Disney’s ‘Zootopia’ Addresses Contemporary Stereotyping


Disney’s latest animated feature film Zootopia takes place in the titular city where anthropomorphic animals, predators and prey alike, live together in harmony. The main character Judy Hopps becomes the city’s first rabbit police officer, only to be reduced to the role of a meter maid. To redeem herself, she takes on the case of a missing otter and recruits the help of con-artist fox Nick Wilde. But what seems like an everyday missing animal case turns out to be much more complicated.

One notable aspect of the film is its vivid and detailed graphics. It was evident that all the characters’ designs were well thought out, the animators paying close attention even to the smallest details. In addition, the setting was stunning and vibrant. When Judy first enters  Zootopia, different parts of the city are shown. The habitats were diverse, ranging from the frigid Tundratown to the ethereal Rainforest District. Each environment had its own special features, though not much time was spent exploring each and every one of these regions.

What makes this film so special is the relevant message it sends to the viewers. While it teaches young audience members to never give up on their dreams, it also addresses how stereotypes can harm and hold back others. The division between species serves as an analogy to the racial stereotypes in the contemporary world. Each character that was discriminated against managed to overcome their label.

In addition, pop culture references were prevalent throughout the film. References were made to popular TV show Breaking Bad, as well as several Disney films.  Parodies of common stores and products were shown, including “Preyda” (Prada), “Trader Doe’s” (Trader Joe’s), and a billboard with the slogan “Just Zoo It” (Nike). Several Easter eggs from Frozen appeared, including elephants dressed as Elsa and Anna, a bakery named after Hans, and a character named Duke Weaselton, voiced by the same actor that played Duke Weselton.

While Zootopia appears to be a comical, lighthearted movie, it’s filled with many heart wrenching moments. The experiences the characters went through were not sugar coated, they were realistic and relatable.

Overall, the film managed to be both humorous yet educational. With a timely message about stereotypes and perseverance, as well as phenomenal graphics and well developed characters, Zootopia is certainly a great movie for people of all ages to enjoy.