Zootopia stampedes onto the big screen

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Judy and Nick endure a sloths sluggish service

Carsten Savage

This year, director Byron Howard utilized the talent at Disney Studios to create “Zootopia,” an animated film in which animals are the main characters. While it can be easily mistaken for a children’s movie, “Zootopia” uses an intriguing world packed with colorful characters to teach its audience valuable lessons that are pertinent to those of all ages. “Zootopia” is one of the best, most well-rounded animated movies of the past decade.

Moviegoers of all ages can enjoy “Zootopia.” Children enjoy discovering the vibrant world and watching the two main characters, Judy and Nick, humorously tease each other. Yet, adults will love the “Zootopia” for being a “cop film;” underneath its friendly façade, it has a distinctly dark nature, conveying to mature viewers underlying messages about corruption, betrayal and mass expulsion. In addition, the plot is intricate enough to hold viewers’ attention. The movie successfully incorporates comedy, sadness, and redemption to create a truly inspirational experience.

While the film goes to great lengths to show off the fantastic city that Disney created, “Zootopia” makes sure to connect itself to the real world. At one point, for example, police cops Judy and Nick find themselves in the hands of a shrew who acts like Vito Corleone, an Italian mob boss from “The Godfather.” Later on, Yax, a yak in charge of a thriving, harmonious nudist colony, gives Judy life advice and clues that help her with her crime case. This makes a reference to the stereotypical drug-laden roommates in college who love to give others inspirational guidance, giving adults something to connect with and laugh about.

The film’s messages alone are worth the admission price. Young children learn not to listen when others tell them what they can and cannot be; Officer Judy teaches girls that females can be police officers, and Nick shows that criminals can convert themselves into heroes. In addition, the film goes to great lengths to show the audience that policemen are friendly and benevolent, teaching younger audiences not to fear law enforcers. Like other effective movies, “Zootopia” also targets adults; it advises them not to take part in racial expulsion and advocates against underestimating the weak. The film emphasizes the value of an accepting and peaceful society where everyone can truly live in harmony. In the current political climate, this lesson is as relevant as ever.

Disney’s blockbuster deserves its box-office success and wide acclaim. “Zootopia” teaches filmmakers that a movie can effectively engage both adults and children with valuable lessons, an alluring world, and plenty of comedy and drama. While the majority of the movie industry “milks” its franchises, using the same content in each movie until the audience is ready to rebel, “Zootopia” is a memorable breath of philosophical and entertaining fresh air. Disney’s only responsibility now is that if they decide to make a “Zootopia 2,” they must innovate so that it lives up to its predecessor in new ways.