Zootopia (02/23/2017)

Today in class we started the watching the Oscar winning movie Zootopia.  The movie follows the society of anthropomorphic animals who have evolved to the point where prey and predator coexist.  The plot follows a young ambitious bunny Judy Hopps, who dreams of breaking society’s stereotypes and becoming a police officer despite her size.  Along her journey to fulfill her dream she encounters nay-sayers and people that doubt her abilities, even her parents are against her becoming a police officer due to the danger associated with this occupation.

Judy is able to overcome her doubters and the obstacles she faces in the police academy and ends up graduating top of her class. She meets the mayor of Zootopia, a lion, and the assistant mayor, a sheep, at her graduation. She gets assigned to Zootopia’s precinct 1 in the heart of the city.  Judy then moves away from her rural home and into a small one-room apartment in urban Zootopia.  On her first day of her dream job Judy is dismissed by her fellow peers and ultimately given parking duty although there are 14 open missing mammal cases.

Judy despite being disappointed by her assignment at first, challenges herself to be the best meter maid she can be.  On her first day she encounters a fox and his child being discriminated against in an elephant ice cream shop.  Judy helps the fox and his child out and ends up buying the child a jumbo pop.  Happy with herself she then continues her meter maid duty until she realizes that something is suspicious with the fox. She decides to follow the fox for the rest of the day and finds out that the fox melts down the jumbo pop and resells smaller popsicles at a profit, along with also selling the used popsicle sticks.  Feeling bamboozled and taken advantage of, Judy confronts the devious fox trying to find a law he broke, so that she could arrest him.  The fox having done this for years, knows that he has not broken any law but worked carefully through loopholes.  The fox then continues to put Judy down and put pessimistic views into Judy’s head.

Feeling defeated, Judy returns to her apartment, where she receives a call from her parents who want to hear how her first day of work went.  Her parents are thrilled to hear about the safety of their daughter’s meter maid position.  Her parent’s enthusiasm about her position does not help Judy’s mood and only contributes to her doubts of what she thought her life would be like.  The next day Judy unenthusiastically continues her duties as a meter maid, receiving complaints from everyone for the parking tickets she wrote for them. While on duty she witnesses a robbery and starts pursuing the robber.  She chases him around town and eventually is able to catch him and bring him into the precinct.

Instead of the warm welcome she thought that was awaiting her there, the captain of the precinct calls her into his office to make her mistakes clear to her and that she had no right pursuing the criminal.  While in the captain’s office a distressed otter stops by to plea for help with the case of her missing husband. Hearing this Judy offers up her help to the otter, which does not sit well with the captain who subsequently fires her.  While walking out of his office, the assistant mayor pops up and praises Judy and tells the captain how excited she and the mayor are, that Judy is in the precinct.  Reluctantly the captain gives Judy 48 hours to solve the missing otter case.

Judy receives a photo from the file for the case with a photo, in which she recognizes the fox’s popsicle stand.  She then seeks out the fox to ask for his help.  The fox immediately says no to helping Judy, but she is able to manipulate him into helping her by recording him admitting to tax evasion.  They both then begin their journey to find the missing otter and end up traveling around Zootopia.

The movie challenges breaking the stereotypes of society, with Judy Hopps becoming a police officer despite all of her doubters.  It also brings in a motif of coexistence with the idea that all the animals in Zootopia living together.  This movie, along with other current Disney movies, is starting to address more controversial topics in their films.

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