One of the tricks I use to help interminable flights speed up just a *LITTLE* bit is the whole “maybe watch a kids’ movie?” if such a thing is available and, lemme tell ya, I am *SOOOOOOOOO* glad that my flight happened to have Zootopia on it.
It has a simple conceit: The basic setting is established by having us, the viewer, show up in the middle of a childrens’ play where they act out and explain: We used to live in a world with carnivores and herbivores but now, now that we’re civilized, both kinds of animals get along with each other.
Once this opening scene is established, we’re off to the races.
Our protagonist is Judy Hopps, a bunny (herbivorous), who has decided that she is going to break away from her small town life and her parents’ farming business and she’s going to go off and become a police officer in the Biggest of the Big Cities: Zootopia.
We watch her go through the police academy, get assigned to her first post, have to deal with the big guys in the big police station not taking her seriously, have to deal with the big guys in the big city not taking her seriously, and then we see what she can do when she puts her mind to it.
The movie tackles some seriously serious topics like racism and sexism using the carnivore and herbivore differences as a proxy but, amazingly, it didn’t really feel *THAT* heavy-handed… Without getting into politics, I think that I’d say that I’m somewhat sensitive and able to tell when they’re dealing with this sort of thing without a particularly light touch and, from where I sat, they handled these topics rather deftly. How deftly? It had a rip-roaring story with a whole bunch of little threads that did a great job of all tying together with each other and it’s 100% possible to just watch the movie as movie and just tell the kids you see it with “you shouldn’t judge other people based on what they look like” and leave it at that. It’s possible to see the movie and think “no politics” and have it be just as enjoyable as it would be otherwise.
It’s got great animation, funny characters thrown in there for the grownups (Tommy Chong, for example, is a voice actor in the flick and he plays an animal that will make you say “I bet they designed that guy with Tommy Chong in mind” the second you see him), and absolutely breathtaking setpieces. We visit the rain forest, we visit the arctic, we visit the desert… and we visit an elephant bakery, we visit a part of town devoted to the needs of the pocket-sized animals, and even a museum that covers such things as the relationship the carnivores and herbivores *USED* to have.
Interesting characters that make decisions and grow and change, wonderful animation, and a tight script.
What’s not to like? You should seriously watch this one with the kids.
So… what are you reading and/or watching?
(Featured Image is “Edison’s Telephonoscope” by George du Maurier from Punch Almanack for 1879)