Will, that is an absolutely outstanding breakdown of Zootopia’s plot, not only its sequential and scene-to-scene structure, but the MANY MANY setups / payoffs and callbacks. I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to feature your entire analysis in a separate blog post tomorrow (WED) because it deserves to be seen by the entire readership, don’t want it to just exist here in comments.
I have to say one of the many impressions I got when reading through your fantastic analysis is with the carefully crafted interweaving of narrative elements, even down to the smallest details (e.g., Nick’s love of blueberries), it feels like a Pixar movie and I mean that in a very specific way: There is such a commitment to STORY going on here. Everything has been handled with precision and delicacy, crafting a fine-tuned structure with a strong emotional core.
Of course, John Lasseter is both chief creative officer of Pixar AND Disney Animation, so I suppose it’s not surprising that each group’s movies would echo the same commitment to Story. And I hope everyone understands, I’m not in any way trying to diminish what the Disney team has accomplished with Zootopia by comparing it to Pixar. In fact, quite the opposite. To me, Pixar is the gold standard of consistent quality storytelling precisely BECAUSE they are so fervent in Story First, Story Always as the foundation of their creative process.
In any event, your analysis makes me appreciate the script even more and I look forward to watching the movie for the first time!
I’ll email you re the blog post thing tomorrow, but again… brilliant stuff.