Zootopia - 2016
Age-appropriateness: Some scary scenes with rabid animals. A scene where none of the animals wear clothing, appearing “naked”. Characters insult one another.
Overview: In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie bunny cop and a cynical con artist fox must work together to uncover a conspiracy. Zootopia excels at bringing up modern cultural issues at a kid’s level. Underlying themes throughout the film are equality and diversity as a bunny and fox try to make a difference in the world by bringing all types of animals together and fighting against stereotypes.
Themes: diversity, perseverance, bullying, stereotypes, equality, identity, complacency, conformity, failure, vulnerability, police officers, cleverness, brokenness, tricky people
The Quick 3
Ask these quick questions to hit the major themes of the film.
1. Diversity. How easy is it for all kinds of different people to come together to live peacefully in one place?
Zootopia is a place where people of all kinds can come together and not only get along, but thrive together. But some animals had negative stereotypes and judgements about other animals, even before they met them.
2. Stereotypes. Do you ever think negatively about someone before you’ve met them?
A stereotype is what you think about a person based on how they look on the outside, which may be unfair or untrue. A few examples include: "bunnies shouldn’t try anything too difficult" and "foxes are really bad animals".
3. Perseverance. How easy is it for you to “try everything”, even though you could fail?
Judy refused to settle to conform to what everyone told her she should be. We need to keep trying, even if it means we’re going to have to fail a bunch of times.
After The Movie Discussion Guide
Follow this 5-10 minute discussion guide to drive an in-depth conversation.
1. Zootopia is a place where people of all kinds can come together and not only get along, but thrive together. Revelation 7:9 says, "After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.” This is a little picture of what heaven will look like: all kinds of different people, from different nations, speaking different languages, all unified in their love for Jesus. Did you know that Jesus came to save every kind of people, and not just those who look and act like you? What do you think heaven will be like?
Check out this article on How to Talk to Your Kids About Diversity.
2. There are multiple stereotypes shown in the movie. A stereotype is what you think about a person based on how they look on the outside, which may be unfair or untrue. A few examples include: "bunnies shouldn’t try anything too difficult" and "foxes are really bad animals". Do you think it’s fair to generalize about a certain type of people? Sometimes we think negatively about people even before getting to know them. Have you ever thought something bad about someone, until you got to know them, and you found out they were pretty cool? Do you ever underestimate someone’s potential based on who they are or what they look like?
3. Nick was bullied as a kid and it ended up affecting his entire life. He says that when he was bullied, he learned not to be vulnerable and also that he’d just live the life the world told him to live (to be shifty and untrustworthy). Colossians 3:9-10 encourages us not to lie to each other. Vulnerability is “sharing openly and honestly with someone knowing you are risking being hurt." Why do you think Nick is so set against being vulnerable?
For further discussion, read this article on How to Talk to Your Kids About Bullying.
4. Judy Hopps believed that in Zooptopia, "anyone could be anything". Many others told her to give up on her dreams because she’d always be who she already was. Do you believe people can change? Can you think of any unlikely people who accomplished something great, something no one ever imagined?
5. Judy’s parents didn’t believe in her and told her to give up on her dreams, because they say being a police officer would be impossible. But Judy refused to settle to conform to what everyone told her she should be. Is there anything that makes it hard for you to dream big? Do you ever think it’s easier to settle to do what is easy instead of what you’re passionate about?
Minute By Minute Guide
Use this break down of the entire movie in addition to the “After the Movie” discussion guide. Great for repeat viewings.
:03 Judy's dad says, “if you never try anything new, you’ll never fail”. Complacency is a feeling of being satisfied with the way things are and not wanting to make them better. Is it always a bad thing to fail? Can you think of the good that can come from failing? What does it feel like when you try something new and fail?
:06 Judy never gives up at police training academy. She displays perseverance. Perseverance is the ability to get through difficult tasks. When is a time you had to persevere to accomplish something? What made it so difficult and how did you stay motivated?
:17 Even with parking duty, Judy Hopps made the most of her opportunity. She tried really hard at even the small things. Read Colossians 3:23-24. We are to work at everything with our whole heart, as if we’re working for the Lord. Is there anything in your life that is too small to put in the effort? Anything that doesn’t seem worth doing, but you have to do it anyway? What would happen if you put 100% effort into that activity?
:23 Nick Wilde took advantage of Judy and lied to her to get what he wanted. He acted selfishly and lacked integrity. Integrity is “doing the right thing, even when it’s hard". Do you think it was okay to do what Nick did because it was so clever? Has there ever been a time you tricked someone into doing something so you could get what you wanted?
:28 Judy was incredibly discouraged after her first day on the job. What things discourage you?
:56 Nick stood up for Judy when she was discouraged by Chief Bogo. Even when it was hard, and the unpopular thing to do, Nick spoke out for his friend against the police officers giving her a hard time. Have you ever had to stick up for someone against the crowd? How did it feel for you? What do you think it meant for the person you stood up for?
1:14 Zootopia became divisive between predators and prey (non-predators). Animals were unfairly labeling predators as “savages”. Fear of the unknown was dividing them and coming between friendships. Do you think the way predators are being treated is fair?
1:16 Chief Bogo says, “the world has always been broken”. The Bible explains that things on Earth aren’t the way it was originally designed, because sin has entered the world and broke God’s perfect creation. Our sin (the decisions we make that go against God’s plan and instruction) causes bad things to happen in the world. What are some of the broken things you observe in this world? Do you think there is a solution? Romans 5:12-17 explains that sin entered the world through the first human, Adam, but Jesus has a plan to save the world from this brokenness.
1:29 Assistant Mayor Bellwether was behind the attacks on the predators. She was sick of being underestimated and underappreciated and lashed out in a violent way. What could’ve been a better way for her to express her frustration?
1:33 Judy says, “Real life is messy. We all have a lot in common and the more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each of us will be. We have to try.” How can you try to better understand people who aren’t like you? If change starts with you, what changes can you make to make the world a better place?
1:36 “Try Everything”. Keep trying even though you might fail. What is something you may have given up on recently that you can keep trying, even though it might take a while to accomplish?