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SCHNEID COMMENTS: Why we need more films like 'Zootopia'
Hannah Schneider is a junior communications major and creative writing minor and writes 'Schneid Comments' for the Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Hannah at email@example.com.
This weekend, I went on a date with my boyfriend to “Zootopia” because I am cool. While waiting for the movie to start, we saw a preview for a new film called, “Storks.” This movie appears to be a fun, quirky narrative about human infant production. Babies are shown carted through a massive assembly line like factory. Storks are the main characters in question, as they have long held up the ideology that human babies just appear to families one day. Because we all know that is how that works.
Although I giggled at the movie preview, it also left me with a queasy feeling in my stomach. I have thought about it more, and it's because “Storks” is playing into the general silencing of sex, sexuality and reproduction. I am not saying that we should have more adult content in "Storks," but playing into the mythological nature of how we work as humans seems counterproductive.
If kids are allowed to see sex everywhere else — as sexualization is presented in tabloids at their level in the grocery store, in advertisements for soda, clothing, etc. — why not in movies? It hurts us, as a society to shroud reproduction, sex and basic human processes in coy silence, while also using it to sell almost everything.
This is where I begin to sing my praises for the movie that I was actually there to see.
“Zootopia” was an intense film. It attempted to lament on race relations in America and how they function on the side of the oppressed and the oppressors. “Zootopia” had commentary on hate crimes, microaggressions, sexism and systemic/institutional oppressions, as well.
For instance, when the main character, Officer Hops, walks into the police station, the cheetah working the front desk tells her she is “cute.” She pauses and says, “Actually, only bunnies are allowed to call each other cute, but it's not OK for animals of size to do it." The rhetorical strategy of this situation is palpable and completely valid within a children’s movie.
This movie was also joyful, funny and had an all-around creative plot.
Even more important than these things was that “Zootopia” was also flawed. It wasn’t perfect; it had metaphors and comparisons that are problematic. However, it gave kids the credit they deserve. And we really need to give them a whole lot more. Existence is really difficult in this world, and it doesn’t start after we are old enough to watch PG-13 movies.