FILM SUB­TLE TAKE ON RACISM

Cockburn Gazette - - LIFESTYLE -

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).

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