: You're a conductor now? Listen, it would take a miracle to get this rustbucket going! (Judy manages to start the car) Well. Hallelujah.
  • 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. In the UK version he's still a moose, but renamed 'Moosos Alexander' and voiced by BBC Radio 2 DJ Vassos Alexander.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Nick being hazed by the other Junior Ranger 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.
  • Darkest Hour: A family-friendly example. After Lionheart is arrested, Judy's careless remarks to the media about predators "reverting back to their savage ways" cause massive civil unrest in Zootopia—and cost her her relationship with Nick. She responds by quitting the force.
  • Dawson Casting: In-universe example. Nick's hustle involves buying an elephant-size Jumbo-pop 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:
    • Judy calling Nick out for playing his confidence scam on her.
    Judy: I stood up for you, and you lied to me, you liar!
    • 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.
  • 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 gleefully touching Bellwether's fluffy wool on the top of her head until Judy has to remind him that it's a very rude thing to do without her permission. If you're Afro-American and/or have curly hair, chances are you've been through this at least once.
    • 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 physique.
    • 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...)
    • Clawhauser is removed from the front desk and moved to Records downstairs by the boiler because the powers that be thought it best to not have a predator as the first face seen when entering the ZPD.
    • 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).
    • 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. For example, despite being one of the friendliest characters of the entire film and nothing but sweet to others shown interacting with him, Clawhauser is still affected negatively by being 'reassigned' after the press conference, just for being a predator. This in itself mirrors several real instances of the above victims going too far with their own prejudices, to the point where it unfairly impacts good, innocent people who haven't wronged those victims at all, but are still considered 'bad' because of what they are.
  • 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.
    • The little jaguar at the talent show is named Jaguar (pronounced as in Spanish).
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The mastermind behind the conspiracy turns out to be a character who has appeared multiple times through the movie, always seeming amiable and inoffensive. The fact that she's always been treated poorly and not been allowed any real power is probably a big part of why Bellwether decided to become a criminal mastermind.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Officer Benjamin Clawhauser eats so many doughnuts his hands are always covered in sprinkles.
  • Doomed Appointment: Otterton found out about the Night Howlers and informed Mr Big that he had something important to discuss. The latter sent his car but Otterton never arrived because of the ambush. Had Otterton told Mr Big about his discovery over the phone, much of the plot could have been avoided.
  • Door Judo: Nick does this against a ram battering at the glass window in a door.
  • Double Entendre: Judy's line when she's calculating Nick's owed taxes: "I am just a dumb bunny, but we're good at multiplying."
  • "Down Here!" Shot: Officer Clawhauser hears someone asking for directions, but sees no-one. Rookie officer Judy Hopps actually has to say "Down here" for Clawhauser to peer over the reception desk to see her. He squees at the sight.
  • 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.
  • Dramatic Slip:
    • When Nick and Judy are being chased by Manchas, Judy winds up slipping off the bridge and struggles to pull herself back up, this causes Nick to hesitate and miss escaping in the Sky Tram, despite Judy's insistence that he go.
    • During the climax, while Nick and Judy are trying to escape the museum with evidence of Bellwether's anti-predator conspiracy, Judy cuts her leg on a mammoth tusk lying on the ground and crashes to the floor. Nick immediately rushes back, picks her up, and carries her to a temporary hiding place so he can bandage up the wound. Judy then tells him to leave her behind and rush the case of evidence over to the ZPD, but he refuses to do so.
  • Dramedy: The topic of the story deals with racism and its 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.
  • Ear Ache: Blink and you'll miss it, but one of the "You're dead!" moments in Judy's training montage has her ears getting slammed in a car door.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Judy and Nick are nearly killed several times, and have a temporary fallout, but in the end they reconcile, solve the case, and restore peace to Zootopia.
  • Easily Forgiven: Downplayed; Nick gets extremely upset at Judy's accidentally bigoted comments towards predators at the press conference, and storms out of the police station after calling her out on it. After Judy's Eureka Moment about the Night Howler poison back at Bunnyburrow, she rushes back to Zootopia and manages to track him down at the park. By this point, Nick has cooled down enough and wants to reconcile too. However, both she and the audience don't know this yet because he still wants an apology before he can fully forgive her. As a result, Nick pretends he's still angry with Judy when she shows up, and begins to walk away before listening as Judy apologizes for what happened and admits that she really is a dumb bunny (while tearfully breaking down halfway through because she thinks Nick will never forgive her). 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. He then lets her cry the rest of it out.
  • Easily Overheard Conversation: Played for laughs. Judy's two obnoxious next-door neighbors are able to listen in and comment on Judy's MuzzleTime talk with her parents.
  • 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 needs to address the "elephant in the room". Bogo means 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 Pawpsicle in the photo of Mr. Otterton.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Judy, at a press conference after she and Nick discovered the secret facility where the missing predators were being held, unthinkingly passed along the theory (which she had heard from the doctor at the facility) that the incidents of predators "going savage" probably had something to do with genetics and that the predators were "reverting to their primal state" for some unknown reason. Most predators (for example, Mrs. Otterton and Clawhauser) don't seem angry at her for saying these things or blame her for the racial unrest that ensued. To Nick, however, hearing such things come from the mouth of the only person he'd ever opened up to about his traumatic childhood experiences with racism against predators felt like a personal betrayal, and he was deeply upset.
  • Eureka Moment: Three of them.
    • Nick gets the idea to check the jam cams after trying to Change the Uncomfortable Subject.
    • 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 can cause the apparent savage regression symptoms even in prey species, although the scene where she discovers this is also a Eureka Moment.
    • Judy has another Eureka Moment at her village when she finally learns what the Night Howlers really are.
  • 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.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The subway car full of vital evidence (and multiple propane tanks) gets derailed, and everything in it is destroyed in a fiery explosion.
  • Evidence Dungeon: Doug's train car/laboratory is packed with incriminating evidence including a map with the photos of all the fourteen missing mammals.
  • Exact Eaves Dropping: From their hiding spot at Cliffside, Nick and Judy are able to overhear and record Mayor Lionheart talking about his involvement in the scheme.
  • 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 Nick's 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's just swollen shut.
  • Facepalm:
    • Judy's mother does this gesture during the opening talent show when Judy is dying melodramatically on stage.
    • Bogo also does this after Bellwether texts the Mayor that Judy is taking the Otterton case.
  • 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.
    • Also, you would think she would notice the wet cement on the side walk, or at least notice her feet feeling wet after stepping in it.
  • 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, falls off monkey bars in the rainforest, slips down an ice wall in the tundra, followed by several other failures before finally slipping into a toilet when she tries to use the bathroom. This is punctuated by the polar bear drill sergeant shouting that she's dead after each failure as each represents a death out in the field. Yes, even in the bathroom (as the polar bear is in the next stall over).
  • Fake-Out Opening: The first scene which is revealed to be part of a talent show.
  • 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-Friendly Firearms: The gun used to administer the Night Howler serum isn't even your average tranquilizer gun—It's a paintball gun.
  • 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.)
  • Fan Disservice: Heavily downplayed due to Animals Lack Attributes, but a lot of what we see in the nudist resort falls under this. Most notably the brief shot of the pigs lounging in the mud pit, since they are noticeably fatter and less attractive than most of the pig background characters in the rest of the movie, and their pink hairless bodies make them somewhat resemble naked fat people.
  • 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.
  • 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:
    • Nick casually lifts a handful of blueberries from a street vendor as he and Judy walk past.
    • In the end credits, Weaselton is shown picking cash out of a bystander's hip pocket.
  • Flashback Cut: At the press conference, Nick hears Judy talk about the predators reverting back to their savages ways while behind her TV screens show pictures of the 14 animals with muzzles over their mouths. This triggers a brief flashback to him as a boy scout wearing that muzzle those bullies shoved on him.
  • Flash Step: Judy does this at least three times:
    • Towards the end of the Little Rodentia scene, we see Fru Fru's point of view as the giant donut bounds towards her. Judy is nowhere to be seen. The next moment, Judy is next to Fru Fru, having caught the giant donut in the nick of time.
    • Judy was able to boot Nick's stroller while he was talking to her. Even he is perplexed on how she pulled that off.
    • At the limo service, Judy uses Fast Tunnelling to get on the other side of a fence while Nick is climbing it, again almost completely silently and without his noticing.
  • Flintstone Theming: Zootopia is a World of Pun, and the puns all follow the animal theme.
  • 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 scheme. 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. As she talks about their "uncontrollable, biological urge to maim and maul".
    • When Judy is scolding Nick after she discovers his con, he takes a a handful of blueberries from a street vendor as he walks by, foreshadowing his enjoyment of them later in the movie.
    • Before Judy departs for Zootopia, her parents bring up the biological nature of foxes as predators and the time Gideon Gray beat her up when she was nine as an example of their anti-fox views. Judy plays it off as him being a jerk who just happened to be a fox. However, her decision to carry the fox repellent around with her even after initially leaving it on the table at her apartment makes it clear that this incident has affected her and her views on foxes more than she realizes.
    • Finnick, while laughing his head off when Judy totally manages to blackmail Nick into helping her, puts the badge sticker onto Nick's shirt and tells his partner to "have fun working with the fuzz". Nick's Character Development inspires him to become the first fox officer on the ZPD force at the end of the film, and he officially becomes Judy's partner.
    • 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.
    • In Nick's introductory scene, he nearly gets run over by a truck driven by Doug the ram.
    • 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 mammal who gets Judy involved in the case turns out to be a florist combined with the earlier florist robbery by Weasleton foreshadows the eventual cause of the Hate Plague (and why he was involved in the first place).
    • When Judy is parked in front of the about-to-be-robbed florist shop, sheep can be seen examining it.
    • 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 who become victim to the Night Howler serum have their cartoony eyes revert to glowing Animal Eyes. When Nick gets shot by Bellwether and "goes savage", his eyes remain the same shape and color as he hunts Judy. This is a subtle hint that serum was switched out before Bellwether reposessed the gun and Nick's just faking it long enough for Judy to secretly record Bellwether's gloating.
    • Another sign that the Night Howler pellets had been switched out is that the flashback to Doug shooting Manchas clearly shows the Night Howler extract being immediately absorbed into Manchas's skin with no residue, but when the pellet is shown hitting Nick, it clearly splattered, because it was actually a blueberry.
    • And again another sign the Night Howler gets switched is during a blink and you'll miss it moment—Nick can be seen glancing over the blueberries he accidentally dropped while trying to think of escaping. The blueberries are also gone from the floor by the time they set up their decoy to escape.
    • When Nick and Judy are reviewing the Jam Cam footage, Nick sardonically bets that one of the kidnapper wolves will howl moments before one does and the other joins in. Later, at Cliffside Asylum, they distract the wolves by inciting a howl, allowing them to slip in 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 considered highly insulting.
    • It's subtle, but when the unnamed badger doctor suggested to Lionheart that the savage cases might be caused by predator biology, Judy seems to consider it while Nick looks offended. It foreshadows the temporary falling out Nick and Judy had when the latter brought up the theory at the press conference.
    • Even further back to the announcement trailer featuring conman fox Nick running afoul of police officer rabbit Judy, all framed to showcase their respective species being stereotyped as natural enemies. Stereotyping based on species is one of the film's central themes, and discrimination between the two leads is one of its main plot threads.
  • Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better: Normally, animals in this world walk on two legs with occasional shifting to four legs when speed or stealth is called for. When an animal goes savage they are shown to revert to four legged movement at all times.
  • 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 recorded, 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 Nick, 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 Bellwether's desk is a sticky note that has Doug's phone number on it, tying her to him.
    • One of the photos of the missing animals present on Doug's map of his recent hits is apparently Zootopian Sad Keanu Reevesnote .
    • When Nick gives Judy his filled out application form one question asks if he's been arrested or charged in the past. You can see he initially checked "Yes", but then scribbled it out and boldly checks "No" instead. This is accurate, as he indicated earlier he's never been arrested before and he realized Judy's tax evasion arrest didn't count - at no time was he read his rights or placed in police custody, so he was never officially under arrest.
    • The rabbit in the Natural History Museum was a Jackalope.
    • When Judy is on her Ipod, you could see that some of the songs on it include "Let it Goat", "Part of Your Wool", "Can You Feel the Fluff Tonight", and "Ara-bunny Nights".
    • Judy's neighbors can be seen hanging out together at the naturalist club.
    • During the Little Rodentia chase scene there is an advertisement for Thigmo taxi services. Thigmotaxis is a behavior in mice where they cling to solid objects, which one of the mice is understandably demonstrating when Weaselton starts knocking over houses.
    • Towards the end of the movie, when the three officers are assigned to undercover. Snarlov, the polar bear officer, as his "disguise" simply puts on a baseball cap. It is the same baseball cap worn by Judy's father, Stu, throughout the film. A dark green, light green cap with a carrot label on the front.
  • Friend on the Force: Since Judy is not yet registered with ZPD, she asks Bellwether to help her getting access to the jam cams.
  • 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.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • During the chase scene in Little Rodentia, amidst the general panic of the rodent population, you can spot: A mouse evidently having a very bad day who is trudging along with its head down and dragging on the ground; Several mice repeatedly banging their heads on the ground; various rodents flailing about on the ground trying to get up; and a pair of mice running directly toward each other on a collision course, until one of them decides to hop over the other entirely.
    • During Judy's graduation, we see Stu and Bonnie in the audience surrounded by many of Judy's siblings who are showing support for their sister by jumping up and down, clapping and cheering. When Mayor Lionheart assigns Judy to Precinct 1 at City Center, one little girl bunny who is standing to the left of Bonnie breaks into a joyous little shimmy dance with her tongue sticking out before resuming her excited clapping, an event that is both funny and adorable taking the cuteness up to 11.
    • During the credits when it shows off the voice actor who played Yax, you can see a pig in the audience behind him cough and try to wave the air due to his stench.
  • Furry Female Mane:
    • Gazelle, Mr. Big's daughternote , 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).
    • Gender Flipped with Gideon Grey. He's a fox with medium length middle-parted hair.
  • Furry Reminder:
    • The wolf being walked into the station telling an officer that someone "bared his teeth at him first".
    • The wolf guards howling like... well, wolves, when Judy starts howling out of sight as a distraction.
    • Some of the behaviors shown by the patrons of the "naturalist" club, such as a jaguar licking its leg, the bears scratching their backs on trees, and the pigs having a mud-bath, are based on the actual behavior of these species.
    • Little Rodentia has some rodent terrarium aesthetics, like one mouse using a hamster wheel as a training pad, a "rodent drinker" with water hanging in the apartment, and the plastic tubes connecting the houses.
    • After Nick and Judy reconcile and hug, Nick complains that Judy is standing on his tail.
    • The animals going "savage" because of Night Howlers is a subversion; the people of Zootopia begin to believe that the predators' animal behaviors are asserting themselves when in reality it was mind-altering chemicals extracted from flowers being targeted at predators as part of a conspiracy. If you don't remember that Nick is a fox and that Judy is a rabbit when he tries to eat her, then it comes off more as cannibalism.
  • 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.
  • Glasses Pull: Nick takes to wearing mirrored shades after he joins the force. He pulls the shades off when he recognizes the street racer they were tailing.
    Nick: Flash, Flash, Hundred-Yard Dash!
  • 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 for Laughs with Officer Clawhauser, who exclaims "O M Goodness!"
    • Judy after hearing why Nick was on Mr. Big's bad side, exclaims "Oh, sweet cheese and crackers..." Justified by her conservative upbringing, as people with a background like hers tend to be more likely to use minced oaths.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Zootopia isn't as unified as it appears 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.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The wolves guarding Cliffside are vulnerable to howling which Judy takes advantage of when trying to get past them.
  • Guile Hero: Nick and Judy both get through problems primarily by being smart and fast-thinkers. Nick is 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).
  • Gut Punch: 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.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: Not shown, but referenced in the movie. After Bonnie's brother accidentally ate a Night Howler flower, he turned savage and attacked his own sister.
  • Handshake Substitute: Judy's attempt of a fist bump with the rhino at her first roll call.
  • Hand Signals:
    • When Nick and Judy are preparing to sneak past the timber wolf guards, Nick makes a series of convoluted hand signals that don't seem to mean anything to Judy.
    • In the museum, Bellwether uses hand signs to direct the mooks to surround Judy and Nick.
  • Hanging by the Fingers: When chased by Manchas Judy slides from a wet bridge and ends up hanging on the edge with one hand.
  • Hard Work Montage: Montage of Judy issuing her 200 tickets on her first day of parking duty.
  • Hate Plague: Actually, hate drug. The toxin from the Night Howler plant cause anyone affected to go berserk.
  • He Knows Too Much: While never explicitly stated, a few targets of the Night Howler pellets strongly come off as this:
    • Otterton was on his way to discuss "something important" with Mr. Big, presumably the Night Howlers that Manchas heard him yelling about.
    • Manchas was a witness to Otterton's attack and had just started talking to Judy and Nick about it.
    • Nick and Judy were determined to deliver evidence to the ZPD revealing Bellwether's plot, so she darted Nick in the hopes of simultaneously silencing Nick, getting Nick to kill Judy, and providing more fuel for the growing anti-predator fear.
  • 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... Claw..hauser!"
  • "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."
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: Both of Doug's ram assistants get stuck in the window of the speeding car train.
  • Herbivores Are Friendly:
    • Subverted. Judy and Bellwether look nice, but they are prejudiced against predators. Judy is an Innocent Bigot who tries to treat people fairly but is still quite biased as a result of her racist upbringing, while Bellwether straight-up despises them and secretly conspires against 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 making a recorded confession of tax evasion, 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.
  • Hollywood Law: The Zootopia Police Department's procedures don't always match real life police protocols.
    • For instance, Judy could have been arrested and charged for the following crimes:
      • She blackmailed Nick and withheld the evidence of his confidence scams.
      • She was guilty of criminal negligence by forcing Nick into dangerous situations without any weapons to defend himself several times, even when his presence was unnecessary.
      • She did not report Mr. Big to the police even when it was safe for her to do so, thus making her guilty of Selective Enforcement.
      • She attempted murder by interrogating Duke Weaselton (along with Nick and Mr Big).
      • She hijacked a train and almost hit an incoming train. This would be terrorism in real life.
    • 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. Admittedly, it was her first day on the job, but you'd think the bunny who memorized the legal codes would have remembered.
    • Generally, 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. In fact, meter maids are usually city employees unconnected to the police department (though police officers can also hand parking fines). That said, many 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.
    • 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 yanking her badge without upsetting the Mayor.

  • Honest John's Dealership:
    • Any "business" that Nick was involved with before he met Judy.
    • Duke Weasleton's Officially Licensed Movies.
  • Hope Spot: After managing to gather enough evidence from the destroyed Night Howler lab, Judy and Nick cut through the museum to get it over to the ZPD. It seems like everything's going to be a straight shot from there... but suddenly, Bellwether shows up, Judy and Nick realize that she's the true Big Bad, and they have to survive one more confrontation before the case comes to a close for good.
  • 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.
  • Humanlike Hand Anatomy: Heavily Downplayed as they still look roughly like hooves/paws, but everyone has opposable thumbs. Pawed animals have Four-Fingered Hands, while hoofed ones have only three fingers. This does make for a funny (perhaps Unintentionally Funny) moment when Nick holds up all eight digits to announce Judy has ten hours left, however.
  • Hurricane of Puns: It probably would be easier to list what isn't a pun in the movie, but some of the best ones include:
    • 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.
    • 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. See Bland-Name Product for specific examples.
    • Likewise, the groups and album names on Judy's MP3 player on the train are also animal puns on real-world acts.
    • Lots of characters have names that are puns on their species name. For example, Judy's parents are Bonnie rabbit and rabbit Stu.
    • The rodent office workers are employed at Lemming Brothers.
    • Stu mentions that Gideon is one of the best pastry chefs in the tri-burrows.
    • A movie theater in Zootopia advertises showtimes for a movie called Star Trunk. It can be seen when Judy is handing out parking tickets on her second day.
    • While laughing at his partner's misfortune, Finnick congratulates Nick by saying "Have fun working with the fuzz." "Fuzz" as in "police", or as in a fuzzy bunny?
    • The bootleg films Duke Weaselton sells all have titles that are puns on recent or upcoming Disney movies, from Wrangled to Giraffic.

     I-R 

  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Once Judy gets the subway car going, she allows Nick one "victory toot-toot".
    Nick (pulls the subway horn): Well, I can cross that off the bucket list. (Ram breaks back into the subway car) I may have to rescind that victory toot-toot.
  • 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: When Bellwether makes it impractical for him to straight-up fire her, Chief Bogo tries to get rid of Judy by giving her 48 hours to solve the Otterton case or resign if she fails. 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. 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 hits Manchas, a black furred Jaguar, through a window into a dark room also at night. He is later completely unconcerned about an assignment to shoot a cheetah, the fastest land mammal in the world.
  • 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.
    • Clawhouser's design has Nate Torrence's chubby cheeks, with the fluff on the side of Clawhouser's face standing in for Torrence's beard. They even have similar hair colors.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • Judy compliments Nick on being so "articulate", he responds by telling her that it's rare that he finds someone so non-patronizing.
    • 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 with a slight hint of discomfort, then quickly barrels forward with her conversation. Glue had been made out of the hooves, hides and bones of hoofed animals, so mentioning glue would be an uncomfortable subject.
    • 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.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Nick throws his fake badge away after his fallout with Judy.
  • 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.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Happens twice.
    • Officer Clawhauser has just walked in on Chief Bogo using a Gazelle app, whose music is still playing.
    Clawhauser: Is that Gazelle?
    Bogo: NO!
    Bogo's phone: I'm Gazelle, and you are one hot dancer.
    • Bellwether tells Nick and Judy that she feels well appreciated by her boss Mayor Lionheart. Then the intercom beeps and we hear Lionheart shouting "Smell-wether!" in a commanding voice. Bellwether plays it down by saying it was a "fun little name he likes to use".
  • Insult Backfire: Judy tries to make Nick feel sorry for her but fails miserably.
    Judy: Does seeing me fail somehow make you feel better about your own sad, miserable life?
    Nick: It does. 100%.
  • 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.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • A rare non-video-game example. On the DVD/Blu-ray, in the scene where young Nick joins the Junior Nature Scouts, the first line of dialogue from the other scouts is attributed in the subtitles to "Mean Animal Kid"—something the audience (and Nick) don't find out until several lines later.
    • Also, Nick's statement to the construction foreman that "it's red wood" is subtitled with the space included—technically correct, but giving away the punchline of Nick's explanation a couple of minutes later.
  • Interspecies Friendship: One develops between Judy the rabbit and Nick the fox.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: Zootopia may have one of these, as seen in Nick's terrified reaction when Judy recorded him gloating about all the undeclared income he's made in his life. It's the one thing that instantly breaks through his cocky demeanor.
  • 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.".
    • Also doubles as a Meaningful Echo; 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: The Night Howler poison is blue, and are encased in small spherical ampoules and delivered by pellet gun. Conveniently, they are the same size as a blueberry, which Nick and Judy exploit in the climax before Bellwether gets ahold of the gun again.
  • 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:
    • Chief Bogo initially does not like or respect Judy, believing such a small animal cannot make for a good police officer, and attempts to keep her out of the way with menial work. But when he chews her out for abandoning her post to chase after a thief, and even worse, continuing the chase through the highly fragile mouse district, he's certainly right about her actions being unacceptably reckless.
    • 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.
  • Jumped at the Call: Judy comes to life when being called on by the shopkeeper to pursue Weaselton. Also her eagerness to take on the Otterton case, to Chief Bogo's dislike.
  • 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 threatens Nick with this for felony tax evasion (due to unreported income, the same thing that finally got Al Capone) if he doesn't assist her in the Otterton case.
  • Just in Time:
    • Judy saving Mr Big's daughter from being crushed by the huge doughnut.
    • The feral Manchas was moments away from finishing off Nick when Judy cuffed him to a post.
    • When chased by Manchas, Nick and Judy are falling from great height, but they are saved by vine branches moments before touching the ground.
  • Just Train Wrong:
    • When Nick and Judy hijack the subway car-cum-Night Howler lab, he calls her a conductor, when in reality she'd be an engineer or a driver. When the car nearly hits an oncoming freight train and Judy switches the tracks, the way the switch was set meant that the freight train should have derailed. However, it's averted when the subway car derails, as trains going too fast around sharp curves usually end in a derailment.
    • Averted with the Zootopia Express, which sways slightly when at speed like a real train would.
  • 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 supplier of Night Howlers for the villains, but he's only arrested by the ZPD for robbing the florist and is out on the streets when Nick and Judy next encounter him. In addition, he appears in the Dance Party Ending credits which shows that he survives his encounter with Mr. Big even though his actions nearly caused the death of his daughter.
    • 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: Both Judy and Nick were victims of extremely violent racial-based bullying when they were little. While both of them reacted to it in completely different ways, it was the main factor in shaping their adult world-views and they suffered heavy emotional scars from the incidents.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade:
    • 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.
    • During the climax, Bellwether atttempts to do this to both Nick and Judy. She trapped both of them in a pit and shot Nick with the Night Howler, knowing that Judy can't escape due to her injured leg. What she didn't know was that the duo had planned out a few things in advance.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The "savage" predators and the mad sheep behind them tend to considerably skew the tone away from comedy.
  • Lampshade Hanging: 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 leads to Mr. Big sparing and freeing Nick and Judy, but the two later avail themselves of Mr. Big's interrogation services when Duke Weaselton isn't forthcoming in their independent investigation.
  • Latex Perfection: Can be said of the literal wolf in sheep's clothing at the end as the police officers are given assignments, effectively transforming Officer Wolford into a sheep.
  • Lecture as Exposition: Judy's narration in the play at the talent show at the beginning fills the audience in on the history of Zootopia.
  • 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.
  • Leitmotif: There are two melodic themes predominant throughout the movie.
    • One is a jazzy, funky theme that plays when the characters (usually Nick) are being crafty or clever. It's first heard when Nick is carrying out his Jumbo Pop hustle and later heard when he gives a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Judy. It can also be heard when Nick gets the idea to use traffic cameras to look for Manchas and when Nick and Judy fool Bellwether into recording her confession to being the perpetrator of the Nighthowler scheme.
    • One is a lighter more hopeful theme that plays when dreams or idealism is involved (ie mostly around Judy). It first appears when Judy is at the academy and starts to excel at her training, other times are when Judy receives her badge, after Judy has happily bought a Jumbo pop for Finnick but before she sees them carrying out their hustle, when Judy is heading back into Zootopia after her Eureka Moment, when Nick receives his badge at the end and is prevalent during "Suite from Zootopia" that plays during the end credits.
      • A slower, more melancholy version of this theme is used as the "depressing music" that plays on Judy's radio after her first day to musically indicate how much her dreams have been shaken by the events of the day. It also plays as Nick tells Judy of his childhood encounter with the ranger scouts.
  • 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. A wolf in sheep's clothing?
  • 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.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The film has over twenty named characters, unusually many for an animated film, with varying importance to the story. This both helps in establishing Zootopia as a big and diverse city, and avoiding Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize, making the villain's identity more of a surprise note .
  • Lonely Piano Piece: Plays on the radio when Judy is making dinner alone at her apartment after her first disappointing day at work.
  • 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 Jumbo-pop she bought for them to sell them in smaller portions and sold the used Pawpsicle sticks as lumber to a construction site for small rodents, she tries to arrest Nick for selling food without a permit, transporting undeclared commerce across borough lines, and false advertising. Nick then points out that he has the permits to sell them, the receipt of declared commerce, and he never said the lumber were redwood but "red wood" lumber; wood that is red. (It's even rendered in the DVD subtitles that way!)
    • 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: In both French Canadian and European French versions, where "Let it go" was localized to «Libérée, délivrée» (released, got free), Chief Bogo essentially says that singing and dancing won't release her, neither set her free from her problem.
    • 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-pop was cherry-flavored. Similarly, in one of the Spanish versions, he says the lumber is colored because "it's from Colorado" (the word "colorado" means "colored" in Spanish).
  • 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.
  • Low Clearance: In two scenes.
    • Parodied with Weaselton. On his Outside Ride on a train in Little Rodentia he passes several convoluted pedestrian bridges which force him to do impossible limbo figures in order to not crash into them.
    • Judy can duck Just in Time before crashing into a set of traffic lights during her traintop ride in the subway tunnel.
  • 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 Bellwether as "Smellwether". 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 play at the talent show mentions that they want to become an actuary when they grow up, though by context, they mean tax accountant.
  • 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!"
  • Match Cut: Doubles as Ad Dissonance. Judy's aghast expression when seeing that Clawhauser is being moved to records fades to her smiling picture on a ZPD pamphlet 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 a 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: While Bellwether and her minions are undoubtedly the villians of the movie because they let their racism consume them, many of the protagonists have varying degrees of prejudice themselves.
  • 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.
  • Must Make Amends: After Judy says some things at a press conference that inadvertently makes all the submerged predator/prey tensions in the city suddenly rise to the surface and causes massive civil unrest, she feels terrible about it, having done essentially the opposite of what she intended to do by becoming a police officer. When she finds a way to possibly undo the damage, she immediately puts every fiber of her being towards setting things right.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • A number of characters have names, accents and stereotypical professions that recall the country their species is from. Chief Bogo is a cape buffalo with an African-sounding name and a South African accent (besides being an animal version of a Scary Black Man), Nangi the elephant yoga instructor is Indian, Manchas the jaguar limo driver is Latin American, and Koslov the polar bear mafioso is supposed to be Russian (although he doesn't speak in the movie nor is his name mentioned). The first three even have Bilingual Bonus names ("cape buffalo" in Swahili, "naked" in Hindi and "blots" in Spanish, respectively).
  • 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 is 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.
    • Bellwether traps Nick and Judy in a pit in the Natural History Museum and shoots Nick with the Nighthowler serum expecting him to go savage thus killing Judy, eliminating Nick as witness and further inflaming predator tension. Having already called the ZPD to report the incident, leaves Bellwether no opportunity to respond once Nick and Judy reveal their Batman Gambit leading to her capture.
  • Non-Answer: 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 stores in Tundra Town called "Fishtown Market", "Clark Halibuts", and "Blubber Chef" imply that the carnivores are 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.
    • The skycar station in the Rainforest District has extremely insufficient railings, and what little they do have are rickety enough to break off from tiniest force.
    • The pit where the climax takes place has no safety railing around it, though it's Justified by the fact that the natural history museum seems to be closed for maintenance at the time.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Used twice:
    • During Manchas' attack, when Judy slips off the bridge, Nick hesitates boarding the Sky Tram without her in spite of her telling him to just go and the Sky Tram pulls away.
    • 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 record Bellwether's confession.
  • Not Even Bothering with an Excuse: Chief Bogo: "There are some new recruits with us I should introduce. But I'm not going to because, I don't care."
  • 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 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 is susceptible to the same trap of ignorance and small mindedness. Her admitting this to Nick during her tearful apology is part of the reason why he decided to forgive her.
  • 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 Junior Ranger Scouts who were all judgmental prey people. While Judy moved on from her experiences, Nick twisted his self-image to avoid facing the issue head-on.
  • Nude-Colored Clothes: In the talent show at the beginning, they needed to portray that the prehistoric animals didn't wear clothes, but since this world has a nudity taboo just the same as with humans in real life, a children's play couldn't portray that simply by having the actors remove their clothes. To get around this, Judy was wearing a skintight rabbit costume without a face mask, which for an anthropomorphic rabbit basically functions as this trope. Jaguar was also wearing a tiger costume, which also doubles as a case of In-Universe Special Effects Failure since the striped costume obviously didn't match with his actual spotted fur.
  • 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.
  • Oh Crap!:
    • Nick gets one after Judy shows him she's recorded his words on how long his Pawpsicle scheme has gone on, which she could use to bust him for tax evasion, essentially blackmailing him into helping her.
    • Bellwether also gets one after her own Motive Rant and confession has been likewise recorded and the police are standing right behind her as it's being played.
    • In the last scene of the movie before the credits, Flash has this kind of expression when he gets caught for street racing. He slowly changes from it to an ingratiating grin when he recognizes Nick.
  • 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.
  • Open-Fly Gag: On the teaser trailer, Nick is introduced naked, as a voiceover explains the concept of the movie. When the narrator talks about animals being fully clothed, clothes appear on Nick, who then turns around to zip up.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: The feral animals are evocative of this, especially in the scene where Judy and Nick watch Manchas going savage. However, since all the characters are already animals, there is no transformation: the victims simply adopt a Primal Stance and a hyper-aggressive behavior.
  • Out-Gambitted: Bellwether thinks that an injured Judy will be killed by Nick thanks to her shooting Nick with a concentrated Night Howler pellet, getting a couple troublesome witnesses out of the way and creating more anti-predator sentiment in one fell swoop. She sticks around to gloat and watch the gruesome death. It backfires on her massively when it turns out that they were anticipating this, so one, Nick replaced the pellets with blueberries while they still had the gun and was just pretending to be savage. Two, Judy recorded Bellwether's gloating during the "attack". And three, since Bellwether called the police (which were right across the street) to report Judy being attacked by a "savage predator" after hitting Nick, the ZPD showed up behind her when the duo reveal the carrot pen recorder, meaning she can't escape and will get locked up for her crimes.
  • 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?!?!
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In the roll call at the end, three of the cops are assigned to an undercover mission. While one of them has a plausible disguise as a sheep, the other two, while still wearing their police uniforms, simply put on a cap and mustache respectively which doesn't help to cover their identities at all.
  • 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. Breaking Baa?
    • 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, 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 Judy's investigation of Cliffside Asylum, with the resident doctor and the seeming-mastermind, Mayor Lionheart, only a few feet away. It's still a variation on the usual usage of the trope, because if she'd been able to answer, it would have been extremely awkward explaining why she was in what appeared to be a prison cell, in the dark, 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.
  • Percussive Maintenance: In the scene where Judy is trying to start the subway car, the car starts, begins to shut down only for Judy to bang on the console to restart it.
  • Perp Sweating: In the flashback to little Nick's Ranger Scout initiation, his peers shut the room lights off and shine a bright flashlight right in his face as part of their intimidation tactics to force Nick out of their circle.
  • 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.
  • Plummet Perspective: When Judy drops her radio shortly after contacting Clawhauser for backup during her and Nick's escape from a savage Manchas, the camera briefly pans to the radio falling down a huge drop, emphasizing the dangers of the terrain.
  • 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. When Judy volunteers to solve Otterton's disappearance, however, this allows Bellwether to manipulate Judy into revealing the Mayor's actions. And once she's in charge, she wants racial tension to be ratcheted up and doesn't want the police helping calm things down, so she's doing much of the same thing.
  • 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.
    • Nobody would have expected Judy's performance at the press conference to be the trigger for a wave of fear and unrest between predator and prey species due to the eagerness of the media to uncover a scandal. Though it played into Bellwether's plan even better than she could have hoped.
  • 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, with the worst ones being the polar bear goons of a mafia boss, a petty weasel thief, a Con Artist fennec fox with a Hair-Trigger Temper, a primary school bully (who becomes a Reformed Bully), and a lion who's a Sleazy Politician and a Mean Boss.
  • Pretend to Be Brainwashed: In the climax, Nick is shot with what appears to be a Night Howler pellet and goes feral, ripping a stuffed deer to shreds and stalking Judy through a museum exhibit before chomping down on her throat. It turns out both he and Judy were pretending, and the Night Howler pellet was actually fake.
  • 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.
  • Profiling: Judy first encounters Nick because she saw him walk into a store and followed him under the assumption that as a fox, he was up to no good. She silently chastises herself for this behavior when it appears that all he wanted to do was buy his "son" a Jumbo-pop.
  • 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.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Chief Bogo on the intercom when Ms. Otterton is announced and Clawhauser doesn't immediately accept his first answer: Not! (punches button) Now! (punches button)
  • Race Against the Clock: Chief Bogo fires Judy for taking on the Otterton case without his permission. Upon discovering Bellwether texting Lionheart about this, he's forced to rescind Judy's termination and allows her to investigate, but under the condition that if she doesn't solve the case in 48 hours, she will resign.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Judy leaping at the chance to catch a real criminal gets her in serious trouble with Chief Bogo, since she left her post and caused mass panic, endangering herself and the lives of the citizens of Little Rodentia in the process of arresting the suspect.
    • Immediately after Judy volunteers to find Mr Otteron, Bogo fires her for insubordination because she assigns herself to the case in front of the victim's wife without first seeking Bogo's authorization. It is only because of Assistant Mayor Bellwether's timely arrival that Judy does not get fired.
    • 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, deeply ingrained prejudice doesn't just go away overnight, even if you're actively trying to treat people fairly.
    • While it turns out that Mayor Lionheart ultimately had nothing to do with the Big Bad's plot, he's still serving jail time for falsely imprisoning the affected predators and withholding information from the police.
  • 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.
  • "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. She does, however, take these to heart and improves, learning from her past actions.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: When anti-predator sentiment in the city gets too high, Clawhauser is reassigned to the records department, because the police don't want a predator to be the first face someone sees when walking into the station. He gets back to the front desk after Bellwether gets caught.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • At the beginning of the movie, Judy chases down a thief, who has stolen bulbs from a florist.Why would a thief steal bulbs from a florist? Later Judy identifies them as Night Howler bulbs (though she uses the scientific name for them) when talking to Chief Bogo about the crime, then we learn that Otterton is a florist, laying a firm foundation for a flower to be an important part of the case.
    • A particularly subtle one: when Judy and Nick are trying to get Manchas to open the door and let them in, you can hear a dull thwack. While out-of-place and easily missed the first time around, knowing about the movie's climax makes it much more significant.
    • 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.
    • It is more apparent when Nick/Judy are able to come up with their Batman Gambit. As Nick says "we'll think of something" he is looking down at the blueberries spilled on the floor and his face clearly shows an idea forming before being interrupted by Bellwether, who then proceeds to gloat for a while giving them time to setup their plan.
    • Doubles as a Freeze-Frame Bonus, there's a very brief shot of Nick and Judy reacting to what they're hearing when the unnamed badger doctor explains to Lionheart her theory about the savage incidents having to do with the predators' biology. If you pay close attention to their faces, you can see that Judy starts listening intently like she thinks that makes a lot of sense and explains everything, while Nick looks shocked and offended that such a thing would be suggested. This very subtly foreshadows how Nick becomes terribly upset when Judy repeats the theory at the press conference.
    • As the subway car that Nick and Judy have commandeered tips over from taking the curve too fast, a brief cut inside the car shows Nick falling to the side and a split second later, the briefcase holding the Nighthowler serum and airgun falls right into Nick's stomach giving him the opportunity to save it from the crash. Watching the remainder of the crash scene shows how the animators cleverly position Nick to shield the briefcase from the audience's view until the final reveal.
    • When Nick is confronting Judy about her comments during the press conference, he asks if she's afraid of him - her nose twitches in the same manner as her childhood confrontation with Gideon, giving a subtle hint that the answer is "Yes".
  • 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.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Judy walks into one after Nick wasted their day at the DMV by being a troll.
    Judy: What is your problem? Does seeing me fail make you feel better about your own sad, miserable life?
    Nick: It does. 100%.
  • 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.
  • Rules Lawyer:
    • 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 surrender her badge, by pointing out that Bogo gave her 48 hours to solve it, and she still has ten hours remaining.
  • Runaway Train: Done with an old subway car that the villains have been using as a hideout/laboratory, which is commandeered by Nick and Judy. While speeding down the track toward an oncoming freight train, they are able to successfully reroute the subway car to avoid colliding head-on, but their excessive speed causes the car to tip over on a curve and derail, ultimately exploding when it reaches the end of the line, destroying the evidence on board in the process.
  • Running Gag:
    • Nick's advice at the press conference to answer any question asked with a question, then respond to that question rather than the reporter's question. This is used abundantly afterward.
  • Running on All Fours:
    • Judy and Nick have both briefly lapsed into quadrupedal movement typical of their species for moments requiring additional dexterity.
    • This is the default run for animals who have gone savage, in contrast to the bipedal stance of Zootopia's normal citizens.

     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, 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.
  • Scare Quotes: Nick's pawpsicle stand was labeled "organic", complete with scare quotes.
  • Scenery Porn: The train 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.
  • School Play: The talent show in the opening scene that Judy stars in.
  • Scout Out: The Junior Ranger Scouts.
  • Screen Shake:
    • A minor one when the ZPD bullpen is celebrating Francine's birthday. Used to show that the police (except for Judy) are all large animals.
    • Happens twice as the train Judy is on speeds through the various Zootopia regions. While in Sahara Square and Tundra Town, the camera is positioned facing the oncoming train, both times revealing a screen shake as it speeds past.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Among others, a fennec fox, gazelle, and honey badger are all characters.
  • 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.
  • 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 mention it until later, he also noticed that she was carrying 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 voice recorder.
  • Shown Their Work: The filmmakers did their research on animals for this film.
    • A very surprising one is that Fru Fru is heavily pregnant the next time Judy sees her. This is actually accurate, as the gestation period for female shrews is 17-32 days, depending on species.
    • It's mentioned 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. Though it's not clear why this would still be applicable given that the traditional food chain is no longer in place.
    • 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.
    • 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.
      • Jumbeux even calls attention to it when he tells Nick that he's "not sure what [he's] doing skulking around during daylight hours."
    • 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 
    • When Judy and Nick are being chased by Manchas, she calls in a "10-91, Jaguar gone savage". A 10-91, is police code for an incident involving an animal. In the case of Manchas, it would be a 10-91V, for "Vicious."
    • Mr. Otterton's case file spells the accurate scientific name of his species as Lontra canadensis, which is the North American River Otter. note 
  • 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 familiar. Naive little hick 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 Bunnyburrow, is 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 Bunnyburrow 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.
  • Sinister Subway: Where else would a criminal like Doug set up his headquarters and create night howler serum?
  • 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.
  • Small Role, Big Impact:
    • The Ottertons; Emmett went missing and his wife went to the police station begging for somebody to find him. This got Judy and Nick involved in the main plot of the film.
    • The racist elephant vendor in the ice cream shop. He only shows up for one scene, but he's the reason Judy and Nick interacted in the first place (After Judy fell for the father and son bit, she felt guilty about initially profiling Nick and was about to sneak out of the ice cream shop. Then the vendor refused to sell, and her Bully Hunter instincts kicked in).
    • Doug. He is responsible for making the Night Howler serum and administering it, but he only gets about two minutes of screentime.
  • 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.
      Nick: You should have your own line of inspirational greeting cards... sir!.
  • 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.
  • Spit Take: An elephant customer at the ice cream shop spits out his ice cream when hearing about the snot and mucus in the food.
  • 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?
    • The pig that shouted at a leopard to go back to the jungle? He's a racist pig.
    • The Mayor of Zootopia is a lion, while the Assistant Mayor is a miniature sheep. In other words, the leaders of Zootopia are the Lion and the Lamb.
    • When Bellwether is surrounded by the police (which she herself called to the scene) after being Out-Gambitted by Nick and Judy, she looks awfully sheepish.
  • The Stinger: During the end credits there is a cut away scene to the prison where Bellwether is grudgingly watching the heroes celebrate on TV.
  • Stolen MacGuffin Reveal: Nick saves the briefcase from the exploding subway car and holds it up triumphantly.
  • Stripper/Cop Confusion: Implied by Mr. Big, when he sees Judy in what is 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: Disney presents a cute World of Funny Animals, except it's in reality a big Deconstruction of the trope, and a Film Noir (albiet Lighter and Softer than most examples) with strong themes involving racism and overcoming biases:
    • In the first few minutes of the movie, a nine-year-old Judy stands up to Gideon, a fox bully who has stolen some younger kids' tickets. His response is to shove her to the ground and then claws half of Judy's face when she tries to defend herself. After he finishes beating her up, he leaves her lying in the dirt as he and a fellow bully high five each other contentedly. There's no blood seen, but the incident becomes a catalyst for Judy's anti-fox prejudice and it's the earliest sign that the movie is NOT messing around during the dramatic parts.
    • While the film appears to mostly focus on the life of the citizens of Zootopia, the missing mammals case turns into a surprisingly creepy and scary mystery case about animals going feral, or turning savage.
    • The Flash Back to Nick's childhood where he is forced to the ground and has a muzzle shoved onto him is also a shocking, depressing, and traumatic scene.
    • 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 caribou said to be in critical condition getting taken to an ambulance. This can catch any viewer off guard especially since this was made by Disney.
    • During the climax, Judy gets a horrible cut on her leg when she trips over a mammoth tusk while trying to escape Bellwether, rendering her unable to run or fight. It's hard to tell with the dim lighting, but if you look closely before Nick gingerly picks her up and carries her to a temporary hiding place, you can tell that there's red on her leg. Also, Judy's in a lot of pain from the wound, especially when Nick has to bind it up with a kerchief.
    • The climax has Bellwether shooting Nick with the Night Howler Serum while he and Judy are trapped in the museum exhibit. Then Bellwether gleefully watches as Judy is seemingly hunted down and eaten by Nick. Even when you know that Nick isn't actually infected, that Judy will not get killed, and that everything's just a huge Batman Gambit that the duo planned out, it's still pretty scary to watch.
  • Sweet Tooth: Clawhauser. He's introduced while gleefully munching on a bowl of sugary cereal at his desk and, mid conversation with Judy, removes and devours a doughnut from out of his neck fat.
  • 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.
  • Symbolic Blood:
    • 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.
    • During the climax, the handkerchief Nick uses as a temporary bandage for Judy's wounded leg is red.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: During the climax when "savage" Nick is charging after limping Judy, the hunt suddenly stops so that Bellwether can finish her Motive Rant. Once she is done, Nick continues to go after Judy. The trope turns out to have been invoked by Nick and Judy as all they wanted was to get a public confession out of Bellwether.
  • Taxonomic Term Confusion: Judy claims that all the animals that have gone savage "belong to the predator family". Carnivora, the taxon where most predatory mammals belong, is an order, not a family.
  • Tempting Fate: Thinking they're getting the subway car free and clear from the rams, Nick gives the subway horn a "victory toot-toot". Cue the rams trying to take back the subway car.
    Nick: I may have to rescind that victory toot-toot.
  • That Liar Lies: Judy, after discovering Nick's Pawpsicle scheme, says to him, "...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 Junior Ranger 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 might as well make the most of it 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.
  • 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: One of the menacing and intimidating polar bears that Nick and Judy encounter outside of Mr. Big's Limousine bears the terrifying name of Kevin: his equally-menacing bear colleague does his evil under the name of 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:
    • Clawhauser generally has a Sweet Tooth, but he particularly likes donuts.
    • Nick is very fond of blueberries.
  • Training from Hell: Judy's police training include some quite painful tasks, such as climbing an ice wall and falling into freezing water, or getting hot sand blown in her face to simulate a desert storm.
  • Training Montage: Judy goes through a through tough training at the Zootopia police academy, which even includes a boxing match.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: A heartwarming moment with her family at the train station when Judy leaves her village for Zootopia.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The DVD release trailer plainly and clearly shows Nick as a ZPD officer, which doesn't happen until the end of the film.
  • Trauma Conga Line: 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.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Judy and Nick's Batman Gambit during the climax. A very successful plan, of which the audience knew nothing about besides Nick desperately saying "We'll think of something" until after the plan had already succeeded.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Judy was this to Bellwether for most of the movie until discovering that she's the Big Bad.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid:
    • If Nick going from an idealistic Junior Ranger Scout to a sneaky and snarky con artist when he grows up is any indication.
    • Inverted with Gideon Grey who went from a viscious Would Hit a Girl bully to a kind and sucessful pastry chef.
  • Vanity License Plate: The license plate of Flash's sports car reads "FST NML".
  • 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.
  • Vertigo Effect: This visual effect occurs when the door opens for Judy to the backyard of the "naturalist" club.
  • 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 after they fall off a platform when trying 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.
    • Zootopia's zebra-striped crosswalks.
  • 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.
  • We Can Rule Together: During the climax, Bellwether offers Judy a chance to join the anti-predator conspiracy, pointing out how both of them are underestimated and under appreciated due to their species roles, and that working together, they have the power to drive the entire population of predators out of Zootopia. When Judy refused, Bellwether attempted to drug Nick into murdering Judy.
  • 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 that his actions were 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 four-dollar word, Mr. H. My family always just called 'em Night Howlers!
  • What Are Records?: When Nick and Judy are snooping around in a car for evidence, Nick Wilde finds some music CDs in the glove compartment, to which he questions "Who listens to CDs anymore anyway?"
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Did Doug get away scot-free?
  • With This Herring: Judy is given no leads and no resources to solve the Otterton case. Later Nick calls Chief Bogo out on this:
    Nick: You give her a clown vest and a three-wheeled joke-mobile and two days to solve a case you guys haven't cracked in two 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, they won't stop. This behavior is why Judy thinks that the Night Howlers are wolves.
  • 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 lot of the male characters Judy meets throughout the movie had no qualms about hurting her, which is justified due to her being a rookie police officer and most of them are criminals:
    • Part of the reason why Judy has deep-buried anti-fox biases is because of Gideon Grey beating her up when she was nine years old.
    • Mr. Big almost had her iced along with Nick, at least until his daughter walked in and recognized Judy as the one who saved her life in Little Rodentia the previous day.
    • His polar bear guards had no problem with physically manhandling Judy, either; one of them even picked her 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, though that one's justified by what will happen to them if she and Nick get away.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Or maybe, Writers Cannot Tell Time, or perhaps some form of Plot Time. After Judy captures Duke Weaselton and talks to Chief Bogo, she is given 48 hours to solve the case. However:
    • She captures Duke Weaselton in broad daylight, talks to Chief Bogo immediately, and after a few minutes of dialogue, he gives her the 48 hours. The clock starts now.
    • After leaving the "naturalist" club, she says they have 36 hours left. Supposedly it has been 12 hours, but is still broad daylight. (But maybe it's summer, Zootopia is located at a high latitude, and the days are very long.)
    • After the encounter with Manchas, Nick says they have 10 hours left. Supposedly it has been 1 day and 2 hours since leaving the "naturalist" club, but now it is a little before sunrise, when 2 hours before, it should have been broad daylight.
    • Furthermore, when Nick and Judy get to the asylum and find the missing mammals, it's night again, which implies more than 10 hours have passed since the encounter with Manchas, and yet Bogo still acts as if Judy cracked the case within the given time. Of course, he could just be so impressed that Judy cracked the case at all that he doesn't care if it took a bit more than 48 hours.
  • Wunza Plot: She's a bold rabbit police officer who wants to prove herself. He's a cunning fox Con Artist. Together, They Fight Crime.
  • 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 Are Better Than You Think You Are: Nicks notes that he has settled with being a shifty, untrustworthy fox upon which Judy replies that he is much more than that.
  • 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.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When Judy refuses to join the anti-predator conspiracy, Bellwether realizes that she can no longer manipulate the bunny anymore and attempts to murder her.
  • Your Favorite: When Clawhauser gets moved back to the front desk after the race storm blows over 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