I Was Banned from Disney Films — It was for the Better : The Mythology of Righteous Revenge
Andrew Simon Thomas

Not every story does end with a death. I agree its bad if a child is only exposed to stories where conflicts are always resolved through bloodshed, but I would argue it’s actually more rare to find kids movies with bloody vengeance then peaceful resolution, especially now.

Just off the top of my head here are a few movies that don’t end with murder: Lilo and Stitch, Little Rascals, Hotel Transylvania, Brave Little Toaster, The Grinch who Stole Christmas, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Monsters University, Cars, Finding Nemo, Frozen, Shrek, Hercules, Madagascar…this list goes on.

The most interesting one that has most recently come out is called Descendants, a straight to Disney Channel movie where the children of Jafar, the Evil Queen from Snow White, Cruella Deville, and Maleficent go to highschool with the children of the protagonists from the same stories. They spend the duration of the film learning about teamwork, redemption and not needing to live down the sins of your parents. Spoiler: no villains get killed.

It’s hard today to find justified revenge in kids movies, or at least harder than it used to be. And if you take a look at the sources of most of the movies you listed, they were themselves based on very famous (and violent) stories. The Lion King is based on Hamlet, Beauty and the Beast is based on some story written in the 16th century, the Little Mermaid was a story written by Hans Christian Anderson, and half the other movies Disney made were torn right out of the Brothers Grimm. Every single one of those translations from the old medium into the new resulted in a substantial reduction in violence, even if the bad guy did get killed in the end.

And if we’re just talking about American culture, we aren’t the only ones with violence in our stories, not by a long shot. In fact most of the stories and fables we turned into Disney movies were imported from other cultures, not made here in America.

Our culture is too violent, and too often we do polarize things into “good and evil,” but the idea that you can reduce this kind of us vs them mentality by removing films like Lion King and The Little Mermaid is a stretch. Maybe we should have our older kids watch more films where we see how violence begets violence, American History X for example.

The recurrent theme of good vs evil is as old as humanity itself and carved into the bedrock of our mythology, our children should be exposed to these ideas at least from a safe distance. If we as a culture cannot safely explore the concepts of good vs evil in film, then where can we?

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