“Zootopia” Review with Stixen Stones


Stixen’s Spoiler-Free Review

Disney has finally stepped up their game with this family friendly discussion about racism, oppression and stereotypes. This story and it’s protagonists will draw you in and keep you enthralled. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be at the edge of your seat.

*Beware! Spoilers lurk below this point!*

Me: So! Zootopia. A pretty dead week in theaters when we end up going to a kids’ movie that’s been out for a few weeks. But it was surprisingly good.

Stixen: Agreed! I was definitely pretty hesitant going in. I have some negative feelings towards Disney as whole, but this movie really blew me away!

Me: I had similar reservations. Let’s start with an adult note: where, would you say, was this movie’s drag?

Stixen: Oh man, this fill was chalk full of drag! June, our protagonist, was VERY drag. Her determination and her drive, mixed with her quick wit and her hourglass figure made her very drag. (Spoilers!: The sheep assistant mayor was also very drag. Her ability to claw her way to the top using only her intelligence for means of survival was a lot like many of the villainesses I know and love.) But, the most draggy character in this whole film was Shakira’s character Gazelle. Tall, leggy, great hair, gorgeous costumes. But, I liked that even this glamazon had a heart and we got to glimpse her standing up for what she believes in. She couldn’t have been less of a drag character, for me. As I said to you when we left the theatre- best use of Shakira in a film! I’ve never liked her more.

Me: Were you surprised by how grown-up most of the dialogue was? It was like a more politically-charged Finding Nemo.

Stixen: Absolutely! I expected it to be a very dumbed-down discussion of racism. And in reality, I ended up being very caught up in the story and what it represented. It honestly could’ve been marketed towards adults and it still would’ve been completely appropriate. I was surprised. Did it catch you off guard as well?

Me: It did! I expected a reasonably funny children’s film that wouldn’t bore me to tears, but I did not expect to be so entertained. I guessed the major twists before they happened, but that isn’t so terrible.

Stixen: Yeah! I think some of the plot was obvious, but since this movie represented a major current issue, I was deeply immersed. With Inside Out, and now this, I’m REALLY proud that Disney is finally getting back to its old roots and actually trying to reach children where they’re at and teaching them about real life while still entertaining them.

Me: Were there any elements of the film you didn’t particularly like?

Stixen: I liked a lot! But I was confused by the film’s discussion of predator vs. prey. It seemed that it represented races. And I found that a bit troubling and problematic. At the end, of course, they rectified it- but I was worried that maybe someone might take away the wrong message. What was your thoughts on that discussion?

Me: I thought the predator vs. prey thing was a bit heavy handed and it pulled in outdated bits of racism – like genetics. Very few people consider that any more. And there ARE actual differences between animals who eat meat or eat plants (tooth shape, how their body processes food, etc.). I think it would have been better to stay focused on the specific species and the assumptions society made about them/forced them to follow. That is much more on-point with modern racism.

Stixen: I completely agree with that. But, I did like that this film also touched on sexism and homophobia. While it was obviously mostly focused on racism, it did touch on what it feels like to be oppressed and I appreciated seeing that in a children’s film.

Me: So, of all the species, which did you, personally, identify with the most?

Stixen: GAZELLE!

No no, I’m kidding. I wish. If I can get deep, I definitely related to Nick Wilde, the fox, and his back story. I didn’t really relate to his current life story when we meet him- but the scene in his childhood hit me hard. It reminded me a lot of my own coming out story.

What about you?

Me: I feel like I come from the bunny clan: dreams are great! But they don’t actually happen. Be realistic. Don’t aim too high.

Stixen: I can see that! I think you and I are also very similar to Judy in the sense that from the get go- even the first second of the film- Judy is doing her own thing. No matter how much she gets shamed for it, Judy is always determined and true to herself. Even as a young bunny, she knew what she wanted and she was going to go after it. I really enjoyed seeing that.

Me: Me, too! What other thoughts do you have on the film?

Stixen: I definitely enjoyed the feminist elements.

Official Heel Rating:


Four heels, hands down!

M. Leigh Hood is a rare beast of the Cincinnati wilderness typically preoccupied with writing, nerding, and filming The Spittoon List. For more articles and stories by M. Leigh Hood, look HERE.

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