Over the weekend I saw Zootopia. I thought it was great. Completely not what I expected. I went in expecting a cute, fuzzy movie about animals with a few funny moments. While it was that, it was so much more. To sit and watch a cartoon geared towards kids tackle a lot of current societal issues was amazing.
The movie starts off with an ambitious child, Judy Hopps, on stage at a local play. As she reveals her dreams to the community, fear is all over the face of her parents. Not meaning any harm they try to derail Judy from her dream occupation and try to steer her towards the family business. Her parents constantly try to talk her out of pursuing her occupational dream. Tackling the real life issues of people you love not being supportive and not understanding the vision you have for yourself and your life. This is a cartoon, so she is not phased, fast forward a few years and young Judy is graduating, top of her class!
What happens after you’ve decided to say BUMP what everyone else is talking about, I’m going to pack up and follow my dreams? Zootopia. In my opinion Zootopia is based on NYC. Not just architecturally. Zootopia is the “big city”. The place you go to make all your dreams come true. You can be anything in Zootopia! Right? Wrong! As Judy quickly learns Zootopia is not what it seems. It is not full of hopes and dreams and do-gooders. Residents are rude and crude. The living arrangements aren’t spacious and bright. Their dinky and dingy.
Through all this Judy is still optimistic. Determined to make a difference, be the best. Hard work is always rewarded *insert adult cynicism and a hearty cackle!* Judy quickly realizes that although she graduated at the top of her class, it means nothing in the real world. Due to her size and lack of experience Judy is pigeon held by her boss and assigned to a role she never thought she would have nor ever wanted in any capacity. After being on the brink of loosing her job Judy puts her foot in her mouth and makes a promise without her boss’.
As she’s making this promise, coincidentally the assistant mayor overhears and now Judy’s boss has no choice but to let her go through with her promise……on one condition. If she fails she must resign from her job. Believing in ability and determined to prove not only her boss but everyone wrong she reluctantly agrees to the condition. After slyly tricking a fox into assisting/helping her on the case, they encounter some colorful creatures along the investigation.
Judy uncovers a huge scandal is thrust into the public eye. Having no public relations experience Judy feeling overwhelmed and ends up using inflammatory language against a particular group of animals in an effort to explain what’s taking place within the animal society. That language causes panic and prejudice against this group of animals. It also creates a rift in the relationship she and her fox friend/partner built. Lastly, the inflammatory language supports pre-existing stereotypes that one set of animals are basically genetically predisposed to certain behaviors while it being impossible for this other set of animals to act in such a way.
After loosing her partner and seeing the mess she’s created, Judy, ridden with guilt, quits her dream job, retreats from the pubic eye, and returns home with her fluffy tail between her legs to work at the family business. As she’s there sulking and wallowing in self-pity she learns the real reason why certain animal’s temperaments have changed. She promptly returns to Zootopia to make amends with her sly friend. They devise a plan to figure out who’s been purposely targeting this particular group of animals in order to alienate them from society, create a political platform, and rise to political power.
Real deep for a children’s cartoon right!
Don’t get me wrong, the movie is perfect for kids of all ages. It’s fun, cute, and entertaining not only for kids but for adults too. It references some Hollywood blockbusters. The Godfather and G.I. Jane were the only 2 I could identify but I’m sure there were other movie references that I didn’t catch. I just could not ignore how the fact that the story transpiring in this kids movie so closely resembles what’s going on in the present day real world!
Has anyone else seen Zootopia? Am I crazy? I’m curious to know some other perspectives. Am I the only one who thought this cartoon was basically America right now?
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