200 Pounds Beauty: The main character begins the movie overweight, providing the singing voice for a backup dancer turned pop star and nursing an unrequited crush. She gets a crazy amount of plastic surgery and remakes herself as Jenny. She has fame, beauty, and the attention of the guy she was in love with. She underwent a great deal of pain but it seems like it was worth it. But then the problems start. She is paranoid about her love interest touching her and either damaging her new body or discovering what's fake. She betrays her family and friends. But then she reveals all and keeps her fans. The movie makes it clear that she still has her detractors but she's also a very successful pop star and her personal life is great. So … plastic surgery is bad? You should just be yourself? Also, the movie ends with her plastic surgeon being very successful and her best friend going in to also get a ton of plastic surgery.
2012 has a particularly egregious example — Dr. Adrian gives a rousing speech aboard one of the doomsday-evading-Arks on the importance of humanity looking out for one another and convinces the captain to open the gates, allowing more people in. While well-intentioned, this decision indirectly results in the Diabolus ex Machina offings of Gordon and Tamara via the ship flooding. Not to mention no one even mentioning all the Chinese workers they just sent off the boats to die…
The movie itself seems to want to condemn modern society and technology, implying that it made mankind arrogant while they were unable to predict a global disaster that the Mayans supposedly predicted thousands of years ago, and hinting at the end that the survivors of mankind have been humbled and will now go back to living with the land as their ancestors once did. This all ignores the little details that they only survived because they used modern technology to build the arks in the first place - not to mention that Jackson and his family use everything from an airplane to an RV to escape all of the disasters that occur...
American Pie: Near the beginning of the movie a bunch of friends make a pact to get laid before the school year is over. Then near the end of the movie, they decide that was a dumb thing to do, since sex shouldn't be a goal in itself, but something you do with a person who's important to you and when you both want it. That's a nice moral. But then, they all get laid the same night anyway! Alternately, you could read the aesop as "good things will happen if you stop obsessing over them." To make matters worse, when Jim wakes up and finds Michelle (whom he does not particularly care about at this point in his multi-movie arc) has already gone, his response is "I got used. Cool!" and completely ruins the apparently intended Aesop. Oz, on the other hand, seems to have grasped the aesop quite well, as instead of bragging about finally getting laid, he simply states he had an awesome night with his lady.
Avatar tries to tell us that we can learn something from tribes who live with their homeworld, rather than off it. The Aesop breaks when you see that the Na'vi's ability to coexist with nature stems from their biology which they take for granted, rather than any sort of discipline. It's also worth mentioning that when an element of nature they can't biologically link with, that is humans, enters the picture, they are completely unable (and rather unwilling) to coexist in any way whatsoever.
Furthermore, it's clear that the lifestyle of the Na'vi is devastatingly brutal - they are routinely killed off as children - and the only reason it comes across as positive for the hero is that he's immune to most of the dangers, since he'll just wake up in his tank if his Avatar dies. Oh, and he also has to use human technology to lay claim to the dragon that Only the Chosen May Ride.
Banlieue 13: Ultimatum contains one of the most broken Aesops ever seen: After having foiled the villain's plan to blow up Banlieue 13 in order to have it replaced by a rich suburb, and exposed his orchestration of the civil violence leading to that decision, the leaders of all five stereotypical ethnic gangs (Black Rastafarians who look like rejects from the Lord's Resistance Army, robe-clad bearded Arabs, Trigger Happy Portuguese used-car salesmen, tattooed Asian martial artists and white Neo-Nazi skinheads) give the French President an "inspirational" speech on how they're like a family that protects, unites and brings people together! Keeping in mind that they all voluntarily racially segregate themselves into different blocks and have only united to fight a common enemy…
Batman Begins: Bruce Wayne, in his training to become Batman, is ordered to kill a criminal that the League of Shadows arrested, but re refuses since he decided he will not be an executioner, the moral is If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him, but to escape the temple without having to kill the criminal, he intentionally burns the whole temple down, presumably killing many people there, maybe even the criminal he was ordered to kill in the first place. (This is, however, consistent with his attitude towards the impending death of Ducard/Al-Ghoul when he declares, "I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you." Batman is apparently comfortable with being indirectly responsible for the deaths of others.)
Beverly Hills Chihuahua had a message about adopting animals from shelters and the sequel even had a celebration promotion about National Spay/Neuter Month. This is despite at the end's with Babies Ever After and the sequels involve the puppies.
Big Fish has a muddled Aesop, but seems to indicate that once Will learned his father wasn't lying about all of his stories, but merely exaggerating a lot in them, he needed to reconcile with the man and respect him as a father. The problem with this moral is that Will's dislike of the stories wasn't just because he believed they were lies, but because his father always told them as a method of always keeping attention on himself. The big schism occurs when his father launches into one of his long-winded stories at Will's wedding, which he resents because he believes his father is stealing his moment. Indeed, all depictions of his father in the modern day (Albert Finney) seem to show him always turning the conversations back to himself in one manner or another, and showing little regard for others. It doesn't help that there's no similarity in the older portrayal of the character and of the younger version that is extensively going out of his way to help and care about other people, which can easily create the impression that Edward colors the facts in his stories about himself so he'll seem more important and respectable than he might've actually been.
The pulpy action classic Billy Jack features the heroic title character —who identifies himself as a pacifist— using martial arts to defend a hippie commune from evil racist rednecks. The lesson that pacifism is a wonderful and noble ideal to strive for is severely blunted by how little good it does the hippie kids when bullies want to beat the crap out of them, since the only thing that gets the goons to back off is Billy Jack showing up to lay the smackdown, in some instances even listing in detail exactly how he's going to wail on them before doing so. In fact in The Trial of Billy Jack it seems as if the reality of his methods dawns on Billy for the first time in his life when one of his students he's trying to talk out of unnecessary violence basically asks him "So what do you call what you just did to those thugs?"
Buddy features a woman who takes a baby gorilla home and raises it among her multiple pets. As the gorilla ages, it becomes more destructive and inconvenient to keep and she sends it off to an ape sanctuary. The moral, involving the problems of keeping exotic pets, is ruined because she already has two pet chimpanzees, who are portrayed as lovable little pets with no problems. Chimpanzees are far more destructive and violent than gorillas.
The Butterfly Effect: The ending. The lesson that you can't possibly undo all of your past mistakes and that you have to accept them for what they are is broken by both of the endings, as Evan does precisely that by removing himself from Kayleigh's life entirely. The real mistake he had to fix was meeting her in the first place (theatrical cut) or being born at all (director's cut).
Christmas with the Kranks, based on the John Grisham novel Skipping Christmas, is about a couple whose adult daughter is going to be away for Christmas, so they decide to eschew their typical lavish, expensive and stressful celebration in lieu of a vacation cruise, to the protests of their overbearing neighbors. Predictably, their daughter announces, two days before Christmas, that she'll be back, and bringing along a new foreign boyfriend to whom she's been hyping the annual Christmas party for weeks, forcing the parents to abandon their plans and throw a party together at the last second, with the help of said neighbors. Intended moral: "Don't let the stress of preparations distract you from why you celebrate." However, since the couple's idea seems so reasonable to normal people, and the neighbors' reaction comes off as completely overblown, the real moral of the story is "You can't escape Christmas, even if you try."
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin star vehicle The Condemned revolves around a shady producer who arranges for ten death-row inmates from around the world to be dropped in an island and forced to fight to the death while the "show" is broadcast onto the Net under the name "The Condemned", hence the movie's title. However, WWE Films made the bizarre decision to turn this into a moralist tale by having several characters berate the brutality and senseless violence of the show … all the while showering the audience with scene after scene of brutality and senseless violence (and some rape for good measure). To top it all off, it culminates with this quote: "All of us who watch … areweThe Condemned?" To which several critics replied "Yes. Yes we are." It doesn't help matters that the intended aesop itself conflates fictional violence with real violence. In short, it's a very hypocritical film whose message goes against the franchise that made it. Oops.
Contact has a rather AnviliciousAesop that seems to be something along the lines of: "We all have faith in what we believe, and just because your beliefs are in science (rather than religion) that doesn't give them more credibility." Except, of course, that the very last exchange between Kitz and Constantine completely blows that premise out of the water in Ellie Arroway's specific case:
Constantine I assume you read the confidential findings report from the investigating committee. Kitz: I flipped through it. Constantine I was especially interested in the section on Arroway's video unit. The one that recorded the static? Kitz: Continue. Constantine: The fact that it recorded static isn't what interests me. Kitz: [Pauses] Continue. Constantine: What interests me is that it recorded approximately eighteen hours of it. Kitz: [Leans forward so he is looking directly in the camera] That is interesting, isn't it?
Frustratingly for science- or justice-minded viewers, Constantine and Kitz apparently never even let Arroway know that she has evidence of her experience (as opposed to just faith). They just quietly give her a dream job to make it up to her.
The 2002 The Count of Monte Cristo combines this with Do Not Do This Cool Thing in the final scene where Edmund professes that his revenge was not worth the steep moral and physical price he paid to achieve it. On the other hand, we just spent two hours watching him enjoy every minute of his bloody revenge and it was awesome.
Day Breakers is set in a world of vampires and a dwindling supply of blood is basically one long analogy for our dependence on oil. Which is fine right up until the end where they create a substitute for blood which gives us not, "don't blindly waste resources and deal with the problem before it becomes a problem" but "blindly waste resources and science will stop the collapse of civilization just in the nick of time." It gets further broken when you consider that alternatives to fossil-fuels already exist; they're just not yet economical.
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951): The intended message is Humans Are the Real Monsters because Klaatu is a peaceful ambassador whose home planet fears Earth will expand into outer space due to its advancements in space and nuclear technology, makes the Earth stand still to deliver a message of peace, which culminates in Klaatu's accidental death. Except, Klaatu arrives with zero warning, shuts down all power on Earth (with the exception of hospitals and in-flight airplanes) — which potentially caused thousands of deaths — all to deliver a message of complete annihilation if they do anything remotely "threatening" to a planet they didn't even know existed solely because Earth has the theoretical capability to attack them, not because of any action Earth intentionally or unintentionally made against them. This makes Klaatu's planet look extremely hostile and xenophobic, ruining the film's intended message.
Despite switching to a Green Aesop, its 2008 remake doesn't do so well, either. We're destroying the other species on our planet, and aliens think that's bad. Fine. So why does Helen's love for Jacob change Klaatu's mind? A mother's love for a child of her own species, while charming, doesn't really show anything except a desire to perpetuate her species. It'd be more valid if she showed love for an animal, perhaps something completely dissimilar to humans. Instead, The Power of Love conquers all. Also, in the original, despite the distrust he faces, Klaatu still believes in human goodness, whereas in the remake, Klaatu is as distrustful of humans as they are of him.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days has An Aesop about owning up to mistakes when you make them. Greg's father Frank lectures him on this, and Greg's confession to him in the climax of the film is what finally fixes the trust issues the two have been dealing with for most of the movie. Problem is, Frank is a Bumbling Dad who doesn't follow his own advice — earlier in the film, he and Greg inadvertently ruin a pot roast his wife had been preparing for supper, and rather than telling her this, he allows her to serve it anyway while avoiding eating any of it himself.
Encino Man is an entire movie about how even the Simple, Noble Savage Caveman knows violence is not the answer, capped by the eponymous caveman using his awesome caveman strength to beat the crap out of the school bully.
Fear Of A Black Hat parodies the broken Aesop of gangster films like Scarface and New Jack City in a music video called "A Gangsta's Life Is Not Fun". Meaning, the point of the films are to show how being a ruthless criminal and selling drugs is wrong, and yes the villains do pay the price for their actions in the end. However, ninety percent of the films shows them being Crazy Awesome before hand. Which results in them having a lot of fans and the message of the films being missed, entirely.
Ice Cold: I'm the G.A.N.G.S.T.E.R. like Scarface bitch I'm a superstar. Revered by all, though I am the villain, gain more juice by the others I'm killing. Profiling and styling, drive a fly ride and hoes just pile in. I make gangsta money, cause I'm gangsta bold. Fuck gangsta bitches, wearing gangsta clothes. And I kill with will of steel for thrills, another way to pay the bills. I'm the boy wonder, god of thunder, wrong move and I'll put you under. I'm notorious, I live glorious, I'm the fly gangsta the remains victorious. Stay in the top-self clothes, stay fucking the top-self hoes. Because I'm the gangsta they call number one … but don't try this at home kids, a Gangsta's life's not fun.
The First Wives Club: First wife Brenda is obsessed with her weight and taunted about her supposed fatness by her ex's new girlfriend. This treatment is rightfully seen as incredibly cruel. However, only minutes earlier, Brenda was snarking that "the bulimia has certainly paid off" in reference to the girlfriend's slimness. Plus, she makes nasty comments about slim women throughout the film, "anorexic fetus", etc. All of which are presented as amusing. So, it's horrible to taunt fat people about their weight, but perfectly acceptable to joke about slender people having a potentially deadly eating disorder?
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie has the Aesop that being ugly doesn't make you inferior or bad in any way. This is broken by the fact that said Garbage Pail Kids act like complete assholes for half the movie and, moreover, are Villain Protagonists.
The Gladiator (a 1986 TV movie) tells the story of a mechanic who, distraught after the death of his younger brother in a car crash, Mad Max-es his tow truck and starts dishing out vigilante justice by disabling the cars of drunk drivers before they can do any damage. Except … the man responsible for his brother's death wasn't a drunk driver. He's actually some kind of vehicular serial killer of whom the mechanic's brother was just one of many victims. The whole anti-drunk driving motivation just doesn't seem to work
GQ (Kevin Nguyen): At the end, we discover that the Major is the kidnapped brain of a young Japanese girl implanted into a robotic body by a tediously nefarious corporation—a plot twist that is nowhere in the original and, at first, comes across as incredibly dumb until you have a moment to really think about it and realize oh my god this is even dumber than I could have ever imagined. If there is a thin moral in Ghost in the Shell, it’s “Do not take a Japanese girl and put her in the body of a white robot.” Which is EXACTLY what this movie is! They took a Japanese brain and put it in a white shell.
Groundhog Day: Phil has to go through the hellish "Groundhog Day" Loop loop because, although being intellectual, he's a deadpan Jerkass and has to become a better person. However, Ned is much worse than him; he's self-centered, ditzy, nerving, gloating and cares only about his insurance sales without having any positive quality and should be in the dock instead. This, of course, depends on how you see Phil and Ned.
Plus, let's not forget how many huge advantages the loop gave him. He uses it to master the piano for the cost of one lesson, and costing less than a day of his lifetime. He learned everything.
On the other hand, he was cursed by a his witch ex-girlfriend, according to the previous drafts of the script. So, it's not like there was any particular moral intended.
The Hannah Montana movie spends the entire movie preaching the aesop of being yourself, even if it means giving up on the glittery lifestyle … And then it completely breaks it with a Reset Button ending. Miley reveals her true identity to the people of Crowley Corners … and just Crowley Corners as they all agree to keep her identity a secret and let Miley continue her dual life.
It's treated as completely unreasonable that humans might be wary of a demon who almost destroyed the world last movie, and is still destined to do just that according to a literal messenger of god.
Incidentally, the human who managed to stop Hellboy from killing everyone last movie is the same one Hellboy had Reassigned to Antarctica.
Neither the characters nor the movie ever spares a moment's thought for any humans that got killed, including their own teammates.
The protagonists are only once seen protecting someone other than themselves or their friends. And that one time is just to portray the humans as ungrateful bastards. (While they ultimately defeat a genocidal Big Bad, they only did so in self-defence.)
The heroes repeatedly risk the lives of every human everywhere because they want to Always Save the Girl (or guy).
Beth wants Neil to marry her, but he doesn't believe in marriage. Then she dumps him despite seven happy years and living together. The movie reveals Neil to be more devoted and dependable than most husbands who are shown as either lazy or unfaithful. Beth soon realizes this and asks Neil to take her back. Refreshingly, in a Chick Flick, no less, we have An Aesop that marriage doesn't automatically make a couple happier or more committed, and a woman can still find happiness without it. BUT then Neil breaks it by asking her to marry him anyways. Meaning that no, a woman truly can't be complete without marriage after all and that a man will always marry a woman if he loves her.
This is also an issue with Gigi and Justin Long's character. Basically, the entire movie lays out the premise that women need to accept men as straightforward — if they say they're not interested, women need to accept this. But every single man who says this then changes his mind, proving that the women who were supposedly deluding themselves were in actually fact accurate — Gigi was the exception to Alex's rule, Beth was correct in thinking a man will marry you if he loves you, etc.
Actually, it goes deeper than that. All film Alex constantly spells out to Gigi, not that men are straightforward and will just tell a woman when he's not interested, but that actions speak louder than words. If a man seems to be giving "mixed signals," as in he says he's interested but then leaves the woman to do all the work and make all the compromises to be with him, cheats on her, won't leave his wife for her, etc. odds are "he's just not that into you" and she should move onto someone who is. But then the film breaks this Aesop by portraying Neil as a man who honestly doesn't believe in marriage yet doesn't love Beth any less, then breaks thatAesop by having him cave by marrying her anyway. Then, of course, Alex breaks his own Aesop that his own "he's just not that into you" behavior toward Gigi was to hide that he was into her, etc. The film is very inconsistent about its own message, with some couples proving the "he's just not that into you" rule and others not.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: In the original story, the Grinch was a clear Jerk Ass, and it was obvious that he didn't like Christmas because he hated how everyone else was having more fun than him. When he joined the Whos, they happily accepted him and made him a guest of honor, showing his envy and animosity to be unfounded. Thus, the Aesop is "There's more to the holidays than just material goods, and everyone should be happy to share in that feeling instead of trying to ruin it for others." In the movie, Adaptation Expansion results in the Whos seeming far meaner and more superficial, and outright hating or rejecting the Grinch at several points, while the Grinch himself gets a big-time Freudian Excuse. This turns the Aesop into "people are dicks, but trying to fight back is useless so you might as well join them."
Hypocrites is all about, you guessed it, hypocrisy, and how the lazy and hypocritical members of a pastor's congregation are too lazy and hypocritical to follow the pastor on the "narrow way" up a mountain to the Truth. But the pastor isn't willing to help anyone. Both of the women who follow him fail to make it to the top because the path is too steep. The one who gets the closest, the one who was looking adoringly at him during the sermon, actually extends her hand and says "I need your hand", but he refuses to help her.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is about how you shouldn't discriminate against gay people … but every gay character in the movie is a flaming stereotype and the main characters treat the very idea of pretending to be gay as hideously unclean and disgusting, and it never changes. Additionally, they try to support gay marriage by having the main characters exploit it.
Johnny Dangerouslylampshaded and parodied this trope. After spending the entire movie presenting a spoof on gangster films to support the moral "Crime doesn't pay," the eponymous character walks out of his pet shop wearing a fashionable men's suit, hops onto the running board of a period luxury car driven by a chauffeur with the character's gorgeous wife in the front seat (she's wearing a white fox wrap), mugs to the camera and says, "Well, it paid a little."
A Knight's Tale: The main moral of the film is that a noble spirit and strength of will can turn anyone into a hero, regardless of birth. This is broken in two ways. First, The Hero pretends to be noble to attempt to change his life. Second, at the end of the film, the Black Prince falsely claims that the hero is of noble blood and uses his position to make sure no one can challenge that statement. So you don't need to be born into the elite class to be successful, but you do need to be in the elite class.
Labyrinth: It's a coming-of-age story on a fantasy backdrop, including something of a sexual awakening; Sarah overcomes childhood fantasy, leaves behind her toys and imaginary friends, and returns to the real world as a mature young adult... and then she is delighted to find all her Labyrinth friends pop into her room because she still needs them. Unlike most broken Aesops, though, this one tends to inspire Alternate Aesop Interpretation more than criticism, since Sarah does clearly grow up despite continuing to embrace her childhood either way.
The Life of David Gale is about how the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment because a demonstrably innocent man can be sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit: the titular character is on Death Row for raping and murdering a woman friend, but a journalist discovers videotape evidence that in fact she committed suicide and made it look like murder in order to frame Gale. This bit of evidence is only released after he's been executed, and there's widespread outrage that an innocent man has been killed. But then the journalist gets an unedited piece of the same videotape which shows that Gale was in on the whole plan all along, and indeed watched the woman die. What exactly this makes him guilty of is another question, but he's certainly not innocent.
Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life attempts to preach An Aesop about how looking at Internet porn will ruin your life. The 14-year-old protagonist starts out as a champion swimmer and ends the film as a suicidal mess. Except because it's Lifetime TV, the most they can actually show is just Justin looking at women in skimpy costumes and the film's Aesop gets undermined when all the problems that happen for Justin don't actually come from looking at porn in general. He gets addicted to energy drinks simply because he drinks them when he looks at porn, he gets into trouble with people in town because the woman whose porn he was watching accuses him of raping her because he won't sleep with her. Half the kid's problems seem to stem from having a mother who feels such a habit warrants therapy and interventions. And yet the mother is meant to be the heroine of the story.
Stranger in My Bed tries to empower women to leave their abusive husbands. The main protagonist, Sarah, leaves her husband by faking her death in a cave accident and flees across the country from Washington to West Virginia to get away. Aside from the apparent aim of stuffing as many Domestic Abuse cliches as they possibly can in one scene, it sort of accomplishes this goal … had the movie ended with her leaving. Her escape is only the beginning, as her husband tracks her down and inexplicably becomes a serial killer, killing her friend for no reason, her new boyfriend's father for even less reason in what is basically a Big Lipped Alligator Moment, and then trying to kill Sarah herself and said new boyfriend, which isn't better but more logical. This is absolutely mangled, as the first half tells abused women to leave, but the second half says that if you do leave, your husband will kill everybody you've ever cared for.
Limitless has a drug which makes you superhumanly intelligent whilst you're on it. The protagonist discovers, to his horror, that other people who have taken it have had fatal experiences with withdrawal (the only survivor of withdrawal he finds is a complete burn-out). His girlfriend points out that while he's on the drug, he's a different person, and that when he's off the drug he finds himself completely unable to cope and so desperately seeks to continue his supply. There are even escalating side-effects of headaches and missing time when he's on the drug. Seems like a fairly clear Aesop about not relying on artificial crutches to succeed and a metaphor for steroid hormones. However, in the end, he uses the drug to solve all of his problems and becomes a U.S. Senator, who is clearly destined for the White House. The implication is that drugs are in fact good as long as you use them wisely.
The director's cut changes the ending to be more ambiguous. He's still on the drug, and his supply won't last forever — especially since De Niro's character now owns the company that made the drug and is pressuring the protagonist with it.
Mazes and Monsters has the anvilicious aesop that role playing makes you insane, which is broken by the fact the protagonists have their own family problems and the role playing actually brings them together and occupies them. The only one of them who completely breaks and becomes detached from reality, Robbie, has major pre-existing psychological problems unrelated to the game, and his friends are completely unaffected by it.
Mean Girls 2: The moral of the story seems to be "don't be a follower," but in the end, Abby decides to attend Carnegie Mellon instead of her original goal of NYU just to stick with Jo, who in turn based her college decision solely on it being the school her dead mother went to.
The Mighty Ducks has two. The first Aesop, "don't take youth sports too seriously," is broken in the first film when the team's coach poaches the best player on the opposing team through a blatant application of rules lawyering, forcing an eleven-year-old to choose between his friends and his father and his "team spirit." The second Aesop, "it's not important whether you win or lose, it's only important if you tried hard and had fun," is broken on a regular basis all throughout the series by the Ducks' habit of winning every important game they play in, usually with heavy applications of Down to the Last Play.
On Our Own, after being purchased by Feature Films for Families, received added scenes with Peggy's mother baking a cake while reacting to Peggy relating the story about the Robbins children to her. If the Robbins children never ran away, they never would have met Peggy — and Peggy never would have met Jack (who she planned to marry)! However, Peggy's mother maintains that Mitch's necessary acts of theft (in order to keep the family together) were morally wrong — and she planned to give Mitch an earful, as well as a hug.
Penelope has essentially the same problem as Beauty and the Beast, of which it is a gender inversion — once she learns to accept her own appearance as an ugly person with a pig nose, she transforms into an attractive Christina Ricci.
The Rambo franchise started out with First Blood, an anti-war condemnation of the dehumanisation of soldiers. In it, a returning Vietnam War veteran suffering from PTSD gets treated like crap by the country he fought for, accidentally kills one of his abusers in desperation and is hunted by the national guard, only to end it by being talked down by his commanding officer (or by committing Suicide by Cop in the book it was based on). Film two and three of the franchise turned into action films about Rambo being a One-Man Army sent back into active war-zones to defeat the bad guys and help people, somewhat turning the message of the original film on its head.
Obi-Wan Kenobi's infamous "only a Sith deals in absolutes" line. Apparently, our beloved Obi-Wan is in fact a Sith lord. This sort of logic is in-character for the old Jedi Order, but that doesn't break the message any less.
Another Aesop that's broken: you're supposed to use the Force for knowledge and defense, never attack. And yet, Jedi repeatedly attack virtually everyone using the Force. Their most notable mistake was not moving against Palpatine sooner. And when Anakin turns to the Dark Side, it's because he wants Palpatine to be spared and Mace Windu demands that Anakin help kill him.
All the prequels half-heartedly imply that democracy is important and worth defending, but little of the plot supports this conclusion. Many characters complain that the Republic is slow and inefficient at making decisions, and Palpatine (who was democratically-elected) seems to commit all of his sinister deeds with the Senate's consent. The real political moral appears to be "democracy will invariably be corrupted by the evil and power hungry, so we'd all be better off trusting power to a learned council of elites."
Richie Rich briefly attempts to teach that money can't buy friendship, when that's effectively what happens when Cadbury pays off some local kids to visit Richie at his mansion and eventually befriend him.
Sure the money was the reason they went, but after having such a good time with Richie they refused it.
Rock: It's Your Decision comes off less like a young man finding his moral path and more like he's been brainwashed by his parents and pastor into abandoning his friends and personality.
Saturday Night Fever means to decry the hedonistic life of disco culture. It portrays heavy drug and alcohol use, empty casual sex, Jerkass protagonists with a serious case of Moral Myopia, and date rape (which is implied to be Annette's fault for getting drunk and high, and wanting to make Tony jealous, instead of blaming Tony's friends for taking advantage of her.) And yet, disco is portrayed as glamorous: there's all the dancing, the obvious escape from reality, the cool outfits, and a great soundtrack featuring The Bee Gees. In fact, if it weren't for this film, disco wouldn't have been as popular as it was.
Shallow Hal had an intended Aesop about how people should not be so shallow and judge people on the kind of person they are, not by how they look on the outside. This loses some steam considering how many fat jokes it has at Rosemary's expense.
Shoot 'em Up has an anvilicious anti-gun message all while containing the most gun-centric and gun-glorifying scenes ever put to film, in which both the heroes and villains accomplish almost every task set before them by using guns, right down to delivery babies. The irony is so blatant that it's surely intentional, making this a Stealth Parody.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Spock's death forces Kirk to accept that there are things he can't do anything about … and then the entire next film is devoted to the crew bringing Spock back to life. Though in their defense, at the time Khan was made the plan was indeed to have him stay dead. And even though they did get Spock back Kirk still had to suffer for it he lost his son, David Marcus, who was killed trying to protect Saavik from the Klingons. He also loses the Enterprise which was in many ways his daughter. His face as he watches the burning wreckage says it all.
Star Trek: Generations: In the end, Picard tells Riker "time is a companion that goes with us on a journey and reminds us to cherish every moment … because it will never come again." Except that Picard saved the day because he was able to revisit particular moments in time.
In Star Trek: Insurrection, an idyllic society that is portrayed as perfect exists without technology, on a planet with magical radiation that makes the advanced medical technology of the Federation unnecessary, even though the chief engineer needs technology to see and the captain needs technology to keep his heart beating. Then, without technology ceasing to be bad, the heroes use phasers, transporters, starships and holodecks to save the planet to live their idyllic, technology-free existence as the easy victims of anyone who happens to stroll past.
Steel has an anti-gun message, even though Steel uses a weapon that is, by definition, a gun. Moreover, he wants to create more such weapons to stop the bad guys.
The Swarm (1978) preaches environmental responsibility: the military wants to use pesticides that would damage the environment, while Michael Caine's scientist, Dr. Crane, keeps suggesting other methods. Unfortunately, the threat of the killer bees is so overdone (at one stage, they cause the explosion of a nuclear power plant) that this continuing refusal is hard to justify. Especially when Crane finally succeeds by pouring oil on the ocean and setting it on fire. Since when are burning oil slicks environmentally friendly?
Swimming with Sharks: Buddy Ackerman, who's being tortured by Guy whom he had mistreated, unleashes a speech about how one has to suffer to earn good things and be willing to work for Them and how he endured it too. It would be nice except that Buddy was not simply a demanding or strict boss but a complete and utter sadist who took extreme pleasure in mistreating everyone he could and even blatantly stole a brilliant idea Guy had. The film spends so long showing Buddy as a monster and Guy as a dogged employee that the sudden shift to make Guy the bad one for committing these acts just feels like a last-minute apology. If Buddy's speech is the intended Aesop, the moral of the story is "If you endure suffering, you have every right in the world to make others go through the same and anyone who says otherwise is a naive spoiled brat."
The Christian movie What If… runs on a big Broken Aesop. The premise of the story is that a life led by God is better than one that isn't, even if the former makes you poorer and less important. The movie sets about proving this by having the main character, a CEO who is on the verge of executing a hostile takeover of a company, transported to a parallel universe where he is the minister of a failing church, and married with several kids. Instead of having God or anything else solve the problem and proving the aesop, it has the main character solve all of the financial problems … by using the stock market knowledge he gained from being a Godless CEO in the other world to invest in the companies he dealt with there, thus making a profit when the deal went through. Read: he committed Insider Trading with himself in a parallel universe. Due to the weird circumstances, this isn't a crime, it may not even be a sin, but it certainly doesn't establish that one should believe in God when the optimal resolution hinges on knowledge gotten from not believing in him.
Woman Obsessed: A woman's new husband is built up for the first ¾ of the movie to be abusive towards her and her son. At one point, while what happens next is open for interpretation, he appears to rape her after closing the door (she even mentions that her child with him was conceived out of "fear and hatred," so make of that what you will). She then loses the baby and the husband takes her to the doctor, which is very far away and carried her the last six miles. The last ¼ of the movie contains the doctor chastising her for wanting to leave her, you know, abusive husband and everybody forgiving him. While the problem isn't that he was redeemed, it was that the first ¾ of the movie was building how horrible and abusive he was and how much we should hate him, but the last ¼ quickly snapped into expecting everybody to forgive him for doing something good. The worst part is that not only does everybody forgive him and he ends up being the hero, it actually ends with her begging his forgiveness for wanting to leave him. The Aesop turns out to be "If your husband beats you, stick around if he helps you anyway because his Freudian Excuse makes it OK." Then again, the movie was made in the late 50s, so there is probably some Values Dissonance here.
X-Men: The Last Stand: "No, they can't cure us. Because there's nothing to cure. Nothing's wrong with you." Says the woman with perfect control over the local weather to the girl who has to constantly avoid touching anyone for fear of killing them. The intent is obviously that it's not inherently bad to be different, but the message kinda falls apart when it's being delivered by someone who won the Superpower Lottery to someone whose Power Incontinence renders her Blessed with Suck.
It's even broken in universe when Beast, whom also has no control over his powers, points out directly to Storm "Not all of us were blessed with perfect control of our powers and can look completely normal at will." But it rings a bit hollow when Storm is still put in charge of the school anyway.
Skyfall: Everyone in MI-6 talks about how they're not too young/old for the job yet they all fail at everything. Bond fails to get to his partner on time and Moneypenny fails to take the shot of the thief. Bond fails his test, fails to reach the informant, then misses the shot-glass. Q falls for the honeypot virus and M falls for the false capture. Finally, Bond fails to protect M.