Movie Review: Zootopia

Zootopia is funny, kind of cute, and is being completely misinterpreted. I’ve seen half a dozen articles about how it will be a good tool to teach your kids about police brutality, which I don’t really think is true. It will be a tool to teach your kids about prejudice, and if you are clear and involved in the way you do it, it might even be a good tool. But, ultimately, I think Zootopia is really about systemic bias. And how even people trying to make a difference for good can botch the whole thing up with ill-considered words. Now, because it’s a Disney movie, it all gets wrapped up neatly in a happy ending.

One of the other lessons in Zootopia seems to me to be that the only one who can make a difference is the person who tries. And it’s perfectly possible for that person to botch the whole thing up, but if they keep trying, they might just do what they are trying. Yeah, it’s a little trite, but all Disney movies are just a touch trite. That’s what happens with kids movies.

My last observation is that Zootopia relies a lot on stereotypes. But where Zootopia really shines is when it breaks through the stereotypes. The funniest bits all happen at those times. And the best bits too.

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