3 Reasons Why I Don't Want A Zootopia Sequel, And 2 Reasons Why I Desperately Want One
I'll try anything...
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Zootopia is the best recent Disney animated movie.
Hell, I even called it the best Disney animated movie from 2011-2020, a span that included such heavyweights as both Frozens, both Wreck-It Ralphs, and Moana. So, believe me when I say this, but there does NOT need to be a Zootopia 2.
And yet…I still kind of want one. Sort of like how I have strong emotions about Inside Out 2, I have strong emotions about this sequel, as well. Both negative, and positive. Let's get into them.
Reason I Don't Want It: The First Movie Is Already Perfect, And A Sequel Could Taint That Legacy
There are very few films that I would consider “perfect” movies. Marty is one of them, and so is Silver Linings Playbook. But, also on that nigh-impossible list is the original Zootopia. I love everything about it. The characters, the humor, the music, and especially the subtle social commentary that is interlaced throughout the entire story. I legitimately considered putting it on my list of great movies that explore race and social justice, but decided against it since I thought it might feel insulting to put it on a list with movies like Selma, and Do the Right Thing. Honestly, though, I feel like Zootopia fits on that list, since it’s all about race. Just told in a way that kids can understand.
It’s also, to this day, still a gorgeous film, and one that I feel gets increasingly better the more times I watch it. In that way, I would be perfectly content if it was a Disney one-and-done movie, as I don’t want a Zootopia 2, just like I don’t want Frozen 3, or Toy Story 5. I mean, for crying out loud. I know sequels are profitable, but could we just stop with them already? I find them completely unnecessary. Not only that, but…
Reason I Don't Want It: Disney's Sequel Track Record Is Pretty Hit Or Miss
Look, I actually really liked Frozen II, and Ralph Breaks the Internet, but there were a few people who DM'd me on Twitter wondering how it was possible that I preferred Ralph 2 to the original movie. This is a concern I have, because Disney is kind of hit or miss when it comes to its sequels. This problem isn’t exclusive to the studio, either, as it also affects Pixar.
Sure, Toy Story 3 is probably the best film in the entire series, but the subsequent Cars movies, Finding Dory, and Monsters U all paled in comparison to their original films. You might be wondering why I’m comparing Pixar sequels to Disney sequels, but the one thing I think they have in common (besides Disney owning Pixar) is the fact that none of those sequels feel as fresh as the first movie. The reason I liked Ralph 2 better than the original was because it actually felt bigger than the first film. Much, much bigger, in fact, which is what I’m looking for in a sequel.
That said, how much bigger can you possibly get than an entire city of predators and prey seemingly coexisting together? I know the phrase “go big or go home” gets overused these days, but honestly, if Zootopia 2 doesn’t go bigger, then I struggle to find a reason why such a sequel should even exist. If Disney had a more consistent track record of sequels (remember, most Disney sequels went straight to VHS and DVD before the 2010s), then I might have more faith in Z2, but Disney’s past with sequels doesn’t give me much hope.
Reason I Don't Want It: Zootopia+ Kind Of Soured My Love For The First Movie
Lastly, I didn’t think Zootopia+ was as good as it could have been, which was greatly disappointing to me because I was waiting for new Zootopia content for years! Remember, the original came out back in 2016. So, when I heard that there would be a series of shorts on Disney+, I of course waited with bated breath. And…
It was fine. I mean, it was cute, and cute is good. But, I wasn’t craving cute. Baby Yoda is cute (maybe even too cute). The first movie is also cute. That said, it also has an undercurrent of darkness to it with the whole racism/sexism/classism aspect, and I was really hoping that we’d at least see some of that nuance in the series, but alas, we got none of that, which unfortunately doesn’t raise my hopes for Zootopia 2. That said…
Reason I Want To See Zootopia 2: Racism Hasn't Changed In America, But It Has Evolved, And I Want To See If The Movie Tackles That
Okay, so I know I just said that Zootopia+ lacked nuance, but that was a series of shorts, and not a full-length movie. I’m hoping that a sequel to what’s arguably Disney’s best animated movie in years would step up its game quite a bit, and, I have hope!
Yes, I’m upset that Strange World flopped, but what I loved about that movie (besides its amazing story) is its “wokeness.” One of its central characters is a gay teen named Ethan Clade, but him being gay is not some major plot point like it would have been years ago. Instead, he’s just gay, and has a crush on a boy. It’s not subtle in any way. It just is.
And, I’m actually intrigued with how a Zootopia sequel could tackle racism in 2023, as the conversation around race has changed since 2016. Black Lives Matter was conceptualized back in 2013, so it was undoubtedly considered when it came to the first movie, but now we’re talking about things like Critical Race Theory, and whether it should be taught in classrooms.
I feel like we wouldn’t be at this point right now if not for the steps taken with the BLM movement, and I’m just wondering if a Zootopia sequel would push the topic of race even further, given that Disney has no problem having gay characters in its films any longer. So, maybe, in that way, it has no problem addressing race in a more direct way, either.
Reason I Want To See Zootopia 2: I Want To See If A Sequel Incorporates Aspects Of The Me Too Movement In The Film
Jeez Louise. Have I somehow forgotten that Z2 will be a kid’s movie? No, I have not forgotten. But, at the same time, I can recognize that sexism was a major part of the first movie, as it concerned Judy Hopps being overlooked as a police officer and sent off to do menial work. Yes, the movie explains this away as Judy being a rabbit, and thus, considered prey, but the deeper subtext is of an actual woman being considered prey, and also as being lesser than her male counterparts also wasn’t lost on me.
So, not only do I want to see race explored much deeper in a sequel, but also sexism, especially under the guise of it actually being a story about the #MeToo movement, which goes back to 2006, but became a hashtag in 2017 (one year after the first movie came out). I think that would be really rad if Z2 was really all about chronicling #MeToo, and how it’s changed things. The first film was a really smart movie, so I don’t see why its sequel can’t be one, too.
But, what do you think? Do we really need Zootopia 2? For more news on all things Disney, make sure to swing by here often.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.