Zootopia...I don't know what I expected....
Minor spoilers ahead
Well, what I did expect going into Zootopia was a cute family film. I expected Jason Bateman to be funny, I expected to be shocked at how much Judy Hopps looks exactly like Ginnifer Goodwin, and I expected to see a decent buddy-cop movie for kids.
I got all of that.
What I certainly did NOT expect was one of the best examinations of racism that I have ever seen on film.
What makes it really great is that while the message is obvious, it's subtle enough that it doesn't feel like its drawing too much attention to itself and coming off like an after-school special or an episode of Captain Planet. This is, clear as day, showing how terrible prejudice is, no matter who is targeted and who is doing the targeting. Predator prejudice prey, and prey prejudice predator. Both oppress and are oppressed, and the power balance shifts wildly. In the end, we're all trying to make our way on this little turquoise ball of a planet, so we should all help each other out rather than trying to divide into "Us" vs "Them".
That's not to say the film is faultless. There has been a common narrative device in the last several Disney Animated Canon films of red herring villains and the true villain being the one you least expect - and I'd be lying if I say I didn't expect it this time around. Still, it's not a bad little device and for kids seeing stuff like this the first time it gets them thinking.
It may not be the best film you've ever seen, nor even the best Disney film, but it's certainly a new classic.
Sly fox, dumb bunny.