The main thing I can tell you is that it does get some things wrong about the Bible’s teachings. The key thing to address is how this movie depicts a future where mammals have grown into the world’s dominant species, suggesting evolution and the death of man, which goes against God’s promise. Now, obviously, that’s a no brainer considering this is coming from such a secular company, but it’s using theories of evolution as our means of existentialism, and thus, our standard on how to love each other. While this isn’t an inherently bad message, the mindset of the message is wrong.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
It’s a very common theme throughout the film, how despite all the change they’ve made, they’re still animals deep down. Sure enough, it’s true: wolves still feel the natural urge to start a howl, and sloths are still pathetically slow at anything they do. The old view of animals being natural beings is even mocked by the scene when Nick Wile and Judy Hopps wind up in the naturalist club, feeling discomfort of their kind without clothes like how we people would in that situation. Progressing further toward the growth of animals past what nature has historically told them to be, Nick Wilde talks much about how he once thought animals should only be their stereotype (sly fox, dumb bunny) until he is proven wrong later. These signs put animals at the same plane as us humans, even going as far as saying that we people are of no greater value than an amoeba, because Darwinism says so. But the bible says the opposite; God gave man authority over animals. (Genesis 9:2-3) There is no evolution. No natural selection. Man has been and always will be the dominant species of earth. We as God’s people are called never to accept this lie, but to “reject every kind of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
That said, there’s plenty of truth that can still be found in Zootopia despite its wrong politically correct mindset. Part of the cause why the people of Zootopia are so spiteful towards others is because they forget why their ancestors built the city in the first place, establishing it with the motto, “Anyone can be anything.” That completely goes against the mindset of stereotyping, encouraging a mindset not on the flesh, but the spirit. (Romans 8:5-8) We as people forget our upbringings all the time, even throughout the Old and New Testaments much of those issues occurred, particularly with how the priests handled the Mosaic Law. (2 Peter 3:3-5) Looking at America today, there are few societal roles where we more forget their purpose quite like the police force. We today mainly associate cops with abuse of power and mistreatment of Black people, when the whole reason they exist in the first place is to protect us.
This is another relevant issue that Zootopia covers so wisely, how a good cop serves and protects the city, not tear it apart, which Judy is very much motivated to progress towards as the first bunny cop. Looking at the other cops at the ZPD, they are all rhinos, elephants, wolves, lions, tigers, bears, all run by a no-nonsense cape buffalo. Judy is clearly a pipsqueak compared to them, but she’s got the most important thing they don’t have: a heart for making the world a better place. You see this as when Mrs. Otterton goes to Chief Bogo for help in finding her husband, Chief Bogo fakes sympathy with “your call is very important to us” type of talk, but Judy jumps in to help out of a sincere want to help somebody in desperate need. She is the only one in the ZPD who understands that their purpose as mammals is to be about peace, not disorder, (1 Corinthians 14:33, 2 Thessalonians 3:16) and to prove through her impossible predicament that anything can be possible. (Matthew 19:26)
She’s very different from the rest of the city, who clearly do not get along. Just like us humans, none of them have paid careful attention to how they drift away, (Hebrews 2:1) labeling one another by their species. When Nick Wilde is introduced, a sheep shouts at him, “watch where you’re going, fox!” Then immediately after, Judy watches him and his hustling partner in an ice cream shop where they are shunned by an elephant shopkeeper simply because they are foxes. As for Judy, when she gets her job as meter maid, she’s demeaned by everyone, even the other cops, by being addressed as that very job title. She wants to be a real cop, but even when she’s doing real police work on the Otterton Case, the head of the naturalist club, Yax, thinks she’s selling bunny scout cookies. So that means everyone in this city, even when they don’t mean to, are prejudiced by appearances.
But in truth, we see how one elephant does not have a sharp memory, Nick, a predator, was bullied by prey as a child, and the assistant mayor is a metaphorical wolf in literal sheep’s clothing. (Matthew 7:15) But Nick’s not dishonest merely because he’s a fox—its’ because his traumatic childhood experience led him to conclude that he should never bother to be anything besides sly, since that’s all anyone will ever see him as. This is the kind of behavior that leads to the evil desires of a civilization to grow into what we see the assistant mayor take up as the ultimate solution against prey’s common enemy. Instead of fulfilling their ancestors’ hopes, an “us vs. them” mentality stops change from ever happening. In the end, Judy Hopps reminds us all that change starts with us, it’s a decision we must make, and change is always necessary. What is it that allows necessary change? Love. What is love? Love is what God has done for us in sending his son to die in our place. (1 John 4:7-12)
That’s the most valuable thing we can take out of Zootopia as Christians… what causes hate, and how we counteract that with love. It’s clear from this film’s narrative that bullying starts from prejudice in dominant difference, which over time turns into demeaning stereotypes that penetrate our subconsciousness. In the film, Judy getting bullied by Gideon Grey leads her parents into thinking all foxes are vicious, and she gets called “cute” several times by city folk who don’t know that it’s inappropriate to call a bunny “cute.” Judy finds herself living in the prejudice through what look like natural reactions: before meeting Mr. Big, she just assumes that he is a polar bear due to his name and status, not a tiny little shrew. Even we the audience are challenged by our own presumptions based on a stereotype; we don’t expect a giddy, fluffy white sheep to be the villain in the end, but that’s what happens. We don’t expect to see a cheetah all fat and flabby from an excess of donuts, but that’s the first face seen in the ZPD. We don’t think of cute little otters as savage, yet we’re introduced to the predator savagery here through that debunked presumption.
That’s what makes Judy such a strong role model: despite the mistakes she makes, it proves how much in common she has with the people of Zootopia, and even more so, with us. Through watching her, we see how our appearance does not define what we can do, or that we can do what we do with vigor and passion if we work hard at it. I found it particularly noteworthy how when Judy Hopps is told on her first day in the ZPD to assign 100 parking tickets before noon, she turns in 200 instead. That is just like what David did to show his commitment to King Saul. (1 Samuel 18)
If you can do that, do everything you do out of true love and commitment for others, (1 Corinthians 16:14) then I guarantee you’ll be working the world toward a far greater goal that ignores evolution and the extinction of man: God’s Eternal Kingdom. Just commit your life to Jesus, start living for Him, do all that you do with love and kindness, never lose track of your mission, and you’ll realize the greatest of what you could ever be capable of becoming.
Thank you so much for your time in reading! Please feel free to e-mail me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com or message me through social media if you have any further questions. I’m also doing these types of posts monthly, so if there’s another movie you want me to talk in-depth about from a Christian perspective, please let me know!
Have a great week, and happy watching, God bless!