Whiskey Tango FoxHop
It’s fairly common for films to mimic, mock or satirise current affairs. Sometimes this is done with such subtlety that you only pick up on it after a period of reflection – a bit like that time you felt stupid for not getting that joke. Don’t worry; we’ve all done it.
Of course, sometimes a film can be quite open in it’s messaging. It’s rare though that a film comes along with a giant neon sign flashing the words “Get it now?” and jams it right in your eyeballs. This is exactly what Zootropolis does.
Put a fuzzy animated wrapper around this messaging though and it doesn’t feel like one of those thingymajigs you pay money to avoid in university… “a lecture” that’s the word I was looking for!
Zootropolis focuses on 2 core values. Firstly that you don’t have to follow a pre-defined path and secondly that just because someone commits a crime doesn’t mean that everyone of that race/creed are criminals.
The story focuses on Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) a rabbit who dreams of being a cop. Unfortunately for her the role of cops is reserved for larger and stronger mammals. Sounds familiar right? You can’t have that job because you don’t know the right people or you didn’t go to the right school. Non of this matters to Hopps as she is determined to overcome these arbitrary rules.
This theme is continued in Hopps’ unlikely partner Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman); a fox who has become crafty and sly through conditioning not through choice. Again, familiar? “So when are you going to settle down and have kids”, “When are you getting married?”, “why are you wearing that?”.
We are constantly pressured into behaving in a certain way or following pre-defined expectations that we often forget to live by embracing what truly makes us happy.
Once this partnership has been set up the film shifts into the real storyline that focuses on missing animals. These missing animals turn out to be predators that have “gone savage”.
Very quickly we see the whole of Zootropolis fear all predators because of the actions of a few. Scare tactics force sanctions on otherwise friendly inhabitants. You only have to look at the most recent suicide bombings and the hate filled bile that rains out of Donald Trump’s face to realise this is referring to Muslims.
It’s difficult to portray the depth at which these moral statements lie in so few words but it’s also to the detriment of storyline. It’s completely acceptable but isn’t as tight as other animated films.
Instead this film feels like 2 short films. One about a bunny wanting to be more than a carrot farmer and one about a small group of people ruining it for the rest.
Thankfully the characters are superb and it’s fantastically animated keeping you entertained throughout but will younger viewers understand the moral standpoint? I’d bet my lucky rabbit’s foot that they wouldn’t.
The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:
+ Well animated
+ Excellent characters
+ Morally just
– A bit too focused on the morals
– Too slow to get into the main storyline
– Might be lost on younger audiences