Saturday, April 02, 2016

John Lasseter is SJW

From another comment, which is on Zootopia:

Not really O.T.:

Steve, you have to see “Zootopia” which is a near-perfect distillation of current thinking. It’s a Disney movie, but the executive producer is John Lasseter, so it’s another product of the Pixar-Industrial Complex.

It’s far from their best work, and long sections of the movie just drag. But it’s scoring 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, presumably because of its relentless message of uplift. No McGuffey reader was ever so relentlessly on message.

The earth is populated entirely by anthropomorphized animals, which have become civilized (in one of the many scenes where a good joke is stretched out to unconscionable length, the main character is horrified by a bunch of animals doing yoga exercises without any clothes on). Predators no longer attack prey, and as a result (as portrayed in a skit at the beginning of the movie) “anyone can do anything.” But old prejudices still linger, and when 14 predator animals suddenly turn savage, the peaceful, diverse metropolis of Zootopia suddenly turns into Trumpville.

The main character, an incessantly cheerful bunny named Judy Hopps, wants to be a cop, which no bunny has ever done. She makes it thanks to a “Mammal Inclusion Initiative.” She goes to training with a bunch of rhinos, elephants, and big cats. In GI Jane fashion, no accomodations are made to her lack of size and strength, but after initial defeats she eventually overcomes everyone by dint of sheer effort, even beating a rhino twenty times her size in the boxing ring. After graduating at the top of her class, she is promptly assigned to meter maid duty. There she meets a fox, Nick Wilde, who is being discriminated against by a elephant ice cream shop. It turns out that he’s a con man. He is also, it turns out, a realist who thinks that there really is such a thing as “animal nature” and that we can’t help but be whatever we were born to be. But he ultimately is revealed to be a disappointed idealist who is enraged and terribly, terribly hurt when Hopps suggests at a press conference that the predators are turning savage “because of their nature.”

The predators are turning savage not because their inner nature is asserting itself, but because they have been shot with a pellet containing an essence from a flower called a “night howler” that causes them to run wild. The lesson: there is no “animal nature;” only circumstances make anyone what he or she is. This overall message is driven home over and over. When Hopps and Wilde go to a yoga studio/ashram in search of clues for a missing otter, the yak at the door (who is supposed to be a stoner and who is surrounded by a cloud of flies, like a stock hippie from a 60s movie) exclaims that the head of the studio is an elephant who will remember everything about the missing otter. As it turns out, she remembers nothing, but the yak remembers everything, down to the license plate number of the car that took the otter away. And in case you missed the point, at the end of his prodigious memory feat the yak says, “see, I told you she would remember everything.” A street racer turns out to be a sloth, even though the movie has already made a joke out of the slowness of his reactions — it takes him 30 seconds to register the punchline of a joke, so he would be obviously unable to drive a sports car in a busy city. There is a deadly gangster called “Mr. Big” who leads a gang of polar bears. At his headquarters, Hopps sees a series of polar bears, each larger than the last, and keeps asking if that one is “Mr. Big”. It turns out that Mr. Big is a tiny mole.

The scheme to turn the predators wild is being masterminded by the seemingly mild-mannered Assistant Mayor Bellwether, a tiny sheep, who dreams of mobilizing the 90% of the population of Zootopia that are prey animals against the 10% that are predators. The prey animals are an obvious analogue to white people in the city. Depressingly, the demographics of Zootopia, compared to contemporary America, are 50 years out of date. The prey animals in Zootopia really have nothing to fear except their own paranoia.

Gazelle, a singer played by Shakira, has a rally once the controversy about predators reverting to savagery occurs. Demonstrators show up with signs telling the predators to get out. She says she wants her old Zootopia back. The movie ends with a Gazelle concert where everyone dances in harmony.

There are even shoutouts to the surveillance state. A pen with a recording device is used repeatedly to capture damning admissions. A key mystery is solved thanks to omnipresent traffic cameras than enable Hopps to track a missing car.

Both Disney and Pixar can be laid waste by fire.

Of course Shakira would be involved with this message movie...

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