When we choose to walk into a theater and watch a movie, we are often looking to be entertained. Sometimes, we get much more than that. There are movies that leave us pondering our choices in life, as well as the thoughts of those around us. Disney’s Zootopia is one of those. It may begin as a family film about talking animals. but once you become immersed in Zootopia you discover much more.
The modern mammal metropolis of Disney’s Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when rookie Officer Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a
case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery.
Even as a small, cute bunny, Judy Hopps dreams of becoming a police officer one day. She knows there are “multitudeness opportunities” available just 211 miles away in Zootopia. There, “anyone can be anything!” Unfortunately, her parents don’t share her enthusiasm. They tell her they are happy because they gave up on their dreams and settled. In fact, her father tells her that, “if you don’t try anything new, you will never fail.” Although true, it’s definitely no way to skirt through life and Judy knows that. She wants more for herself. Judy simply wants to do her part to “make the world a better place.” To that, her parents reply,
“It’s great to have dreams, as long as you don’t believe in them too much.”
Fortunately for Judy, the new “mammal inclusion” project opens up new opportunities for her in the busy metropolis of Zootopia. It’s here that she meets Nick Wilde and the real adventure begins. But first, both Judy and Nick must push through the stereotypes they know about each other. One a predator and the other prey, together they must learn to work together for the greater good. Office Hopps is given 48 hours to solve the most pressing case in the precinct and refuses to give up. With Nick at her side, they uncover much more than missing Zootopia residents.
Along the way, Judy must learn to overcome her own insecurities, get past her innate fear of foxes, and learn from her mistakes. Even in her best effort to save the city, she inadvertently stirs an uproar that divides the city between predators and prey. To children, it may be seen as a division among friends, but Disney’s underlying meaning is much more. The social divides clearly portray the racial prejudices and profiling so blatantly apparent in our modern society. From Judy pointing out that “only other bunnies can call each other cute” to Nick’s advice that, “if the world’s only going to see [him] as a shifty fox and untrustworthy, then there’s no point in being anything else.” Wow.
Thus, you will be entertained. Jason Bateman’s one-liners alone are enough to keep you laughing, but the movie completely draws you in. The animation is superb and incredibly detailed — as if there would ever be any question. The animation team does an incredible job of research and trial-and-error through the process and the finished project is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. Gazelle/Shakira’s song, “Try Everything” will be stuck in your head from the first time you hear it. Luckily, you hear it at the end of the movie as well!
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