FILM SUBTLE TAKE ON RACISM
DISNEY is getting serious again for a moment.
It is no stranger to dark territory; a recent revisit of The Lion King alerted me to just how grim it is with death, betrayal and an orphaned lion cub.
It is sometimes easy to forget the studio that indulges frequently in fairytale stories of princesses finding their prince can tackle something with substance.
After last year’s mental illness themed home run Inside Out, racism is explored in a colourful context in Zootopia.
Small town bunny Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) finally realises her dream, against all odds, to become a cop.
She moves to the big city, Zootopia, bustling with animals of all species, to commence her career but is put on parking ticket patrol.
When Mrs Otterton (Octavia Spencer) comes to Judy to find her missing husband, the rookie teams up with con artist fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman).
Judy comes to realise that some animals have negative perceptions of other animals and their abilities, and are pre-judge based on their appearance.
This is such a tricky issue to tackle for a children’s film, as many young people it is targeted at may not yet comprehend racism.
But much like Inside Out it is handled delicately, cleverly and maturely.
The story, credited to an astonishing seven people and the script to two, manages to get the message across (without actually using the term ‘racism’) by illustrating how hurtful such negative prejudices can be.
Without being preachy, it is woven into what is essentially a police procedural, making this a fun mystery to follow.
Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman).