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Disney promises "odd couple" furry flick 'Zootopia' in 2016

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Zootopia (working title). A Disney animated movie about talking animals. How original!

Zootopia promo image

Amid Amidi reports on his Cartoon Brew website about Disney’s plans to produce a 2016 animated feature about a fox and rabbit “odd couple” in a world of talking animals. Let’s hope this gets farther than Silly Hillbillies on Mars. (Hey, Disney, whatever happened to that?)

Disney still has to go some in the odd couple teamups to beat Roger Rabbit & Eddie Valliant. Ah, but "The twist is that the entire film is set in a world in which humans never existed (a la Pixar’s Cars) and animals have built everything." How original! Hmmm -- Robin Hood? The Lion King?

This could be interesting, depending on whether Disney does anything with the predator-prey situation as in Bill Holbrook’s Kevin & Kell setting. It’s too early to tell.

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This story was submitted on August 10. It has been "in the queue" for a week.

Fred Patten

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It was also published before a story submitted August 9! That one was less time-relevant, however.

If there is more to say about it, you're welcome to add it. I had a look around, but it didn't seem like much had changed.

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I kind of figured there was a story in the queue about this from Fred; otherwise I would've submitted one myself.

Edit: Also, hey, that's my story from Aug. 9! It's about as time relevant as an article on the Cretaceous extinction, though, so no worries (also, it's about Flayrah; probably needed some time to distance the other recent article about Flayrah).

Edit Edit: Also, I would like to add I am so excited for this movie! Wouldn't it be great if it's the movie that finally breaks the Disney losing streak at the Oscars? Oh, and a commenter on the In-Fur-Nation story pointed out that, while anyone paying attention to animation news knows it's going to be CGI (shame on you, John Lasseter), maybe it'll be like Paperman; heck, I wouldn't be too surprised if this was the movie they greenlit to go in that direction after Paperman won the Short Oscar.

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Another meta article? You're killing me people.

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In my defense, it's over a year in the making.

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Ooh! Ooh! Ooh ooh ooh ooh.

Thats all i have to say.

Patch

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My guess is that "a world in which humans never existed" is meant to be an active part of the world's backstory, unlike Robin Hood and the vast collection of anthro films we have wherein humans are REPLACED by animals with human characteristics. Those movies never explain how talking animals got here - presumably they ran through the same anthropological history we did.

In other words, you could say in those universes "humans could never have existed," but my interpretation of the "twist" in Zootopia is that "humans COULD exist, but they DON'T." That comes off as more of a sci-fi concept to me, and while it's still not original (nothing is), it might appeal strongly to furries.

Side note: I never thought of Disney's "The Lion King" as a "world in which humans never existed." I always thought it took place in the same world as ours, perhaps before humans were around, or maybe it takes place today but the odds of the pride running into a person are pretty slim. A friend of mine once started a TLK fanfic where a lion was captured by men.

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Indeed, it'd be interesting if they had the actual world revolve around the fact that animals would be using it. I mean if the photo is an indication, rabbits are a clear majority. Clearly their height is far shorter than other animals such as the giraffe. So how do you come to a concensus on the height of something as simple as a countertop.

Usually human would put it at 'abdomen level', however with such a diversity in height that's going to be something harder to obtain. Unless you put ladders on everything, but that's not too practical.

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If I'm reading the synopsis correct, I think that picture's rabbit crowded because it's the movie's rabbit town; the animals seem to be segregated. Counters in rabbit town may be rabbit sized; the fox, giraffe and gnu will find it awkward, but the rabbits would find their segments of town awkward.

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If the short-lived "Timon and Pumbaa" TV cartoon counts, there were humans in The Lion King universe.

Also, yes, they seem to be going out of their way to make the animal thing more than just visual appeal (which furries still can't seem to figure out to do in non-visual media).

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You mean societal structure or similar things? And how does one make something non-visually appealing in visual media?

And isn't a movie, which this is going to be, a visual medium?

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Okay, example: Pacific Rim.

Pacific Rim is a movie about giant robots punching giant monsters in the face. Now, if it were a novel, it would be horrible, because that's just bad science fiction; even if we accept the impossibility of giant kaiju, as if this were a thought experiment where "what would we do against giant monsters?" is taken as the starting point, surely there is a better way to deal with giant monsters than giant robots.

However, Pacific Rim was a movie, and we can actually see the giant robots punch giant monsters in the face; that's visually appealing and fun to watch, so nobody who is not some idiot on the Internet trying to prove he's smart by saying it's not realistic (no duh) cares. My point is, Pacific Rim never really explained why the jaeger plan was the best plan against the kaiju; it didn't really need to, as the plan looked awesome, and that was the point of the movie. To look awesome, screw logic.

However, many furry novels do this same thing; they create characters who look awesome, but we can't see them. This is a problem for most readers (not, admittedly, me or most furries; how I got through high school AP English was pretending all the characters in The Awakening were foxes or whatever, after all); if the author gives a good enough reason for an impossibility (giant robots punching giant monsters in the face; furries), he will accept it. In the case of Pacific Rim the "reason" is "it looks cool;" this would be an acceptable reason for furries in, say, an animated movie, but not in a novel. In a novel, you need a bit more; using animals symbolically, extrapolating society or even evolution of a furry world, just showing what the world would be like with a tail. Those could be interesting thought experiments; my complaint is not enough furry authors even go that far. A fox that is a fox in name only, and otherwise acts exactly like a human, in other words, a fox in only the aesthetic sense, is not a very good protagonist for a novel.

In this movie's case, the characters have visual appeal, but they also are doing a bit of thought experiment; it's a bit redundant, but not in a harmful way (well, I guess we haven't seen the movie, maybe their idea of a furry world is really stupid or something).

Also, I was actually a bit "meh" on Pacific Rim; needed more monsters punching robots in the face in my opinion.

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Gah! Need to dissociate the ideas of "Kevin & Kell" and "movie announcement" because at the moment all I can think of is Kevin & Kell - The Movie and... OMG.

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To me, the most interesting aspect about this film is that both the writer and the director have explicitly stated they were inspired to create it by a shared love of Disney's "The Adventures of Robin Hood". There hasn't been a Disney film like that in a long time and they both wanted to create another one.

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If the size differential in the promo picture is indicative of the sizes of real animals -- foxes are a lot bigger than rabbits -- then I am really looking forward to seeing how the Disney creative team for "Zootopia" design a common animal civilization for every animal from mice to elephants and giraffes. That is hinted at in the background of this picture.

Fred Patten

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About the author

Fred (Fred Patten)read storiescontact (login required)

a retired former librarian from North Hollywood, California, interested in general anthropomorphics