“No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.”
I am generally skeptical about animated movies because very few truly capture my attention and leave me with that feel good mood. Last time I saw one that I liked a lot was in June last year and that one was “Inside out”. That was the story of a girl named Riley that moves to a new city with her parents and has to adjust in a new environment. The twist is that we actually get too see what happens inside her head as her emotions are the main characters of the story: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. That turned into a great lesson for both kids and adults and into a proper tool to explain emotions to kids.
This time around, Zootopia is onto a mission to teach us all valuable lessons. I dare say it is one of the best animated features I’ve seen. I’ve fully enjoyed it. Zootopia is a world completely void of humans. Instead, animals have evolved and live the civilized way of life: they walk upright on two feet, they wear clothes, use technology and work proper jobs.
All sorts of species live together in the town called Zootropolis, even species that we know as either being prey or predator. They live together but, just as in our world, that doesn’t mean they get along perfectly: we still see bullying, mocking and rudeness happening. It might not be ideal, but just as in the human world, they each have their traits, way of being and their dreams and ambitions.
Zootopia is the story of the very sweet bunny named Judy Hopps that wished to become a police officer since she was a kid. But given that her family lived in a small town and were carrot farmers they wanted their kid to stick with them there. They weren’t too enthusiastic about her leaving to go to the big city and becoming something that was unheard of for a bunny. Nonetheless, Judy stuck to her dream, graduated from the police academy and was ready and enthusiastic to start her job and do justice in Zootropolis.
Her boss did not believe in her too much either and put her in charge of parking tickets. But one day Judy’s attention turns to something weird that started to happen a while ago in the city: several mammals disappeared without a trace and the police did not seem to make any steps forward with the investigation. When a new case of disappearance happens, Judy is set to solve it herself. She is so driven to do it that she puts her own job on the line: she is given two days to solve this mysterious case or she will be fired.
Along the way, she finds an unusual partner to help her: a sneaky fox named Nick Wilde, that she cleverly caught doing something illegal. She then convinced him to help her because of how well he knew a side of the town she didn’t have access to and because he was the last to have seen Mr. Otterton, who was the last one to disappear and who’s case Judy has taken. Nick and Judy might not be a match made in heaven in the beginning, but until the end they prove to be a very good team.
The movie builds on the big cliché and a subject very talked about: follow your dreams no matter what and work hard for them. But it develops in such a way that you eat that cliché and motivational story (of courage, ambition and perseverance) with a big spoon and you’ll even want more. That’s how good the story is. I also liked that is wasn’t as predictable as you might expect from an animated movie, that it had really good comedy driven by specific characters and situations such as the DMV one where the animals working there are sloths. They even have cups that say: “You want it when?”. Pretty much says it all, right? Or when one of the bad guys from the movie is obviously in reference to the Godfather character in a very amusing and spot on way.
Also, I liked how it obviously tackles the diversity theme and that it teaches kids about it and about acceptance and giving second chances. The makers of the animation cleverly even put up a sign in a restaurant that hints to discrimination: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”. The visuals are beautiful and the characters each lovable in their own way. Judy Hopps is a good role model for kids as an example of never giving up, keep doing what you love and reward will come eventually. Even as an adult, Judy Hopps will get you enthusiastic, in a good mood and maybe even motivated to start doing things you love and that you have been putting off for a while.
Did you see Zootopia? Did you enjoy it as much as I did?