When you have four children, Disney movies come with the territory...all of them. Every now and again, a decent one comes along. Every now and now and again one comes along that is done really well. For those of you that don't have kids and would feel creepy going to a movie theater to watch a children's movie, you may have missed Zootopia.
The brief backstory, there is a bunny, Judy Hopps, that wants to become a police officer. She is idealistic and ambitious but there has never been a bunny police officer on the Zootopia Police Department, her own parents believe the venture is too dangerous and no one believes that she can do it. As most children's stories go, the hardworking dreamer finds a way to achieve her goal, YAY! End of story, the movie is what we all thought it would be, right? Not quite.
Judy Hopps becomes a police officer, there is a big ceremony and this historic first is politically lauded while simultaneously scoffed under the breath of most. Our heroine shows up for duty her first day at the ZPD and while everyone else is assigned to beats that have significance, young Hopps is assigned to lowly parking duty. Her boss, Chief Bogo declares, "Life isn't some cartoon musical where you sing a little song and your insipid dreams magically come true, so let it go." Parking duty it is.
I'll try not to ruin the story too much but in short, Judy has a dream that has been laughed at since she was a child and even discouraged by her own parents. Ms. Hopps is able to find a way to achieve her dreams but once she makes it she finds there are still hills to climb if her dream is going to be fully realized. She excels in her original assignment and finds a means to acquire an assignment of significance that also comes with great personal risk. Officer Hopps has some initial success but reaches a point where she is ready to quit until she receives some inspiration and valuable assistance from an unlikely friend. Judy reaches what should be the pinnacle by cracking a case that no one else was able to solve. She is celebrated as a hero she is commemorated by the establishment but also makes a well intentioned blunder. She publicly putts her rabbit foot in her mouth in a big way, which proves to be a mistake that ripples into broad reaching negative impacts. Judy faces new challenges to deepen her understanding of what is important, to restore relationships, to find the resolve to create solutions as well as fight for success in the pursuit of her dreams.
The philosophy of life so often promoted is that of get rich or die trying, when the reality is that the quality of life is a richer pursuit than becoming the next mega millionaire. Regardless of the end goal, the journey to any level of success is not one large hill with an epic battle to the top it is a series of hills with many battles, surviving many deaths and continuing momentum when each sequence reveals a new set of challenges. With Zootopia the takeaway isn't as much the often repeated, if you have a dream you can achieve it but a more apt overview of life where you may achieve it but that doesn't mean the battle is over. Keep doing good things.
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Jon Isaacson has a monthly feature column with Restoration & Remediation (R&R) Magazine titled The Intentional Restorer