Rated 3.0

Aside from a couple of over-the-moon box office smashes in recent years, Disney Animation has become a runner-up within its own studio. Disney churns out the occasional please-all-masters hit like Frozen or Wreck-It Ralph, but Pixar turns out classics. Pixar has set a high bar for films about anthropomorphized critters, inanimate objects, artificial intelligences and abstract concepts, too high for a harmless but only marginally clever time-filler like Zootopia to fully hurdle. Creaky animal puns aren’t going to cut it. Zootopia is like the baseline version of a Disney effort—crisp animation, an intriguing lead character and a wafer-thin story, all in service of a slippery but presumably ennobling message of acceptance. It’s a thoroughly likable film that’s almost completely devoid of high points. Directed by Disney vets Byron Howard and Rich Moore, Zootopia springs from an extremely low-grade high-concept premise: What if animals were like people? End of premise. D.B.