Ages 11 and under
Male and Female
*Take a look at my ranking of all 55 of Disney's animated classics, and see where Zootopia stacks up with the others!
Behold, the magical animal paradise of Zootopia, where all the inhabitants are mammals walking on two legs like you and me. Come and visit this genius creation, where everyone celebrates their differences after overcoming their historical segregation between predator and prey. They live by the slogan, “Anyone can be anything,” including a rabbit befriending a fox. Unfortunately, time has caused these citizens to forget their history, and they’ve stooped to sickening mistreatment of prey towards predators, whether it’s through elephants refusing to serve ice cream to a fox or rabbits carrying repellant for those foxes.
At Zootopia, everything catches your breath in all the right doses. All animals are built to the scale of their real life counterparts, the atmosphere surrounding them built accordingly. The express has a second door small enough for the jittery little hamsters, and the cars for the giraffes are skyscraper tall. As for the exploration of the rest of Zootopia, you might as well pack your bags and stay for a month! The variety of the world ranges from camels jogging in the deserts to volcanoes of powdery snow to gerbils making their way around town through colored plastic tubes. In the heart of the city itself, there are beaver construction workers, shrews holding wedding festivities on a table, and itty bitty buildings for mice made to the scale of a toy set.
It’s worth mentioning how the film’s animators developed a new software called, “Keep Alive” where every leaf and flake always flutters in motion to create this immersive reality. The result? A city breathing its own unique feel that will keep you grinning like a Cheshire cat.
Now meet rabbit officer Judy Hopps, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time, A Single Man). She grew up on the countryside under the direction of her parents and 275 siblings, expected to stay in the family business of carrot farming. Yet despite her cute little stature, Judy’s got the eye of a tiger. She would rather go to Zootopia and become the first rabbit police officer, a job usually reserved for larger animals like lions and tigers and bears. She refuses to look at this as an obstacle, but instead an opportunity to see pigs fly. In police training, she works hard, doesn’t quit, ignores criticism, and gets into the police academy at Zootopia with honors, at last leaving home’s comfort to enter the magical city. She gets the assignment of writing parking tickets while all the other officers get to stop crime, but her enthusiasm still won’t fade.
Judy Hopps is always quick and tappy, her nose twitching ever so snuggly like the softness of a real rabbit. She very quickly gets put to a great task at her arrival in the search for a lost otter who has expected to go savage. The clock ticking on the case lasts for only forty-eight hours; if she can’t find the otter in time, she gives up her police badge.
Here is where Nick Wilde comes in, voiced by Jason Bateman (Arrested Development, Up In the Air). Nick is one clever fox who hustles others through his creation of “pawpsicles” and thus is well-known to everyone in the city. He helps in the uncovering of this wicked case, even if he’s not the most cooperative of Judy’s potential partners in crime.
Coming from the perspective of a cop, Zootopia turns out to be much darker than Judy originally imagined. With a predator to prey ratio of 1:9, some herbivores would need to take greater risks to sustain their pride of history in the manner of wolves in sheep’s clothing. So of course a horrific scandal causes the predators to slowly revert back to their primitive savage ways like they did back in the Stone Age, creating a genuinely devastating segregation between the prey and the predators. Who would’ve guessed that the one to restore what made Zootopia great would be a plain little rabbit from the countryside?
We literally see ourselves reflected in the world of a Zootopia, and we along with our children can learn to not allow segregation between predators and prey, and celebrate how things are no longer the way they used to be. It’s just like Walt always taught us for generations, “the more you like yourself, the less you are like anybody else, which makes you unique.”
We all know about the heavily blunt themes of prejudice and racism in Zootopia, and it’s no secret that the treatment between predators and prey disturbingly parallels our own society. Say whatever you can about the treatment between the police and Blacks, or politicians and immigrants, or virtually any religious group against a much greater body, but the one piece of unfair prejudice I would like to discuss relates to how everybody has some form of unfair opinions about people with autism.
Every day I come across people who look down upon me because they know that I am “different” from everybody else. Even if somebody is trying to be accepting and friendly to me, they still set me aside to give more attention to their other “normal” friends. I will admit, I am not much of a talker, and socializing is relatively difficult for me. You also could call me “not the most fun talker,” not to be self-degrading. But from my experiences out in a crowd, I often feel that although people may feel they’re accepting me and giving me a fair treatment, they really just say a few brief sentences, get uncomfortable, then move on to chat with someone else. Now, this doesn’t happen all the time, but it has still been common with many of my interactions. Despite people’s self-assumptions, they can still unintentionally shun a person with autism because of their blatant differences.
Even I myself have been prejudiced towards others on the spectrum. I admit that I have quite often avoided interaction with people who I knew were mentally disabled. Like most others, I felt my most comfortable around people who had no mental disabilities. Even if I tried to look like I was accepting of people with autism, Asperger’s, Down Syndrome, or anything related to such, you could probably tell I was my most enthusiastically social around “normal” people.
Yes, I admit. Even we autistics are guilty of unintended prejudice against autistics.
It’s just like in Zootopia. Judy Hopps felt that with all the hatred and prejudice that the prey were pressing onto the predators, that she was different in the way she interacted with them. She felt that working with Nick Wilde on her case proves how accepting she was relative to everyone else. But it turns out she was still just as prejudiced as all other prey in Zootopia, as she still carried around fox repellant out of fear that all foxes were bullies out to get her. We all are guilty of prejudice, no matter what we may think.
But there’s one absolutely crucial point to keep in mind:
Six-Word Lessons on Female Asperger Syndrome, Lesson #32: First Impressions Rarely Reveal True Character.
After working with Nick Wilde for some time, and learning more about him, Judy learns that this fox is not quite as mean or deceptive as he looked upon first impression. Just ask either of my parents what they thought about raising a child with autism, and they could easily tell you this:
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Don’t Underestimate His Life Skills Abilities.
They probably didn’t think I would be able to drive, but I got my license at 16. They probably didn’t think I would ever go to college, but I did, and graduated with honors. Hearing one thing about a similar person with me does not automatically conclude what future I am destined to hold. The same goes to everybody else simplified to a label:
Not all blondes are dumb. Not all Asians are mathematical geniuses. Not all Christians are street protestors. Not all single mothers are emotionally distressed. Not all savants are hopeless in functioning in society. We are a beautifully diverse world with cultures as varied as the animal kingdom, one where no two people are ever the same. It’s time we realize how different we all are and see every individual as unique.
- If you have autism, let go of your prejudices against others on the spectrum. You may think you have none, but that is where the danger lies. Acknowledge when you have demeaning thoughts about autism in general, and know that everybody’s journey is different.
- If you know somebody with autism, do not ever underestimate what they can do. Even if somebody can’t speak or walk, there is so much more that they are capable of accomplishing.
- I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but erase all stereotypes. Just like how a bunny is capable of becoming a police officer, somebody with autism is capable of writing a book with a five-star rating on Amazon.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see reviewed, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Celestino, Mike. INTERVIEW: “Zootopia” animation team members explain how they brought the movie’s characters to life. Inside the Magic. Distant Creations Group, LLC 27 Jan 2016. Web. <http://www.insidethemagic.net/2016/01/interview-zootopia-animation-team-members-explain-how-they-brought-the-movies-characters-to-life/>.
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Lussier, Germain. Inside Secrets of Zootopia, the New Film From the Makers of Wreck-It Ralph. io9. 18 Dec 2015. Web. <http://io9.gizmodo.com/inside-secrets-of-zootopia-the-new-film-from-the-maker-1748640504>.
Smith, Chris. Zootopia looks like another winner from Disney in this brand new trailer. Digital image. BGR. LLC, 1 Jan 2016. Web. <http://bgr.com/2016/01/01/disney-zootopia-movie-trailer/>.
Zootopia. Disney. Web. < http://movies.disney.com/zootopia>.