Zootopia

Is ‘Zootopia’ The New ‘Animal Farm’? Fans Target Similarities Between Both Satires

Is Zootopia a modern version of AnimalFarm?

The similarities between the 2016 Disney hit film and the popular George Orwell novella have generated a lot of buzz online — especially via social media.

Most children that enjoy seeing the adventures of Police Officer Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde in Zootopia would not even think about George Orwell’s Animal Farm primarily because they are too young to know anything about it.

However, the parents of those young moviegoers likely started drawing connections between Zootopia and Animal Farm long before they packed up their things to leave the movie theater.

What exactly is Animal Farm?

The novella was first published in August 1945 — nearly 71 years ago. On the surface, the Animal Farm story focuses on a small group of animals that live on the Manor Farm. Initially, the animals are led by an old boar named Old Major. During an epic meeting at the beginning of the story, Old Major informs the animals that the humans are actually the “enemies.” He uses the revolutionary song “Beasts of England” to teach the animals.

After Old Major dies, two young pigs — Napoleon and Snowball — take over and help the animals to prepare for an upcoming Rebellion. During their revolt, they are able to get rid of the farmer Mr. Jones and completely take over the Manor Farm — renaming it “Animal Farm.”

At that point, Animal Farm evolves into much more than just a story about animals. Even though most young children may read the story and think exactly that, George Orwell designed Animal Farm to be much more. The book apparently shined a spotlight on historical events that progressively led up to the Russian Revolution in 1917 as the country eventually moved into the Communist era.

According to the BBC, the success and popularity of Animal Farm helped to cement George Orwell’s presence in the history of literature.

“A political fable set in a farmyard but based on Stalin’s betrayal of the Russian Revolution, it made Orwell’s name and ensured he was financially comfortable for the first time in his life.”

*WARNING: MOVIE SPOILERS AHEAD*

How is Zootopia like Animal Farm?

It is true that Zootopia has absolutely nothing to do with Joseph Stalin or the Russian Revolution. However, at its core, it is clear that Zootopia focuses on a number of current events as well as ongoing issues and debates that are on the minds of people of all ages from all around the world.

Michael Cavna with the Washington Post addressed the film’s underlying themes and elements in an article published online earlier this week.

“It’s worth noting that Zootopia touches on ‘smaller’ sociopolitical elements, such as government-mandated job programs (a ‘mammal-inclusion’ program) and government-bureaucracy ineptitude (the sloth-staffed DMV set piece plays like a direct, knowing homage to Bob & Ray’s vintage ‘Slow Talkers’ routine). But it’s the last, cutting twist involving the power-hungry con artist as two-faced political operative that delivers the biggest depth-charge in a campaign year. When the film’s press-conference pronouncements begin to sound eerily like TV headline ‘crawls’ — as ‘Zootopia’ leaders and the message-repeating media scare people into fearing their neighbors because they’re ‘different’ — it’s not just the appearance of a Wolf or Fox that distinctly reminds ‘Zootopia’ viewers of 24-hour cable news channels.”

Another connection between Animal Farm and Zootopia is also the empowering lyrics of the song and core anthem of the story. In Animal Farm, the animals were taught to sing “Beasts of England.” In Zootopia, the popular singer Gazelle (voiced by popular artist Shakira) had her popular song, “Try Everything” continuously popping up as a core theme or anthem of its own throughout the movie.

[Image Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]

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