Once upon a time, we learn early in Disney’s marvelous new animated film Zootopia, the animal world was divided into predators and prey. Now, thankfully, those days are long past and all mammals have “multitudinous opportunities” to pursue their lives in whatever way they wish.
The medium by which this message is conveyed is a school play written and performed by young Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin). And, like most school plays, its rosy take on the world is not entirely accurate. No sooner is the performance over than Judy’s parents—did I mention that she, and they, are rabbits?—begin trying to talk down her ambition to one day become a police officer. “If you don’t try anything new, you’ll never fail,” explains her dad, recommending that she follow his path—and that of her 275 brothers and sisters—and become a carrot farmer.
But Judy holds on to her dreams, and when she comes of age she moves to the big city, Zootopia, enlists in the police academy, and becomes the first-ever bunny officer. Yet the life lessons continue to accumulate when the police chief (a cape buffalo voiced by Idris Elba) assigns her to parking duty, rather than allow her to work on the case of 14 mammals of different species who’ve gone missing in the city. However, with the reluctant help of a con artist fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) … well, I suspect you get the general idea.