The 2010s, after a decade of Pixar vs. Dreamworks (former shits all over the latter), have resurrected Disney Animation. In fact, I’d argue that their current success-streak – Tangled, Wreck-it Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6 – has now trumped their Pixarian nephew: Inside Out an exception, Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University and The Good Dinosaur aren’t quite the masterpieces Pixar brought in the noughties. Zootopia (not the phoney-baloney ‘Zootropolis’ it was re-branded as in the UK) is now my personal favourite of Disney’s new regime. As did Wreck-it Ralph, Zootopia fully embraces the concept it is chasing. In a universe where the anthropomorphic-creature world of Chicken Little worked and didn’t form a filmographic turd that dragged Disney’s rep into darkness, all (basically all) animals are ingeniously sewn into a humanoid society, with each species’ societal position corresponding with their place on the food chain.
Not only that, but the prey’s prejudice over predator shapes such an innocent but firm metaphor for the prejudices in our human world, which opens a great window for kids to learn about prejudice and how perceptions of others can be influenced and, sometimes, all out false. Islamaphobes and homophobes and other out-of-date items that the world forgot to put in the bin will hate the message, obviously. However, in my aggressive opinion, I think that this is message is shown, not preached in Zootopia. My favourite example of this is the relationship between the two leads. The focus of their differences is that they’re fox and bunny. Their difference in gender is never brought up, unlike every other bloody film. There can be a male and a female character behaving as two friends without their gender difference making things ‘boy-meets-girl’ awkward nor ever mentioned at all: they are just two people (well, animals). That is the point. All issues of race and gender are told through their difference in species.
This film is so intelligent in narrative, but also in comedy. I won’t spoil what made it so hilarious, but the nature of each animal’s more ‘primitive’ counterpart is utilised to deliver some fantastic gags. Also, if you haven’t seen The Godfather, you will still love a certain character. If you have, he steals the movie. Actually, either way, he steals the frikin’ movie. Forget any ‘it’s a silly-looking cartoon’ perceptions you may have and see this wonderful film.