Judy Hopps was always what you might call a go-getter. Her 275 brothers and sisters might have been more than content to stay down home on the farm. But Judy had bigger plans!
That’s right, a little puff of whiskers, feet and fluff called Judy Hopps has always had the lion-sized dream of joining the rhinos, buffaloes and moose on the police force.
So she signed up for the police academy. And right after graduation she was assigned the job of her dreams: She was to be the first bunny cop in the big city of Zootopia! Since she’s the first to benefit from Mayor Lionheart’s new mammal-inclusion initiative, well, the other cops on the force haven’t been all that welcoming. They look right over and past her.
Judy is a lovable and hard-working sort who refuses to give up and strives to be the best she can be. She also works diligently at doing the right thing. For instance, when she realises that she holds a bit of deep-seated prey-vs-predator prejudice against some other animals (especially a fox she meets named Nick), she apologises for her feelings and actions. In a public speech, Judy implores her listeners to “try to make the world a better place. Change starts with you, it starts with me, it starts with all of us!” Indeed, the movie makes it crystal clear that bullying or pre-judging others because they’re different from you is a wrong and hurtful choice.
Though Judy’s parents are terrified of what might happen to her if she becomes a cop, they repeatedly express their love for her and their pride in her accomplishments. Nick has some underhanded, con-mammal character flaws to work through. But eventually his friendship with Judy makes him rethink his choices and even decide to join Judy on the police force.
When Judy teams up with the street-smart Nick to try to solve a crime, he leads her to a place called the Mystic Spring Oasis — where none of the animals wear clothing. They’re all covered in fur and display no sexual features, of course, but Judy cringes and covers her eyes at their “nakedness.” A singing gazelle dances and shakes her tail onstage.
Children’s movies aren’t just for children anymore. More and more, animated fare at the moviehouse is a multilayered, playful-yet-thoughtful contrivance that leaves much for parents to chew on.
Zootopia is a movie that definitely fits that bill.
On the surface it is a bright and delightful comedy about a cute, foot-thumping little bunny who won’t give up. She overcomes the biggest of bunny trail roadblocks to become exactly what she believes she was meant to be, while making lots of unlikely friends along the way. In other words, she stays true to herself and is kind to others. That’s as old-school a Disney theme as you’re gonna find.
But this good-vs-evil tale more than surface sweet. For the grown-ups it proffers a surprisingly hard-boiled (at least from a cartoon perspective) detective story, featuring a cop and her confidential informant who endure each other and wade together through the mobbed-up underworld of shrews, polar bears and wolves, all in hopes of saving a city from a horrible and despicable wrong.
By Focus on the Family Singapore. This review was adapted from Plugged In: the entertainment guide your family needs to make family appropriate decisions through movie reviews, book reviews, TV reviews, and more.