Broken Aesop / Animated Films

  • The Adventures of the American Rabbit: Suffers from this big time. The Big Bad's henchmen are a biker gang called The Jackals, who are... jackals. Several times during the movie, characters mention that no one should assume all jackals are evil just because of the actions of a few bad apples. All well and good, except that there are no good jackals in the movie — everyone is a member of the biker gang and is working for the main villain.
  • Barbie as the Island Princess: The main message of the movie is that you should marry for love, not wealth or status. At the end of the movie the King and Queen finally accept that their son loves Ro, and give their blessing to the marriage despite Ro not being a princess. Seconds later it's revealed that Ro is the lost princess of another kingdom, who everyone presumed had drowned in a storm as a child. So the movie cancels out its own moral in the space of two minutes.
  • The Book of Life: Subverted — the kids decide to free the animals about to be butchered. Then it looks like Manolo will use his bullfighting skills with the big nasty hog... but he does not, because the truth is that Manolo does NOT want to be a bullfighter.
  • Care Bears: Share Bear Shines opens with Oopsy needing to be rescued because he went to a dangerous place all alone. The other bears, including Share, admonish him for this, but not too long after that, Share goes off on her own, without telling anyone, to help a baby star get to Glitter City, where she's never been before and only has a vague idea of how to get there. The fact that she did exactly what she told Oopsy not to do is never brought up, not even when the others find her.
  • The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie has a moral that defeats its own purpose. Near the end of the movie, the protagonists decide that they don't want a point and believe that "offensive" humor shouldn't need moral justification. This has Unfortunate Implications - since this kind of humor only works if it's worked into a moral so there is something to mock or is portrayed with good jest. Yet virtually every joke is made as offensively grotesque as possible, and is either drawn out, mean-spirited, or both. The movie does everything possible including necrophilia. to prove why we would not want to see creators make "offensive" comedy for no reason. In addition to this, the moral is pretty much a paradox in its own existence, since its doing the very thing it's preaching against. Sure, there might be some justification for an Anvilicious message about why heavy handed morals are bad and it's likely supposed to be ironic, but it sure doesn't do a good job indicating so.
    • On top of this, the movie constantly rips on South Park for supposedly being crude humor with lazily tacked-on morals added to justify it. The fact that that's inaccurate aside, that would pretty accurately describe this very movie's own situation. This is made worse with the fact that it's a blatantly false Family-Unfriendly Aesop that insults the very idea of making works purely for entertainment purposes.
  • Delgo: An anti-war story. Two civilizations learn that they shouldn't fight each other... and then they team up to fight the armies of trolls, goblins and other monsters. Moreover, the fact that the monsters are Always Chaotic Evil severely undermines the anti-bigotry message.
  • Doggy Poo: Tries to teach that no one is useless. This is broken when Doggy Poo, the main character, ends up being used to grow a dandelion, a weed that spreads around and makes farmers' lives miserable. Mr. Enter compared it to telling kids they weren't useless because they could become drug dealers.
  • FernGully: Has an incredibly anvilicious environmental aesop. Too bad, then, that the bad guys polluting and destroying the rainforest are stopped by the fairies living in it. So the aesop becomes less "help the rainforest, it can't help itself" and more "don't worry about it, the fairies can take care of themselves". Another issue with the fairies is that they're in the movie just to add an element of human interest to the story. The first problem with this is that it's implying that actual rainforests, where such creatures do not exist, aren't worth the attention of conservation. What's worse, though, is that the fairies live in a society based upon human ideals, which doesn't gel with the film's intended aesop that Humans Are Cthulhu—though arguably that aesop deserved to be broken.
  • Finding Nemo: The intended message of the film is that Marlin should learn to be less of an Overprotective Dad to Nemo and let him grow up without constraining him. The problem is, while this lesson might have been all good for a human father, Marlin was on the money with him fearing Nemo would be in danger and had experienced the perils of the sea before thanks to his wife and other children's deaths; whereas those advocating for Marlin to relax and let Nemo be free are those who rely too much on dumb luck to get by rather than in good parenting skills. In fact, all the stuff that Marlin and Nemo had to endure through the film all but proves that Marlin's fears are more than justified.
  • Hotel Transylvania 2: The driving tension is that Dracula wants his Half-Human Hybrid grandson, Dennis, to be a vampire instead of a human. He spends the whole movie trying to bring out his vampiric side, including a Die or Fly situation, is forced to defend the mixed-species family to his Fantastic Racist father, and is just about to accept Dennis for how he truly is...when Dennis turns out to be a vampire anyway.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Golden Films version): Is supposed to teach that True Beauty Is on the Inside, but Quasimodo becomes handsome, so the moral is that looks don't matter if you're handsome. Not helping by the fact that Quasimodo doesn't even look grotesque in the first place, as to paraphrase Phelous: "He looked ready to join a boy band."
  • The Incredibles: Spoofed in bonus features on the DVD. One feature had one of the superheroes who was a Friend to All Children and worked regularly to keep them safe and educated give a speech about how important it is to stay in school, since the superhero in question dropped out. However, he quickly realizes he is mangling the aesop with him saying things like "stay in school, or you'll end up like me," since he is famous and well-beloved and has superpowers. He does not quite know how to proceed once he figures out that this is not sending the correct message.
  • Kubo and the Two Strings repeatedly states how important memories are to people, allowing one to keep the memory of their loved ones alive and helping them to shape who they are and what they become. It proceeds to throw this all away in the ending when Kubo erases all of his grandfather's memories in order to enact a Heel–Face Turn in him, as after he's mindwiped the other villagers of Kubo's town then all tell him of all the times he's been a kind, friendly person to them and he seems to buy it. So it seems the moral falls more along the lines of, "Memories are important to people, unless they're an evil god of the moon, in which case their memories should be immediately be erased and well-intentioned lies to convince them they've always been good are what's truly important."
  • Kung Fu Panda: Has a Be Yourself message, that the secret to limitless power is belief in oneself. The Dragon Scroll isn't blank, it's reflective. It breaks because the whole reason Po sticks with his training instead of quitting is because he feels inadequate and he thinks Shifu can make him not himself. On top of this, Hard Work Hardly Works is in play; Po is an Instant Expert who masters an instant-death attack after seeing it performed once or twice, and his naturally pudgy, fuzzy body makes him immune to Tai Lung's most powerful abilities. And then there's Tai Lung himself; since the scroll has nothing written on it and had nothing in it to abuse, there was never any reason to keep him from reading it except to arbitrarily deny it to him. The end result is that self-respect may be the key to true power, but only the Chosen One actually deserves to have self-respect.
  • The Lion King: Simba the lion thinks he accidentally caused his father's death and runs off to another land. Eventually people tell him to confront his fears and he goes back to challenge Scar, who took over his kingdom in his abscence and turned it into a tyranny. Scar once again puts the blame on him for causing his fathers' death. Simba starts to doubt himself again and the other lions doubt him too. It's only when Scar has Simba in a situation where he will probably die that he confesses that he was the actual murderer. Simba forces Scar to confess, causing the others to help him defeat him in their midst.
  • Mars Needs Moms: Has the message that people are meant to be raised by a mother and a father. Aside from the Unfortunate Implications of such a blanket statement (as pointed out by Something Awful and The Mysterious Mr. Enter, among others), Milo's mother is the only parent shown for almost the entire movie. His father seems to show up at the beginning and end only to drive the moral home and dispel the notion that Milo is raised by a single parent.
  • Meet the Robinsons: Is particularly Anvilicious about its Aesop: don't worry about making mistakes because you can always learn from them and fix them later. The movie contains two plot-stopping lectures and a musical number to hammer it in. So, when confronted with DOR-15, Lewis solves the problem by declaring he will never invent her, causing a Temporal Paradox and removing her from existence. A quick and easy way to end the movie, but at the cost of undermining its Aesop. Right from the beginning, DOR-15 was still fully-functional, if only disobedient. The movie's solution prevents a viable third option: Instead of writing DOR-15 off as a failed invention too early, Lewis could remind his future self to either correct DOR-15's behavior or outright build a better one, allowing him to dispatch DOR-15 while still having his Helping Hat invention. Lewis also never demonstrates that he learned his roommate had needs and would be more conscientious about it. Meanwhile, the two characters who DO follow the Aesop's advice don't exactly get rewarded for it: Wilbur scrambles around trying to fix his careless mistake but only ends up making things worse and is eventually punished by his mother when he admits to it, while the Bowler Hat Guy keeps trying new schemes when the old ones fail and is consistently chewed out for his incompetence by DOR-15 and everyone else around him.
    • The short version: The film's Aesop is about getting better through learning from your mistakes. While Lewis laments that he makes the same mistakes over and over again, he ends up solving his problems by denying his mistakes (and potentially repeating them), rather than identifying and improving on them. Conversely, when Wilbur and Bowler Hat Guy do try and learn from their own mistakes, they end up making things worse for themselves.
  • Penguins of Madagascar: Has a "looks don't matter" aesop that is a bit broken in many ways:
    • First, the mutated Private isn't nearly as unattractive as all the other mutant penguins - he still looks mostly like his adorable self, despite having allegedly taken on all of the other penguins' disfigurements.
    • In The Stinger, the penguins go through the trouble of changing him back to normal, at his request.
    • The sheer fact Dave's plan counted on the humans trying to kill the penguins simply because they were hideous and scary looking (but still affectionate). Since nearly every human there calls for the exterminators in droves, the climax revolved around the penguins having to change back to being cute.
  • Planes: A Disney Toon Studio about Dusty Crophopper, who dreams of competing against his heroes in a race around the world. Unfortunately, being a crop duster, he's not built for speed and must compensate with his considerable skill, setting up a lesson about how hard work and talent aren't as important as dedicated practice and perseverance. And then the rest of the cast donates new, superior parts to him so he can compete in the finale, to the point that by the time he's upgraded and ready to fly, he's not actually a crop duster anymore. Guess you can't be a winner unless you're built to win after all.
  • Shrek: A movie about loving yourself for who you are despite your physical appearance, but during the entire film they are making fun of Lord Farquaad for being short instead of all his other detestable qualities.
  • The Sword in the Stone: The film tries to have a "Knowledge is the real power." message delivered by Merlin to Wart both throughout the film and in the ending, but almost nothing in the film supports it because Wart is a Pinball Protagonist who has no control over anything that's going on around him, and his problems are almost always solved by Merlin's magic anyway despite Merlin saying magic can't solve all his problems (even if they do unwittingly tend to cause as many hardships as they solve, Merlin is basically doing the real work for Wart, even if he sincerely is trying to make a point to him) and he doesn't even get his happy ending by using anything he learned from Merlin—in fact, Wart ends up doing the exact opposite of what Merlin wanted by willingly accepting a degrading position as Kay's squire instead of focusing on an education. It was by sheer luck that he ends up going to London and turns out to be the one worthy of pulling out the sword, making him King of England right then and there.
  • Tytus, Romek i A'tomek: Its Polish cartoon adaptation is all about how advertisement and commercialization are bad; however the movie is rife with product placement, to the point that the good characters use an actual KFC restaurant as their spaceship.
  • We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story: The movie is framed as a morality tale about the importance of family, but the movie doesn't support this at all. The two kids are never seen reconciling with their parents on screen, nor do they have to learn that family is more important than they thought; they save the dinosaurs from Screweye, and... their parents come back. It's worth mentioning that the Professor, one of the Aesop's main proponents, leaves his brother Screweyes to die at the end of the movie.
  • Wizards: This Ralph Bakshi animated film takes place in a post-technology future, and spends the entire film building up the conflict between a good, druidic wizard who lives in harmony with nature and who draws his power from all living things, and an evil wizard who's reinventing mass production, firearms and munitions, and whose conquering armies are threatening to plunge the world back into the chaos of technological warfare. The contrast between their philosophies keeps building until, at the end, they're finally facing down one another. And then the good wizard... shoots and kills the evil wizard with a gun.
    • Word of God is that the Aesop was supposed to be about propaganda. This is more easily seen afterwards, but the average viewer, without being told such, may gravitate to the more apparently obvious and familiar message that "technology is bad, being close to nature is good". This is the point: the movie sets up the Aesop and intentionally breaks it because the movie is denouncing the idea of letting the words of others do your thinking for you. The only reason technology is bad and nature is good is because everyone says so. The good wizard at the end is the only character who doesn't buy into the hype and recognizes that what the villain is doing is harmful, but it's the villain that's the problem, and is perfectly fine to use technology to solve it.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/BrokenAesop/AnimatedFilms