“Zootopia” Breaks Barriers in Animated Film


Image courtesy of Zootopia’s official website.

Angelica Dameus, Staff Writer

Over the years, Disney has released a plethora of amazing animated films that have an impact on its viewers and ring true to today’s society. Inside Out taught children around the world that it’s okay-healthy, even- to be sad, while winning an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film. And, Frozen takes the cake with two Oscars, a Golden Globe, a critically-acclaimed soundtrack, and becoming the highest-grossing animated film of all time. Until Zootopia’s release, that is.

On March 4, Zootopia, Disney’s latest animated movie, came out in theaters. Zootopia is a bustling metropolis in the movie’s animal kingdom, populated with animals with humanlike qualities, or anthropomorphics. In their world, animals at the top of the food chain have, long ago, abandoned their predatory ways so that predator and prey can coexist in harmony. Judy Hopps, a bunny with gusto that grew up in a small town, relocates to Zootopia to pursue her dream of becoming the nation’s first bunny cop. Upon her arrival, she befriends Nick Wilde, a con artist who happens to be a fox (a bunny’s natural predator). Together, they overcome the movie’s established “savage predator” stereotype, and crack the biggest case of her career. However, the sky-high ratings and the broken records that toppled the box office can be accredited, mainly, by its direct lessons on racial profiling and sexism.


Racial profiling is, unfortunately, very prominent in today’s society. From the workplace to the playground, most people of color can give examples of moments where they’ve been stereotyped and/or discriminated against for the color of their skin. Sexism is also a well-established issue today. Women are constantly scrutinized and told that their only purpose is domestic. Zootopia couldn’t depict either of those issues any better, with blatant discrimination and prejudice towards both Judy and Nick, her aforementioned partner in crime-fighting.

Throughout various scenes in the movie, Judy is undermined and underestimated as a policewoman, and Nick is bullied as a child for the fox stereotype of being untrustworthy. By the end of the movie, Judy and Nick both overcome these societal obstacles. Although many animated films in the past have had subliminal life lessons, none have ever been as successful as this one. Their accomplishments show children that, despite whatever obstacles you may face because of gender or race, you can accomplish anything. And in the 21st century, that’s a message every kid should hear.