2016 Zootopia has nearly become a household name for the books. Bryon Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush direct a fabled look at common-day race relations through the eyes of some very animated, anthropomorphic animals. With Ginnifer Goodwin as the voice behind the leading bunny cop, Lt. Judy Hopps, and Jason Bateman voicing the cynical-turned-hopeful fox, Nick Wilde, this juxtaposed duo demonstrates that anyone can join forces. The movie has brought in over double its $150,000,000 budget, with $75,000,000 in revenue coming in during the box office weekend alone.
In Zootopia, Judy Hopps starts out as an ordinary bunny with grand visions to travel to the city of Zootopia where prey and predators live in peace and harmony to become the first bunny on its police force. Along the way, she meets a conniving fox named Nick Wilde. After some influencing, she gets Nick to accompany her on her first official mission to find 15 missing Zootopian mammal residents. All throughout the movie, viewers are filled with humor, suspense, heartbreak, and come full circle with hope as the two bicker and battle their way through the missing mammal case. Though, not once did this emotional roller coaster leave us feeling uneasy. The scenes where Lt. Hopps felt defeated were short enough that this turnaround reassured viewers how even in the worst of situations, when we feel like weve failed the people closest to us, we have the opportunity to get back up and do something about it.
In many ways, the relatability of the film helped moviegoers transude through the screen and become a part of the adventure. The animals all carry characteristics which parallel real-life personas and scenarios. For instance, at the DMV which is notorious for it's arduous processing, sloths man the counters at extraordinarily slow speeds. Even with the introduction of the main characters in the first half of the movie, Nick is seen swindling innocent lemmings out of their money, just as one might expect from a sly fox. Nick even mentions that he behaves like this because that is what everyone expects him to be, so why be anything else? Very contrasting to this, Lt. Hopps is determined to shatter the stereotypes set against her, such as always being called cute. Hopps character balances out well with Wildes because she is able to inspire him with her tenacity to push through every obstacle that gets in her way. Vocalists Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman truly embody the attitudes of these characters as they were given a rare chance to work together, recording the voices in the same sound booth. They played off of each others energy and had fun with the recordings during the over 2 years they spent on the film.
Much of the films success can be attributed to a last minute decision by directors to emphasize the Lt. Judy Hopps character, which Goodwin accommodated to smoothly. Her character had a more optimistic view of Zootopia than her counterpart, Nick Wilde, who was originally set to have the lead role. In an interview with Directors Howard and Moore, they explain how the original storyline included having Nick, a predator who grew in a predominantly-prey land, work to break out of his oppressive lifestyle of constant muzzling, and ultimately help other predators in similar situations break free, too. Viewers would have admired the heroin, but would hate the setting. To capture the hearts of families everywhere, Zootopias directors, instead, highlighted Lt. Hopps dreams of bridging predators and prey together. Through this they hoped to not only get people to fall in love with Zootopia, but also the real world they lived in.
Critics, in return, gave Zootopia raving reviews, some even as high as 98% and 4 of 5 stars. Most noted was the films seamless unraveling of the plot as it dove deeper and deeper into a stimulating subtext that came unexpected from the light-hearted nature of a kids movie. Fans appreciated the intricate visual design, points of humor, characters undeniable likeability, and the overall message the film portrayed. Because Zootopia continuously nailed the main points for viewers, it was difficult to find any critical reviews at all.
I, for one, would take my future kids to see this movie time after time as it is a great learning tool to instill important life lessons in them. It teaches that stereotypes are often inaccurate, and that groups of people cannot be defined by a few individuals within it. It empowers viewers to overcome their hardships. The small girl stands up to the bully, and people with completely different upbringings come together in a perplexing, yet enthralling unity. These lessons do not only educate children, but there also lies an incredible takeaway for adults. In this way, Zootopia reminds us that we are never too old or too young to begin embracing each other's uniqueness. These individual strengths give us the power to fend against our worst fears, whether they exist internally or externally, and that is one of the most powerful gifts Zootopia can give us.