“Oh wow, Disney produced another animated feature with talking animals. It must be super cliche and completely pointless for anyone under the age of thirteen to watch.” Well, if you thought that, then you would be WRONG!
Zootopia is hands down the best movie of 2016. I have absolutely no authority to back up this claim, but I stand by it. This is not your average cartoon, this movie has so many themes that go beyond the story of a small town bunny moving to a big city. I promise, no spoilers.
Let’s start from the beginning. Judy Hopps is a bunny that dreams of being a big-city cop in the city of Zootopia, a position usually held by much larger and fiercer mammals. Judy faces strong opposition in pursuing her dream, mostly in the form of her boss, Chief Bogo. This reflects the difficulties and the inequalities that women can face in the workforce. Fortunately for Officer Hopps, the mayor of Zootopia has passed the Mammal Inclusion Initiative (ever heard of Affirmative Action? Keep slaying Disney!) which helps Judy fulfill her dream of becoming a cop.
While working on a case, Hopps pairs up with Nick Wilde, a con-artist fox. Foxes are stereotyped to be sly and untrustworthy, which brings up major issues for Nick and the prejudices placed upon him because of his species. Soon, Zootopia must tackle the animosity between predator and prey animals. Racial equality and acceptance is a major theme here, and it is simple enough for a child to understand, while also being poignant to adults.
Oh, and did I mention the first Disney ON-SCREEN GAY MARRIED COUPLE? Judy’s neighbors are two male antelopes, and in the credits it proves that they are actually married; they are listed as Bucky Oryx-Antlerson and Pronk Oryx-Antlerson. Zootopia excels here in portraying LGTQ+ characters without relying on grossly generalized stereotypes often used in the media. By using nondescript, inclusive characterizations, Zootopia steers away from the usual manner that gay couples are portrayed in films. There is also speculation that the jaguar dispatcher Clawhauser might be gay but his sexuality is never confirmed in the movie (Can Clawhauser please get his own movie?).
Perhaps my absolute favorite part of Zootopia is the fact that Judy Hopps is an independent bunny who doesn’t need a man. While partnered with Nick Wilde the fox, there is nothing apparently romantic between the two. Hopps is not painted as a damsel in distress; she and Wilde work as a cohesive team with neither “rescuing” the other.
Even if none of this appeals to you, Zootopia delivers an amazing movie at face value. The plot carries a complex mystery that will leave viewers guessing until the very end. The characters are amazingly developed and the writing is frankly, hilarious. The detail in the backgrounds are beautiful, and even the fur on the animals is so realistic looking.
And even if none of THAT makes you want to see Zootopia, the sloth scene will have you laughing until you cry. I'm serious, go watch this trailer. If you've ever been to a DMV you will feel this on a spiritual level.
Zootopia is 2016’s best movie. Everything about it boasts a greater movie than a simple cartoon with talking animals, and if you haven’t already, run to theaters and see it before it’s too late