What up, movie-loving fam!
As the final post-Easter Break weeks of the semester began, prepared to wreck you with unforgiving amounts of papers, presentations from your professors, and soul-crushing indifference from everyone else, I was watching "Fuller House."
I watched it intently, taking notes, charting character development, enduring screaming children, all so that I could write a satisfactory column for you. When I finished, I took a step back, looked over the research I'd amassed, and endeavored to write "Fuller House" the review article that it deserved.
This is that article, and it's about "Zootopia," because "Zootopia" is fantastic, and "Fuller House" is just "Full House" with an -er.
"Zootopia" tells the story of Judy Hopps, a small town rabbit with dreams of becoming a cop in the nearby metropolis of Zootopia, where 'anyone can be anything,' or something like that. As far as the broader strokes go, the rest of the plot pretty much unfolds exactly like you'd expect it to, with some clever allusions to "The Godfather" and "Breaking Bad" thrown in for good measure.
What "Zootopia" really does, however, is speak about an entity that pertains to all of mankind, something that's been especially pertinent in light of recent global events, and will stay with us forever until the end of time: American Politics.
Just kidding. "Zootopia" is about fear, the hysteria it creates, and the hate for other people it can cultivate in us. It's also about the labels that we attach to others and ourselves.
At the heart of "Zootopia" is the struggle between two classes of animals, predators and prey. The titular city is the pinnacle of diversity and coexistence, with predators and prey living together in harmony.
Enter officer Hopps, who's been told her whole life that she can't be a police officer because of her size, and Nick Wilde, a fox who has resigned himself to the life of a con-man because he's been told that's what he's expected to be. The two team up to investigate the disappearance of a middle-aged river otter—the innovatively named Mr. Otterton—and quickly discover a sinister plot to make all predators look like savage, uncontrollable monsters. You see where this is going?
I've heard the movie's message described as an "agenda," and while I think that exact term is pretty forced, parts of the plot do come off, in light of recent events, as a little heavy-handed: the main character, after all, is a cop who learns not to judge others based on their physical characteristics.
But if we come away from "Zootopia" thinking, 'Oh, I get it: the predators are black people and the prey are white people and we should respect each other I'm so smart you can't fool me Walt Disney Animation Studios,' I'd say we've missed a lot of what the movie has to offer, and probably oversold our analytical skills in the process.
Even for a children's film, the moral is too complex for us to only apply it to one ongoing political debate. Who's to say who the victimized predators symbolize? They could represent black people, and they could represent Syrian refugees, or the LGBTQ community, or even police officers. The lesson still stands.
In the end, your time is your time. So you could watch "Fuller House" if you want, with its mostly white cast, questionably portrayed Latin Americans, and tactless endorsement of Raven-Symoné as 'never wrong,' (Episode: 'Partnerships in the Night'), or you could watch "Zootopia", which teaches us to value and respect people who are different from us.
If you ask me—and you're reading my opinion column, so you basically did—I'd pick "Zootopia." It's funny, it's friendly, and it encourages us to be better people.
I loved it, and I'm ready for a sequel. A "Zooertopia," if you will.