Zootopia’s timely glimpse into the world we live in
In today’s political climate the last place you would expect to see a socially conscious film would be in theaters. This isn’t the 40’s when there were animated shorts playing featuring your favorite characters reminding you about the war. With Zootopia we get an extremely timely film that explores the delicate balance of a community while acknowledging that the stereotypes and racial divides exist even if they are unwarranted.
Zootopia sees simple enough where a rabbit decides she wants to be the first ever bunny cop. Judy Hopps is not content to be a bunny farmer like her parents. Now you might assume this is about overcoming odds to be more than what she’s capable us and this would be an underdog story and nobody would question that but Zootopia goes deeper. When she’s placed in the department in the big city she realizes not only do her boss and coworkers not want her there but what she’s been told about others isn’t exactly true. She meets a fox, Nick Wilde she is by nature suspicious but when she sees that how he’s treated vs how he really is she has to realize some of her own prejudice The world Zootopia exists in is 10% predator. While the Mayor is a Lion and his Assistant mayor a sheep, there’s the constant underlying idea of people being less or in some cases more than they seem. A super gentle Otter goes missing, the DMV employees are all sloths, the most popular musician is a Gazelle. Lets not forget the weasel who’s a thief, the hippie Yak, and the elephant yoga instructor.
The heart of the film that is meant to open a dialog with your children comes from the outbreak where seemingly gentle people are revering to their predator instincts and how the world reacts to it. Just look at the presidential race, the refuge conversation and you can see the parallels. Zootopia manages to put it as plainly as possible to bring out a conversation. Even younger children can have this conversation. Unless you have managed to completely shield them from the news they are aware of what’s going on. It provides an avenue to have that discussion of why some people are treated horribly because of a preconceived idea that is often not correct. Even when Judy is forced to admit she still buys into these stereotypes no matter how much she believes she doesn’t its a self-examination.
Zootopia is a great film in so many ways even without the lesson. Its pacing is great and its references are all over the place, The Walt and Jessie reference made me laugh as well as a few other parents in the theater. Take your kids, enjoy the film and be ready for the talks. Its so incredibly worth it.
Zootopia is rated PG.