Disney’s latest animated film Zootopia is not only a success, but has the largest opening weekend for any animated Disney movie.
And based off the trailer, you’d think it’s because of all the funny and furry characters running around being funny and furry, right?
Well, yes, that is part of why it’s so successful. But there’s also a lot of talk about what the film has just under the surface.
Zootopia is an important, pointed discussion about race and equality masquerading as a kid’s movie.
And from here on out, there will be spoilers dealing with what the movie is about, but not necessarily what happens in the plot.
The story follows anthropomorphic animals in a society where predators and prey have evolved and are living and working side-by-side with each other, but the first-ever police bunny must team up with a fox to figure out why predators in the city are “going savage.”
The whole time, the dialogue includes lines that reference stereotypes, racism, and diversity.
“…not just some token bunny.”
“Because he’s a sloth, he can’t be fast.”
“A bunny can call another bunny cute, but when other animals do it…”
“You can’t touch a sheep’s wool!”
“Are all rabbits bad drivers?”
When the fox is told he’s not like others in that he’s “very articulate,” you can see exactly what the movie is doing. It’s taking racism and showing us how ridiculous stereotyping is by having these unfortunately common phrases coming out of the mouths of cartoon characters.
It tackles these serious topics directly. There’s no pretense. That’s what the movie is about.
So, will kids pick up on the theme?
Older kids will get the message while the younger kids can just enjoy the funny animals.
The best part, though, is that kids will get exposed to the idea that all people should be treated equally and without prejudice. They might not even realize it, but the message is there. And because the film is so good, the older kids and adults won’t mind the obvious, pointed language.
It’s not a cheesy, after-school special. Zootopia is a quality film with an important message. Go see it.