Friday, March 25, 2016

The Social Commentary of Zootopia


I finally saw Zootopia, and I was surprised at some of the issues the directors took on, such prejudice, class and disillusionment. For example:

Good people fall back on old negative stereotypes.

(Every Disney movie has plot point where the hero makes a horrible mistake, and then has to overcome the consequences of that error. Judy's press interview for instance.)
 
"Treat me like a criminal, I will act like a criminal."

(Nick Wilde is Zootopia's Han Solo, but he is also finally coaxed away from his criminal past.)

 Characters get hurt emotionally as well as physically.
(Both Judy and Nick during their childhoods.)


(my photo from CTN 2015, characters copyright Disney)

While the world of Zootopia doesn't have our level of wars, poverty and injustices, the basic personal issues still remain:

I have an image to maintain.
Jumping to conclusions.
Not sure who to trust.
What's in it for me?

 On the other hand, Zootopia did cheer me up a little bit, when I look past their cloying cutesiness:

 Things are not what they seem.
The strong don't always prey on the weak.
People can go beyond their apparent limitations.
The past does not have to decide your future.

Imho, Some of the old cartoon jokes hurt the movie, like the population counter of Bunny Borough, but that's showbiz.
This blogger has a more severe view:

http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2016/03/03/zootopia-review-a-muddled-mess-of-racial-messaging...-and-cute-animalshttp://birthmoviesdeath.com/2016/03/03/zootopia-review-a-muddled-mess-of-racial-messaging...-and-cute-animals

 Good points. What are our real cultural and ethnic blind spots? How do you present these issues to younger children without sugar-coating it too much?

Minor points:

Where does the protein for carnivores come from? What forests were cut down, and what mountains were strip mined to build the city? There all kinds of  logistical and technical questions that interfere with my suspension of disbelief, but Zootopia is still a clever, thoughtful movie nevertheless.


1 comment:

Ralph j said...

The movie did well to capture many of todays issues. Very entertaining to both the youth and adult audience which always reminds me, it's a Disney! It's usually aimed at children but they managed to capture the minds of adults as well, needless to say animation can be viewed towards any age especially ones that gives many great life lessons.