Film scores

Soundtrack review: Zootopia (Michael Giacchino – 2016)

“Zootopia” (also known as Zootropolis in Europe)is an upcoming American 3D computer-animated action buddy comedy neo-noir adventure film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and the 55th Disney animated feature film. The film is being directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, co-directed by Jared Bush (in his directorial debut), and starring the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman. In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a fugitive con artist fox and a rookie bunny cop must work together to uncover a conspiracy. It’s animation and it’s Michael Giacchino so yes please.

Michael Giacchino is such an amazing composer. I never know what to get more excited about, his Sci-fi scores or his animations scores. Actually I do, I prefer the movies but the point is he does both brilliantly. He can cover the entire specter of emotions and stories and every score he releases is ground for joy. This is the sentiment that prevails from the first seconds of “Zootopia”. I am happy when I listen to this score. I feel like dancing and I never feel like dancing. I feel like taking the headphones off and letting my one year old little girl enjoy “Ticket to write” just to see the smile on her face.

Just listen to a cue like “Walk and stalk”; if Lalo Schifrin had written it in the 70s it would have been a funk classic by now, Michael Giacchino must have had a lot of time writing this one. I didn’t expect to get nostalgia vibes from this score but oh my, this cue just makes me want to applaud. The chase cues, the emotional cues, the entire rainbow of possible scenes in an animation movie are present in this one and completed by Michael Giacchino with what I can only call a celebration of life. “Zootopia” is sparkly and bubbly and playful and always has a smile on its face.

Do not skip any of the cues from this score. You might miss “Mr Big”, a wonderful violin theme that makes me think of the French Riviera or of old Italian movies. You might miss “Case of the manchas” which is a nod to Giacchino’s “Lost” scores if you ask me. It’s a sudden chill during a hot summer day, it’s action music at its best and it could be part of any Michael Giacchino Sci-fi or drama score. This cue also opens a more serious and dramatic section of the score. For about 20 minutes I forget I’m listening to the music for an animation movie. I am just enjoying the musings of one of the most talented composers of our time. “Some of my best friends are predators” ups the nostalgia factor because I close my eyes and find myself back on the island…

A year ago, also at the beginning of February, I listened to Giacchino’s “Jupiter ascending” and it stayed up among my favorites of the year. I’m expecting the same will go for Zootopia. You know what you’re coming in for and you’ll get more that you expect. Do not miss this one.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 41 / 60

Album excellence: 68%

Highlights:

Stage Fright

Grey’s Uh-Mad At Me

Ticket To Write

Foxy Fakeout

Walk And Stalk

Not A Real Cop

Hopps Goes (After) The Weasel

The Naturalist

Mr. Big

Case Of The Manchas

Some Of My Best Friends Are Predators

A Bunny Can Go Savage

Ewe Fell For It

Suite From Zootopia

 

 

 

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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