July 27, 2018

Before the year 2000, the Academy Award for the “Best Animated Feature” did not exist and the only way for an animated film to get an Oscar recognition was to feature a well-composed song with lyrical prowess. Since then, animated films have come a long way and old-time gems such as Finding Nemo and The Incredibles have gone on to make multiple sequels that have broken box office records. Aside from the detailed human-like expressions and surreal high definition quality, what I absolutely love about animated films is the way they manage to incorporate life lessons, yet still retain a jovial disposition. No matter how young or old we may be, here are some life lessons from Oscar-winning animated films that we all can learn a thing or two from.

Brave – Have courage

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Brave brings a refreshing twist to the seemingly lackluster genre of princess movies that often centre around a damsel in distress and the idea of romance. Merida, a Scottish princess who is a skilled archer, rebels against an age-old tradition by refusing to marry the son of her father’s ally. A huge argument with her mother, Queen Elinor arises, causing Merida to run away and seek help from an eccentric witch, who ends up giving her more than she bargained for. As the first Pixar film to feature a female protagonist, Brave is truly empowering as it inspires us to stand up for what we believe in and take charge of our own destiny. The relationship between Merida and Queen Elinor is poignant as it delves into the complexity of a mother-daughter bond and the empathy needed to understand each other.

Inside Out – It’s okay to be sad

From the producers of Pixar, Walt Disney presents a moving film on self-discovery, with a strong emphasis on understanding our true emotions. This life-changing movie features Riley, a cheerful, hockey-loving 11-year-old in the midst of a major transition as she moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. Unlike anything we’ve seen before, this film is mostly set in Riley’s mind where it shows a personification of her core emotions, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust that guide her through the difficult period of readjustment. Growing up, we thought to believe that we ought to be happy all the time. However, Inside Out shows us how sadness is vital to our well-being and happiness does not necessarily mean joy, as it comes in many forms, especially when we least expect it.

Zootopia – Never judge a book by its cover

Despite being told that she should work in a carrot farm like her other siblings, Judy Hopps manages to overcome the odds and becomes the first rabbit to join the police force of the mammal metropolis land of Zootopia. Determined to prove herself, Judy jumps at the opportunity to solve a mystery crime but ends up working with Nick Wilde, a fox, stereotypically known as the predator. Aside from catchy tunes, and a compelling storyline, Zootopia serves as an excellent reminder to never doubt your capabilities and to stop passing judgments on people based on their appearances, race and family background.

Up – An adventure is out there

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We’ve all heard of the saying “you are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream” by C.S. Lewis. Up is a prime example of the quote and encourages us to think beyond. Fellow Muntz fans, Carl and Ellie meet when they were little and end up marrying each other when they grow older. Together, they work tirelessly to fulfill their childhood dream and save up for a trip to the mythical Paradise Falls in South America. Unfortunately, Ellie falls gravely ill and dies. Now at the age of 78 years old, Carl is determined to accomplish their lifelong goal through the use of his house and thousands of balloons. As he begins to travel to the destination, Carl discovers a boy scout, Russell aboard his balloon-powered house, leading to a new-found friendship and an epic escapade. Up shows us that the biggest adventure is life itself and inspires us to never give up on our dreams, no matter how old we are or the setbacks we might face along the way.

Coco – Family is forever

Despite his family’s strict generational ban on music, Miguel aspires to become a musician, just like his idol, Ernesto De La Cruz. To prove his talent, Miguel takes part in a talent show which unexpectedly leads him into the colourful Land of the Dead, where he befriends Héctor, a down-on-his-luck skeleton. Together, they embark on a spectacular adventure to discover his family’s history. Coco is an extremely heartfelt film that teaches us the importance of family and to always remember their legacy that they leave behind. Sometimes, we may not understand our family’s intentions or why they choose to do things in a certain way, but one thing’s for sure—they will always have your best interest at heart.

Photo Credits: Disney/Pixar