The movie is set in the titular city of Zootopia. It’s a city where mammals large and small, predator and prey, live in relative harmony. Prima facie, Zootopia seems like just another police procedural movie. The protagonist, a bunny called Judy Hopps, fights against all stereotypes, beats the odds and becomes a police officer. Only to be assigned to be marking maid (or, as we know it here in Singapore, “summon auntie”). But she manages to weasel (bunny weaselling… now that’s weird… hur hur hur…) her way into being in charge of a case.
And off she goes! With no resources, no support from her colleagues, she has 48 hours to solve the case. She gets assistance from the most unlikely of characters – a fox by the name of Nick Wilde. Traditionally, bunnies and foxes are arch-enemies. But in Zootopia, anyone can be anything. So a fox and a bunny can work together.
And boy do they have an adventure working together! Many witty jokes (e.g. bunnies are really good a multiplying! In more ways than one…) and sly references to real life (look out for Lemmings’ Brothers!). The sloth scene was incredibly funny too. Those eyes!
And of course, bunny and fox manage to solve the crime. In this kind of shows, the good guys always win.
But beyond the fact that the movie makes you feel for the characters, other than the comic moments, more than the very well-paced plot, the show raises many important questions for us to think about.
Can we fundamentally fight against what society typecasts us to be? Can we fight against our destiny? Can we stop viewing “other” groups of people through tinted lenses? Or are we doomed to revert to old prejudices the moment life gets challenging? When times get tough, when we need to be the most united, is that also when we are most likely that society splinters along old fault lines, and we go back to seeing people as “us” or “them”?
Another thought that I had from watching the show was this. Is democracy the tyranny of the masses? What safeguards are there in a one-man-one-vote democracy to ensure the interests, welfare, and rights of minority groups? Or do they have to be bear with the whims and fancy of the majority?
Zootopia poses many questions which any highly plural society needs to think about. Beyond the cutesy, child-oriented feel of the movie, Zootopia is actually quite deep. Or you can just watch it to be entertained. That works too.
[Featured image: Zootopia poster]