It's been six years since Zootopia was released to theaters. In that time, a lot has happened. America has managed the change to two different presidents. Across the pond in the UK, where the movie was known as Zootropolis, they've managed to beat that turnover rate for heads of state with four new prime ministers, plus a new monarch. That's kind of prescient for a movie where the titular city burns through two mayors over the course of its plot.
In all that time, Zootopia has managed to remain popular with furries. It also, perhaps a bit surprisingly, has managed to remain popular with non-furries. It is one of only three Disney Animated Studio movies to break into the billion dollar club (the other two are both Frozen). It also managed critical and industry awards accolades to go along with the commercial success, giving it the hat trick of movie success criteria. So, a lot of people would probably not be averse to a sequel, right?
Well, how about a series of animated shorts released over half a decade later with little fanfare to a streaming service, instead?
Though it’s the baby of Oscar categories, the Best Animated Feature Academy Award will turn 21 this Sunday, meaning it would be old enough to drink alcohol in America, if it could actually do that. Encanto, Flee, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines and Raya and the Last Dragon will compete to become the next recipient of the award.
First introduced in 2001, Best Animated Feature is the only “new” category to be introduced this century so far. Like many new categories, a few animated features had earned "Special Achievement" Oscars, starting with the original American made animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with another going to 1997’s Toy Story, as well as one to the live action/animated hybrid Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Other movie awards followed the Oscars, adding their own animated categories, though the Annies, which are for animation, had obviously been awarding Best Feature for a few years.
Since 2001, 20 movies have won the award, which is a nice round number for doing a countdown, worst to best. The following ranking is based on my opinions, and my opinions only. But, even if you think my rankings are horrible, no good, absolutely wrong, well, I’ve also included a lot of factoids and trivia, so that might be worth reading. Also, not all of the winners have been particularly furry, but most have something of interest to furries going on in them.
Disney announced some furry bait titles coming to a screen near you in 2022. One is Turning Red, a movie about a girl who is cursed to transform into a red panda when she becomes too excited. Along with this is a new animated series around the 2016 movie Zootopia, called Zootopia+, which was covered in Rod O’Riley’s In-Fur-Nation. It seems to be set up as a slice of life, reality format that will follow the lives of side characters.
But for Nick’s partner in crime, their voice may be missing from any side cast shenanigans. After showing symptoms for COVID-19, Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister passed on. The wrestler had many roles in show business. They wrestled Hulk Hogan and were featured on Star Trek, but most furries would know them as the voice of the diminutive fox with an attitude that will “bite your face off.”
It seems 2022 can’t get here fast enough, and not just for the sake of furry films.
Just today on Twitter, Disney Animation made the announcement that a new slate of original animated TV series is on its way to the Disney+ streaming service — and among them is a show called Zootopia+. Yes: Zootopia the series! According to other sources, the series will follow several characters throughout the multi-species city, rather than focusing exclusively on Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps. Here’s the bad news though: We’ll have to wait ’till 2022 to see it!
Disney launched its new streaming service, Disney+, earlier this week, though not without its share of hiccups (fortunately, the Pirates of the Caribbean did not eat the tourists). However, one strange glitch involving the popular furry movie Zootopia has people believing they've found proof of an alternate dimension where the movie is known as Zootropolis.
Could it be a "Mandela effect", where people remember history in a way that doesn't quite match up with our current universe? Named after Nelson Mandela, who apparently did not die in a South African prison the way some people seem to remember. Mandela effects are taken by believers to be signs of alternative realities, and that people with these kinds of memories are somehow sliding between different realities. Non-believers tend to think that they're caused by people inventing imaginary superpowers and pop sci-fi quantum realms rather than just admitting they don't know as much about South African history as they thought they did.
Though it was originally published back in March, the Zootopia fan comic "I Will Survive", drawn and written by Deviant Art artist "Borba", has recently garnered a lot more attention out of nowhere, and not just for its artwork. The comic, which was already notorious among fans of Zootopia for its themes of abortion and spousal abuse, has come to the attention of the wider world, and it even caused a movie nearly two years old to momentarily pop up on Twitter's trending list earlier this week.
As my first story here, I'd like to kick things off with a bang by posting about my personal favorite pieces of conservative animated fare. Fitting seeing as political messages are more popular in children's movies now than ever.
5.) The Angry Birds Movie
Directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly
Theatrical Release Date - May 11, 2016
The most relevant on the list, this film has the gall to take on a subject that's been of great concern in Western Europe for quite some time now: the migrant crisis. Showcasing both the inherent dangers of unfiltered "tolerance" and anti-nationalist sentiment, Angry Birds is a great watch for anyone who wants not only a fun and witty animated feature but a great social statement that's sure to start a conversation.
4.) My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Created by Lauren Faust and Bonnie Zacherle
First Air Date - October 10, 2010
Because I had a hard time finding a lot of content for this list that I could truly say was conservative, it's nice to have a long-winded television series for a change. Now in it's fourth incarnation and running on seven seasons, the show continues to build and explore the world of Equestria. Mainly through the point of view of six girls, one of whom is an apprentice of it's ruler, Princess Celestia.
So, anyway, it’s June 2017, which is a great time to talk about the movies of 2016.
I’ve done this five times before, the ground rules should be clear, but a quick reminder for the uninformed: all movies are my choices, not Flayrah’s, choices are not necessarily furry, movies came out theatrically in 2016 and that’s about it. Usually I do a list of preliminaries, but I’ll save that for Twitter; I don’t remember how to code the boxes, and I’ve changed accounts so I can’t just copy and paste the code, anyway.
Now, without further ado, let the bodies hit the floor!
One year ago, Zootopia, a story about anthropomorphic animals in a modern setting dealing with the issue of prejudices in society, hit theaters. It was the most highly anticipated film for furries in the last decade, some having even rented out theaters for personal furry gatherings. In the days following Flayrah had a reviewing bonanza in which multiple prominent article writers gave their own reviews of the piece.
Heck, the Fur Affinity banner changed to a Zootopia theme when the movie came out and hasn’t changed since.
But on February 27th, the love for the film was continued to be shown well beyond the borders of furry fandom, as the academy elected it to receive the Oscar for Best Animated feature. It beat out nominees Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, and the one that most had thought could take it away from Disney, Kubo and the Two Strings.
So, anyway, earlier this year, a movie came out called Zootopia. We, uh, might have mentioned it. Despite being anticipated, or even known, by just about nobody who wasn't a furry or, perhaps, a major Disney fan, the movie managed to become a rare hit at both the box office and with professional critics (though gathering up Flayrah reviews, the consensus was more in line with Metacritic's "good, but whatever" score, because furries, am I right?).
One thing that was repeatedly and pointedly not mentioned by anyone involved with the movie was another movie a little over a decade old, called Chicken Little. Lots of interviews, and even a semi-independently produced 45-minute making of documentary, all went on at length at how this Disney's first fully anthropomorphic animal world since Robin Hood, and the first set in the furry equivalent of a modern world, despite the fact that it, well, wasn't. Chicken Little became the animated equivalent of a "disappeared non-person" in some sci-fi dystopia.
Which makes it incredibly interesting, in a weird kind of way; in a company that mines its past productions for nostalgia like there is no tomorrow (only yesterday, repeated), Disney has gone out of its way to avoid reminding anyone this movie exists. And this is actually a fairly important movie in the history of the company; it was the first full length computer animated feature by Disney (and not Pixar). So, is it really that bad?
Yes. Yes it is really that bad.
According to box office tracking site Box Office Mojo, Zootopia has just passed Deadpool to become the highest grossing movie of 2016. It's still early in the year, and Zootopia will most likely have relinquished the crown by 2017, but the beginning of the year has seen furries and superheroes battle it out for dominance at the box office.
As of press time, the current weekly box office champ, on its second weekend, is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a superhero showdown of franchise-launching proportions; when the dust settles, it will probably come out ahead of Zootopia, though some film pundits have sensed weakness. The film, while doing massive box office by any standards, has still underperformed compared to predictions both weeks, and has had massive box office drops both from day to day and week to week. Zootopia, while never as massive an opener, has sustained smaller drop-offs and consistently overperformed compared to box office pundit predictions.
But the story of 2016's box office hasn't just been Batman v Superman v Zootopia; as noted, the previous biggest box office of the year was Deadpool, while a look back at the weekly charts reveals its been furries versus superheroes since nearly the beginning of the year.
Yes, we know, we all saw the box office figures. Zootopia is a big hit, and seems to be the establishing mass-media beachhead for "furry fandom". But please, please spare a moment to think about how best to interact with people arriving into the world of anthropomorphic-fiction. Consider this conversation you may well have in the near future ...
"Hey, is that Zootopia fan art? I loved that movie."
"No, it's actually my fursona."
"Oh, like a Zootopia OC, yeah I have one of those."
"No, No, this is from before Zootopia, from the furry fandom."
"Oh. No, I'm not into that stuff."
Stop right there ... Now, this is where you do not rant.
I'm a bit short on sleep at the moment, and my basic opinion on Zootopia is that it's a good, fun film, definitely worth seeing. My post is going to wander around a lot, more personal impressions than flat-out review. I'm not going to summarize the plot (assuming the other reviewers here have already done so), however I will be mentioning some elements of story structure that are semi-spoilerish.
I 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.