Given all of the heaviness of the current political season as well as the state of the world, now might be a good time for a large dose of love and hope and higher consciousness. That is exactly where Disney’s Zootopia comes in. Yes, you read that correctly. And no, I have not lost my mind.
What does Disney do? They are master storytellers. Zootopia is visually lush, action packed, replete with all sort of wonderful adult level jokes, site gags, and references that will tickle your funny bone. The real genius of this movie is its multi-level message that:
- We should not put limitations on ourselves or others.
- We should definitely not engage in prejudice and pre-judging.
- We should eschew fear and embrace a cooperative stance.
- And, we should try to make the world a better place through service.
Gee, kind of sounds like consciousness training 101. And on one level, that is exactly what it is. The plot line is that prey and predators live together in Zootopia. A young bunny, Judy Hop, desires to be a police officer, even though that has never happened in the history of zootopia.
There is an entire sequence about overcoming the limiting beliefs one’s parents try to install. She does eventually become a rookie cop, and has more adversity to overcome.
Then it turns out that certain predators revert back to being aggressive and no one knows why. Of course, there is a significant number of animals who want to get rid of the remainder of the predators; there are issues of trust and so on. I can’t imagine what Disney had in mind! On the other hand, they did plan this movie years ago. So maybe like House of Cards, this is an example of life imitating art.
It’s a buddy film. Judy “partners up” with a Fox. They need to figure out what is happening. They have issues. Lots of issue. There is an entire bit that shows how to apologize at a world-class level. It goes by fast, but it is brilliant.
In Zootopia, Disney has taken a major stance for good in the world. Remember children watch this movie again and again. They watch with eyes and heart wide open. The messages of compassion and tolerance, resilience, and the wide-open world of possibilities for anyone! – just get programmed in as de facto reality (like a good version of the de facto programming of old Barbie and “abnormal” waist size).
As coaches and clinicians we tend to see people after the damage has been done. Disney is essentially doing preventative or even preemptive generative change. I don’t know who thought this movie up and of course who approved, but they deserve an award. The great Milton Erickson, one of the masters of creating change through indirect story telling, would tip his hat to this movie.
And, it is fun and uplifting. Do yourself a favor and watch it. Do your family a favor and make sure all the kids and grandkids get their own copy. To quote the great philosopher, Shakira, who is in the movie – “Everything is possible”
Robert Schwarz, PsyD, DCEP
ACEP Executive Director
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