Disney is known for creating talking-animals films that we’ve all grown to love from Mickey Mouse’s debut short “Steamboat Willie,” to “The Lion King.” Spring 2016 they return with a new feature Zootopia. It’s a city like no other that’s comprised of neighborhoods that celebrate different cultures. There’s ritzy Sahara Square for desert animals, Tundratown for the polar bears and moose, the hot and humid Rain Forest District, Little Rodentia for the the tiniest mice, and Bunnyburrows for the millions and millions of super cute bunnies. The downtown area, Savanna Central, is a melting pot where a wide array of mammals from every environment come together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when rookie officer Judy Hopps arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde, to solve a mystery.
I was blessed to attend an early press day for the Disney Zootopia and I found is fascinating how filmmakers created each environment that helps establish a huge part of the upcoming films storyline. Therefore, I thought it would be neat to give you a background on districts that make up the world of Zootopia.
Creating the elaborate world of “Zootopia”
The magic of Zootopia is its’ a world built by the animals, not humans and where you find different species that normally wouldn’t get along in a human environment living together as a community.
To create the elaborate world of “Zootopia.” producer Clark Spencer and his team of team of artists, technicians and storytellers had to think like animals in order to design a realistic city that accommodate all the animals sizes and needs from the tiniest little mouse to elephants. Therefore everything was built to real scale of the animals, an achievement rarely seen in animated animal films.
The world is made up of many different environmental districts and each area look, and climate is designed for a specific type of animal. Inspired by cities like New York and London, artists blended traditional cityscapes with global influences and animal infusions. For example, Tundratown sports onion-shaped domes in a nod to Russian architecture, and the Zootopia train station features an interior tropical garden inspired by Madrid’s Central station, but with horn-shaped towers. The city that features tiny transport systems within larger ones, and a network of interlaced tubes, ramps, escalators and entryways big and small.
With a Southern California-like central climate, Zootopia features artificial climate zones to accommodate the variety of inhabitants. Extensive research provided the logic behind placing opposing climates in adjoining neighborhoods. Says Goetz, “We asked, ‘How do you put a tundra and a desert next to each other?’ Well, the answer is rather simple. You build a massive air conditioning wall that separates the two environments. Just like our own air conditioners, one side blows out cold air, cooling Tundratown, while the other side blows out hot air to heat Sahara Square.”
Introducing the world of Zootopia.
The districts of Zootopia has compiled of six key areas Sahara Square, Tundratown, The Rain Forest, Bunnyburrow, Savanna Central and Little Rodentia.
Sahara Square – “The heart of Sahara Square is inspired by Monte Carlo and Dubai,” says Matthias Lechner, art director of environments. “We learned that desert animals are mostly nocturnal because it’s too hot during the day. So we built lots of nighttime activities—casinos and a giant palm-tree hotel with an oasis surrounding it.”
Tundratown – Constructed mainly of snow and ice Tundratown has giant snow blowers that go off periodically to keep the town from melting. The city consists of a moving sidewalk make of floating blocks of ice and the cars travel on skis.
The Rain Forest – “The rain forest is a vertical environment with walkways, bridges and gondolas,” says Lechner. District is home to hundreds of giant, bright, jungle-green steamer trees—artificial trees that mechanically suck up water from a river to create the steamy atmosphere required by the locals.
Bunnyburrow – Home Judy Hopps’ and inhabited mostly by carrot farmers like Judy’s parents. “It’s a very rural part of this world,” says Howard. “It’s about 200 miles away from the city of Zootopia. If Zootopia were Manhattan, Bunnyburrow is like Yonkers—way out in the country. Bunnies are born there and live out their lives there. Nobody quite understands why in the world Judy would want to leave—and move to the big city of all places.”
Savanna Central -“It’s our version of the watering hole,” says Goetz. “Animals from each of the districts converge here.” It’s houses Zootopia Police Department (ZPD), City Hall and Central Station, the bustling train station where Judy Hopps lands when she first arrives in town. Modeled in part after Disneyland’s hub-and-spoke design—Savanna Central is Zootopia’s central hub.
Little Rodentia – Home of the smallest mammals of Zootopia’s. “It is an entirely tiny town with rodent-sized housing, shops and streets,” says Lechner. “It’s surrounded by a big fence so that big animals can’t walk through it.” Althought it is small, Rodentia has all of the big-city luxuries, including a chic hair salon that caters to tiny high-end clientele.
ZOOTOPIA opens in theatres everywhere on March 4th, 2016!
Visit the official ZOOTOPIA website http://movies.disney.com/zootopia
Don’t forget to Check out our Zootopia board on Pinterest
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