Funny how often times animations set for a children’s audience, have underlining messages of political or social support, rebuttal and then sometimes even bit of wisdom. This movie (minuting the fact that all the characters were animals), is about a boy who wanted to follow a dream and learn the art of Kung Fu. However, his weight became a symbol of ridicule to his fellow classmates and his past as an orphan raised by a man of a different background, made him unsure about who he was really suppose to be.
See? Although an animation is set out to appear cute, if you take away that layer, there is nothing but a social stance that is often overlooked. Dreamworks Studios has a history of making films with these hidden messages, all with a different take.
For example, let’s look at How to Train Your Dragon. A small boy wishes to fit in to make his family proud and follow in the footsteps of his ancestors. However, he knows in his heart that he is different. So, instead of destroying and pillaging, he starts creating: tools, objects and even a friendship. His father disapproves but the boy is happy and seems to have finally found his place in the world. Just goes to show that sometimes people might not understand us at first, but we always have to follow our own paths and be true to ourselves to seek the reward of true happiness.
Another example, let’s move to Rise of the Guardians. A young boy wakes up with amnesia, without a soul in the world to help him figure out who he is. Over time, he leaves the past behind him and starts causing antics (or as he describes it, “having fun”) around his old hometown to get attention. Soon after though, he is taken in by a family who shows him who is really is and how he can use his flair for “fun” to make the world a better place.
Finally, let’s look at Shrek. A man is shunned from the world for being disfigured, living out his years in a swamp to avoid the torment of society. He develops anger issues and never gives friendship a chance, assuming that in the end, no one will ever understand him. But in time he is chosen to go on a quest; he is given the chance to come out into society and save other misfits like himself. His social anxiety gets the better of him for a while. Eventually though, he makes friends and even falls in love with a girl, who winds up understanding his problem a lot more than he could have ever imagined. He soon realizes that he has a future, and it was never meant to be spent alone.
So I suppose as long as they remain willing to forgive the past, live in the present and look to the future that awaits them, these characters will live out into happy sequels. We have to take what is good out of life and cherish it, not to say that the feeling will never come back, but use it to propel us into a future that is brighter than we ever thought possible.
All in all, next time you watch a Dreamworks, Pixar or Disney film, really think about what you are watching. Ignore the fluffy bits on top and sink in. You will soon realize that not everything is as it appears 🙂