How ‘Zootopia’s’ Upbeat Score Explores Race and Prejudice

How Zootopias Upbeat Score Explores Race and Prejudice

Disney’s “Zootopia” has some very real and topical messages about race and prejudice delivered in the form of a cuddly cartoon caper. Integral to capturing the film’s themes and keeping its more serious aspects bouncing under the surface rather than presenting the audience with a lecture is “Zootopia’s” upbeat, character-focused score courtesy of Michael Giacchino.

 The composer’s approach to “Zootopia” has resulted in a score that’s worldly and fast with an improvisational feel. Giacchino, whose previous animated credits include the Disney/Pixar films “Inside Out and “Up,” says he was drawn to “Zootopia” because of its real-world parallels.

“It made me want to look at all the issues that are going on in our world right now. The chance to explore that artistically was very interesting to me. It’s really a personal movie. That may be sound strange to say. ‘This big giant Disney animated film is really a personal film.’ But it really, really is.”

Giacchino prefers to talk about film music as it relates to story. Still, he reveals he used some unconventional gadgets for “Zootopia,” including Indonesian instruments, Middle Eastern bells and many gifts from percussionist Emil Richards, who worked on the original “Planet of the Apes.”