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10 Great Kids Movies with a Social Message

08 October 2015 | Film Lists | by Joep van Duinen

With the latest release of Inside out, kids movies with a social message had a huge revival. When making this list we we’re surprised on how many movies actually contains big social messages that not only applies to kids but grown ups like ourselves as well. These 10 movies had knowing or unknowing a big impact on many people’s lives.

 

1. Inside Out

Inside Out

This record-breaking 2015 movie is entertaining and heart-warming. Better yet, it has several important lessons for children and adults.

Inside Out tells the story of Riley, a young girl who moves across the country with her family. Although San Francisco is generally a friendly place, Riley must deal with the overwhelming stress of being thrust into a completely different culture. At Headquarters, we get to see how humans’ core emotions work. Joy, Fear, Disgust, Anger, and Sadness are amusing characters and represent important parts of who we are.

When Riley tries to suppress her feelings of sadness, her problems don’t disappear. In fact, they get worse. Sadness is part of life, and it opens the door for others to help us. There are positive effects to what we might think are negative emotions. Don’t be afraid of feeling sad; share your emotions with others, and your bond will become stronger.

 

2. The Lion King

The Lion King (1994)

One of the most successful animated films of all-time, this music-filled story explores the darkest of family matters. How do we react to immeasurably difficult situations? The answer is in the Pride Lands.

It is impossible to fully recover from the violent death of a parent. The pain may lessen over time, but a child will always live with the mental scars.

In The Lion King, this subject is tackled throughout Simba’s journey.Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa are the young lion’s best friends. They support Simba when he needs them the most. Through funny songs, silly scenes, and serious periods of reflection, we learn that running from the past is not the answer to happiness. Learn from trials and tribulations for a truly positive outcome.

 

3. Star Wars

STARWARS1977_originalb

George Lucas’ epic saga needs no introduction.

The original Star Wars trilogy introduced the world to an entire universe of unique people, aliens, and cultures. From Jabba the Hutt to Darth Maul, the list of memorable characters is daunting. Many critics, social commentators, and superfans have analyzed the plotlines, undertones, and minutia inside and out.

For this list, we’ll look at one profound quote from Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, who said, “Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view.” This simple sentence is one for the ages. Step out of your own mind for a moment, and look at an issue from someone else’s perspective. What you see is not necessarily what someone else sees.

 

4. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)

Released in 1971, the original film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s offbeat children’s book tells a tale of mystery, deception, and truth. The 2005 movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, stars Johnny Depp as the eccentric candy tycoon. Both films share an important message about society.

Charlie Bucket comes from a very poor family. As a holder of one of the five Golden Tickets, Charlie has the chance to go on a tour of Willy Wonka’s strange, magical factory. Throughout the movie, the other four ticketholders succumb to greed. They lack the discipline required to follow orders, and eventually suffer great consequences.

Everyone other than Charlie, who has the most to gain, disobeys orders and pays the price. Charlie is an honest child who cares about his family more than earning riches for himself. And that’s what makes him a winner.

 

5. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Chronicles of Narnia The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (2005)

The Disney adaptation of this C.S. Lewis novel is an amalgam of breathtaking scenery, cleverly placed CGI, and a hint of religious allegory. While occasionally faithful to the original story, the 2005 film version of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has a slightly different message.

Disney is somewhat notorious for placing hidden imagery and meanings into its films. However, this particular movie replaced some of C.S. Lewis’s underlying themes with simpler, friendlier tones. Yes, there is danger, the eternal battle of good-versus-evil, and redemption. But for Edmund, Lucy, Peter, and Susan, their mission is simple: fulfill your destiny and defeat the White Witch. Often in real life, we must play the cards we are dealt. Stand up when called upon, and be brave to achieve success.

 

6. The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book (1967)

Rudyard Kipling’s collection of short stories has been made (and remade) into several movies and TV series. In 1967, the animated Disney film was the last produced by Walt Disney himself. Although it eventually led to several sequels, the original animated movie told an important tale.

Mowgli, an orphan boy, was discovered by animals in the jungle. As the only human living among four-legged species, Mowgli was raised by wolves. There are countless dangers in the wild, and the friendly animals teach the young boy how to survive. In spite of persistent adversity, Mowgli is immersed into jungle life and feels at home.

When it comes time to join the Man-Village, Mowgli initially resists. He feels that he belongs with the animals…until a lovely lady comes along. In the end, Mowgli adapts to life wherever he is. Showing acceptance of other species and cultures is a beautiful way to live.

 

7. Meet the Robinsons

Meet the Robinsons

During its release in 2007, this children’s movie boasted the following tagline: “If you think your family’s different, wait ’til you meet the family of the future.” Nearly a decade later, this sentiment certainly rings true.

In Meet the Robinsons, a young orphan’s inventive mind leads him to great things. Although Lewis began his childhood alone, he expressed creativity and became loved by those around him.

Lewis wasn’t afraid to be himself. Despite some of his inventions causing trouble, they eventually had an overwhelmingly positive impact on society. Lewis’s unique mind and personality led him to many amazing things, including having a family when he least expected. The message here is simple: be true to yourself, and your dreams will come true.

 

8. The Incredibles

the-incredibles-2004

This superhero-filled film was the first full-length Pixar movie to win several Academy Awards. It tells a story of oppression, redemption, and family values. Under the surface, a strong social commentary lingers.

The Incredibles centers on Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and their supernatural children. At the very beginning of the movie, all Supers become banned from using their powers. Despite all of the crimes stopped and criminals caught, Supers are deemed too destructive and dangerous for regular society. Supers are forced to relocate and identify with regular civilians at regular jobs. But superheroes aren’t regular. They are absolutely special, and society needs them.

In The Incredibles, we learn that being politically correct and completely blending in doesn’t work for everyone. Certain people need to shine, and their abilities must be recognized—even if there is some peripheral damage. The good can outweigh the bad.

 

9. A Bug’s Life

A Bug's Life

This award-winning animated movie pits a lovable colony of ants against power-hungry grasshoppers. Clearly illustrating political battles and social constructs, the outshining message of A Bug’s Life is told through its main character, Flik.

As a loner and hopeful inventor, Flik wants to make things better for his fellow ants. After an accident with one of his inventions, Flik becomes the outcast of his colony. The evil grasshoppers continue to pressure the ants and extort food. Eventually, Flik’s unique personality and admirable work ethic lead him to perfect his inventions. Flik saves his entire colony and becomes a hero. The takeaway: keep trying for the best, and don’t give in to adversity. One small being can help an entire civilization.

 

10. Pinocchio

Pinocchio (1940)

Based on Carlo Collodi’s “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” this Disney classic shows a puppet-turned-human on an epic journey of enlightenment. With the help of Geppetto and Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio eventually adjusts to life as a real boy.

The real world isn’t easy. In Pinocchio, the titular puppet comes to life through the powers of the Blue Fairy. In order to fully transform into a human, Pinocchio must exude some of mankind’s best qualities. If he can survive Pleasure Island while remaining truthful and unselfish, and if he can resist Lampwick’s bad influence, then he will be worthy of a real conscience.

Pinocchio makes many mistakes along the way, but he is forgiven. Jiminy helps Pinocchio, and Pinocchio helps Geppetto. In the end, Pinocchio is saved by those around him. Our final message is very clear: we can’t do everything on our own. Miraculous things can happen when we welcome the help of others.

 

 


   

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