Went to see the new Disney animated flick Zootopia tonight. This is a comedy action flick about a world where mammals collectively evolved to think, walk upright, build cities, farms, trains, and smart phones (it’s a Carrot, not an Apple). They also stopped hunting and killing each other… But perhaps they didn’t leave a massive amount of speciesism behind.

Because predators and prey all have prejudices against each other, foxes can’t be trusted because they are sly, bunnies are “cute” but only bunnies can call each other that, etc. The subtext of the movie is largely out in the open but it’s mostly well done without being too preachy (though the analogy frays and gets a little muddied at the end).

The plot has the city’s first bunny cop joining the force (and being given meter maid duty). She has to prove herself to the bigger, badder cop animals and solve a crime that will test the resolve and prejudices of the city. She is joined by a fox – not just a predator but one of “those” type of animals… Sly and untrustworthy. The crime and mystery is inherent to the world they’ve built and it’s quite interesting and a little unpredictable.

The buddy cop dynamic between these two is quite well done. Ginnifer Goodwin (from Once Upon a Time) plays the bunny and Jason Bateman plays the fox and that’s pretty perfect casting. Judy Hops (the bunny) is a pretty great character and, I should add, a strong female character who isn’t a princess and doesn’t have to have a romantic sub-plot. Shakira plays a side character – a pop singing gazelle – who adds two pop songs to a non-musical flick. Plenty of other actors give solid performances.

I found this movie very sweet and committed to its premise in a fun and funny way. I liked the themes and think they will be great for kids. I hope it does well at the box office. Curious to know how hard Disney has been pushing it to the kiddies.

Score: 87

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