One of the latest offerings from the Disney is the excellent film Zootopia. While the initial premise of a world with anthropomorphic animals who all get along seems weak and over done, the movie in fact has far more depth than one would expect.
The films animation, both of character and environment is amazing. The movie is worth watching for that reason along. However, the story itself is both compelling and full of deeper meaning.
The movie centers around Judy Hopps (played excellently by Ginnifer Goodwin), a small town rabbit who wants to do something more with her life than just be a carrot farmer, and Nick Wilde (voiced by Jason Bateman) a streetwise fox who is more than he seems.
As Judy works her way onto the big city police force, a mysterious situation has developed in her first real case that quickly spins out of control and exposes many things to the light of day.
Through the movie there are a couple of core themes, the city of Zootopia an animal utopia founded on the concept that everyone can live together in harmony. But you can quickly see that under the pretty exterior that things between the various species isn’t as clean as the propaganda says.
Going along with that there is some of the core of Judy’s character. She doesn’t want to allow herself to be defined by what others think of her as “just a bunny”. This contrasts with Nick, who has allowed what others think of him to force him into the stereotype of “a fox”.
While ending up forced to work together, they each have to come to understand both who the other really is inside. As they come to respect each other, they also have to deal with hidden prejudices in their own thoughts and feelings that they haven’t truly realized or confronted.
As this is happening, long dormant prejudices are coming forward in Zootopia. With the “prey” animals allowing their fear of the “predators” to be driven to the point where even innocents are pushed aside and discriminated against out of fear due to the actions of a few.
While confronting this and the unintended consequences of their actions Judy and Nick needed to find a way to work together and get around their own perceptions and attitudes. Judy, with her latent fear and distrust of foxes, and Nick having to deal with peoples attitudes towards foxes and learning that he is able to be more than what others see him as.
This wonderful film tells a terrific story, presents several important concepts in a way that is approachable for children and does so in a non-preachy way that makes you want to consider if you might be judging others on what they are instead of who they are. Also not to allow what others think you should be define who you want to be.
If you haven’t see this film yet and it is still in the theaters near you, go see it. If not, it is definitely worth a watch on rental or streaming video.