Zootopia – A Representation of the Real World

Bo Lee

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Officer Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde, best friends and crime fighting partners from the Disney movie Zootopia. Image courtesy Disney.

Officer Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde, best friends and crime fighting partners from the Disney movie Zootopia. Image courtesy Disney.

Zootopia, the latest animation from Walt Disney, teaches not only children, but also teens and adults, a lesson about stereotyping. On the surface, the movie looks like a typical children’s cartoon, filled with color and silly jokes. Like any other Disney film, the protagonist faces obstacles, but overcomes them through determination and friendship. However, if one pays close attention, one can see the defying of stereotypes throughout the movie. Zootopia is a unique film that audiences of all ages can enjoy, and that is something that the creators should be applauded for. This motion picture is definitely a great addition to the list of Disney’s classics.

Zootopia tells the story of Judy Hopps, a bunny who falls victim to stereotypes. Hopps aspires to become a police officer for the city, but she is not taken seriously, as bunnies are thought to be weak animals that belong in a farm. In other words, she falls into the category of “prey,” and there has never been a prey animal in the history of the police force. Police officers, according to just about any other citizen of Zootopia, are roles fit for predators, such as rams, rhinos, and lions. Despite the constant opposition to her dream, Hopps ends up becoming a successful cop, joining the ranks of predators.

Once Judy Hopps is given her shiny new badge, she is given a high-profile case. With the help of a sly fox named Nick Wilde, she sets out to discover why there have been predators going “savage” recently. The public believes that the predators’ savagery is caused by a return of their primal instincts, but Officer Hopps refuses to believe that. Predators and prey have been living in peace together for years, so there must be a reason behind the new cases of “savage” animals. That is exactly what Hopps and Wilde look for—the real explanation.

So how does this relate to stereotypes? As you can see, many of the animals in Zootopia have preconceived notions of others. Hopps is always seen as “cute” because she is a bunny, Wilde is not trusted because he is a fox, and predators are feared because they used to be savage many years ago. These stereotypes impact how these animals view themselves; for instance, Nick behaves slyly only because he knows he is seen that way by the public eye. Additionally, Hopps is discouraged when her family and others make fun of her for wanting to become an officer. Thus, the movie shows stereotyping in a negative light.

To further show that prejudice is wrong, the characters overcome their stereotypes and shock all of Zootopia. Nick becomes a trusty police officer, shedding his image of being dishonest and scamming others. As mentioned before, Hopps is the first prey animal to become a police officer. Lastly, the predators are shown to be kind to others and build healthy relationships with prey.

In a school like Bergen County Academies where the community is diverse, it is important not to prematurely evaluate others. Zootopia will remind you that not all stereotypes are true. “Everyone is different,” student Lawrence Guindine says, “so it is not fair to pass judgments without getting to know that person. Zootopia taught me a lot.” So, if you are looking for a movie to watch, consider Zootopia. You will learn a thing or two, and the prey and predators are very accepting!