Matchup of the Day: Zootopia vs. Finding Dory
In one of the biggest animated films of the year, our precocious talking animal protagonist undertakes an epic journey to follow her lifelong dream. Along the way, she finds help from many new friends and allies. She partners up with a ne’er-do-well who harbors a hidden heart of gold. And she provokes a change of heart in an authority figure who, in the past, has been very keen on telling her just what she can’t do. Ultimately, she accomplishes her goal through a sprinkling of luck, a dose of perseverance, and a heaping helping of trusting her own instincts.
Oh, which of these featured films am I talking about? Both, actually. Beneath the wildly different visual trappings, Disney Animation‘s 55th animated feature, Zootopia, and Pixar‘s 17th, Finding Dory, have a lot in common, in terms of bare-bones plot. In both cases, the message is clear, practically written in bright, burning neon across the screen: Be True to Yourself.
Yet the two boundless bundles of energy that are our heroines have pretty different origins, and go about things in different ways. Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) escapes her quaint existence in Bunnyburrow to pursue her dream of becoming the first bunny police officer in the sprawling metropolis that is Zootopia. Meanwhile, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) wants nothing more than to find her home and her family, along with her own self-sufficiency. Dory’s parents are shown to be immensely patient and supportive, while Judy’s are well-meaning, but unintentionally stifling. (“It is okay to have dreams.” “Just as long as you don’t believe too much in them.”)
The duality of these films – not to mention the wildly different yet gorgeous animation styles – would make for a fantastic double feature, even as they come to the same conclusion from opposite sides: Always be yourself, and never give up on your dreams. Sounds like an ideal Disney moral to me.