By Brianne Burgess
Disney’s animated film, Zootopia, is hailed by critics, and outselling Frozen at the Box Office.
A young female bunny, digitized to perfection, wants to be a police officer. Judy Hopps starts as a meter maid, exploring the complex and fast-paced city of Zootopia. The main theme is prejudice, and the moral is told with maturity to adults, and creatively to children. Projecting the subject into the animal world is risky, should children segment species according to their level of “goodness,” but all characters have both admirable qualities and idiosyncracies. Such is a victory for the writers.
Judy is a small bunny, confronting bears, elephants, and rhinos. Even her own parents discourage her from pursuing her dream job, but persistence pays off; she works hard against all the odds.
The story emphasizes the power of good deeds though seemingly small, a message the world needs right now. Everyone can make a difference, even if the results come much later.
The prejudice theme is sustained by protagonist, Nick Wilde, a clever fox that’s dragged into Judy’s investigation. Conflict centers around two types of animals: predatory and prey. They get along on the superficially, but bigotry boils to the the surface. Nick is a city slicker predator, known as an untrustworthy liar; bunnies from country farmers make unlikely co-workers.
As natural enemies, there is instant friction between the two, but the movie develops a much more complex relationship than just initial interactions.
Once they get to know each another, they become friends, and defend one another. There’s more to a person than meets the eye, and once you let your preconceptions go, you find a valuable ally.
Didactic clarity and a humorous script place this in the Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein level of superior synthesis of moral and amusement.
One of the most valuable lessons in the movie, comes from the climax of the story, after Judy has offended Nick by making a comment on how predators might be “reverting back to their savage ways”. This statement tears the city and Nick and Judy’s friendship apart. After time, realising her huge mistake, she swallows her pride and prejudice; and she sincerely apologizes to Nick. This is heartfelt, and she does not make excuses for herself. Judy’s apology is a great example of what to do after offending someone, even when it’s difficult to confront someone you’ve hurt.
Overall, a great family-friendly cinematic masterpiece, and a movie well worth seeing.
On a side note, here is a bit of trivia for you, the newscasters are different animals depending on the region the movie was released.