According to the ultimate source of all human knowledge ever (also known as Wikipedia), anthropomorphism is defined as “the attribution of human traits, emotions, and intentions to non-human entities.” In short, it means talking animals. But that is nothing new; all the classics have done it before, right? Well they have all tried, but no one has done it like Zootopia.
It is sharp, witty, and modern, and it’s something that parents can enjoy just as much (if not more) as their own spawn. Of course, the movie promotes the age-old “Follow your dreams!” message for the kids. But there’s more than that going on. It tackles real and happening social issues (through it’s own Disneyesque lense), confronting racism, sexism, and police brutality. Other movies might dip their toes in that puddle of adult themes (see: Monsters, Inc.), but this one shamelessly takes a swan dive straight in (more like Up or even Shrek).
But Zootopia does not stop there. It makes a number of references sure to interest the parents more than anyone else. Obviously Disney loves to promote itself, so it makes the expected nods to The Jungle Book and Robin Hood. But taking it one step further, the movie brings in Inside Man, Breaking Bad, and The Godfather. In case you didn’t notice, none of those three are exactly recommended for children.
It is a tough line to walk, wanting to interest the parents enough to go see it with their kids but avoiding alienating the kids who it is marketed to in the first place. And Disney’s 55th animated feature not only walks the line, but it struts. Somehow a movie about talking animals blends current social issues with children’s entertainment seamlessly, instantly creating a classic. Now let’s honor a few of those references and recognize a couple more with 23 Zootopia spoof t-shirts!