The amount of times I had to defend the name of animated movies against people who think they are just for kids are over 9000. Seriously, whenever I get excited for any animated movie, may it be Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks, someone always says it’s ‘childish’ and “you’re 22, how can you even like those cartoons”. First of all, animated movies aren’t just cartoons. They are films that took a lot of time and effort to make. They are not just for kids because they are for everybody to enjoy. And if you do not like at least one animated feature, you must be living a very sad life.
Anyway, in my years of watching animated films, I have learned so many things especially when it comes to life in the real world, relating to others and being the hero of my own story. Here are some of my favorite animated films and the life lessons I’ve learned from them:
I was still in Elementary school when the movie Finding Nemo came out. I have no idea how many times I’ve watched it over and over again. The story of Finding Nemo is about a clownfish named Marlin who lost his son Nemo to deep sea divers. He did all he can to save his son with the help of a forgetful fish named Dory despite being so afraid of the ocean. Together they battled sharks, jellyfishes and rode the East Australian Current with some awesome turtles thus, learning a very valuable lesson along the way. Finding Nemo is not just a film for kids, it’s a love letter to every parent who is struggling to raise their children the right way. This film taught me to listen to my own parents given that they will listen to me as well. And also, no matter what happens, just keep swimming! Everything will work out fine in the end.
The Princess and the Frog
This Disney princess film is so underrated despite how it basically teaches everyone, not just little girls, that to get to your dreams you must work very hard for it. There are no shortcuts. Tiana had to work two jobs and barely gets enough sleep so she can afford to build her dream restaurant that her father always wanted. She’s a very good example of a hard working woman who’s independent and self-sufficient. She also taught me to believe in myself and not rely on some wishing star.
Kung Fu Panda
One of DreamWork’s best animated films comes in the form of a big fat Panda named Po. Kung Fu Panda is an amazing journey to self discovery and knowing your self-worth. When Po was chosen to become the Dragon Warrior despite being inept in Kung Fu and overweight, the villagers cannot believe it, even Po himself. But later in the story, he found out his true strength and overcame his fear of being well, himself. The best lesson I’ve learned from this film is that there is no secret ingredient to success. If you want to make something special, you just have to believe it’s special.
Grave of the Fireflies
One of Studio Ghibli’s masterpieces, Grave of the Fireflies tells the story of two siblings caught in World War II stricken Japan. It’s a heartbreaking story and to tell you the truth, this one is not actually for kids. It shows how much war can damage both parties and it doesn’t just destroy countries but also the lives of innocent citizens who were all punished for a crime they know nothing of. It teaches that war does not determine who’s right or wrong but rather, who will be left suffering. There are no winners, everyone loses something.
The Lego Movie
You may find this surprising but this animated film actually has a lot to offer, more than just the outrageous comedy. It’s a story of an ordinary construction guy named Emmet who suddenly discovers that he’s The Special, destined to save the world from destruction. You think you’re in for a generic loser to hero story but as you progress through the film, you’ll realize that the movie is about you and everyone else you know. How did that happen? You have to watch the movie to find out. Let’s just say that after watching this movie, you’ll learn that you are the most interesting, most valuable person in the universe and you are capable of great things just like everyone else. To be special, you just have to believe that you are one. And to quote Vitruvius, “I know that sounds like a cat motivational poster but it’s true”.