Zootopia (2016)
17 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A bustling metropolitan city filled with a diverse population of animals, both predator and prey, is the setting for Disney's 2016 film, Zootopia. The plot is centered around both Officer Judy Hopps, Zootopia's first bunny police officer whose sole wish is to protect the lives of all animals, and Nick Wilde, a con-artist fox with a narrow view of his future. Working together, the unlikely duo solves the case of 15 missing mammals. Zootopia, a 2016 film by Disney, is a must-watch for all ages because while it not only teaches children to dream big, but, behind cute and fuzzy animation, this multilayered film provides commentary about flaws in the American society.

As a young child, everyone has a dream ranging from becoming a professional athlete to blasting off into space. While growing up in a small-town carrot farm, Judy Hopps dreams of becoming become a police officer despite being small in stature. Although Judy ultimately achieves her goal and becomes a prominent figure within the Zootopia Police Department, she faces many setbacks along the way to her success. Unlike many children's movies, Zootopia does not simply portray the common "dream big" theme but instead provides a more insightful angle applicable to reality: how to block out negative influences in order to achieve one's goal. For instance, Judy parent's, Stu and Bonnie, are constantly warning their daughter "if you try anything new, you'll fail" and not to "believe in them dreams too much." Despite the negative influences surrounding Judy, she refuses to let her dreams be crushed by the words of others. In today's reality, those who doubt the plausibility of a dream will never be able to achieve it. Judy serves as a positive role model for children and adults alike; even when she is hurt from Gideon Grey, a bully who mocks her dream, she refuses to lose her positive mindset and states "I don't know when to quit." Furthermore, in Zootopia's theme song, Try Everything, Disney does not attempt to hide the hardships reality will throw at those who attempt to achieve their dreams. Instead, in phrases such as, "birds don't just fly, they fall down and get up," children are urged to persevere because with consistent effort, one shall conquer their fears and achieve greatness.

Although Zootopia, with its cute, fuzzy visuals seems to be guided predominantly toward children, this 2016 Disney movie is multilayered and proves to also be an outstanding film for adults as it provides commentary on controversial topics and flaws within today's society. For instance, Zootopia's fictional world, where anyone can be anything and various different animals can, in theory, live together in harmony, parallels America, the land of promise in which anyone can rise up to great heights despite having an unfavorable background. Zootopia both commends and mocks the American Dream. For example, when Nick Wilde points out, "life isn't some insipid dream where you and everything comes true," Judy Hopps realizes her naive conception of Zootopia's world is not as lavish as it is rumored to be. Her thought process is similar to the mindset of immigrants who come to America in hopes of riches, but unfortunately, they are only able to gloomily find treacherous low-wage work and an abundance of problems within their "grand" society. Though, on the other hand, Zootopia also commends the American Dream by creating the protagonist of Judy Hopps. Through hard work and consistent effort, Judy is able to rise to success and fulfill her dream of becoming a police officer despite her origins as a bunny from a small farm in the country.

In addition to commentary about the American Dream, Zootopia highlights the presence of stereotypes within today's society. In the fictional world of Zootopia, differences between all animal species claim to be settled by the media, but, in reality, prejudice still continues to exist. Judy Hopps experiences discrimination first-hand because, unlike the majority of large, predator-type animals within the Zootopia Police Department, Judy is a little bunny. Due to her difference in stature, her boss stereotypes her as a weak, dumb, "token" bunny. Though, when Judy Hopps is barred from completing any real detective work despite her superior abilities, she does not tolerate the limitations placed upon her and instead works to prove herself by cracking the case of 15 missing mammals. After rising up against stereotypes, Judy Hopps realizes "we all make mistakes" and "we all have a lot in common." Through the protagonist, Zootopia urges both children and parents alike to disregard common stereotypes and to express one's true self.

Ultimately, behind a seemingly childish plot, Zootopia provides valuable insight and proves to be an enjoyable film appealing to all ages. While maintaining the classic Disney theme encouraging children to dream big, Zootopia differs from most films by providing an aspect connecting cute animation to reality. Overall, Zootopia is definitely a film that will remain in the hearts of all.
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