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From Coco to Bambi: Heavy Topics in Animation

Allona Day, Writer

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The new Pixar film “Coco” is out, and it deals with Mexican culture but also the concept of death. Learning about other cultures is great, but death sounds like a heavy topic for a kids’ film, right? Maybe not. Think about previous Pixar films and even classic Disney films. 

The movie “Finding Dory” (based on “Finding Nemo”) is about a tiny blue fish losing her family at very young age. “Finding Dory” is a family friendly movie about the tiny blue fish. Nine times out of ten, little kids (ages 2-12) love this movie, but what about teenagers?  According to a survey, nine out of fifteen high school students have watched and liked Finding Dory. Most of them agree that the movie is about never leaving your family behind and never giving up even when you have lost everything. Also, you will always find a way home because home is where the heart is.  That’s exactly what Dory, the main character, had to go through with the help of Nemo and his father. Overall, the movie is good for people of all ages. Sarah Beth Besherse, a freshman, said, “I think the theme of this story is that it is never too late to come back to the ones you love. Also, that if you care about the people you are trying to get to you won’t give up.” More than 75 percent of the surveyed students agreed with Sarah.

Classic films like “Bambi,” “Snow White,” and “Cinderella” involve the death of a parent to some degree. “The Lion King” has both death and explicit murder. Newer films like “Inside Out” and “Monsters, Inc.” deal with strong emotions.

“Coco” or other animated films can have a deeper meaning, and if presented carefully, kids can learn to deal with heavy topics like death by experiencing it through film and stories. Coco seems to have all the makings of a great Pixar film, according to reviews in The Atlantic and Roger Egbert. Every viewer can learn something through Coco’s question of “Can a person honor his family and pursue his dreams?

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From Coco to Bambi: Heavy Topics in Animation