Children’s flick tackles stereotypes, prejudice

Anna Yan, Staff writer

A bunny hops through a dark forest, eyes wide and innocent. She sniffs at a pool of water when a stalking cheetah suddenly pounces with a ferocious roar. Just before it gets gruesome, the scene cuts to a play where kindergarteners are enthusiastically reenacting the history of mammals before their civilization.
In a universe where humans never existed, directors Bryon Howard and Rich Moore depict a world populated by anthropomorphic mammals. After the idealistic Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) breaks boundaries by becoming the first rabbit to join the police force, she is assigned to parking duty. Determined to prove herself, she jumps to solve a missing mammal case with the help of a sly fox (Jason Bateman).
I admit, I initially did not have high expectations. From the trailer to the promotion art, everything screamed childish. Yet with the inclusion of mature jokes and references (such as a scene mirroring one from Breaking Bad), the reluctant, dragged-along older sibling will not be bored.
It is obvious that the animators have spent hours painstakingly taking care of every detail. The transition is smooth and seamless—there’s no awkward motion despite the character’s quick movements.
The movie’s only pitfall is its somewhat cliché plot. A country girl heads into the city, hoping to achieve her dreams. On the way, she meets a boy with a tragic past, and changes him for the better. Sound familiar?
But I must applaud “Zootopia” for tackling real life issues. The prejudice that predators experience reflects the racism that minorities undergo every day. While the issue remains unresolved, the message is clear: don’t judge others by their external appearances.
Overall, “Zootopia” is another win for Disney, earning a nomination and likely an Oscar for best animated picture. The animation’s relevance to current social issues will give it a strong chance for a win in its nominated category at the Oscars Feb. 26.
“Zootopia” is available for streaming on Netflix.