Recently my husband and I took our 5 year old twin granddaughters to see the movie, Zootopia. Have you seen it? If not, even though it is a kids’ animated movie and because it has themes that adults can relate to and learn from, I would recommend it.
Think about it. Have you ever given up on your goals? Have you known someone and thought, “He will never change?” Do you stereotype yourself or others? And that complex word, “corruption” tends to run rampant. And last but not least, fear has paralyzed many people and kept them from achieving greatness.
As I see it, Zootopia covers these themes:
It is an integrated society. Each society had its place and “cute” bunnies, who are prey have no place in the big city of Zootopia and certainly not on the elite police force.
Judy Hops, the main character is a bunny who grew up on a farm, she dreams of being a police officer. Unfortunately she is laughed at by her parents, her community and her police academy peers.
Those who doubted her definitely had grounds too, considering a bunny had never been a police officer before and she would face significant physical challenges. You see, the job had always been done by predators and herbivores, never a cute little rabbit.
However, through determination and ingenuity, she makes it onto the police force and eventually, becomes a full-blown police officer. She could have let what others thought stop her, but she didn’t. She could have let who she was, a cute little rabbit, stop her, but she didn’t.
Judy proved that perseverance can make dreams come true. She did not give up.
Theme #2 CHANGE
As the movie opens, Judy explains that at one point predator and prey did not get along, but after years of evolution, the species making up the two groups changed to be more civilized and able to live in harmony. At the beginning of the movie, there is harmony.
However, later predators begin to “go savage” and the initial explanation for this is because it is in their DNA, their biology. Just in case you have not seen the movie, I won’t tell you more, but let’s just say, a lesson was learned and animals changed. You must work for it, but change is possible.
Theme #3 STEREOTYPING
STEREOTYPING is an interesting theme in that both predator and prey stereotype each other. Judy is the target of these stereotypes which result in her being viewed as incapable of being anything besides a carrot farmer. After all, she’s just a little bitty bunny. In order to fulfill her dreams, she must fight this perception.
Another character, Nick Wilde is stereotyped because he is a fox. Being a “sly fox”, of course he is not trustworthy. Nick unlike Judy, decides to act the part of a “sly fox”, the stereotype that he has been given.
These stereotypes inhibit the true potential and allows the antagonist (I will not disclose the name) to use these stereotypes to play on an emotion that is another theme…FEAR.
Before I talk about fear as a theme, I want to tell you about the theme of CORRUPTION.
CORRUPTION is a more complex theme because it occurs on so many levels.
The animals were reminded over and over again that 90% of Zootopia were prey and because of this all predators must be primitive and inferior.
Fear of the minority was used to isolate them creating a sense of superiority among the prey. The prey was portrayed as being better than the predator.
Zootopia, a film for children has some serious themes that can give adults something to think about.