You might be surprised to find an article on Zootopia here as this is my first review of an animated film! But the truth is, I LOVE animated films and I watch them all the time. I saw Zootopia for the first time a few weeks ago and I have been looking forward to writing this article ever since!
Judy the police rabbit has 48 hours to crack the case of a missing otter or she will lose her job in Zootopia, the modern city where all animals – predators and prey – live together in almost perfect harmony. However, a simple “missing mammal case” will bring her to uncover the dark secrets of the city she loves.
My opinion on Zootopia
This is a story of a cute little rabbit who wants to break the glass ceiling and become a police officer, aka work in a field wholly dominated by big, strong animals such as rhinos, elephants or buffaloes. Everyone laughs at her, but she works hard and graduates from the police academy with flying colours. Now, that could be the whole story, but this part only takes up the first 10 minutes of the film. I appreciated that, as it was more difficult to create a more original story than just sticking to the overused pattern of an underdog (or under-rabbit? Sorry!) who finally manages to be accepted and live happily ever after. This was more interesting as it showed the trials of actually being on the police force.
Judy’s first steps in her new job made me think that sexism in the workplace was going to be the main theme of the film. I was strongly reminded of accounts I have read of the first women pilots or the first women in the military, or even the first women to go on strike. They quite simply weren’t taken seriously at first.
But as the film went on, I realised that racism was the real main subject here. I was impressed by how the two themes were tackled. You understand that the two topics are different – while of course being similar – all the while watching a bunch of animals that you quickly accept have as much difficulty being tolerant of one another as we humans do. This is a story of prejudice and politics and that just blew me away. This film can definitely speak to adults – and not just people like me who love Finding Nemo – as well as children who will laugh at the ridiculously slow sloths or the cute little hamsters wearing suits. Zootopia was extraordinarily clever in that respect.
I also enjoyed the aesthetics of this film, particularly the different habitats for each type of animal. You see various parts of Zootopia quite quickly but it really is very imaginative and made up a big part of the film. I also loved watching Judy the bunny half hop, half skip down the pavement, and Nick the fox strut around with his winner’s posture. The rodents scurry along, close to the ground, and the polar bears move slowly and heavily with their massive stature. A lot of thought clearly went into bringing the animal into the city.
The story – which I will not reveal here – is quite complex for an animated film, and I wonder if very young children will understand all of it. The “go after your dreams” motto is a little obvious, but I still felt moved by it all. Plus, the action scenes and character development (special mention for Nick here) make up for it tenfold. There are a few parts that I found predictable, such as Nick’s backstory or the last scene before the happy ending. However, the revelation towards the end took me completely by surprise. I would never have guessed at that outcome! I cannot say for sure, but I do think I gasped out loud at one point ;)
Zootopia is a wonderful film, one of Disney’s best in a long time in my opinion. If you haven’t seen it, you should. And if you have, please tell me what you thought in the comments!