I know most people would point that out Frozen (or Tangled if you’re one of the cool kids since Tangled is better than Frozen) as the film that kickstarted Disney’s recent animation renaissance, and that’s fine. I won’t disagree with you on that. But when it comes to Disney best Animated film in the last 15 years or so, I have to go with that Zootopia100%.
In contrast to musicals such as charmor Moianaor Frozenwho have excellent sing-along soundtracks, Zootopia is more in the Big Hero 6 / Raya and the Last Dragon / Wreck-It-Ralph Category that they usually have to stand alone on their stories. Unlike the non-musical animated films mentioned above Zootopia stands out the most of all Disney animated films, both musically and non-musically, and I have five reasons for that.
It deals with race relations and sexism in a way that children can understand
I once helped write an article about 15 films dealing with race and social justice for this website and although I did not include them Zootopia (it would have felt out of place given the other films I’ve written about) I really feel that Zootopia tackles scathing issues like racism and sexism in a way children can digest.
let me explain. Our heroine is Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), a rabbit who dreams of one day becoming a police officer. Although she graduates from the police academy at the top of her class, due to her small stature and the fact that she is a woman, she is put to do menial work because those in power think she is too fragile to handle dangerous tasks. there is more In Zootopia’s company, the so-called predators live with the prey, which is pretty much a brief description of any major city in America.
But because conflict is necessary in all stories, Judy, who would be considered prey, finds herself with a “predator” named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), who is a deceitful fox. In Zootopia, all foxes are considered thieves, and Nick fits the description as he is actually a fox. But we learn in a flashback that Nick only takes on this imposter role because society has assigned it to him since he was a child, and in doing so he has become a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.
As a black man who’s been getting “You don’t act like other black people” (as if all black people should behave a certain way) pretty much my entire life, I resonate with such things and give Disney credit for that he even dared to tackle something as delicate as race relations in a children’s film. Bravo.
It doesn’t stop at race relations or sexism, however Zootopia also shows the impact of drugs on a community. I’m talking, of course, about the Night Howl serum that really makes animals go wild. Don’t you think Disney would make blatant references to drug use in their children’s film? Well, what do you think of that then? breaking Bad tribute a Zootopia lots of pop culture references?
In the film, we see a society actually falling apart because of this drug problem that no one (including the audience) really knows anything about until about halfway through the film, we learn that the predators aren’t just, suddenly wild out of nowhere but instead be drugged and driven into a frenzy. This is actually how we get comments on how the police are losing in their war on drugs, and if that’s not cleverly written then I don’t know what is.
His world is fully fleshed out in a way that could lead to multiple stories
The world of Zootopia is just that – one world. I’ve been talking about how I think Pixar is currently in its golden age with movies like To reddenand Soulbut Zootopia is that rare Disney animated film that I actually think goes toe-to-toe with the likes of Pixar’s sprawling world build, as the city of Zootopia really feels inhabited and alive.
And doesn’t every Pixar film do that? Creating life out of the seemingly mundane? Spring, Zootopia I took something as ordinary as anthropomorphic animals and threw them together in a city and somehow they made it feel so alive and fresh that I could imagine seeing multiple different stories being told in this universe. Seriously, I’ve watched animals walk and talk in cartoons my whole life, but none of them feel as concrete and alive as in Zootopiaand that really says something.
And yet there has never been a sequel, which actually does the film credit
not how Frozen IIor Ralph breaks the internetwe only have one Zootopia film, and I think that makes it particularly unique. Because, as I mentioned in the last paragraph, the world of Zootopia is huge, and I feel like there could be multiple stories to tell in this universe.
And yet they weren’t. Instead, we have a buddy cop tale with an unlikely pairing (as all good buddy cop tales should be) told in one concise story. I’ve mentioned it before on this page, but Dredd is my favorite comic book movie, and that’s mostly because it’s just an everyday story with little pomp and circumstance, and I feel the same way about it Zootopia. Disney could probably milk a few more movies from this universe, and yet they haven’t.
I think that’s really great. We’re supposed to be getting a Disney+ series called Zootopia+ in the near future, which I’ll definitely be checking out, but I feel like Disney really could have overdone it with another film, and I’m glad they didn’t to have . That makes this single story even more powerful because it was only done once.
It’s just an overall excellent story with a phenomenal cast
Last, Zootopia is simply an excellent story with a phenomenal cast of voice actors that includes Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, JK Simmons and Shakira to name a few.
As I mentioned earlier, the story is just top notch. I am in love Raya and the last dragon and his message that we need to stop judging people based on misconceptions we’ve already formed about them, but I feel like Zootopia captured a similar message in a way that was really fun. In comparison, watch a movie like the last one Bad Boyswhich our own Eric Eisenberg”Zootopia without the nuance.” If you look at this review I think you can see why Zootopia is so great – it actually has nuances! That’s more than I can say for most movies coming out these days, both animated and non-animated.
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