With How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World swooping into cinemas on the 1st February, notable for being a modern kid’s film franchise that lopped off their main protagonist’s arm and leg; as such, to celebrate the return of the cult classic franchise to the big screen, we’ve decided to discuss our favourite or most notable ‘mature’ bits in Disney (Pixar included) or Dreamworks films! Everything from horrid demises, raunchy references and jokes, to downright disturbing imagery and themes…
That is all.
Ok so in Disney/pixar etc. it always surprises me how much they deal with family death. Which is a good thing because we will all go through loss at some point of our lives and sometimes it’s soon and cutting, so it’s a fantastic thing for these films aimed towards children to deal with this. In particular when Hiro loses his brother in Big Hero 6 and the entire plot of Coco being about family. I very much enjoyed these heart warming stories about loss and how people deal with it.
The other one that stands out to me is when Mr Incredible is super fed up with his mundane life after being a super hero, surely this is a mirror of us growing up and facing boring boring work!
I feel like a lot of you might go for this one as well, or maybe I’m just alone in being a big old softie… Yes I’m going with Disney Pixars UP!
When I first watched this film after all the advertising of a fun Pixar joy ride with a talking dog and a flying house, the last thing I expected was to be fighting back tears within the opening ten minutes! If you’ve seen UP then you know exactly what I’m talking about and if you deny getting teary eyed then you are either a heartless monster or lying!
It opens up giving us the back story of Carl and Ellie who met as young children dreaming of adventures who went on to become life long partners. The jolly little montage show them both growing up and getting married then moving on to dream of having children, this is where it takes a dark turn I would not expect to see in a Disney Pixar movie. The next clip we are shown is a doctor telling them they cannot have children which is depressing enough but no no they aren’t finished there! The montage goes on to show the couple desperately trying to save enough money for that adventure they dreamed of as children only for Ellie to tragically pass away once Carl had saved the money they needed and purchased their plane tickets! What are you trying to do to me Pixar!!?
So as Carl is left standing alone in the church after his wife’s funeral, I am left sat in the cinema thinking this is a bit mature for a Pixar movie! I’m not crying, you’re crying!
Looking back now, kids films are rammed with adult content that I missed… So picking just one is tricky! I’m the end I’ve decided to go for one that I’m sure at the time of vaguely understood. In the early part of Shrek, the leading orge and his donkey side kick stand out side the diminutive Lord Farquad’s gigantic castle… Shrek turns to donkey and chuckles asking “Do you think he’s compensating for something?” My parents laughed, my brother laughed. I just stared at the screen confused about why that was funny. 18 years later and I get it. Heh… Dick. Doesn’t matter how old I am now or how “mature” I’m meant to be. A dick joke in a kids movie is always going to be hilarious as long as it’s kept subtle!!! For the kids!
Disney has always been known as a core advocate for child-friendly entertainment… However that wasn’t always the case. Roll back to 1940’s Pinocchio and you’ll see the true extent of Disney’s maturity; smoking, child labour and abuse, drug highs and body mutation, Pinocchio had it all! Best represented by a series of clips around the later half of the film where Pinocchio and Lampwick can be seen swapping drags of a ‘cigar’, only for Pinnochio to retain a puff and get high off his knocker, warping the world around him; later on you also see the cruel Coachman hoarding and shipping off ‘Donkeys’ into wooden crates to be sold to salt mines, labourers and so forth… Only for it to be revealed that all of these ‘Donkeys’ were actually young children, stripped, beaten and sold.
…Man Disney was fucked up.