The Dark Side of Animated Features

Many of you have been reading my colleague Robert Curry’s blog posts on traditional cinema and the many ways it effects us and how we are left to interpret it. I would like to start a topic that many people are sometimes ashamed to enjoy: animated film. More specifically, animated features. Many people view animated films as something to take your children to on the weekend so they can sit still for a few hours. But if we look back on the animated films from our childhood and some from our modern time, there are many things that meet the eye that we did not catch on the first viewing. Dark themes, such as racism, bigotry, the crusades, senseless killing, and sexism. Some songs from our favorite animated musicals were tainted with racist overtones that we never caught the first time are blatantly obvious to us now. Some animated films had such gruesome deaths of characters, it’s hard to believe they were rated PG. And others probably shouldn’t have been labeled as a “family friendly” feature. These films may hold a special place in our hearts, but we must analyze them for what they are.

Over the coming months I will be discussing these themes in our favorite animated classics, and what message the directors were trying to send the audiences by putting such unmistakable ideas into children’s films. I look forward to examining these animated features from various companies and countries, and give you something to think about next time you enjoy an animated classic.

-Caroline Boyd

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Filed under Spring 2012

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