“Zootopia” hides commentary on race in a terrific action, mystery

Andrew Shermoen

“Zootopia” will go down as one of Disney’s finest. Disney is at its best when their kid-friendly films are able to seamlessly include satiric commentary that resonate with adult audiences.

This doesn’t mean that children will not understand the subtle undertones of “Zootopia.” In fact, my assumption is that kids and adults alike will take a lot away from this movie.

Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is the first rabbit cop for the city of Zootopia, a city of promise where Judy hopes she can finally achieve her dreams. Police Chief Bogo reveals that the top priority case is a large amount of missing animals, all of them predators, but he assigns Judy to parking duty. On her first day she meets a con artist fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), who is tricking people into buying repurposed foods at a higher price than where he bought them. Later, she is approached by the wife of one of the missing predators, and much to Bogo’s chagrin, she takes the case. She allies herself with Nick to help find the missing animal and as they uncover more clues they find that the disappearances might lead to a bigger conspiracy than they could have imagined.

The cast should be praised in its entirety. Most characters only appear in one or two scenes, but the performances are incredibly memorable and entertaining. Although the two cast members that should be highly praised are Goodwin and Bateman. Both give some of the best voice acting I’ve ever heard. Their characters are flawed and interesting and there are plenty of moments with them where you feel their pain and sadness, all this thanks to the terrific actors behind the microphone.

The real charm and brilliance of “Zootopia” is in its underlying themes. Despite being a talented police officer, Judy is constantly belittled for her status as a rabbit. Replace the word bunny or rabbit at any time with the word woman and you will realize the parallels between Judy’s difficulties trying to become a police officer and the difficulties placed upon women who try and take on traditionally “male” professions.

Nick and other predators within the film are often stereotyped as dangerous or savage. Replace “predator” with the word “minority” and you can see the films brilliantly comments on the stereotyped view of racial minorities across the world.

All of these brilliant themes are wrapped into an incredibly entertaining animated film with a great mystery as well. Great performances, loveable characters and an important message for both kids and adults makes “Zootopia” not only one of my favorite Disney films, but a film that everyone should see.