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The Review: Part IV

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zootopiaposter.jpgI don't watch movies often. I'm not the kind to go out of my way to see films of any kind. Most of the ones I enjoyed I watched with my family on the television or on VHS or DVD. I can count the number times I went to the theater in the past decade on one hand.

And Zootopia is the first movie in cinema history where I can look at the opening weekend box office numbers and count my dollars amongst them. Yes, you heard that correctly. A 30 year old has never been to any movie on opening weekend until this last Friday, March 4th.

But I guess that's to be expected. Afterall, I was the audience it was marketed for. I'm a furry who writes for a furry news website that often covers movies, books, video games and also covers fandom politic. I usually cover the later two with more regularity. However, as with this opening weekend viewing, I find myself in need to make an exception.

In this article, I'm not going to not talk about the movie itself from an artistic and visual standpoint. I'll leave that to the movie experts on this site as there are people better at that aspect. Instead, in the interest of diversity I'm going to instead analyze the film from the perspective that I'm more known for and that is the social dynamic and messaging of the film.

In this interest I will cover two moments. The one that I feel is the movie’s greatest triumph, and the one that is its greatest downfall. As said these will contain supreme spoilers. If you want no spoilers, skip to the conclusion and don't read the comments.

Spoiler warning: Obviously many others are going to be covering the broad review of the movie here, as we at Flayrah are kind of doing a review extravaganza event. There are already some that are general and spoiler free. Therefore, in order to keep things fresh I will be doing one that contains a bit more spoilers than they do. So this is your warning. Only this introduction and the article's conclusion will be spoiler free. The main sections of the article and the comments will be free game and contain spoilers.

This is the fourth review of Zootopia on Flayrah; please check out reviews by crossaffliction, Mister Twister and Equivamp.

The Best Moment: Integrity

When crossaffliction and I were having back and forth discussion of predictions on the way the movie would play out>, I made the claim that Nick and Judy were in for a rocky ride at the point where the plot revealed that the predators of Zootopia were going savage (which I predicted would be a more central part of the film after the Jan 1st trailer). I made the assumption, foolishly, that Nick would have worried about harming a friend so he would back away. And I was dead wrong.

And I have never been so happy to be wrong. Instead it happened because of an event in the center of the film, and to me is the very heart of the movie.

After cracking the case and finding the missing mammals they learn that all of them were predators and have gone feral. Since she cracked the case, Judy is thrust in front of the media ill-prepared. With furries and our blunderous history with press, the rest is a familiar story. A well meaning bunny tells the cameras the facts she knows and overheard at the time. In her ignorance, she puts forth a narrative to the press where she believes the predators are "going savage" because of something happening to their biology to trigger the events.

In the meanwhile, pictures of predators in feral states flash behind her. The prey species of the city begin to panic. Riots begin in the city of Zootopia and prey animals hold their kids closer to them around the predator species.

Nick chews her out over her statements, knowing the implications of those words and the impact it would have on predators such as himself. He wonders how much of it was the "facts of the case" and how much of it was her "personal belief".

However, he is the only one who gives her direct grief over it. Her boss, a water buffalo, finally respects her, and she gets called into city hall to talk with the mayor. The mayor proposes that Judy be the poster-bunny of the ZPD.

And in that moment, she declines. Wracked with guilt over the riots going on in the city, and that it was her words that caused it, she resigns her position from the force and places her badge on the desk and walks out the door. But while she leaves the room the camera fixates upon the badge laid on the mayor's desk. One word is legible across the badge's face: Integrity.

The word and series of scenes shook me, and I knew exactly what they were doing.

It is the closest that a children's film could ever hope to get to the incidents that have been popping up across America. Where a cop, in a moment of ignorance, takes an action they should not have. And in the end, the entire community suffers over the mistake made. The movie's opinion on what needs to be done is clear. Despite how well-intentioned Judy was, and despite the fact that she was not being punished for her actions that caused the chaos, the correct thing for her to do is to understand that in that moment, where holding the title you wanted all your life means that the community you swore to uphold has to suffer, you give up that title.

That is integrity.

This kind of message is essential in this moment in our history and the fact that it was a "children's movie" that had to make it is astonishing. But it is a pleasant surprise. It is an essential lesson that we want our future officers and difference makers to uphold to and it deserves full praise for being there. The craftsmanship of the message was so artfully done that it didn't feel like a lecture, but a consumable lesson that not only the children in the room needed to hear, but the adults as well. As adults we deal with trying to obtain our personal dreams and all too often we may be called upon to step upon the backs of others to get there. And hopefully in those moments we too can have the integrity of Judy Hopps.

The Worst Moment: The Antagonist, their Method, and the Statistics

When lost in the moment of the movie I didn't think too much of the story's flaws, I walked out of the theater bright eyed and loving everything about Zootopia from top to bottom. Then something stuck in my mind, and would not let go. Essentially it was a blundering oversight in the world building of Zootopia and the understanding of what causes systemic level prejudices. All these errors boil down to one character, the antagonist, May Bellwether.

In essence the flaw can be summarized in two quotes by the antagonist in correlation with the antagonist's motives, her methods, and the environment portrayed by the other parts of the film.

First we get a feel for the way prejudices present themselves in the city of Zootopia. There are the minor prejudices of course: species, urban/rural, district biases. But the biggest one, and the main conflict of the movie centers around that of predator versus prey, which I will call dietism for the remainder of the article as a short-hand (because furries are good at this whole neologism thing).

So in this world laced with dietism I assumed that it would be the predators who are overall suppressing the prey. However, like my short story "The Curators" in The Furry Future, Disney decided to go the other way and make it the predators who are the ones being systematically suppressed by the prey animals. I don't know if that was what they were going for but here are a few examples in the movie that support this argument:

  • The ZPD has a cheetah, a creature known for its speed and agility, manning the front desk. In the meanwhile, many of the cops who are in top position are burly prey animals. No wonder the poor guy is scarfing doughnuts and sassing Judy when she first arrives.
  • The elephants at the ice cream shop states to Nick that they "have the right to refuse service to anyone."
  • Nick's background story and experiences in the scouts.
  • Many predator animals are in positions which are considered underclass. They are tied with criminal elements frequently. The only exceptions I can think of are the Mayor Lionheart (remember this) and the snow leopard newscaster.
  • And most importantly, when May Bellwether is giving her villainous dialog she drops a bombshell statistic: 90% of the Zootopian residents are prey animals.

Now let's take a step back and understand the politics of Zootopia. It is a democratic city. We know this because of another quote from May Bellwether: "I think he [Mayor Lionheart] used me just to get the sheep vote."

In a democratic society, where dietism is a common issue amongst the populous, a statistic of 90% causes the whole believable world of Zootopia to collapse in upon itself. Because in that kind of republic, a lion is extremely unlikely to be mayor. In fact I don't see how the pro-integration movement would have even have gotten off the ground. 90% is not just a majority, it is a super majority.

So we have an antagonist who is lamenting that Lionheart used her for the sheep vote and wants to be in political office really badly. So much so she would make predators into monsters and drive divisions, despite working for a pro-integration politician. Is there any way she could have gotten into office without relying on such an unstable scheme?

Oh yeah, she could have run against him for the position. And she would have won too, easily. You can try to debate me on this, and that Lionheart could have won, but trust me I've debated every scenario to myself over the past two days. There is no way a lion beats a sheep who have similar messages in a Zootopia election given the above items of dietism in combination with Zootopia's demographic.

Imagine if you can, an Iranian leader who is a Sunni. Imagine if you can a Saudi Arabian leader who is a Shia. Those are the odds that Lionheart, a predator, has of beating Bellwether, a prey animal in an open election in Zootopia. I mean she clearly has a posse whose willing to pull off these operational feats for her. Why not use them on a campaign trail instead of pulling off this predators going savage hustle?

May Bellwether running for office through a political campaign is to the antagonist of Zootopia as the eagles are to the protagonists of the Lord of the Rings. It's the Occam's razor solution that circumvents all the pomp and circumstance presented in the movie.

And even worse, for some reason, Ms. Bellwether continues to subject predators to the poisoning, even after she ousted Lionheart from political office. She no longer has any motive to do so. She already stirred the pot and got what she wanted. Why did she continue marking targets? It makes no sense. It makes her a cardboard villain, who makes no sense as well.

In the end I feel as if May Bellwether was a scapegoat - or sheep in this case - to gloss over the way that prejudices become prevalent in democratic politics. It is typically not the politician who becomes angry about not being in power, it is the people who fear a changing demographic where they are no longer hold a majority becoming angry enough to start to see the minority as a threat to their hold on power. And woe is to that county if a populist who feeds on those very fears rises to the top in the political structure, because then their supporters feel safer to commit their own acts of bigotry in the open. They don't need convoluted plots and schemes to get into office. They get there via the way any other politician does, through you.

It's a lesson that is needed in the modern world, overlooked by an artificial antagonist. Democracies don't become truly corrupt because a solitary politician became corrupt (but that certainly doesn't help good people's perspective on government). Democracies become corrupt because the people voting in them become corrupt, or simply when the number of corrupt individuals outnumber those who are not.

And the saddest thing about this oversight is, if the percentage of prey animals was dropped to the 60%-70% range, the believability of the story returns. Because that is diverse enough to have elections be tense enough for people looking for power to use alternate means.

Conclusion

It's not frequently that Disney comes out of its fantasy box. Their Epcot sized bubble, for better and for worse, is known for releasing romanticized films of a dream of a world that has simplified conflicts: where valiant knights take down evil witches or where a family can raise 101 spotted dogs without starving themselves to death. I believe these aren't terrible movies, they are more the ideal world we wish to live in. Where conflicts can be stewed down into something simple and consumable.

Zootopia had both succeeded and failed in the endeavor it set out to do and break free of such traditions. To develop more complex social interactions and put in a more grey tone. In many places they succeeded. But like with most new things, they stubbed their toes on some of the more nuanced details about what causes such grey situations in the first place. And in the end, when the antagonist was revealed, it fell back to its romanticized roots.

In other words: the movie set out to"ruin the magic", only to have the "ruin the magic" magic ruined by the old Disney formula popping in near the end. But I can't fault it from trying everything, and overall the result was an excellent step in the right direction. There were mistakes, but they are indeed new ones. And keep on making them, those new mistakes.

One of the greatest successes of the film is that it will be talked about. And not just in the sense of the film itself or the characters within it. But how the characters are reflective of our own society: dreams and ideals, versus the realities that need to be overcome. Instead of giving us a romanticized world, it realizes that reality is different. And in the end it's up to all of us to bridge the gap between our dreams and reality.

In other words, it's one heck of a "zipper-back" anthropomorphic fiction.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Okay, you are assuming Zootopia has a two party system; remember, America is kind of weird in that aspect. You're assuming Bellwether is more electable than Lionheart in a general election, and that may be true, but that doesn't mean there's not, like, a squirrel out there that could beat them both. So, they formed a coalition, like parties in the UK or Japan or pretty much everywhere besides America do; Lionheart may have wanted the sheep vote, but Bellwether may have needed the lion vote (even if it was a smaller gain) just as much.

Of course, the 90/10 split is actually accurate to the real world; just the natural world. It's ecology; there are more predators than prey (which also doesn't make sense, because predation doesn't happen anymore, so there are no real reasons a pred/prey spread should remain static). And, also, you failed to notice that, while all predators may scare the average bunny or sheep or whatever, some predators are more hated than others; an otter, for instance, is all but honorary prey, while a fox is hated by everyone, even elephants who obviously have no historical reason to fear them. There is a difference between hate and fear. Remember, Judy's dad Stu lists off a bunch of predators at the start as people to worry about; Bonnie is less racist, reminding him bears and weasels and whatnot really aren't that bad, but, oh, yeah, foxes really do suck. So, "dietism" isn't across the board; lions are probably respected and trusted, even if they are feared. So, kind of a perfect politician, actually.

I'm assuming Bellwether keeps up the campaign because she's using it to stay in power as long as possible, and if her power is based on fear of an other, you got to keep the people scared (there's no evidence Zootopia's mayors have term limits; at the very least there's going to be another election at some point). That being said, yeah, it does have the problem of all conspiracy thrillers (and, for that matter, conspiracy theories in real life); conspiracies just are more trouble than their worth.

Loved the product placement, though.

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Darn it. Said some of what I was typing but posted before me. >.<

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Imagine if you can, an Iranian leader who is a Sunni. Imagine if you can a Saudi Arabian leader who is a Sunni.

That was not what that originally said. "Imagine if you can a Saudi Arabian leader who is Shia" should be what was put there.

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Ah, nevermind, can fix it myself. The link was accurate, the editor just forgot to change the word in the link.

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The KSA's Sunni dominance is a religious one, with Shi'a causing a schism abroad, away from Mecca, Medina, Ryadh, and so forth.
It's not a demographical one. It's not comparable to the biological implications of the Predator/Prey society set up in Zootopia.
Plus Zootopia isn't a monarchy that has a geopolitical position to maintain at all costs, thus forcing themselves into repressive methods of guaranteeing stability (By, let's say, suppressing minorities.)
Zootopia is a democratic system holding the burden of speciesism under the surface. It's a completely different problem.

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That is true, while Iran's situation is hardly purely democratic, it's kind of why I put the Saudi example next to it. As Saudi Arabia is supposed to be more Democratic and an ally of the West.

I did Google for a Shi'a leader in Saudi Arabia. I didn't get any results.

Obviously someone in the minority can rise up, but mostly the country would have to do what Zootopia does and have a strong political belief that anyone can be anything, and so are willing to put up a minority into positions of responsibility to be symbolic of that ideal.

Thusly, a lion could possibly be a mayor. But in a primary of two candidates promising the same things, it seems far more likely the prey animal would win in Zootopia.

It would be interesting to know the backstory to how a Lion could have possible won, especially one that is so openly belittling to their prey staff as Lionheart is.

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Iran's system is a theocracy that is as democratic as it can be in regards to keeping elements of a democracy there as a buffer between the religious conservative elites and the increasingly reformist population (a job made especially difficult due to the demographics changing. While during the '79 revolution only a quarter of the population lived and/or worked in an urban environment, that number has almost tripled, and with urbanization comes westernization in their case). When things go sour, people vote certain elements of the Majlis / Parliament away, whilst the Guardian Council, and the Supreme Leader are still many a step away from any democratic input.

With Saudi Arabia, it's a monarchy with everyone in the same family, the house of Saud.
There are Shi'a political leaders, especially near the coasts of the Persian Gulf. They are unable to reach any higher level of power due to the monarchic system itself. And the fact that as soon as they show up, they're quickly jailed, decapitated, and next please.

As for how Lionheart won, it's probably charisma. Of course the fake charisma we so often decry politicians of having.
Heck, look at Mitt Romney. That's a case study right there.

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Good read on the Middle Eastern Politic. I knew I was probably oversimplifying by using them as an example, It was just one I had decided on using for some reason.

Bellwether can get charismatic too though, I mean, at least when she let the evil monologue in her take over. In other parts she did seem passive and fumbling with her words.

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That's a great observation.
Fumbling at one moment, yet confident at another when she is expressing her innermost point of view.

I can recommend you some bibliography too!

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Oh, yeah, let me add that Arabia was never 'supposed to be more Democratic', just an ally of the west. It's an important distinction we need to make, because it was specifically stipulated back then in the 1945 Quincy agreement, where we formally agreed to not impose any democratic system (Or any input on their politics whatsoever, ever).

The idea of democratization of the Middle East is a very recent, neoconservative idea, with its crucible in how in many writings prior to the first Gulf War, many a conservative national security personality insisted on deposing Saddam, with absurd fervor.

(By the way, I enjoy talking about these things, what with it being my job, and I hope I'm not being condescending or sounding too agressive against you throughout the posts, here or elsewhere.)

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Oh absolutely not, I was suspecting someone would call me out on oversimplifying Middle Eastern politics (someone from the West doing that? Never).

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Even experts oversimplify Middle Eastern policy, because there's no other way to put it into a framework for our western interpretations of democracy and the development thereof, without missing crucial reasons as to why things are the way they are.
It takes years to become a subject matter expert for one country down there, let alone the entirety of the Middle and Near East.
The news we get in Europe and the US about them is painfully basic. Like a Facebook meme compared to an Encyclopedia. And with the news there being ranked low in regards to press freedom, it's a shifty thing and hard to get into until you reach a certain depth.

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It would be interesting to know the backstory to how a Lion could have possible won, especially one that is so openly belittling to their prey staff as Lionheart is.

Jeb Bush (quiet introvert, often seen as the "nice" candidate) vs. Donald Trump (big, rude, brash, mean to everyone, distracting hair).

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You comparison falls flat on this regard. Trump is the same race as Bush.

What if Trump were black but everything else about him was the same? Think he'd still be the Republican front runner?

If the mayor was a prey animal then other prey animals may not be too off put by their belittling of a prey animal. But since he is a predator, I don't feel the prey would be as tolerant of it.

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An interesting take but I'm not sure that's as big of a flaw as you present it.

"And most importantly, when May Bellwether is giving her villainous dialog she drops a bombshell statistic: 90% of the Zootopian residents are prey animals."

Minor aside, this is, as far as I remember, biologically correct. At least in the real world it's due to the fact that after each step on a food chain you lose a certain amount of nutrition. The numbers work out that you can support only about 10% of the previous level of the food chain on the next one. So 1 tonne of grass supports 100 kg of herbivore, supports 10 kg of carnivore. In Zootopia who knows why it's like that but I kinda like they kept that.

"In a democratic society, where dietism is a common issue amongst the populous, a statistic of 90% causes the whole believable world of Zootopia to collapse in upon itself. Because in that kind of republic, a lion is extremely unlikely to be mayor."

In a democratic society where racism is a common issue amongst the populous, if only 12% of the population is black it is extremely unlikely for a black person to be president.
Oh, wait... That happened. Two terms in a row. And yes, I realise the US isn't 90% white but my point is just that it's not as unlikely as you present. It actually fits the US reasonably well and we don't know anything about the political situation in Zootopia.

"Oh yeah, she could have run against him for the position. And she would have won too, easily. You can try to debate me on this, and that Lionheart could have won, but trust me I've debated every scenario to myself over the past two days. There is no way a lion beats a sheep who have similar messages in a Zootopia election given the above items of dietism in combination with Zootopia's demographic."

We don't know their background, which could tell us why Lionheart won. Presumably there were other candidates for mayor and he beat them as well. And we do know speciesism exists in Zootopia. What do we know about lions? They are king of the jungle. What do we know about sheep? They are dumb herd animals that just follow each other everywhere. Bellweather would've been running against a fair amount of prejudice herself.

"And even worse, for some reason, Ms. Bellwether continues to subject predators to the poisoning, even after she ousted Lionheart from political office. She no longer has any motive to do so. She already stirred the pot and got what she wanted. Why did she continue marking targets? It makes no sense."

Come on, you're smarter than that. I don't want to make my reply unnecessarily long though. I'll just end on something random, like a quote from 1984.

"And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival."

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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"In a democratic society where racism is a common issue amongst the populous, if only 12% of the population is black it is extremely unlikely for a black person to be president.
Oh, wait... That happened. Two terms in a row. And yes, I realise the US isn't 90% white but my point is just that it's not as unlikely as you present. It actually fits the US reasonably well and we don't know anything about the political situation in Zootopia."

1 question you have to answer to use this metaphor would be: is America's racism as bad Zootopia's dietism?

My answer to that is going to be it is not. Because if a police officer said something along the lines of what Judy said on that podium in the US, she'd probably be kicked off the force rather quickly.

Or maybe I'm being a bit too optimistic?

It's an interesting question none the less.

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I can't remember her exact words but in a society where a presidential candidate won't denounce a white supremacist group out of fear of isolating his voters then I think the racism must be pretty bad.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Well something is going on after all that, Trump is losing more states to Cruz. It's hard to say what the primary states would have decided if Trump did this blunder earlier.

But as I said in the closing of that segment. It is the people that project their corruption on their leaders, and their leaders that make them feel safe doing such thing. There is very much a percentage of white people who see this loss in demographics as a threat to their democratic power, which is why they are willing to listen to a populist. A black person being president only inflames the fears of lost power. One that Trump has successfully fanning in worrying ways.

But if Trump were just a police officer and not a mogul, yeah, he would have been kicked out of the force. In fact some of his supports have been kicked our of the military for their behaviors at his rallies.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/king-wannabe-marine-tossed-donald-trump...

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1984? If you're going to go Orwell, go Animal Farm.

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But I haven't read Animal Farm...

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

WHAT?

It's probably public domain; you can probably get for free, legally, on the Internet, and you should totally do that.

(Also, you didn't say "MEDIOCRE". That's, well, MEDIOCRE.)

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Orwell's works won't become public domain until 2020, 70 years after his death. This is a contentious matter in England because the Orwell estate has repeatedly blocked the DVD release of a 1984 TV adaptation, and presumably will continue to do so until their rights expire.

Watership Down is a better book than Animal Farm anyway, but I digress...

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Well, he can probably find a cheap Kindle copy (and he should; it's actually pretty good in general, and I think right up Rakuen's ally specifically).

But, yeah, Watership Down is better; just, you know, if you need something new to read after the 100th time.

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This is totally off-topic, but if you want a furry classic, may I recommend my list of over a hundred furry titles?

http://dogpatch.press/2015/09/25/the-well-read-furry/#more-14040

Fred Patten

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I was going to buy it but it was still really expensive. :/ My sister might have a copy though but now she's in another country.

And I didn't do it because it didn't really make sense to me when you first proposed it. >.<

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Well, we're both idiots because it took us both this long to remember libraries are still a thing; you should be able to find a copy at one.

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Possibly but I am now in a German speaking country. Anyway I'm in no hurry. :)

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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"Why did she keep making targets?"
Because what she wanted was an all out segregated society, really.
Ousting the mayor is as easy as filing an HR complaint. The fact she formulated the whole plan is a huge teller about something much deeper that's hinted at in the whole society the movie spends its introductory segment showing.
Democracies are easily corruptible when people are pushed into a fearful environment. Not unlike, well, pretty much every dictatorship established itself, due to some demagogues becoming popular, or reviving a slight resentment into a flaming scary environment. Just read any Goebbels speech, he uses 'terror' and 'fear' so much you'd think this was a post 9/11 Rush Limbaugh on the podium. It's a simple display of people exploiting how a society can be easily simplified into having a victim/agressor build to it.
You don't need a Master's in political sciences to see the simplicity with which this same logic is not only applied into the film villain's acts, but in today's standards.
But the point is, it's not a 'solitary artificial villain' here. The villain represents a culmination of the bubbling resentment about predator/prey relations that are CONSTANTLY HINTED AT throughout the whole film. You can't suddenly say it's 'tacked on' like that. The theming that allows the viewer to accept the villain without suspension of disbelief is shown to us, multiple times throughout the movie's acts.

So no, the fact that you overlook that element of the social and political subtext just so you could squeeze some sort of 'duality' about your movie's interpretation is sloppy at best. It hasn't 'succeeded and failed' at doing same thing. This isn't a Schroedinger's Cat of a film.

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Then the question is: If she really wanted a fully segregated society, why would she even have been working under a pro-integration candidate to begin with?

Wouldn't she have been running against the pro-integration candidate? Or working with the opposition?

She clearly made no indication to those on the outside world that she felt she wanted Predators and Preys to be seperate in any Trumpian, or even subtle way.

Because if she ever made something like that clearly known about her beliefs two things would have happened:

1) Mayor Lionheart wouldn't even think of putting an anti-integration personality on his staff.
2) Nick Wilde wouldn't have been jovally noting that a sheep's wool is like cotton candy. Instead he'd be like. "No, I actually don't want help from this bigot."

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Sometimes, if you want to achieve a specific end, deception is necessary. Remember Palpatine didn't go, "This democracy thing sucks, vote for me and I'll get rid of it." He created a war, a climate of fear, manipulated himself into power and then use the fear of the population to grant himself "emergency powers." As long as the people believe Bellweather is acting in their best interests she is safe.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Palpatine's a bad example, due to George Lucas being a terrible writer.

A certain guy by the name of Schicklgruber who got voted in during the Weimar republic is a better (if not overused and obvious) one.

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If you're into graphic novels, I think the perfect example you would want for your point would be 'The Smiler' from the Warren Ellis series 'Transmetropolitan'.

It's not furry, but it's still worth your time (and wallet, as the reprints are still pricy).

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Please don't use emperor Palpatine as an argument for anything. The character is awful in Episodes I - III.

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"[...] She could have run against him for the position. And she would have won too, easily. You can try to debate me on this, and that Lionheart could have won, but trust me I've debated every scenario to myself over the past two days. There is no way a lion beats a sheep who have similar messages in a Zootopia election given the above items of dietism in combination with Zootopia's demographic [...]"

Didn't you consider the obvious? I don't think it's impossible for a lion to be mayor over a sheep, but more importantly... From a furry cartoon perspective, it's more awesome to have the lion as the mayor, rather than as the chief secretary. Politicians 'puff' their chests, try to be bigger than life, they are conceited / vain. The character of "the vain lion" with their large mane and teeth is older than Christianity, and so is the character of "the oppressed poor sheep" probably. The scenario isn't inconceivable, and each individuals' species is more fitting to their personality this way.

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Yeah, but isn't this an entirely "forget about their accomplishments and record; vote for their image" message? In the current 2016 campaign, it would be like saying, "forget about their records; look at Trump's hair! He's obviously the most spectacular candidate!"

Fred Patten

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Well, that's assuming the movie is on Lionheart's side, when it clearly is not.

Mike is just saying it happens, not that it should.

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She absolutely made no indication thereof, correct.
But then again, one can wonder if it's not some sociopathy she has going on. We're all used to having people be completely open about their political allegiance.
And she actually does have a subtle tell. Why else would she only show up with her 'integration initiatives' when it's a prey creature advancing, a Zootopian twist on affirmative action? We of course don't see her doing it otherwise, and maybe it's overthinking, sure.

Mayor Lionheart, as we see, barely pays attention to his glorified secretary. I wouldn't be surprised if the prideful lion ends up ignoring whatever she says anyway, because he sure gives this impression.

Nick doesn't know about her intentions either, especially at that point in the film.

The rebuttal to your point I'm trying to make here is that people often don't wear their politics in their sleeve.

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So what you're saying is that May Bellwether was secretly working for an anti-predator sect this whole time?

Now that is interesting, and a distinct possibility.

How she got away with pulling the wool over the eyes of those in the integration movement for so long would be a very interesting back story.

I'd have to re-watch the movie with that in mind to think of it as a possibility or a farce. But I did notice that too, she would only show up when a prey species needed a bump, not a predator.

What a wonderful thickening plot this line of thinking has unraveled.

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"Pulling wool over the eyes" is a metaphor too good to miss, what with her being a sheep!

The point is, try interpreting her character as someone who resents her role as a prey, and thus uses the predator line of thinking to further her agenda, of a 'rule of majority' taken to its extreme.

For a character who has definitely been bullied around (but gets the job done, what with her still managing her workload which we see in a couple scenes as being enormous but thankless), it seems almost obvious that she's letting her resentment turn into a full on cryptofascist worldview.
And one can easily be forgiven for overlooking it too, because of how the movie is cut very quickly, and you are led on from one scene to the next.

I trust you'll really enjoy a second, more cynical look at the film. Fingers crossed you'll enjoy it even more.

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I don't think she really gives a shit, actually, one way or another about integration. Power is its own goal.

She'll say she's integrationist, then actively so discord between the integrating groups on the downlow, as long as it keeps her in power. She's in it because she gets off on the power; we're talking about a character who sadistically tries to use a character's own friend as a murder weapon, and watches.

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Aha. So a textbook sociopath.
Making use of both the system and the people within as a tool, a means to an end.

Concise way of putting it.

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And even worse, for some reason, Ms. Bellwether continues to subject predators to the poisoning, even after she ousted Lionheart from political office. She no longer has any motive to do so. She already stirred the pot and got what she wanted. Why did she continue marking targets? It makes no sense. It makes her a cardboard villain, who makes no sense as well.

Bellwether makes it very clear that she's going to keep making predators savage, "as many as it takes", because she plans on fear being the cornerstone of her reign: "Fear always works!"

I mean, it's obvious that despite the massive uproar against predators, there are people who are against it, even celebrity prey like Gazelle publicly denouncing the "dietism" and standing with them. So if Bellwether sits on her laurels and lets these people make protests without continuously cultivating this fear, it's going to fade.

She's not just wanting to be mayor, she wants to be mayor in a Zootopia that hates and fears predators like never before.

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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention:

I was the audience it was marketed for.

Holy cow! You're really well-written for a little kid!

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That one made me laugh; I got a pretty good laugh from my brother when the theater played a "Tim Daly awkwardly talks about how people over fifty can sometimes get pneumonia, so, like get that checked out" PSA and I leaned over and said, "NAILED the target audience with that one!"

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http://gizmodo.com/proof-that-disney-is-marketing-zootopia-to-furries-1762472194

But yes, I was writing for fun-sees since 5th grade.

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BuzzFeed News has obtained an email that a marketing agency working with Disney sent to the furry Meetup group Furlife, encouraging furries to post photos of themselves in fursuits to Twitter and Instagram with the movie hashtag, even offering posters or movie swag to those that do.
Notopoulos noted that Disney’s animators have also favorited tweets from furry community Twitter users about the film—and that many furries believe Disney purposely made the film to appeal to furries.

Being used to market a film, and having your tweets noticed by people likely monitoring any mentions on social media, is not the same as being marketed to.

I think the closest they came to that was the trailer in which they kind of ran roughshod over the definition of the word "anthropomorphic".

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Well, yeah. Still counts though. They have to market to furries who they want to post hashtagged fursuit pics before they can use them.

People kept saying no way it was happening, because furries are such a teeny tiny population.
I took that into account and wrote some stuff about furry "head turning power" that's way outsized to actual spending potential.

Then they found that marketing email showing it was happening contrary to disbelief. Wikifur has a summary of some of this.

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For someone who's younger then me, your definition of marketing, and what it entails in the modern era, is a bit outdated.

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However, I will say in retrospect saying "an" audience it was marketed for would have been a better way to put it then "the" audience it was marketed for.

That being said, I'm going to have to agree with other non-furry reviews I've seen and that is, young children will be too bored, or too terrified in some parts of the film to get enjoyment from it.

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on the non spoiler front:

"And Zootopia is the first movie in cinema history where I can look at the opening weekend box office numbers and count my dollars amongst them. Yes, you heard that correctly. A 30 year old has never been to any movie on opening weekend until this last Friday, March 4th."

I am 55 and this i s my fort opening week movie. I did so because I know furry world be blabbering and spoiling the movie and it was nice to see it with a 50 fellow furs in the Portland Oregon area.

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Okay, so we've got one more in the queue (sorry, dronon, I'm sleeping on it; it's really long, and I've already edited two just today), uh, Fred emailed me, I think he's out, Rakuen is also out, Patch I assume would probably post to his own site, Green Reaper probably not interested, Cassidy is a "I ain't even watching that crap", InkyCrow is the only maybe still out there that I know of, so this might be over after dronons more (barring complete newbies)?

Umm, anyway, while we're here, and talking about reviews, we are not doing this for most of them; Cassidy called dibs on Angry Birds (and technically Rock Dog and Sly Cooper, but neither still have release dates, I'm pretty sure the latter no longer exists, and the former was quietly taken out back by the Chinese censors and shot in the back of the head, executioner style, so I'm saying she called Angry Birds), and I called Kung Fu Panda 3, so anybody else want to call anything while we're all here? Please, just pick one; don't pull a Cassidy and pick three that only ended up working because I've already written that parenthetical phrase.

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I have no interest in doing movie reviews, so I'm not calling any. As noted this was an exception.

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I'd like to do a proper movie review someday, but I'm not one who can usually collect my thoughts and write a coherent review overnight. It's not my specialty. I'd say I could write for the upcoming Storks movie, but the teaser trailer hasn't excited me about the movie yet (which was played at my screening of Zootopia)

Loved Zootopia, btw. Will be going back for second, likely third, viewings as a quality furry movie like this doesn't come around that often. I have been reading with much interest what you and others have been posting on the movie.

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GreenReaper hasn't even seen it, in part because it isn't out in the UK until March 25.

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I should probably report that I've written my review, but for Dogpatch Press, not for Flayrah.

http://dogpatch.press/2016/03/09/zootopia-review-by-fred-patten/

Fred Patten

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Good review! Thanks for sharing.

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Splitter!

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Now that the original plot has been revealed, it now makes sense where the 90%, 10% factor came from.

Zootopia was originally supposed to have the prey species subjecting the predators to extremely oppressive treatment from the get go. It seems like while the plot was changed, it seems the demographics weren't modified to present the change in feel.

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One thing you're ignoring is that the 90%/10% split is based on nature; it's basically what they based everything off of, both plots.

What you're forgetting if it still bothers you is that predator/prey isn't the only majority/minority in play; in fact, every species is its own minority, when compared to everything else. There are at least 64 separate species animated for Zootopia, and the assumption is there are others that just never got seen. Each one of those species is a minority when compared to all other species. The closest we see in the movie are rabbits, who obviously have a large plurality, but not a majority. Plus, each species is dealing with its own unique set of stereotypes and prejudices, many negative (foxes are untrustworthy), some positive (lions are noble), a few pretty neutral (rabbits love carrots), but often wrong on an individual level.

The predator/prey divide is important, but it's not the only divide in Zootopia. Sheep may outnumber lions, but the number of animals that think sheep are dumb followers and lions are natural leaders outnumbers those that don't. The average mouse voter probably wishes Mickey could run again, but he or she would probably more likely to vote for the animal with leadership as its stereotype, even if said leader is a bit intimidating And that's not even considering the lion's actual platform; your problem with Mayor Lionheart assumes that species dynamics are the big issue, almost to the point it is the only issue, where the movie makes clear that, much like in our world, prejudice exists, but it is rarely obviously overt.

In fact, that's one of the major improvements of the new story over the old story. In the original version, Judy is overtly prejudiced against foxes; she assumes Nick is guilty of some crime at the beginning of the story, because he's a fox, and her character arc over the course of that story is learning foxes aren't automatically criminals. In the movie, Judy is not only not overtly prejudiced against foxes, she actively lectures her parents on why stereotyping foxes is bad; her prejudices are covert, and in fact, so covert, she is barely aware of them herself. Her character arc is now learning that even she has prejudices to overcome.

The other major improvement is that it allows the story to much more clearly deal with the real world; prejudice overtly exists in the form of the collars in the original (or at least older) version. In the real world, we don't, at this moment, put any minority in collars. So, the movie becomes about "who we were" or "who we might become," but not about "who we are." It is totally an angrier, darker version, and yet, would totally lack the gut punch of certain scenes in the finished movie, because it's about something people in the real world do.

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Predator/Prey was a lot of fun! I got to be the truck… man, now I miss Oklacon. Thanks. :-p

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So um, yeah. I think this year kind of proved my point on this and all I have to say is:

https://youtu.be/8DO0kxKMHIA

You see, that's somewhat dryly humorous because like a T-Rex he has tiny arms.

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About the author

Sonious (Tantroo McNally)read storiescontact (login required)

a Kangaroo from Syracroose, NY, interested in video games, current events, politics, philosophy and writing