Talking animals are popular for two obvious reasons:
- They’re cute.
- Everything they say and do is probably about us.
Good science fiction is very often social commentary about “real” things dressed up in a way that is both close enough to the truth, and complexly unique enough to be its own brilliant thing. Which is why the odyssey of Bunny Police Officer Judy Hopps in Zootopia is socially conscience science fiction storytelling at its finest.
Ontologically, the premise of Zootopia is working with a familiar science fiction trope: imagine there’s an Earth populated by intelligent creatures who are not humans. But, unlike Planet of the Apes or some other evolutionarily-angled science fiction world, humans don’t seem to have existed here, ever. Zootopia never once mentions human beings, putting itself squarely in a parallel universe in which we never showed up. You might say this is all for the convenience of ...