Disney's Zootopia Is a Kids’ Movie About Racial Profiling

Discussion in 'Television and Web Series' started by OckyDub, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. OckyDub

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    Disney’s newest animated feature Zootopia, out Friday, is good! The concept—it’s about a city of anthropomorphic animals in which predators and prey peacefully coexist—is creative. The animation is vibrantly beautiful. I loved its hero, eager rookie cop Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin), and her foil, the con-artist fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman). It’s got great sloth jokes! Jenny Slate voices a sheep! It’s really fun.

    It’s also 100 percent about racial profiling: Just as the message of Frozen is that sisterly love can conquer all, the message of Zootopia is that racial profiling by police and society is bad. That is a surprising and welcome choice for a children’s movie, especially one from a company as traditionally risk-averse as Disney. But it’s true!

    In the city of Zootopia, predators and prey recall that in the dark ages they were wild and hunted each other, but in modern, civilized times, they live side by side. But just as racial misunderstanding and inequity undergirds American society, the relationship between predators and prey in Zootopia isn’t as simple as it might seem. Predators often tend to end up in positions of power; the mayor of the city, for example, is an enormous, gregarious lion (J.K. Simmons), while his deputy mayor is a fussy little sheep (Slate) who suspects she just got the job to appeal to the prey vote. Hopps is bullied as a little bunny by a fox pup who reminds her that his kind used to eat her kind. And Wilde and other predators get angry when the cops—and the city—begin to suspect that predators are more prone to wild, violent behavior than prey are.

    True, the racial dynamics of Zootopia are a little scattershot. Predators hold institutional power but are also a discriminated-against minority; bunnies are part of the prey majority but Hopps, Zootopia's first bunny cop, has to convince her biased water-buffalo chief she knows what she’s doing. (“I’m not just a token bunny!”) The movie gets laughs from some surprisingly touchy racial material: “A bunny can call another bunny cute, but you can’t,” Hopps scolds Wilde. Later, another character gets reprimanded for an impropriety that, famously, black men and women have to deal with all the time: “You can’t just touch a sheep’s wool!”

    But as broad as the movie sometimes plays, it delivers a clear message that when individuals prejudge others based on their heritage—or when a police force cracks down on a certain kind of person based only on their own bias and fear—people get hurt and treated unfairly. It’s a welcome issue for a kids’ movie to tackle, and it should be interesting to see what kinds of responses this well-marketed, highly-anticipated soon-to-be-blockbuster receives, and what conversations between parents and children it sparks.

    Zootopia Is a Delightful Kids’ Movie That Is Also Totally About Racial Profiling
     
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  2. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub Fair Use Nigga....Fair Use
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    How long before Fox News talking heads get upset over this?
     
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  3. Jai

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    Sounds pretty cool.
     
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  4. Tyroc

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    Looking forward to taking my lil' munchkin to see this.
     
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  5. Discordant

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    I was going to take my godson to see this anyhow, but now I really want to! I'm proud of Disney.
     
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  6. acessential

    Squad Leader Best Thread Creator The 1000 Daps Club

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    Yeah, I saw this opening weekend. It was really good. I agree that the racial dynamics were scattershot. That was one of my critiques of it because I wasn't entirely sure what message they were trying to get across.
     
  7. callie_bear_3

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    For anyone that's seen this movie, the part with the sloths running the DMV was absolutely hysterical. I felt like I was the only one laughing in the movie theatre though when that part played, and I slept through the new Star Wars, so my cinematic judgement and overall life choices could be way off.
     
  8. Champagne Papi

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    I DIED! I think I literally laughted more than my kids did. I went and watch it again without them too. :laff:
     
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