Decades Later Disney and Pixar Still Listen To Walt’s Words
Walt Disney once said:
“You’re dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”
As a child, Disney and Pixar movies were my favorite thing to watch. I was more likely to spend my afternoons after all school assignments were complete watching Disney or Pixar movies rather than television shows.
As I got older, I continued to watch every new Disney and Pixar movie that was released.
I liked having an escape from a demanding class load and typical adolescent growing pains.
One afternoon when I got home from school after getting yet another bad grade on an AP Chemistry exam, I pulled out my old VHS copy of The Lion King, sang along to Hukuna Matata and like Simba tried to forget all my worries.
However sometime during my late teen years, I began to realize that many Disney and Pixar movies really are not necessarily written for children at all.
When Andy was leaving for college in Toy Story 3, I was getting ready to start my senior year of high school.
The theme of growing up and moving on from one’s childhood was something that probably went over most children’s heads, but for me this idea was directly related to what I would soon be facing in my own life.
Brave was released the summer following my first year of college. Like most young college students, I was struggling with my major choice.
The central message in Brave that we can change our own fate was exactly what I needed to hear at this time.
During the next academic year, I decided to change my major from business to journalism and mass communication.
In the same way Merida chose to follow her heart rather than have her marital status define her, I did not have to be defined by my college major. I could choose to study something that truly interested me, and I could apply it to a wide variety of professional fields.
The Frozen frenzy happened during my junior year of college. This was when I really starting to get into my major, and was becoming more aware of my strengths and weaknesses.
Elsa learning to embrace her powers and accept herself was not unlike my own personal self evaluations during this time.
In the most recent Pixar feature, Cars 3, the overall message of the story was very much an adult issue. Lightening McQueen facing the decision of potentially closing a major chapter of his life and moving forward as he grows older is something the children watching the movie are not likely to understand.
However, while these children are impressed by talking cars, their parents are resonating with Lightening McQueen as he comes to terms with moving forward with his next steps in life.
Disney and Pixar are definitely not the only studios that slip adult messages into children’s movies, but their messages do seem to connect with adults on a deeper emotional level compared to the simple, subtle jokes of most other children’s films.
Disney and Pixar’s pictures are so much more than movies created to entertain children. They are quality films for people of all ages.
The number of Oscars won speak for themselves.
Walt Disney knew that the secret to producing quality films meant telling good stories that cater to all audiences.
While many filmmakers are able to do this, very few seem to do it as well as Disney and Pixar.
Overall, the movies we remember and enjoy most are the ones with the best stories. The extra time and effort they put into getting the story right for all audiences is well worth it.