Review: ‘Zootopia’

Review: 'Zootopia'

Julia Zaksek, Staff writer

From Aesop to “Frozen,” children’s stories are famous for not only entertaining kids with their colorful, often animal characters and dance numbers but also with their moral lessons. “Zootopia” brings the charisma and creativity Disney is famous for while also elegantly deals with complex social and political issues with biting allegory.

The film follows pint-sized bunny Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin). Ever since she was a little bunny, Judy has dreamed of becoming the first bunny cop on the police force of the nation’s biggest city: Zootopia.

In Judy’s world, animals have become civilized and predators and prey live in harmony. In Zootopia, anyone can be anything, which is why Judy is so keen to go.

However, Judy quickly learns, with the help of snarky sidekick and fox Nick (Jason Bateman), that her society and even her beloved new city is not the equal and perfect place she imagined.

Aside from “Zootopia’s” clear social injustice, the design of the city and the entire concept of the film is original and refreshing.The film is funny without trying overly hard to be, and the banter is witty and sharp. But the core of the film is, as always, the moral.  

“Zootopia” boldly uses its animal allegories to discuss human issues of racial discrimination, stereotypes and political corruption. In Judy’s world, all animals unfairly assume characteristics of their fellow critters based on their species, leading to discrimination and inequality in a society that has supposedly forgiven and forgotten the brutality and inequities of the past.

While “Zootopia” is set in a fictional city in a fictional world, it points out cracks in our own world. We think we have defeated the injustices of our great-grandparents’, grandparents’ and even parents’ eras, and all the “-isms” of those times: racism, sexism, chauvinism, are artifacts now. However, as “Zootopia” clearly reveals, our world is still far from perfect, but if we acknowledge this we are one step closer to overcoming it.  

I thoroughly enjoyed “Zootopia.” It had a wonderful, fun plot, but it managed to balance it with an important issue to make it more than a surface story. It teaches kids and adults alike a valuable lesson about race, class, and privilege. I give it a well, well deserved A+.