Advertisements

Snarcasm: Only Smart People Realize ‘Zootopia’ is a Bad Movie

zootopia bad

Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read.

I think it’s important for people to remember that Rotten Tomatoes is just one of many useful metrics for evaluating a film you want to see. When we take it too seriously, we end up arguing over arbitrary numbers and percentages, rather than the details within a movie that actually matter.

Then someone writes a terrible review for Zootopia for the sole purpose of getting some attention.

“But Jon,” you say softly, “this reviewer in question might hate Zootopia for good reasons. What’s wrong with an opinion?”

“Nothing,” I respond to you with comforting glee. In fact, there are some great pieces out there already showcasing reasonable criticisms for Zootopia that other critics (even me) have glossed over. That said, there’s one other “bad” review for this movie that makes some decent points, though it’s written by a film critic who gave Annie (2014) 3.5 stars out of 4. So, yeah, I’d take that review with a speck of a grain of salt.

The review we’re going to Snarcasm today goes beyond some of the worst reviews I’ve ever attempted to share with you all. Everything, down to even the headline, is layered in nonsense, and we’re talking Gods of Egypt-level nonsense.

And it’s probably not a coincidence that this review came several days after all of the positive write-ups for Zootopia. But that’s none of my business.

Writing for The Globe and Mail, film critic Kate Taylor writes:

Zootopia: Fun for kids, but adults may think twice about movie’s message

That’s right! Instead of being blindly accepted without a second thought, adults are actually questioning important subject matter after watching a childrens’ film! The horror!

In Disney’s new animated feature Zootopia all the animals wear clothes and walk on their hind legs.

There’s nothing to complain about here, but I do want to point out how much I miss that comma after “Zootopia.”

zootopia bad

That makes the gazelle a particularly tall and lanky creature. A minor character, she’s a pop singer voiced by Shakira;

You’re going to kick things off with a barely tertiary character? Um, OK. That seems odd, but I guess it’s just a sentence. She’s probably about to move on to what the film’s actually about—

she sports gracefully tapering antlers with a tousled blond mane nesting fetchingly between them; she wears a miniskirt and a spangly red crop top.

Uh.

OK.

Are we done throwing adjectives at an unimportant character? It’s not like we can actually make a deranged conclusion about the film based on “tapering antlers.”

Yes, the elegant gazelle has been sexualized.

Wow. That’s…wow.

So Kate Taylor has a weird problem with animals looking like humans. Good thing she was chosen to review this movie.

Anthropomorphization is tricky territory although, God knows, Disney has lots of anodyne experience going all the way back to that cheery little mouse who first appeared in Steamboat Willie in 1928.

Kate, what are you even talking about right now? Anthropomorphization stopped being “tricky territory” at least 50 years ago. How is this your version of a hot button issue in a film about racism?!

Still, Zootopia takes the cultural practice of posing animals as human characters to queasy new heights.

So Kate is apparently uncomfortable seeing animals act like humans. I’m guessing she doesn’t have an Instagram account. Or neighbors. Or a sidewalk. Or Animal Planet. Or YouTube.

Perhaps I’m being ignorant, but it’s just bizarre to me that anyone would feel “queasy” watching something so established in our culture of entertainment. Sure, it may not be your favorite trope, but why on earth does such sanitized fiction make you uncomfortable at all?

Apparently, in the countryside, animals live in their original habitats surrounded by their own species and familiar neighbours:

That’s not “apparent.” It’s just what is.

Judy, a character cloyingly drawn with Kewpie doll eyes by the animators but firmly voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin, aspires to be a police officer and moves to Zootopia, where she is hired onto a force staffed by elephants, wolves and bears under a “mammal inclusion initiative.” In other words, she’s a girl in a man’s world.

OK, gender dynamics are somewhat parallel to what’s going on in Zootopia, but it’s strange that Kate brings this issue up instead of the obvious elephant in the room (who was a girl).

zootopia bad

Judy is directly held back because she’s a bunny, not because she’s a woman. While it’s fair to bring up how gender discrimination is similar to what we see in Zootopia, it’s certainly not the intended focus.

The chief (a water buffalo impressively created by Idris Elba) promptly assigns her to parking duty, but she soon breaks out and teams up with a wily fox (an irrepressible performance from Jason Bateman)

Idris Elba voiced the character. He didn’t “create” it. And if you’re just saying he brought the character to life, then you should just say that. Also, I don’t think you understand what irrepressible means, because Jason Bateman’s performance here is anything but.

I don’t imagine environmentalists would approve of a movie that suggests wild animals are at their best when tamed,

This is nonsense. The animals aren’t being tamed. They tame themselves in the same way humans do in order to cultivate society. How moronic do you think environmentalists are that they wouldn’t get the difference?

The premise of Zootopia is that these creatures have evolved past the point where they need to kill each other for survival, which is a great metaphor for how human civilization has been developed. Of course animals are at their best when they’re not at each other’s throats!

but it’s the social anxieties behind Zootopia’s message of animal harmony that make me uneasy.

Good! The best movies challenge and convict us. Do you only care for movies that cater directly to your sentimentalities?

But as Zootopia busily tells the kids not to stereotype different groups and to love everybody, it creates a city in which some creatures fear that others are inherently savage.

Is this really happening? Kate, that’s the entire point of the movie. Zootopia is teaching these lessons within the context of a city where racism exists. If the city itself was perfect and free of conflict, then the message would ring completely hollow.

That’s a pretty close match for both America’s historic racism and its new Islamophobia.

Yeah, Kate. Again, that was kind of the point, but you’re phrasing it as if this is somehow a flaw, instead of just an obvious fact.

And, leaving aside amusing jokes about the wolves trying desperately to contain a group howl or sloths working as bureaucrats, animal behaviour is a troubling metaphor for cultural diversity.

So far, everything you’ve said to build up to this point runs contrary to the idea that animal behavior is a troubling metaphor for anything. You’ve specifically said not even a sentence ago that it matches American society closely. Does that mean the problem is that it’s too good of a metaphor? Because if so, your vague issue with this film doesn’t have much to do with the actual film.

Especially that weird thing about the gazelles. Are you just never going to get to that?

After all, preying on smaller or slower creatures is how many real animals eat; wolves are potentially savage and mice can’t really live happily with them.

And this is the part where everyone reading this review realizes that the critic has absolutely no interest in actually reviewing the movie. The crux of Taylor’s “uneasiness” boils down to minutiae: a barely explored aspect of the world building that has absolutely nothing to do with the actual story.

In fact, it makes more sense than not that Kate Taylor fell asleep in the first ten seconds and then woke up once in the middle and nodded off again. Because the entire first scene explains how animals evolved to the point where they didn’t need to make distinctions between prey and predator. They could just find alternate means of living in order to have harmony.

zootopia bad

But because Kate can’t use her imagination and think of what these creatures could do otherwise, there’s something wrong with the film. Let me try to imagine how Kate could have such a bizarre understanding of this movie….Nope, nothing.

And how much animal harmony does the sprawling Zootopia team of multiple directors and writers really envisage?

Really? You couldn’t just say “envision?”

Oh, and to answer your question, a lot. Like that’s the entire point of that 5 minute opening sequence where we watch how all of these animals live in disparate sectors of the city, along with pretty much everything else from that point forward.

In fact, it’s clear to everyone but those of you who were sleeping that the directors and writers spent countless hours making this world come to life in a way that represents a united city of animals that was made by animals.

It was only when the sexy gazelle appeared in a final image of the animal kingdom united in song that I noted the very few couples in the film – Judy’s bunny parents and an otter whose husband has gone missing – and began to wonder about the deepening friendship between Judy the female bunny and Nick the male fox. But let’s not go there.

Yeah, what a terrible movie! Instead of needlessly focusing on a forced romance, it gave us a story  that was good enough to stand on its own with characters who had enough believable chemistry to sidestep a boring love dynamic!

What a nightmare!

To be fair, I’m not entirely sure that’s what Kate is getting at, but at this point, I have no idea what she’s even rambling about.

Highly familiar with the pluralist message that Zootopia delivers, the children for whom the film is largely intended are unlikely to be troubled by anything they see here.

Those pedestrian children are so pedestrian, you see.

Thinking parents, however, may think twice.

In other words, “Only smart people like me understand how “bad” this movie is. And if you don’t agree, you’re a CHILD!”

Guys, this has to be the worst professional film review I’ve read since…perhaps ever. There’s no real analysis here, just a few lopsided assertions that don’t even strengthen her premise. She ignores the visuals, the characters, the writing, and pretty much anything about this movie that would inform her readers whether or not it’s worth their time.

zootopia bad

She talks more about the gazelle with two lines of dialogue than the main characters. And when she does bring up the main characters, she complains (I guess?) that they aren’t in a relationship.

Instead of actually reviewing Zootopia, she digs on one bizarre hangup she has that doesn’t even slight the movie, mostly because she barely explains why anything she mentions is a real flaw. She just cites another example that reads more like an adjective-filled soundbite and then moves on.

This is not a review. It’s barely even a rant. It’s just a lazy, incoherent opinion with a grade at the bottom.


Thanks for reading this. To get updates on my theories, books, and giveaways, join my mailing list.

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

 

Advertisements

36 thoughts on “Snarcasm: Only Smart People Realize ‘Zootopia’ is a Bad Movie

  1. Jon you are right on. Love your posts!

  2. Read it, Laughed, Comprehended.

    My prediction for this Snarcasm was that you would cover a condemnation of the movie due to plot reasons. What we got was something just as epic. It’s title itself suggests that something audacious will happen and the critic will have prodigious gall to call out on a movie like Zootopia.

    There are people out there who would condemn this movie and quibble endlessly. Let’s hope we are not those people.

  3. “This is not a review. It’s barely even a rant. It’s just a lazy, incoherent opinion with a grade at the bottom.”

    I just pictured you dropping like ten mics with this line.

  4. You are completely right. That “review” sounded like sleep talking to me. My five year old could have came up with a review that made more sense.

  5. I read it again!
    Anyway, this review made me doubt that Kate Taylor even watched this movie. I bet she decided to write randomness about the movie in order to get paid before she will watch Zootopia for real…

  6. “Disney has lots of anodyne experience going all the way back to that cheery little mouse who first appeared in Steamboat Willie in 1928.” Don’t forget Disney’s experience with Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit before that, and the “Alice” cartoons with a live little girl coexisting with anthropomorphic cartoon animals before that.

    “Zootopia” has prey and predator animals living in friendship! Wow. How many people have pet dogs or cats and bunnies or hamsters or birds who live together amicably? How many farmers have cows, horses, pigs, goats, and cats and dogs that don’t eat each other? Sure, it’s trained behavior. That’s what the animals in “Zootopia” are living in. The world and city are supposed to be centuries or thousands of years old by this point. Disney specifies that this was not all created overnight.

    One of my quibbles is that the savage predators are presented acting so savagely. Real predators aren’t so bloodthirsty all the time. A feral fox is more likely to run away than to savagely attack. But for the sake of the story, I can imagine that some drug was added to the Night Howler venom to make its victims more kill-crazy than a feral predator would normally be.

    • To be fair, the movie did cover how it made even rabbits act savage, so I think part of the implication was that the flower doesn’t even make you act feral so much as blood thirsty and unable to think straight

  7. Agreed. This chick is crazy.

  8. I have to watch it. My girlfriend’s been bugging me for a week. I don’t have a choice.

    • I’m pretty sure I lost a few IQ points just by reading that. Less than half of those “reasons” had any form of reasoning behind them, and at best, ten of them were remotely valid criticisms. If they’d just taken those ten and thought them through, they might have had an opinion worth expressing; but of course, it was all about trolling Harry Potter to make Twilight look better by comparison, never mind how most of their attacks fit Meyer’s work better than Rowling’s. There’s so much stupid here, I don’t think it deserves enough respect to be snarcasm’d.

  9. Anyone who hates HP will have to take it up with me. I will get through to them with oersuasion and reason. Here’s persuasion and here’s reason. (Credit goes to: Shrek 3)

    • “5. Rowling is living out her own fantasies through Hermione, who is clearly herself.
      “31. Rowling can’t think of original names. She get names from the dictionary and those don’t count.
      “65. The reason Harry couldn’t learn occlumacy well was because he doesn’t have a mind.”
      I could go on, but this is just rediculous.

  10. Damn, I’ve not come across your article before, but I might have to read more when I have the time. Because I fully agree…I honestly didn’t think it was professional until you specifically said that it was. What a complete joke.

    Personally, I loved the movie. Yeah it has a few things I could nitpick at, but the story was told in such a way that I only had fun watching it. In fact, it’s the most fun I’ve had watching a movie in quite some time.

  11. I came here expecting a review asserting that the movie violates some “stranger danger” code, which is the only realistic criticism I could imagine. But, wow…. just, wow. You rekt that “professional” reviewer.

  12. “Irrepressible” is a compliment, not a criticism.

  13. So, where zootopia falls in the pixar theory?

    • It’s from Disney, not Disney Pixar

  14. The film has a great message which you have demonstrated clearly .. My main concern was that all Zootopia harmony was restored after the message an exotic artist ( gizelle) has sent .. They all look united in her concert and lived happily ever after.. it’s just like saying that surrender to our sexual urges and keeping up with media and entertainment unites us .. and this is the best way to tame ourselves and live in harmony ..
    I just hope they used a more constructive and positive way to unite all of them at the end ..
    Excuse my bad English.. As I’m not a native speaker

    • Did you finish the movie, Dima? (WARNING: Spoilers ahead.) The animals didn’t go back to harmony because Gazelle said they should: They did because Judy and Nick found the reason why the predators were going savage. The assistant mayor was injecting predators with something made from a plant called Night Howlers that, for some reason, turns animals savage. She was trying to scare the prey animals and turn them against predators. Judy and Nick stopped the assistant mayor and prey animals realized there wasn’t any instinctual urge in the predators biology that was making them go crazy, as was previously assumed. It became a realization for all of them that since the assistant mayor had been stopped, there was no danger so predator and prey were able to live together again in peace. It’s not like the animals were like, “Hey, predators are going crazy and attacking people for no reason, but that gazelle said we should come together so even though we don’t have any real solution on our problem, let’s go back to not being scared of predators. I mean, any predator around me can randomly try to kill me but who cares, that Gazelle is hot!” Just like the reviewer, Kate, who this article was criticizing, you seem to be pointing out a flaw in the movie that doesn’t really exist. Maybe just watch the movie again and it’ll make more sense. Regardless, I hope that whole thing makes a bit more sense now, and have a nice day.

  15. I fully agree, that “professional” just got rekt, this was a fun movie, with a good plot, showing that even though there are differences between them they unite and live together in harmony.

  16. I see posts by a bunch of Disney zombies.. I have to wonder why so many people who claim to love a movie have to say that they hate the movie? If you love the movie just come out and be honest about it… You sound like a bunch of corporate hacks who are trying desperately to silence opposition to this movie.. I will bet most of these people are a bunch of bestiality worshiping furries.. Why engage in lies? Why engage in deception? Why flood the search engines with a bunch of false results claiming falsely that you hate it when you love it? Obviously because your movie sucks, and you are desperate to get hits on your websites!! If you love a movie fine, but stop lying, because this “reversal treatment” illustrates that Hollywood and Disney knows how much their modern movies suck… why do i show up here you probably are asking? because we are looking for a review that gives honest critic about a movie to see if it is good so we don’t waste time and money to see a movie that could very well be bad obviously… There is no reason for lying about a movie you claim to to hate when you really love it, unless you have suspicions that people will hate it and you are obviously fearing that you would be in the minority or your corporate employers know they cut corners, and you are just covering your own companies butt.. .. A lot of Cyber movies exude extreme levels of laziness, and they rarely have any heart or soul, especially when they repeat “Politically Correct” narratives… Just like Zootopia, which is regarded by some to be little more than a Left wing propaganda film, Oops sorry let us be real here a lazy Politically Correct propaganda animation cyber movie, because Disney is to cheap to animate with ink anymore .. And they also took the time to demonize people of color to equate predators that are genetically engineered to hunger for blood and flesh to survive with black people, whose only difference between them and the white folk is the color of their skin, when they are identical in every other respect as both black and white people are both HUMAN.. But Disney is now equating immutable differences between flesh eating carnivores and grass eating herbivores between to groups of people where the differences are only skin deep… Take a dog out of the wild for thousands of years, spend millions of dollars, gold, pounds and what have you, in feeding them everything else except meat and a dog is still a carnivore at heart.. even still… It is all because of one thing survival, but Disney worships flesh and blood eaters in their movies, but omnivores and herbivores who only want to survive? They are branded as criminals… Disney has sold cannibalism to the masses and nobody even realizes it… Think about it what is the worst stereo type you can give a black person? Cannibal.. And what is a cannibal?? It is a person who kills and eats his fellow civilized human beings.. What is a predator? A genetically bred beast that feeds on the flesh of his fellow animals in order to survive.. Feed a predator grass and they get an upset stomach which causes them to barf… You can’t equate a black person with a predator lest you brand him or her as a cannibal, and you devalue the respect for both the black man and the predator at the same time while doing so.. . Think before you blindly accept a narrative, as you have no idea what the Crack addicts of Hollywood might do with it… You can’t blame a dog for feeding on meat, because it is in their blood, and that won’t change until God comes back.. Black people eat the same food as any white person does, and the reason most white people distrust the black population is because the Hollywood culture has poisoned the minds of the children of color.. As a result black culture exudes crime, and a lot of color folk want a new culture that doesn’t celebrate crime and violence, because a Culture can change for the better, and for the worse.. It is what you put into it.. The reason Zootopia’s prey fear the predators is because they don’t want to be eaten… What is in the blood versus what is in the culture is not the same thing, and you would be a fool to even think so.. Remember that, because what is in the blood won’t change and never will, but a culture always can change if the people so choose to…

  17. Zootopia is best and greatest and awesome movie ever
    Only idiot people realize zootopia is a bad movie.

  18. Anthropomorphization has been a tricky subject!? tell that to all of Japan and also America (who actually was one of the first country to create animals that look human or the other way around not sure)

  19. I want to hear your thought on if zootopia fits in the Pixar theory. I mean, you did do posts on other new releases, why not zootopia too?

  20. Mate, there were a lot of predators in Zootopia, but you just went full savage. Legend.

  21. Can I snark on your misuse of quotations, after you snarked on a missing comma?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: