Sliding Scale Of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Animated Films

  • Grave of the Fireflies is commonly referenced when discussing things even more cynical than Eva; indeed, it is so disturbing, many who have seen it insist that they would never be able to watch it again. Ironically, it was made by Studio Ghibli, well-known for their idealistic productions.
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within has this as the central conflict between the protagonists (idealistic "scientists of the spirit" who want to cure alien infestation) and the main villain (a general who wants to use a laser cannon to destroy the invading aliens).
  • The 2007 Beowulf paints the title character as a Badass Anti-Hero, which ironically puts the movie at the opposite end of the scale from the original Old English poem (which portrays him as an honorable hero who does not, for instance, take advantage of the noblewomen he encounters). Being a self-aggrandizing braggart was part of the ideal heroic package in those days. The film plays this up and depicts this as it would be received today.
  • Wall E. Just because it's After the End doesn't mean it's not the very definition of idealism. The Power of Love and humanity remembering what made it great are all that's needed to reverse an ecological Armageddon. We're oversimplifying here, obviously — the movie is fantastic — but seriously, it pegs the needle so hard onto the Idealism side that it's a surprise the meter doesn't break.
  • Disney's Fantasia, as far as it has a position, is generally closer to the idealistic end. Even the Night on Bald Mountain segment ends with Chernobog repelled and returning to slumber. Bruno Bozzetto's response, Allegro Non Troppo, is far more cynical.
  • Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is blisteringly cynical for a kids superhero cartoon. (The major theme is that Batman's life always takes a turn for the worst and that he is damned to sadness and loneliness).
  • Pocahontas seems like it's on the cynical end of the scale. The entire film builds towards a war and bloodshed that seems inevitable. Even Pocahontas despairs after one of her people is killed. But she's motivated to do something anyway and is able to stop an execution and potential genocide - all by appealing to her father simply as a daughter. Although the ending is bittersweet, it's still on the Idealistic end.
  • Likewise, The LEGO Movie does dabble in a bit of cynicism, primarily at the beginning of the film, where most of the townspeople of Bricksberg seem creatively inept and are happy running on Bread and Circuses, much to the delight of Big Bad President Business. However, the film ultimately hits hard on the side of idealism, as it becomes apparent that everyone has a spark of creativity in them and can use it for good, but especially because of Finn's dad embracing his son's creativity and making a Heel-Face Turn along with his Expy President Business.