Thoughts on: Disney’s Zootopia

Zootopia
Nick and Judy

I’ll admit it. I, like many of my fellow Americans in my age group, grew up on Disney movies. And I do have an illogical soft spot for them no matter how much I actually have issues with them now. The mass majority that are ‘classics’ where written in another time period and their values and thoughts aren’t the same as it is now. I get it so I’m not here to complain about their stories from that time period etc.

And no, I did not have a favorite Disney princess.

It’s one of the reasons Anime sucked me in so much even at an early age.

Frankly I couldn’t relate or care about all the princesses that where out at the time. The idea of a prince charming and being swept off your feet and saved by him was a strange one at best. So now I actually usually skip most Disney movies (both Princess and non princess ones alike) when they come out unless I am assured by trusted sources that this movie is worth a look. And to my pleasant surprise it was.

One of the reasons I usually don’t appreciate Disney movies as much as I used to is because (as you can see by my last post) I think a LOT when I’m watching something.

I have a hard time just ‘turning’ off my brain and ‘vegging out’ just because I am being ‘entertained.’ Someone put time, effort, and thought into the thing you are enjoying (be it music, art work, a movie, a video game etc.) I find it rude not to take the time while watching it to appreciate that.

And, strangely I’ve always been like this.

With many Disney movies (I’d say prior to the Miyazaki and Pixar years) I would enjoy the story for what it was and it’s art but by and large I really didn’t care about it much beyond that. I didn’t ‘look back’ at them later in life or repeatedly really. The few I *did* repeatedly watch where the ones that as I grew older their messages began to become more clear and most where during the late 80-early 90’s when the Disney daytime animation was really kicking it out and story wise knocking it out of the park. I sensed more as a child and may not have ‘got’ it but I was grasping the concept situationally and could see it play out in my life.

I cannot stand stupid children’s shows and Movies.

Children are NOT stupid. Please stop putting out poorly realized concepts and stories and saying: “Oh it’s just for kids/ all ages so we can’t present too complex things to them yet. They don’t understand it.”

I was a five-year old that immediately understood Oliver & Company’s underlying message of lack of child guidance and that not all criminals are so because they want to be or ‘lazy.’ But just as easily I asked: “Wouldn’t that mean that Jenny is high risk too? Just because she has money doesn’t mean Mom and Dad are there.” I had also already read an abridged version of Oliver Twist and knew that the movie was based on the book, albeit loosely.  So you can just imagine how fun I was when the Little Mermaid was playing (one of my least favorite movie BTW) when I knew the original story….

Any who, I went to see Zootopia the first time with my fiance and a friend of ours. I was floored. It was all ages/ kid friendly and NOT STUPID!!!

I LOVED it.

The kid in me got to watch talking animals with great animation and lots of humor.

The geek in me had fun picking out all the references hidden within ( ones NOT related to Frozen thank you).

And my mind had SO much to chew on with word play jokes, and the story.

As usual I want to focus on the story and why this movie is probably not being marketed like Disney usually (over) markets any movie they put out. I would like to first off say:

“Bravo” to the Zootopia team. “Bravo.”

The story was not just a buddy cop story where bumpkin straight-laced cop gets aid from slick city con-man. Oh no it’s so much more than that. My mind had so much to chew on and the visuals to match it. The set pieces alone Zootopia the city was so well thought out!

The voice acting the joke timing…

*Clutches hands over heart and sighs happily* 

Ok, ok. First off I’m really not going to give away any spoilers.  BUT I am going to post a link to a video as an example that certainly has spoilers in it. So don’t just go clicking  around my links pell-mell if you don’t want spoilers.

If you have been reading ANY of the reviews on this movie you no doubt have heard that it addresses the problems of race and especially in America. Though many of the reviewers seem to showcase that they aren’t really clear on what animals *are* actually predators vs. what animals are Prey or run off on a tangent about almost purely political things...

Boho_Zootopia
Not a Predator BTW…

The way they liken Prey vs. Predator to our present times of race relations (well this movie started production about five years ago…) is very well done without being preachy or sounding like propaganda. It even goes as far as being clear that the waters we are sailing in are NOT always clear and that it’s, well, frankly complicated. The allegory is so wonderfully done you can’t even be mad.

Well…you can but it’s hard to stay that way to this face:

Judy_Hopps_Zootopia
Officer Judy Hopps 

Though I’d feel that you’d have to ask yourself some hard and honest questions about WHY you’re angry if you are.

Having since seen the movie a second time it’s always curious to watch the watchers’ expressions and body language as the movie moves along. As the issues they bring up in casual dialogue  and actions hit a little too close to home in some cases and because many who go to see the movie are unprepared for it their responses are just as raw.

Just as telling. 

Let me tell you; several parents could barely wait until the movie was over to snatch their child up and flee from the theater after. Some people have even called the movie “As social Justice Brainwashing” propoganda on the net and  chides it on how it presents things. Never mind that in animation the team creates characters first *THEN* casts them, then animates them. Or that the very things that their complaining about the ‘other side’ had/has to deal with regularly. And when pointed out we where being ‘too sensitive and making things up.”  But now that people are asking questions, (intelligent and actually well supported ones) in a non-aggressive way (“Lets all try to make the world a better place.”) it’s suddenly lets pick it apart and see how wrong they are instead of lauding them the EFFORT of attempting to ask in a polite and all age friendly manner.

 I live in this world and in the country this is targeted to and I get human nature.

So I understand that sometimes the hardest thing to do is to look in the mirror.

judyMirror

Is the movie perfect?

Absolutely not.

Nothing created by a human is.

Could there be work done to make it better?

Absolutely.

Am I going to decry them for making a well-rounded effort for bringing up questions in such a manner?

No.

There is always a way to present where someone may have gotten something wrong in a respectful manner. But then there’s also the point of doing your own research and understanding perhaps why things were done the way they where in the first place.

THIS is why this movie stands out so much to me.

The story makes you think, all ages, and presents statements and questions in such an inoffensive but respectful way that it is astounding. The use of the anthropomorphic animals as a Allegory was so wonderfully done it’s kind of stunning. But then this is the same group that tackled social acceptance, government corruption, and videogame  strong female tropes but camouflaged it within the world of Videogames in Wreck-it-Ralph.

So…they just stepped their game up. They even went as far as to have bias expert on their team while creating this movie (This list #10). They tried and I for one am in love with their efforts.

Their efforts don’t go unnoticed and not just by me. When something is this carefully crafted with hidden depths or research there are always people who go probing and as they learn and share you learn new things (agree with them or not) that probably inspired situations within the movie.

Note: This video is riddled with Spoilers. Do not watch if you don’t like them. Do not watch if “child friendly” means never referencing a kind of shady area in US history…wait…

 

Story wise the movie flows in a progressively (but not oppressively) dark state of character interactions the settings and colors used reflecting effectively what’s happening. It’s not hard when they easily present:

Friends in the unlikeliest places for simply treating someone as if they matter as a person…

Finding out that your simple acts of kindness come back in surprising ways.

Learning ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ aren’t always black and white

And that accepting the ‘status quo’ isn’t always the best course of action (even if it’s the ‘easiest’).

If all of this sounds appealing I suggest you go take a gander. Matinee it if you don’t want to spend too much on it. But go see it. Form your own opinions about it.

At the very least it is a movie that you can just relax and watch OR dig deeper in when the mood strikes you and let me tell you, that’s sometimes a hard balance to strike. Sometimes when writing to ‘all ages’ the writers confuse that with ‘children’ and make it insipid. Children aren’t stupid, people. There is a difference between writing something simply and not presenting a child with something they cannot handle.

Simply

Please take this movie (and I can list several others one of which is Wreck-it-Ralph) as an example and stop “writing” down to them. “Simple” does not equal ‘silly’ or ‘stupid.’ It’s insulting.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Most cops are pigs. Good to see bunnies signing up for law enforcement.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. CupcakeKvara says:

    Lol my dad used to call him self “Bacon” all the time.

    Like

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