(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Zootopia. "Desert Sky" by Silent Partner plays in the background throughout)
Doug (vo): So it's gonna sound weird, but I have a slightly complicated relationship with Zootopia. When the film first came out, I thought it was OK and had some criticism that I thought it was a little too obvious. It was clear what it was trying to say, the way it was trying to say it, and at the time, I didn't think it needed to be made so clear. I can't account for when this video is being watched, but I can say at the current moment I'm recording this, (Several images of news reports focusing on real-life hate crimes are shown) being clear about this subject, especially to a younger generation, is probably more important now than it has been in a while.
Story[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): The story focuses around Judy Hopps, the first bunny to officially be a police officer. As such, though, a lot of the other bigger animals don't really give her much attention and kind of just push her aside. When she stumbles across a case, though, on some kind of device that's turning animals savage...that is, turning predators into literal blood-hungry animals...she's put on the case, along with a con artist named Nick, who seems to have a lot of information and understanding about it. As typical buddy cop movies go, though, they don't always get along, see their differences can be really big differences, but see their similarities can also be very big similarities. They get in fights, blow up, have misunderstandings, but in the end, comprehend what's most important, as well as, of course, uncovering the evil scheme and putting the evil villain away.
Review[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): So like I said, this sounds like a very standard buddy cop movie, just done with animals. But it turns out this is more like In the Heat of the Night than it is Lethal Weapon. The idea is, somebody is trying to turn all the animals against each other, particularly against the predators. The predators, despite being as civilized as anyone else, are being made to look like dumb, evil, blood-hungry monsters.
(The scene showing Judy Hopps holding a press conference and her falling out with Nick Wilde afterwards is shown in several clips)
Doug (vo): In an especially important scene, Judy, who's very likeable, brings up that she actually has a little bit of a prejudice against predators that she never even considered. It's a prejudice she was unaware of and doesn't want to believe she ever had. All right, so it's already kind of a risky move for a Disney animated movie to talk about race and race wars and so forth, but to have the incredibly likeable main character have a little bit of a prejudice herself is a ballsy move.
(Various clips resume showing, all focusing on the world of Zootopia, as well as several scenes focusing on the characters and their struggles)
Doug (vo): The idea of the film is not to say one side is to blame, it's quite the opposite. Everybody has the capacity to be something they shouldn't want to be, hell, most don't want to be, yet in some way or another, still sneaks its way through. Using the metaphor with animals, while obvious, is still pretty clever. We see them grow up with the image that's projected onto them, and we understand it because we project images onto animals. Bunnies are cute, foxes are sneaky, wolves are dangerous. But the more the movie invites us into these different environments and these different people and these different cultures, the more we understand their world, but still from a child's point of view. You can see Officer Hopps running through this tiny little neighborhood that's really creative and really funny, but you can also see why that neighborhood exists, what kind of characters hang out there, and why they hang out there. It's something that can very easily be connected to reality. Because of this, the film doesn't come across quite as preachy as you would think. It isn't as simple as "racism and prejudice is just bad". It does analyze why it exists, where it can be found, and how so many can exploit it to their own gain. Like I said, when I first saw it, I enjoyed it, I just thought it was hammering the nail on the head a little too hard. But with the amount of current crimes that seem to not understand the message of this film, it makes me realize now, it needs to hit it on the head, and it needs to do so in a way that both kids and adults can get. I've known people from every political background who enjoy this film. Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Liberal, it doesn't matter. It still connects as a smart, funny family picture. And it seems like the majority of people that see it get the idea and agree with it.
(Several clips that focus more on the city of Zootopia are shown, as well as some clips focusing on one of the main characters, Nick Wilde)
Doug (vo): On top of that, though, it is a really creative movie. I mean, just the layout of this city and the different parts and how they're all designed to somehow welcome every type of animal, it leads to some funny jokes, but also some clever analogies. I also like the designs of these animals, too, like this Nick character. Even if you never told me who voiced him, I would say that's Jason Bateman. I don't know how they do it, but just look at him. You can tell that's Jason Bateman voicing that character, even if he never talks. The expressions, the movements, the colors, it all works.
Final thought[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): So like they say, timing is everything. I never disliked this film, but I never realized the actual importance of it. Like a lot of great stories, it can speak to children on one level, then speak to adults in a different level, but not just through kids' jokes and adult jokes. It does so through dramatic kids' themes and dramatic adult themes, making this movie about animals surprisingly very human. So, yeah, when I first saw it, I thought it could've been even funnier or play around with convention a little bit more, but strangely enough, you have to see something very familiar in order to invoke change, and there's nothing more familiar than a mirror. And this movie did a good job mirroring the comedy we want to see, the characters we want to see, and the changes we want to see. Here's hoping even obvious can be obvious enough.
(The scene showing Judy Hopps arriving by train to Zootopia for the first time is shown)