Globalisation in Animation: ZOOTOPIA

WRITTEN BY JIAHUI HUA

The concept of globalisation is generally regarded as a phenomenon involving cultural homogenization. It is largely fuelled by the economic, technological and political developments of Western Europe. Globalisation has substantially increased the global exchange of culture.

From “Kung Fu Panda”, to “Mulan”, they are examples of the cultural mix. In 2016, film “Zootopia” contain both localised and globalised elements that from each other, clearly exemplifying the processes of glocalisation in terms of both industrial practices and content.

zootopia-post4.jpgZootopia (2016) is, an animated film, produced by Disney. It is described as a “modern, civilised world that is entirely animal”, which means that there is no human staying in this world. However, Zootopia is much similar to the human’s world, plagued with prejudice. As Eriksen states that, “Globalisation does make it easier for us to understand each other across cultural divides, but it also creates tensions between groups that were formerly isolated from each other, and it creates a need to demarcate uniqueness and sometimes historical rootedness” (Eriksen, T., 2007, p13). Like in one scene, Nick is condescendingly referred to as “articulate,” a veiled reference to comments on how “well-spoken” former President Barack Obama is. In another, Judy warns Nick never to touch a sheep’s wool without asking. The moment is a metaphor about black hair. The behaviour of those animals not only shows their characteristic as animals but human beings.

ZootopiaIN.jpg

Moreover, from the metropolitan cityscapes, dome structures, to high-technical transport systems, Zootopia also shows a metropolitan area connected by the various aspects of globalisation.

Robertson claims that “so-called globalisation has involved both the consolidation of the nation-state and at the same time, the development – mainly through mediasation – of a ‘borderless world’” (Robertson cited in Quigley, M. 2002, p55). The content of story shows about tolerance, diversity, and racial profiling which may be a kind of global cultural homogenisation, but they are delivered with a conviction that is never cloying and frequently a touch subversive.

 

Reference:

Eriksen, T. (2007). Globalization. New York: Berg.

Genzlinger, N. (2016). Review: In ‘Zootopia,’ an Intrepid Bunny Chase Her Dreams https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/04/movies/zootopia-review.html [Accessed 12th February]

Quigley, M. (2002). Glocalisation VS. Globalization: The Work of Nick Park and Peter Lord. In: Furniss, M. (Ed.). Animation – Art and Industry. New Barnet: John Libbey Publishing Ltd.

 

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