So, sometimes when it comes to movies that I like, I have difficulty finding a distinct way to write about the things that are good about it. Those things, I feel, are usually self-evident. So I thought I’d try something fun with this one: getting drunk for an hour before writing and then just stream-of-consciousness-ing it as quick as I could! I cleaned up the spelling, but if you’d like I can put the undoctored results up in a separate post…
So I’ve been reading these articles about restless leg syndrome and how it’s exacerbated by alcohol and caffeine, which is real bad because I’ve been drinking Jack & Cokes and I need to wake up for work in about 6 hours.
BUT, Zootopia. What about Zootopia?
The fact of the matter is that it’s pretty badass. Disney is probably the last place you’d think of in terms of films that could headline the #BlackLivesMatter movement, but that’s basically Zootopia in a nutshell.
Zootopia follows the story of Judy Hopps, the first bunny (read: female) officer of the Zootopia police force, as she solves a case that rests on the prejudices of society against predators (read: people of color), prejudices that might also reside in herself.
GODDAMN, Social Justice!
Seriously. I’ve seen some criticism that the predators as black people comparison is not an apples-to-apples metaphor; that it falls apart under scrutiny. Of course it does! But I don’t think an animated film that’s bringing this issue to the forefront needs for it to be perfect. The fact is that it opens the door to this conversation in a way that most other films can’t without some form of familiarity with the subject , especially in breaking down these fairly complex ideas of racism that exists without being a quote-unquote ‘racist’ to young children. The idea that even though we know rationally what we shouldn’t feel but feel anyway, and how to process that.
Trust me, you’re gonna see a lotta thinkpieces on this film in the coming months.
That said, Shakira plays a popstar named Gazelle in this movie, who is basically Shakira, and it is implied that people (mammals?) in the world of Zootopia give a fuck what Shakira thinks, which is weird. But I guess it’s a metaphor for celebrities talking about things that they know nothing about. If you look at it that way, it makes sense.
Goddamn, there are flashbacks in this movie that get RAW! You don’t really see a lot of family films that handle racially-charged bullying in such a direct fashion, but fuck me dude, it made me uncomfortable. That’s a good thing. If you plan on taking a young child to see this movie, it’s a good starting point in talking about these issues.
The voice acting in this film is excellent. Like, really, in a way I didn’t expect. Ginnifer Goodwin makes Judy naïve without being stupid. Jason Bateman sounds like perfect casting as a sly fox, but seriously, he is perfect casting as a sly fox. Even though they were most likely recorded in separate booths, these two characters have so much chemistry with each other that I wanted them to bang by the end. I would have believed it and so will you.
Speaking of sex, comedienne Jenny Slate plays a sheep in this movie and she has one of the sexiest voices to me. I loves that sort-of deep, not really, cracks a lot like it’s in puberty voices on some women, the one that suggests a lot of smoking and drinking but still not completely. Maybe she likes going to metal concerts? Does anyone have her number?
This film is gorgeous to look at and brilliantly composed in every conceivable way. But this is Disney, and they have money, so what else did you expect?
I’m a fan of the ‘experimental’ phase Disney went through in the early 00’s, where their only real hit was Lilo & Stitch, but they produced such works as Atlantis: The Lost Empire, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Treasure Planet. All financial failures, but noble, worthwhile experiments in storytelling that don’t always fire on all cylinders but had great ideas (and moments). But in the past few years, barring Frozen, Disney has had great success in trying out stories outside of the typical fairytale realm (although Tangled is fantastic, not enough people talk about that one.) I feel Zootopia might the be the first real classic of this new generation of Disney films (again, barring Frozen.)
Christ Almighty, I’ve had too much to drink. The point is that you will enjoy this movie. In fact you will very likely love it. It’s consistently clever and creative, both in humor an artistic presentation. For animation fans, this is a true blue case study in animation as ‘performance’, every action, gesture, and expression a character makes informing the story. And even though Disney is a conglomerate – a ‘problematic’ entity that elicits mixed feelings – they truly do deserve credit for having the balls to make a film that has such a progressive stance – and an educational one – towards evolving race relations.
I drank to write this review because I couldn’t think of how to explain my feelings about the film in 30 mins. Seriously, just watch the fucking thing. You’ll see what I’m talking about and thank me later.
Oh, and it’s funny. Really, really funny. That should go without saying but I felt the need to clarify this.