I’ve been in a particular mood for animated films lately and I’m been contemplating on all the ones I’ve watched. I was inspired after watching one of Wong Fu’s Lunch Break episodes where they listed their top 3 Pixar movies. Pixar and Disney is great, but I think Dreamworks is also equally up to par. I’m starting to believe that animated films are my favourite type of movies. They have an infinite room for creativity, permitting them to speak to their audience in any way possible. Although cute and funny, they are incredibly touching because of how much we find ourselves relating to the characters. I’ve picked my top 3 animated films. It was a difficult choice and I’ve left some really good ones out, but I think these have left a lasting impression. If you haven’t seen these, you have to see them! It won’t disappoint. Here’s why:
1. BIG HERO 6
I went into this movie not knowing what it would be about. I mean, I’ve only seen the teaser, which showed just a kid trying to create a bad-ass robot that turned out to be a big balloon who would pop out of its armor. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Baymax (the robot), is a cuddly, gentle and caring personal healthcare provider. The main character features a Japanese robotics genius (Hiro) who spends his days participating in illegal underground robot fights. His older brother (the creator of Baymax) tries to redirect Hiro and encourages him to compete in his school’s robotics science fair competition. During the event, Hiro loses his brother to arson and Hiro’s entire invention was stolen by a villain. Overcome with the loss, Hiro is seen mopping around his room, and accidentally activates Baymax, who recognizes Hiro’s symptoms of despair.
Take home idea: This movie is action-packed, where Hiro and Baymax tries to stop the villain from using his technology for evil, but the appeal of the film is not in the action. It’s in the constant reminders from Baymax of the therapeutic importance of a hug, friends and family and reminiscence in times of loneliness and hatred. The especially heartfelt moments are when Baymax plays recordings of Hiro’s late brother going through the difficult process of creating Baymax, for the sole motive of helping people in need.
2. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
Never heard of this film until my brother came home one day and told me to watch it. The title sounded silly and despite hearing it was amazing, I watched it with low expectations. I think that’s the best way to approach things – with low expectations. So I hate to hype it up for you, but I was blown away. A village prides itself in dragon hunting and a young boy called Hiccup is eager to hunt his first dragon. During a massive dragon attack. Hiccup secretly goes out of the village to try to find a dragon. He finds a rare, black creature that has been shot out of the sky, tangled up and unable to move. Hiccup is excited and about to jump on the opportunity to go in for an easy kill to impress his father, but before he does, he hesitates and notices the fear in the dragon. Unable to follow through, he frees the dragon instead. Grateful, the dragon takes off without harming Hiccup. Later on, Hiccup does some research and learns that the black dragon is deemed one of the most dangerous in literature. But his own encounter proves otherwise.
Take home idea: It turns out that these dragons were greatly misunderstood, and attacked villages out of retaliation and fear. Nobody took the time is learn of their natural behaviors and habitat. We encounter this a lot in our society and I feel very passionate about it. So many animals, cultures, religions, people, even theories have a bad image on the general public, without even knowing what it’s all about. When we get attacked or challenged, we draw conclusions based on the incident, but we don’t dig deeper to understand why it happened. For example, pitbulls have the bad reputation of being aggressive and unpredictable dogs, causing the U.S to impose a ban on them. But upon further inspection, pitbulls were bred to be powerful guard dogs. In the 80s, they were heavily utilized for dog fighting and were used by drug dealers to guard drugs and marijuana crops. They were taught to attack. Now, it is slowly coming to light that the breed is not the fundamental problem. The problem comes from the misuse of the breed, and any healthy pitbull owner would agree that they are gentle and friendly. Don’t take anything at face value, and for goodness’ sake, don’t believe everything people say. Find out for yourself and make your own unbiased judgments. Understanding the cause of a problem and spreading awareness thereafter is the most appropriate preventative measure.
3. WRECK-IT RALPH
I thoroughly enjoyed the originality of this film and I love how we got to see the world as the personas of arcade games. Ralph stars as the ‘bad guy’ in his video game and he struggles to come to term with his assigned role. Longing to be a hero instead of villain, Ralph decides to enter other arcade games to earn the medal and the respect he could never gain in his own game. He enters into a racing game called “Candy Crush” and meets a young racer named Vanellope. Vanellope is a glitched character and because of the glitch, she is not permitted to race, fearing that it may disrupt the game. Throughout the movie, Ralph fights to help Vanellope participate in a race and to help her gain a medal she deserves in her own game. In return, even though still cast as a villain, he earns respect and adoration from Vanellope.
Take home idea: I will never forget the line at the end of the movie where Ralph says, “because if that little kid likes me, how bad can I be?” Sometimes we try to be heroes by pushing ourselves to be accepted and recognized. We want to be the one to shine and the one to be praised. When we fail to achieve a standard, we fall into a mindset of feeling not good enough, or not worthy enough. But sometimes, we have to know when to step out of the spotlight and to take on supportive role to help someone else rise to success. In doing so, we learn humility and how to team-play. We learn to appreciate smaller accomplishments and all the details that happen backstage, as opposed to the only seeing the glamorous end-results. We may not receive the appreciation we deserve from the audience, but appreciation from our inner circle of people should be all that matters.
What are favourite animated movies? I would love to hear them :)