Zootopia Parent Guide
The story reminds us that no matter what our past experiences or genes may be, we still have the ability to determine how we will react and behave.
Parent Movie Review
If you think your city has diversity, you haven’t been to Zootopia. It’s a sprawling metropolis that includes architecture ranging from extra-extra-small—for the tiniest of rodents—to extra-extra-large for elephants and giraffes. Even more amazing (and perhaps more impossible) are the climate zones, which go from extreme chill to desert heat, so there’s a comfortable temperature for every creature.
Of course one might wonder how all these animals get along in a high-density urban environment. Mayor Lionheart (voice of J.K. Simmons) proudly attests that Zootopia is a safe city where anyone can be anything. To prove his point he’s unveiled the municipality’s new Mammal Inclusion Initiative that gives even the tiniest critter equal access to employment. And that’s exactly why our protagonist, a little bunny named Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin), has left her home in the country and moved to the big city.
Achieving the goal of becoming the first bunny on the police force, Hopps quickly learns that respect isn’t included in the benefits package. Surrounded by towering animals ten times her size, Police Chief Bogo (voice of Idris Elba) assigns the eager rookie to parking meter duty. Disappointed and desperate for real police work Judy jumps at the chance to assist Mrs. Otterton (voice of Octavia Spencer) when she shows up begging for help to find her missing husband. The plea comes at a moment when the chief has no alternative except to allow his new recruit to take the assignment.
Because the plot is based on a criminal investigation, the animation may offer some concerns for little viewers. For instance, some characters are threatened verbally and physically, including rough talk about putting enemies on “ice” by a shrew of a mafia boss voiced by Maurice LaMarche. (He means he will throw them into an icy lake.) And there are also a couple of jump moments. Fortunately other possibly objectionable content is minor—mainly some rude humor in a scene where animals are practicing yoga without wearing their clothes. Within the context of the movie, it’s a funny setup.
Not surprisingly, Zootopia also investigates themes of acceptance and inclusion—popular ideas in films aimed at young moviegoers. But in this script none of the characters are without their own preconceptions. A nasty fox bullied Officer Hopps during her childhood, so it is a bitter irony that she must now depend on another fox (voice of Jason Bateman), this one with a checkered past, to help her solve the case. Other creatures possess similar shades of prejudice that are hidden beneath the city’s utopian veneer.
For me, this is the genius of this highly creative production. The story sends a positive message that reminds us that no matter what our past experiences or genetic makeup may be, we still have the ability to determine how we will react and behave. Even if none of us are perfect, we can chose to forgive others and work together to create our own ‘topias, wherever we might happen to live.Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush. Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Alan Tudyk, Katie Lowes, Jason Bateman. . Running time: 109 minutes. Theatrical release March 4, 2016. Updated July 17, 2017
Rating & Content Info
Why is Zootopia rated PG? Zootopia is rated PG by the MPAA for some thematic elements, rude humor and action.
Violence: This animated movie portrays animal characters with human traits, sometimes in violent situations. Characters engage in verbal confrontation and there are infrequent portrayals of hand-to-hand and weapons violence. A character representing a mafia boss threatens to “ice” other characters—in this case that means throwing them into an icy lake. As a child, a small character is bullied by a larger character. Characters are often in peril and a couple of scenes depict very vicious animals that may frighten young children. A male character with only one eye explains how he lost the other in a confrontation. Infrequent startling “jump” moments occur. Some characters, including one who is a hero role model, admit to crimes of not paying taxes or selling bootleg movies.
Sexual Content: An inner city “oasis” has animals doing yoga without clothes on (within the context of a movie, where all the other animals are drawn in clothing, the contrast is intended to be humorous): While the animals are seen in awkward poses (like their posteriors in the air), there are no explicit visual depictions. In other scenes a joke is made about bunnies “multiplying”. One female character is drawn in a way that makes her look sexy.
Language: Two mild, rude words for flatulence and buttocks are heard. A character exclaims, “Sweet cheese and crackers.” Characters infrequently call each other derogatory names.
Alcohol / Drug Use: The movie depicts a poison being manufactured from a plant.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
More parents' guide for Zootopia after the break...
Zootopia Parents' Guide
What parallels to city life do you think the creators of this movie are intending to portray? How does having animals play the roles of humans make these message easier for audiences to accept?
Some animal characters in this movie are depicted as having overcome their natural predator instincts. Foxes are an example of this, becoming members of the utopian society despite their once-vicious behavior. Do you agree with the movie’s message that people are capable of choosing their behavior, even when their action may be contrary to what they might “naturally” be inclined to do? How much choice do you think you have over your nature (DNA and genetic make-up) and your nurture (upbringing, social expectations)?
Many species of animals in this film reveal character flaws relating to pre-judgments of others. Is this an accurate reflection of our society? Is it possible for an imperfect human not to have some prejudicial feelings toward others? What control do we have over the way we feel about and treat others?
From the Studio:
In the animal city of Zootopia, a fast-talking fox who’s trying to make it big goes on the run when he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Zootopia’s top cop, a self-righteous rabbit, is hot on his tail, but when both become targets of a conspiracy, they’re forced to team up and discover even natural enemies can become best friends. Written by Walt Disney Animation Studios
The most recent home video release of Zootopia movie is June 7, 2016. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: Zootopia
Release Date: 7 June 2016
Zootopia releases to home video (Blu-ray Combo Pack) with the following special features:
- Zoology: The Roundtables – Ginnifer Goodwin hosts an in-depth look at the movie’s characters, animation, environments and more. The artists at Disney Animation give a rare and in-depth look at the complexities of bringing an all-animal world to life from the ground-breaking technology behind the characters’ fur and clothing to the varied and vast environments of Tundratown, Sahara Square and the Rainforest District as well as the deep thought and research given to bringing 64 unique animal species to life through animation.
- The Origin of an Animal Tale – Follow the story’s development from its origins to a big story shift that turned the film upside down. In this feature-length documentary, filmmakers give a candid look into the difficulties of creating the story of Zootopia and the bold decision to switch the main character late in the production process, putting one resolute rabbit center stage.
- Research: A True-Life Adventure – The filmmakers traveled the globe to find inspiration for the diverse characters and amazing city of Zootopia. They reflect on the importance of research and how a deep dive into animal behavior at Disney Animal Kingdom theme park and a deep immersion into animal society on the African savanna shaped and inspired the characters of Zootopia and changed the filmmakers’ lives forever.
- Z.P.D. Forensic Files – Find the movie’s hidden Easter Eggs. Every city has its hidden gems, especially when it has been created by the filmmakers of Disney Animation who love nothing more than sprinkling hidden references to some of Disney’s greatest animated features throughout the story.
- Scoretopia – Academy Award®-winning composer, Michael Giacchino spotlights five of cinema’s greatest percussionists and how they brought an organic, animalistic sound to his powerful and emotional music score.
- “Try Everything” Music Video by Shakira
- Deleted Characters – Directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore introduce citizens of Zootopia who did not make the final cut.
- Alternate Opening – Young Judy Hopps rescues a fellow classmate and realizes she can reach beyond a life in carrot farming to a future in law enforcement.
- Wild Times! Pitch – Nick desperately pitches the bankers of Zootopia on funding Wild Times!, an amusement park made exclusively for the predators of Zootopia and a sure-fire, money-making scheme for Nick and his friends.
- Alternate Homesick Hopps – After a frustrating first day on the force, Judy has a conversation with her parents. See how this scene changed from a heartfelt conversation with her parents to tough love when her parents discover their daughter is only a meter maid and not a “real cop.”
- Detective Work – Judy borrows a fellow police officer’s computer to conduct research, which turns out to be no small task.
- Alternate Jumbo Pop – In this early version of the story where Nick was the main character, the filmmakers and Jason Bateman were able to take hustling to a new level.
- Hopps’ Apartment – When Judy’s entire family pays her a surprise visit they are shocked to discover the company she’s keeping.
- The Taming Party – In this emotional clip from an early version of “Zootopia,” Judy attends her first “taming party” and gains a deeper understanding of the plight of the predator.
- “Try Everything” Music Video by Shakira
DIGITAL HD EXCLUSIVE:
- International Character Reel - See the variances in news reporters in Zootopia around the world!