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Young, Wild & Free: Thoughts on Zootopia

Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures (Via Wikipedia)

Zootopia (2016)

Directed By: Byron Howard & Rich Moore

A few weeks ago, I got the chance to watch Zootopia with a friend of mine. Initially, I wasn’t going to watch it because it didn’t seem like an interesting movie to me, but I decided to, by the recommendations of Crimson and another friend of mine. I did a little research beforehand just to see whether Zootopia is worth my money, and indeed, it was.

Judy Hopps has big dreams of becoming the first rabbit police officer. She graduated at the top of her class and is assigned a police officer position in the city of Zootopia. However, on her first day, she is assigned parking duty rather than handling the missing predator cases, which according to Chief Bogo is top-priority. While on her parking duty shift, she encounters two mischievous hustlers, Nick Wilde, and Finnick.

Personally, I can relate to Judy Hopps. She’s ambitious and has big dreams for herself that even her family couldn’t stop her. Yet once she gets to the big city, Zootopia, she is just a small town bunny—a small fish in a big ocean. Furthermore, she is in a profession that is primarily made up of male animals and every day she must prove to them that she deserves to be there. As a female, I can relate to that. I had my share of experiences in real life and on my blog where I felt like I had to prove myself as capable in a sea full of masculinity.

Zootopia allows us to see how the power of our words can shape people’s views. In this case, Judy Hopps placed fear into the lives of citizens by stating that the animals that gone mad were only “predators” during a press conference. Judy unintentionally classifies predators as a danger to society. As a result, she places her friend, Nick Wilde in danger of being persecuted for just being a predator (something he can’t change and is part of his DNA). Furthermore, it just so happens that the media took Judy’s words out of context and further instill terror into the lives of all animal citizens, making them place prejudices on all predatory animals.

It’s also interesting to note how political leaders in Zootopia are the ones that have an “agenda.” Leaders are seen as heroes and role models to the eyes of the people, but in this movie, it is these political leaders such as the mayor, Leodore Lionheart, that are the villains.

What makes Zootopia a great animated movie is that it addresses current issues in society such as race, gender, and “the war on drugs.” While kids are giggling and admiring the various talking animals, adults become more self-aware of the type of society they are raising their kids in. A society that racially discriminates and divides people based on physical appearances as oppose to their true character. A society that places people to specific roles and stereotypes based on gender. It’s these types of thoughts that came to me during the ending of the film, and it’s kind of sad to think about. We have to make a movie reminding us how we should act, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to be put into practice. Yet, this movie does bring hope to the younger generations to instill values of respect and kindness towards others—something we may not teach our own children.


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