Paul, great take as you really put a spotlight on one of the storytelling dynamics I discuss in the Pixar and the Craft of Storytelling class:
Significant Saga / Small Story.
There is the caper (Significant Saga) which takes Judy into nooks and crannies of Zootopia.
Along the way, she goes through a personal crisis of faith (Small Story) which challenges her core belief system re the ability of predator and prey to live together in peace.
In aggregate, they represent her own Heroine’s Journey. As J. Campbell suggests, the whole point of the Journey is transformation and Judy goes through an ‘innocent to experience’ one. Interesting that she ends up in the same philosophical place about predators and prey, but with a more grounded understanding of how that operates in the real world. Hence her final monologue:
“I thought this city would be a perfect place where everyone got along and anyone could be anything. Turns out, life’s a little bit more complicated than a slogan on a bumper sticker. Real life is messy. We all have limitations. We all make mistakes. Which means, hey, glass half full, we all have a lot in common. And the more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each of us will be. But we have to try. So no matter what kind of person you are, I implore you: Try. Try to make the world a better place. Look inside yourself and recognize that change starts with you.”
That’s an interesting note about the creative team shifting the Protagonist POV from — originally — the fox to the bunny. A hugely different movie, isn’t it! And yes, you’re right: Because the movie was developed in-house and with writers and directors already accomplished / proven in their fields, there were able to circumvent so-called screenwriting ‘rules’ and tell the story the way they saw it.
Glad we get to analyze Zootopia this week so you have the opportunity to enjoy it one more time, hopefully with a bit more insight and understanding for everyone involved.
Thanks for your comments!