Journeys can turn out to be strange sometimes. I recently went on a 20-day trip to USA, and yet the thing I want to write about is an animated movie I saw on British Airways’ in-flight entertainment during my return flight. The movie is Zootropolis and after looking it up after I came back it turns out it was released this year itself but I never heard about it.
While at the start it seems to be clearly about a woman’s struggles in the face of stereotypes enacted by a rabbit cop Judy Hopps, it grows into something more – about misguided biological determinism, about spreading fear and believing that some are ‘savage’ by nature simply by being born into a particular category. It is an apt reflection of the times we live in. Especially the times that USA is going through now. The film touches on diversity, hints at affirmative action and that the ‘oppressed’ may not always be innocent.
Perhaps due to my recent encounter with New York City, the metropolis that Hopp gets to be a cop in, Zootopia, seemed to reflect NYC itself. The teeming city where everyone seems to be living together, but there are little corners of exclusivity – the Tundratowns and the Little Rodentias. Reminded me of the likes of Chinatown, Little Korea and Little Brazil that the NYC tour guides talked about.
I also found interesting the concept of the ‘predator’. When Judy initially leaves her parents’ carrot farm to be a cop in the big, bad city, her worried parents try to hand her all sorts of protections, versions of pepper sprays and tasers. All with a fox on the cover. As I said, the film does initially seem to be about feminism but it turns out to be something bigger. The predatory fox may himself have been preyed upon, and while in the metropolis the lion and the sheep may work together, it is only a veneer hiding distrust and suspicion, that can easily be used to divide and conquer. The whole movie is an interesting way to comment on our world (even the sloths as government employees!) without being preachy and requiring adult supervision.
Oh and there’s also a sexy gazelle pop star (It’s Shakira). Go watch it!
PS: Full marks to British Airways’ in-flight entertainment during all of my flights to and fro.