HOLLYWOOD—Rarely will I be the champion of many animated flicks for children. I think some are all about the entertainment value more than teaching life lessons. However, Disney’s latest flick, “Zootopia” garners major thumbs up from me for its ability to teach some valuable lessons not only to kids, but to adults.
The tale follows Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) who fights against all odds to become the first bunny of the Zootopia Police Department. Hopps is doing something that no other rabbit has ever accomplished in the town of Zootopia which is populated with a slew of mammals. Even though she has proven her abilities to be a cop, she finds herself tackling parking duty because Chief Bogo (voice of Idris Elba) doesn’t think she has the chops to fulfill the job. She finds a partner in crime in a fox named Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman). Both Nick and Judy share tales of how painful stereotypes have impacted their lives: him being labeled a thief and her being nothing more than a helpless hopper.
The duo takes on the task of solving the mystery involving the disappearance of a slew of animals that have been reported missing from Zootopia. It was a treat to see this false world incorporate many pop culture motifs into this animated world. I mean watching that scene in rodent town where several animals leaving ‘Mousy’s,’ a play on the popular retail Macy’s left me in tears. It was so funny and well planned out; it was the perfect comedic moment.
We also got a reinterpretation of the acclaimed flick, “The Godfather” courtesy of an Artic shew known as Mr. Big (voice of Maurice LaMarche). Gosh, another classic moment that put a gleeful smile on my face while watching this cartoon alongside my niece.
To see a movie of this magnitude to even tackle such a big issue of discrimination is proof if presented in a light where children can understand, it only enhances the ability to distinguish right from wrong. Imagine if such a message could be conveyed to the adults of our world. Amidst all the life lessons we get sprinkled with jokes. Seeing Nick tell that joke to the Sloth and waiting for his response was something not most comedians can even think of. That is a testament to clever writing.
Not only does “Zootopia” excel at teaching kids the importance of not judging a book by its cover, it shows that if one puts his or her mind to something they want to accomplish, nothing can halt that goal from becoming a reality. The movie also teaches the lesson of reaching one’s goal or changing how others perceive them lies solely in the individual, as well as the importance of forgiveness. Must say so many of us hold grudges from childhood our entire lives that prevent us from achieving our fullest potential. Well, this movie shows us how important forgiveness truly is.
“Zootopia” opened my eyes to things that not even I realized about myself: perception is in the eye of the beholder. Not to mention the factoid that the desire to challenge the status quo is more popular than sitting back and accepting it.