So you might have read that title just now and had one or more of the certain thoughts come to mind:
- “This guy is on crack”
- “What the hell are you talking about?”
- “This is a lawsuit waiting to happen”
- “Please stop wasting my time”
And all of those are completely valid thoughts but hear me out because I honestly have no clue how I dreamt of this idea but I did and I’m kinda sad it isn’t real.
To explain exactly what I’m talking about woke up in a cold sweat and wrote down a quick synopsis of a trailer for the film.
It starts with camcorder footage of a barely alive Judy Hopps strapped to a table and screaming as her eye is dislodged and torn out with a scalpel, there is no music, just the ambient noise of Judy struggling and crying and static from the camcorder. It cuts to black with her scream ringing in the distance. It then cuts to Nick Wilde watching old videos of him and Judy Hopps together on his laptop depressed, before receiving an email. The email is a location marker. Investigating the area he runs into another bunny girl who is dealing with a similar situation. The trailer shows them inspecting a doctor’s office covered in blood. It cuts to the police station reciving a box and Nick opening the box slowly disgusted by the hidden contents. It cuts to black and a mysterious broken glitchy voice states, “you have no clue what’s coming Nick.” before showing a clip of camcorder footage of Nick’s mom having her eyes burned out with acid as she screams before cutting to black. The title card fades in: Zootopia: A New Kind of Predator.
Now you might be wondering, “what the fuck is wrong with you?” Honestly I don’t know. I saw this trailer in my dreams and was like “holy shit that’s actually cool what the fuck” then woke up and realized it was never real and never will be real.
Like I would kill for a Zootopia horror/thriller film with inspirations from shit like Seven and The Poughkeepsie Tapes, but as we may already have guessed Zootopia is owned by one of the most family friendly oriented companies to ever exist, The Walt Disney Company, and will never make something in their possession over the PG-13 rating if even that.
Why is this depressing to me? Because I just tricked you into reading an analysis of what Zootopia, could’ve been and why Disney has a stranglehold on artistic creativity despite how good their films are.
As you may or may not have known, the film Zootopia was released in 2016, it starred a colorful cast of anthropomorphic animals living in a large metropolis wherein predator and prey coexisted. The film was themed around prejudices and how because of ones past or ones assumptions of stereotypes it causes a divide in communities.
Simple as that, the film was a success, sold a bunch of merch, had some critics say the movie is about how racism is bad (duh), and made a bunch of firried happy because they just gained new material for porn (and lots of it.)
But what was more interesting is not the film or anyhting it has to say but how it wanted to convey its message when the film was first in development. You see the film was in development for quite awhile and was vastly different from its final product early in its conception.
You might say “so what? A lot of films sre different from production to final product,” and you’re right, but here’s what makes Zootopia‘s early concept so intriguing. Rather than the prejudice between predator and prey being this “go back to where you came from” or “here’s some anti fox sprat” kinda stuff, predator and prey were put on the same playing ground, forcefully.
Deleted scenes from early production showed that all predators over the age of 10 were forced to wear a taming collar that would shock them whenever they expressed high levels of emotion whether that be anger, excitement, ect. Its heart breaking, and you can see a dynamic not seen in the film yet constantly hinted at. Wherein prey, are the new predator.
The fear is flipped around because predators can’t speak up in fear of retaliation or punishment. This dark premise flipped the food chain of the jungle concept on its head. Predators are the minority, predators are the target of blame and ridicule, and prey are no longer afraid of predators as they are new predator.
Its a brilliant idea that still bleeds throughout the final version of the film with biased elephants and the whole protesting against predators, but when I watch Zootopia, I just lose this belief that the film actually wants to say anything other than the surface level of “racism and prejudice is bad,” because the film does not explore this concept but instead dance around it and go “look at us, we’re progressive!”
But why is this film the way it is? Because Disney with their iron grip, told the directors that their idea was too depressing and too dark. It was too much and that they should tone it down. So the idea was neutered and in 2016 we got the Zootopia we all know. A lighthearted, buddy cop film, that ends with the message “prejudice is bad.” No consequences to the police station for moving their cheetah officer out of the public view, no consequence for the pig yelling at the panther in the protest to go back where they come from.
An okay film with a neutered surface level message. I can’t speak for those who are oppressed, whether that be from race, from gender, or from sexuality, but if I may say one thing. Zootopia, for as much as it is an enjoyable kids film, does not say much for those whom are oppressed, because Disney knows that to make the most amount of money, it must appeal to everyone, even if that means pushing everyone out.
My dream of an R-rated Zootopia horror film will most likely will never happen, but it was nice to sit down and know that I can still think of its faint existance.