The popular, endearing film Zootopia is brimming with symbols and analogies in all kinds of capacities. From political motions to cultural characteristics to racial interactions to subtle criticism of the DMV, the movie is not only a wonderful story, but also an illustration and commentary of current American society. It is a reflection of the time in which it was created.
Race is a major and front-running concept the movie illustrates in response to America’s present condition. In the movie, the breeds or species of animals are equivalent to race for people. Interactions and assumptions between predators and prey are symbolic of those that can occur in today’s society. This is partly seen in the difference between a bunny who can’t go savage and a “shifty and untrustworthy” fox. Tensions and accords within the different species contribute to and sometimes direct the progression of the story: the trapping of ‘savage’ predators, the scheme of assistant mayor Bellweather, even the cohesiveness of Mr. Big and his companions. These aspects play a critical role in the plot but also in some of the character development of the protagonists and antagonists. Overall, the work calls attention to racial aspects, both good and bad, in American society. Parallels can be drawn between the predators-vs-prey concept and events in today’s news. This movie condemns some of those aspects as it shows the harmful effects they can have, such as the escalation of the rallies, which is a more direct parallel, and the distrust between different species. These similarities and reflections reveal the effect that the present conditions of America have in influencing the concepts and goals explored throughout the story.
Throughout the movie, the storyline portrays some of the cultural ideals our society holds. Specifically, the American Dream. The American Dream is the concept that, through hard work and the opportunities provided in America, one can achieve any goal or dream. Judy’s passion and insatiable motivation to become the first bunny cop, to ultimately make the world a better place, is an illustration of this ideal. The movie acknowledges some of the shortcomings, so to speak, of the belief through Judy’s initial assignment as only a meter maid. Even Judy herself concedes to it saying, “real life is messy. We all have limitations. We all make mistakes.” But, ultimately, the movie maintains and encourages the American Dream through both Judy and Nick’s success as police officers as well as the positive note on which Judy’s speech ends. The American Dream has been a staple in America’s history and identity. Its importance in Zootopia further indicates that the movie reflects the current events, movements, and characteristics present in our nation at this time.