‘Zootopia’ Tells Immigrant Story Better Than Pixar

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The Godfather of the Bride – "Zootopia+" heads back to the fast-paced mammal metropolis of Zootopia in a short-form series that dives deeper into the lives of some of the Oscar®-winning feature film's most intriguing characters, including a tale about a powerful arctic shrew known as Mr. Big. The episode "The Godfather of the Bride," goes back in time to his days as Mr. Small, who discovers the important of friends, family and community after immigrating to Zootopia alongside his beloved mother. Directed by Josie Trinidad and Trent Correy, and produced by Nathan Curtis, "Zootopia+" streams on Disney+ beginning Nov. 9, 2022. © 2022 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Credit: Disney Animation Studios

Pixar’s Elemental is facing backlash and mixed reviews due to its approach to the subject of racism and the immigration narrative. While Peter Sohn’s storytelling choices definitely have value and merit considering his Korean-American background, it’s left some viewers at a loss. More than likely, it’s because this angle has already been done by Disney’s Zootopia, not once but twice.

Ember and Wade stand next to each other in Elemental.
Credit: Disney Pixar

The upcoming film has been compared to Disney’s Zootopia more than once, but the allegory for prejudices and interracial relationships presented by Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps is just the tip of the iceberg. Elemental might tackle heavy issues like immigration with Pixar’s trademarked touch, but Zootopia already tackled it without the need for a full-fledged feature film.

Zootopia Vs. Elemental: Who Wore It Better

Zootopia Vs. Elemental
Credit: Inside the Magic

Not even two weeks before its official release, Elemental has been called out for the way it presents an immigrant’s perspective. While the use of earth, air, fire, and water creatures is definitely a creative approach to its storytelling, Zootopia+ went further than abstract characters with the episode, “Godfather of the Bride.”

Related: Jason Bateman talks Disney’s “Zootopia”, dad life, and the challenges of voice acting

Mr. Big, the obvious Zootopia equivalent for Don Vito Corleone, might be Tundra Town’s biggest miniature mafioso, but his backstory that mirrors the thousands of European immigrants might land more in the ballpark than the tale Elemental is trying to tell. Granted, Disney relies on far more cartoony elements than what Pixar is presenting, but there’s a certain sense of reality that comes with the sepia-toned talking animals.

Related: Shanghai Disneyland Reveals Stunning Zootopia Update

In reality, we won’t be able to gauge Elemental’s actual performance until it hits theaters. However, because Zootopia uses more recognizable, even more human elements, it already has a leg up over it’s competition. Pixar’s latest project might take more than a few elements from Disney’s mammalian metropolis, but there’s still room for the embers to grow between now and then.

Do you think Elemental is just Pixar’s Zootopia? Tell us at Inside the Magic in the comments below!

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