Zootropolis or Zootopia (as it is called in the US) takes place in a city designed and populated by all creatures’ great and small, and it is a place where everybody gets along including the predators. Each of the districts is modelled on different habitats and looks so realistic as she passes them on the way to the big city. They have some interesting names like Tundratown and Little Rodentia.
Rookie cop Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is the first rabbit on the force which is quite an achievement in a police force filled with animals known for their weight or strength like the Lions, elephants and Rhinos. In the first scene we see Judy as a child in a play saying that when she grows up she wants to be in the police force. Something her parents are not happy about. Judy is from a rural, carrot farming community called Bunnyburrow.
Judy works hard in the police academy and although she is expected to fail ends up being top of the class. She moves to Zootropolis, where animals exist in harmony and is a utopia where the predator and prey distinctions no longer apply. So Lions can work with Sheep and Cheetahs can co-exist with Impalas. This is a city where there the Mayor is a Lion and a Lamb is the deputy mayor. But not everything is as perfect as Judy thought it would be.
Judy is looking forward to being a police officer only to be assigned to parking patrol. While in parking patrol she falls for the hustle of sly fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman). Frustrated she foils a robbery and her boss wants to fire her for causing damage to rodent town. Luckily she catches a break when she is assigned (reluctantly) to the case of a missing otter. Her boss gives her only 48 hours to solve the case before he fires her. Judy manages to blackmail Nick to help her solve the case. There is a dark side to Zootropolis and she has to navigate a fine line as she doesn’t quite know who her allies are and who her enemies are.
They find out that predators are succumbing to their animal instincts and they try to get to the bottom of it. In the midst of their investigation they make an unlikely ally in the form of a mob boss who is a Godfather. The movie has a few twists and turns that make you realise that those who look the most innocent can be the ones that shouldn’t be trusted. Also that some people you would normally be suspicious of could end up being good friends. The climax at the end was unexpected and I did not see that coming.
Judy is naïve when she comes to the city but she is quick to learn. Although she and Nick are not friends in the beginning they become friends as they uncover clues. But her friendship with Nick is strained to breaking point when during a press conference she states that predators are back to using their natural instincts. This causes panic in the city and makes Nick angry and so he leaves.
Will she be able to save the city and her friendship with Nick? Watch the movie and find out.
This is a movie that can teach both children and adults about trust, tolerance and diversity. It is a movie that deals with prejudice and the issues of hate. It does so in such a simple way that there are great lessons to take away.
Some of the lessons I think are good for kids in the movie
If you want to do something work hard and you will be able to get it.
“It’s great to have dreams,” Judy’s mother says when she tells her parents that she wants to become a police office.
“Just as long as you don’t believe in them too much,” her father adds.
Although she is told that she cannot become a police officer because she is a bunny she doesn’t let that get her down. She works hard and gets into the police force. She also makes a name for herself as a meter maid and then as an investigator.
At the beginning of the movie Judy is threatened by a young fox who is a villain when she tries to help her friends who he has stolen tickets. This fox also leaves claw marks on her face. This early encounter teaches her that foxes are not to be trusted. Her parents even give her spray for foxes so that if she meets them in the city she can protect herself just in case she is attacked.
She is still willing to give Nick a chance until she finds out he is a con man. Eventually after working together to solve the mystery of the missing otter she finds out that he is like that because people expect him to be like that. He turns out to be a nice guy. So does the earlier bully she had met during her childhood.
This is a great lesson on giving people a second chance to right their wrongs.
It deals with some issues of prejudice
Somebody calls Judy cute and she says “A bunny can call another bunny cute,” explains Judy patiently, “but you can’t.”
It teaches kids about racial stereotypes
When it is discovered that the predators are “following their natural instincts” the town which is mostly made up of what would be considered prey panic and start asking for the predators to leave town.
“Go back to the forest, predator!” a sheep shouts at a cheetah.
“I’m from the savannah,” said the cheetah.
It is a good conversation piece for talking to children about how they treat other children who are not like them or how come from a different place.
This movie is great because it teaches about the value of understanding different types of people.
Real life is complicated.
Judy thought things would be simple in the big city but she learns that this are also complicated elsewhere.
“Turns out real life’s a little bit more complicated than a slogan on a bumper sticker, Real life is messy.” She says.
It is storytelling at its best
Most children and adults have been told stories about bunnies and foxes. They are natural enemies. This is a great story about how if you just get to know somebody who you were prejudiced about they might just surprise you and become your friend.
It is an inspiration for girls- deals with the issue of sexism
Judy is not only the first bunny but also the only girl on the force. She has to prove herself that she is not just a cute bunny but that she can do the job that all the men cant. Inspiration that girls can aspire to be anything they want to be.
This was a well written movie and I was held spellbound to the end even waiting for the credits to finish rolling so that I could see if they had added any funny scenes at the end. It has its serious and funny moments and you will be entertained all through.
The voice work was excellent. Chief Bogo Idris Elba is Judy’s gruff wildebeest police chief who does not care for a bunny on the force and so assigns her to be a meter maid.
It was a beautiful animation with lots of lessons for both adults and children. I would highly recommend that you watch it. I don’t think it will be running at the cinemas for much longer but you can get it on DVD as soon as it is out in the market.
Potentash Founder. A creative writer. The Managing Editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories and stories about the inclusion of minorities. Find me at email@example.com.
“We're all stories, in the end.” ― Steven Moffat