“Zootopia,” the exciting new animated film about a world filled with anthropomorphic animals, was released in theaters this past weekend. We saw it on Saturday and were highly impressed with the film and its message on diversity.
Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a young bunny with dreams of becoming a cop; she is ridiculed for trying to break the status quo and is constantly pressured to be a carrot farmer instead. Judy, however, doesn’t give up easily. She graduates from the police academy and heads off to the city of Zootopia.
The determined bunny works hard to be seen as a real cop, and in an effort to convince others to accept her, Judy stakes her career on a missing mammal case. She sets out to find a missing otter, enlisting the help of Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a confident and clever fox. However, in the process of solving the mystery, Judy and Nick uncover a much more perilous problem.
“Zootopia” boasts an excellent voice-acting cast. Each actor’s voice matched the character’s personality well and fully conveyed the range of emotions present in the film. The movie’s soundtrack was fun and heartwarming. The animation detailed every aspect of the movie’s animal world, at times rendering the backgrounds so realistically that the more cartoonish animals looked almost out of place.
The movie is also well-paced with near-perfect comedic timing, incorporating modern day jokes and gags with an ’80s-style sense of humor. While fun and exciting, “Zootopia” does not shy away from serious topics. It deals with issues of diversity and racism, presenting countless parallels between the fictional animal world it presents and our own human one.
Zootopia’s society has embedded stereotypes and prejudices; the plot of the movie revolves around the fact that what society expects has an impact on how animals behave and view themselves. No matter how determined you are, the words of others do get to you.
Nick grew up being told repeatedly by society that because he was a fox he was sly and untrustworthy. As a result, that’s what he became/chose to become. Judy, however, tries to fight against discrimination, refusing to let anyone else dictate who she is.
“Zootopia” illustrates how people have internalized beliefs and ideas that they’re often not aware of. The movie provides a beautiful example of how we can sometimes hurt the people around us and those we care about without realizing it.
“Zootopia” as a film ultimately celebrates the differences between animals, but the world within the movie struggles to reach that point. Young, idealistic Judy Hopps learns when she arrives in Zootopia that such deeply-rooted problems aren’t easy to solve.
The movie also deals with culturally-relevant issues. Its message about diversity is important for everyone, but especially for Southern Nazarene University.
It’s easy to stay in our own little worlds and believe that racism does not exist. However, that never leads to any change. “Zootopia” does an excellent job showing the existence of underlying racism as well as the turmoil that occurs when lurking issues are exposed.
At times, it’s an uncomfortable and even scary picture. Our campus is experiencing this now. These conversations are sometimes hard to have, but that doesn’t make them any less necessary.
It takes time and patience to fix such an embedded mindset. It also takes each individual to make a change within themselves and then influence others by refusing to participate in any aspect of discrimination. Recognizing the problem is only one step. We must now take actions to be more inclusive, such as celebrating diversity within all aspects of our campus.