What Makes Zootopia Different Than Your Average Disney Movie

What Makes Zootopia Different Than Your Average Disney Movie

By Mahek Patel, Staff Writer

Disney released one of its latest works, Zootopia, earlier this year in March. It is a movie about a rabbit named Judy Hopps who is determined to be successful as the first rabbit police officer in a society where only larger animals are trusted with the duty of protecting the city of Zootopia. Her abilities as a police officer are constantly being doubted, but when there is a big case, she joins forces with an unlikely partner, a fox named Nick Wilde, to prove her worth.

Sure, this movie sounds like another Disney tale about funny talking animals with some catchy songs thrown in there. Although this is a movie made for young children, there are many more complex ideas in this seemingly simplistic movie. A major theme in this movie is overcoming stereotypes. Several of the characters in the movie are faced with certain generalizations about them based on their species. These generalizations are completely false, yet the animals face obstacles in their lives based on these generalizations. They aren’t accepted in certain communities within Zootopia or aren’t trusted by other types of animals. The characters have trouble seeing past these stereotypes.

The problem the animals in Zootopia face is extremely relevant in the diverse country we live in today. Racially profiling a person is the effect of being exposed to stereotypes of certain races for a person’s entire life. For example, in movies and TV shows, minorities are often represented in a specific way, conforming to the stereotypes put on them by society. There is little diversity in the roles played by minorities because of this. Baseless generalizations about people are sometimes so readily imposed, that people may not even realize they are using those same generalizations to form their opinions on people they meet. Minorities especially are victims of racial profiling due to racism and lack of understanding and respect of their cultures. However, people living in any diverse society have to learn to not judge each other based on stereotypes or society can never be united.

This important theme is quite different for Disney. It shows a real problem in the United States with honesty, wittinest, and several pop culture references. The use of animals to represent human problems, allows for children to enjoy the funny characters as well as for teenagers and adults to pick up subtle similarities between the animals’ and humans’ action.. Using animals to represent humans also reminds people how primitive their behavior is. Hopefully, watching this movie will make viewers realize that humans are the same as the citizens of Zootopia, and that racial stereotypes should not be a deciding factor in their opinions about people, in our diverse, complex world.