Disney’s Zootopia has hit theaters with a mighty roar opening with $73,700,000.00 at the box office surpassing Disney’s smash hit Frozen! In case you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy this fantastic film, Zootopia tells the story of Judy Hopps, a brave bunny wanting to become a Zootopia police officer. In the world of Zootopia, bunnies are not the usual choice for police officers but she defies all odds and with a lot of hard work and determination her dream comes true! Now a part of the Zootopia Police Department, Judy can’t wait to make the city a better place. She is an infectiously positive character, and a firm believer of equality and achieving the impossible. She embodies the classic happy go lucky Disney protagonist that we all know and love. Judy ends up meeting a sly fox named Nick, a con man with a reputation of upcycling products for another use than its intended purpose. Being predator and prey, it becomes apparent that Nick and Judy come from very different cultural backgrounds. Thus Disney introduces a life changing message which they will openly dissect and piece back together – at the end of the day, predator or prey it doesn’t matter, we are equal.
The current political heat in the United States has caused many Americans and other citizens of the world to question some hot topics such as: race, islamophobia, and overall equality. This country’s media is overcome with police brutality, shootings, bomb threats, and the movement of Black Lives Matter. Zootopia does an excellent job discussing these subjects in terms that all ages can understand and how we as citizens of this world should be reacting. Granted, they are in animalistic terms but what better way is there to gain perspective than by tapping into an imaginary world that isn’t much different than our own. In the movie, Judy makes a bet with the ZPD Police Chief to take on the case of a missing otter who disappeared without a trace. Being the clever rabbit Judy is, and some good ole’ traditional blackmailing, she takes Nick on an adventure to find Mr. Otterton, where they end up becoming mixed in with a government conspiracy where predators are going back to their bestial roots. During their adventure they uncover sabotage, corruption within the government, and even realize that maybe neither of them are as open minded as they had thought.
Judy Hopps comes from a family of carrot farmers, who live peacefully in the TriBurrows. At an early age she was confronted by the town bully, who was a fox. As a result, her family is extremely uncomfortable to be affiliated with predators such as the Fox Family. When Judy departs for her assignment to Zootopia, her parents pressure her into bringing an anti-fox spray, which is a play on pepper spray, for safety. Judy is confident she will never need it since Zootopia is a modern society where prey and predator live in peace and harmony. During a scene where Nick shows his teeth, Judy’s natural response was to grab for her anti-fox spray. This portrays that no matter how hard we try, maybe just maybe, nature over nurture has prevailed. This is a pivotal moment for Judy as a character, as she realizes after that encounter that instinct kicked in involuntarily. She begins to question herself and is incredibly angry for reacting the way she did. I believe that this happens in our world much more than what we would like to admit. Judy prided herself for being unprejudiced towards predators, but in one single moment she realizes that there may be some things she cannot change. Moments, such as the one mentioned, are sprinkled throughout the film. Ultimately, the main lesson is perfectly summarized in Shakira’s hit song that was created for Disney’s Zootopia, “nobody learns without getting it wrong”.
In summary, it’s okay to be wrong but learn from your mistakes. Try new things, get to know new people, breakthrough comfort zones, explore and give people a chance to prove themselve. We want our young people to grow up to be unbiased, loving, caring adults who appreciate everyone’s differences. Zootopia did a phenomenal job teaching the audience to never judge a book by its cover. You may or may not agree, but I can think of a few presidential candidates that could benefit from the lesson learned in Disney’s Zootopia.