Disney’s New Movie Theme

To all Disney Fans….I have a question for you.  How do you like Disney’s new movie theme?  What is the new theme you ask?  Well….in a word “grief.”

For those of you scratching your head, let’s review Disney/Pixar’s last two blockbuster movies.  UP from Pixar was a movie that many people were apprehensive about after the trailers came out.  When the movie finally hit the box office, it became clear that this movie was special.  Why was it special?  Simply put, it went somewhere that Disney/Pixar movies have never really gone before.  A large portion of the beginning of the movie was laden with grief, and the audience FELT that grief.  When I saw it in the theater, everyone who was over the age of 10 was overcome with grief and gave way to more crying than I have ever seen for any movie.  This emotional pull was very universal, and I can imagine many parents having to answer the question “Mommy/Daddy, why are you crying?”  This is one of the large reasons UP is so critically acclaimed.

The latest Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog, was even more direct with the use of grief.  I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it; however, I will say to those parents with children be prepared to hug your kids when the scene in the movie arrives.  This portrayal of grief is way more direct, and even younger children can begin to grasp it’s magnitude much more easily than with UP.



Disney goes through themes with it’s movies from time to time.  Most of the themes have been along the lines of “Damsel in Distress”, “Strong Female Character”, “Antagonist Death”, and even “Family Member Tragedy.”  I can’t remember a time where personal tragedy and grief were such a prominent part of Disney movies.  Personally I think this was a step that Disney needed to take in order to bring their movies back into greatness.  While controversial on a certain level, Disney makes lifelike fairy tales.  Grief is a part of life, and I think Disney has shown great ability to adapt and grow by using this powerful human emotion.

So, how do you feel about this new movie theme from Disney/Pixar?

Disney’s New Movie Theme was last modified: February 18th, 2010 by guest blogging




  • chrisw889

    On a personal level, Up was hard for my husband and I to watch, having dealt with several losses in our attempts to have children. We received that movie from a friend on Christmas day and the kids wanted to watch it that morning and I was not prepared for it. It still strikes me that an animated film could really “get it” so clearly, that it could convey in the most simple ways (no words, even) what it's like to lose a child or be told you won't be having kids at all. Probably because we didn't expect it, that movie really hit me emotionally and I thought about it for days. I can't help but think that someone behind the film had a similar experience and I'm glad they were able to share that with other people, however painful it might be.

    So, how do I feel about this trend? I think if it's not too heavy handed, it's fine. I thought it was handled very well in both movies. In fact, it was so subtle and brief that I think most little kids aren't going to dwell on it too much, if at all. Now grown ups? Well that's another story.