Most movies do not appeal to me. I generally take in the theater at the suggestion of and in the company of my daughter. Before I get into this column let me review the movies I’ve seen lately.
Captain America: Civil War. Rated, by me: B. It was okay as both a superhero movie and as libertarian commentary about obeying your conscious rather than rote orders. Okay it was.
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. B-. Not bad but not what I’d (we’d) hoped for. Batfleck was awesome! Henry plays a good Supes. Wonder Woman was stunning – the 3 minutes we got of her. There was way too much filler.
The Hobbit: Part Whatever. F. The ghost of Tolkien is looking for Peter Jackson right now like a Nazgul on a ring thief.
Star Wars, Episode Too Many, A New New Hope. C. A PC remake of the original with a wimpy Darth Vader and a bigger Death Star.
Then, just the other day, I ventured into Zootopia. Every once in a while the Disney machine gets one right. I actually enjoyed it! A! It’s no wonder Rotten Tomatoes rated it 98% fresh. Fresh carrots, here, I suppose. Like Star Wars it reminded me of something – not another, older movie about a mammalian metropolis – I recalled a book about political theory.
The animation, acting (voice acting) and the flow were all top-notch. The plot was well-developed and unfolded with a suspenseful, surprising rhythm.
Judy Hopps is a small-town bunny with big dreams of becoming a police officer in the big city. She defies the odds and makes the force – the very first rabbit officer. Starting day one she learns all kinds of lessons. She quickly develops her street smarts and cracks the big case.
The city population is roughly 90% herbivores and 10% carnivores. Lately, about a dozen of the carnivores have gone missing. Judy’s sleuthing, aided by a crafty street fox, leads her to their location and a major surprise.
All of the citizens of Zootopia have gotten along fine since forever but there is a lingering , maybe unspoken fear the meat-eaters might, just might go wild. They do. It turns out the missing predators have all mysteriously started acting like wild, violent animals; they go primal. The mayor, a politician’s politician of a lion, realizes what may be happening and has them locked away in a research facility on the outskirts of town.
He and his co-conspirators are arrested. Judy is a hero. But … there is still the problem of the wilding predators. Is it the start of an epidemic? Fear begins to take hold in the city. In the end there is a rational, if uncanny explanation for the savage behavior – the predators have been unwittingly poisoned.
The case is solved. The poison victims are cured. Everyone lives happily ever after and learns important (yes, PC) lessons about inclusion, not jumping to conclusions, and the civilized necessity of overlooking illogical prejudices. Judy’s street fox friend becomes the force’s first fox officer and they end the movies as partners. In and of itself, that would make for a happy ending to a great movie with some pretty decent morals. It’s not just a cutesy animal movie. It features significant societal commentary.
Here’s my special social commentary, all derived from the manner in which the poisoning of the predators was revealed. What was that political book I was reminded of? It was The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli.
Mayor Lionheart’s deputy was an over-worked, under-appreciated sheep. She masterminded the whole predator poisoning, banking on the mayor’s secretive, illegal handling of the matter. It almost paid off for her. She assumed the role of mayor just in time to feed on the city’s (false) fears of a savagery outbreak. The whole missing and drugged carnivore scheme was a false flag event. It was the same kind of deceptive power-play described time and again in The Prince.
Given the politically correct undertones of the movie (to me, harmless), one may safely describe the deputy mayor as a “social justice warrior” (SJW) of the lowest kind. She carefully crafted the false flag and manipulated the people in order to gain power – Machiavellian! I even saw Vox Day’s three rules of SJW behavior in action: the story about the predators was a lie; they (Mayor Sheepy and her accomplices) doubled down to save face and hold onto power at nearly any cost, and; they tried to project their insecurity onto Judy.
So, in the very end, Judy ended up cracking an even bigger case, a case of treason. The ultimate moral of the tale is to not trust the government even if you’re a part of it – especially if you are a decent civil servant like Judy.
“It’s called a hustle, sweetheart.” – Judy Hopps, Zootopia.
“Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.” – Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.
One more thing – two more things…. Disney did the latent comedic elements flawlessly. They featured an overweight, donut-grazing, goofball tiger of a desk sergeant at police HQ. Classic. And, in Zootopia the DMV office is run by … sloths. Perfect! Old Walt would own this one.