“Zootopia” is earning nearly universally rave reviews from critics, currently sitting at a 99 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But not every critic is in love with Disney’s latest animated offering.
Two critics, Scott Renshaw of Salt Lake City Weekly and Kate Taylor of The Globe and Mail in Toronto, Canada, were unimpressed by the buddy cop comedy starring Ginnifer Goodwin as a police officer bunny and Jason Bateman as a con man fox.
While the vast majority of reviewers hailed the film for taking on prejudice and police brutality with subtlety and wit, both Renshaw and Taylor singled out that aspect as its biggest problem.
“For a movie built entirely around ‘don’t judge an animal by its species,’ there’s also plenty of ‘a leopard can’t change its spots,'” Renshaw wrote, explaining that extended bits about howling wolves and sloths working at the DMV undermine the movie’s central message.
Taylor similarly wrote that the kids’ movie would give “thinking parents” pause with its themes of equality and inclusion.
“Animal behavior is a troubling metaphor for cultural diversity,” she wrote. “After all, preying on smaller or slower creatures is how many real animals eat; wolves are potentially savage and mice can’t really live happily with them.”
But neither review was an outright pan, with Taylor praising the performances by the voice cast and Renshaw calling the movie a “great starting point” for discussions of racial prejudice with kids.