Follow TV Tropes


Central Theme / Animated Films

Go To

  • Aladdin:
    • Be Careful What You Wish For, it may seem great at first, but was it worth it?
    • What does it mean to be free?
    • How dishonesty might affect your life.
    • Happiness comes when we cease wishing to be something else and simply be who we were born to be.
  • An American Tail: Searching for a new home.
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven: What does it mean to be a good person? What does it mean to live?
  • Bambi: The natural world is beautiful and intense all at once, governed by forces beyond our control.
  • Advertisement:
  • Barnyard: What is the nature of a "strong man" in relation to others
  • Beauty and the Beast: Can love be found in the least likely of places, or people?
  • Big Hero 6: Healing. Both the obvious kind (seen through Baymax's role as The Medic), and the not-so-obvious kind (seen through Hiro's struggle with the pain of losing his brother, and Professor Callaghan's struggle with the pain of losing his daughter). Not all wounds can be stitched or bandaged; some require the aid of loyal friends.
  • Brave: Reconciliation, compromise between those with different ideals, and the value of ancient legends.
    • It takes effort to be a better person and shape your destiny.
  • Brother Bear: Love is found in unexpected places, and realizing this is an important Rite of Passage.
  • Cinderella: Friendship, kindness, and optimism are important strengths.
  • Coco:
    • How do you reconcile between your desires and the needs of a family?
    • Advertisement:
    • Our deceased loved ones live on in our hearts and memories.
    • What is the value of music?
  • Coraline: Accepting the fact that living in the mundane, average real world is still better than a too-good-to-be-true fantasy world.
  • Dumbo: Your strengths can be found in unexpected places. To a degree, it also promotes the importance of maternal love.
  • Despicable Me: How Parenthood can change you in ways you never expected.
    • Despicable Me 2: Can you be a hero for someone regardless of your personal appearance?
  • The Emperor's New Groove:
  • Fantasia:
    • Music expresses everyday events.
    • Hear the music, see the music.
    • The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Don't start something you can't finish.
  • Ferdinand: Can you judge a bull by its cover?
  • Finding Nemo: Good parenting requires you to let go and take a leap of faith.
  • The Fox and the Hound: What are the limits of The Power of Friendship under societal pressure?
  • Advertisement:
  • Frozen: How important different types of love are, whether familial or romantic.
  • Home: Finding your home. Family is another.
    • You can run as far and as fast as you can, but sooner or later, your past will catch up with you, and hurt those around you. When that happens, all you can do is stop running, and face it.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame:
    • What makes the difference between a man and a monster?
    • External appearances can be deceiving. True beauty (or ugliness) is found on the inside.
  • Ice Age: Friendship, forgiveness, redemption, and how the actions of one innocent person, kidnapped for the slaughter, can transform a trio of misfits into a true family.
  • The Incredibles: What does it mean to be extraordinary?
  • Inside Out:
    • The value of ALL our emotions, even those we might not want to feel.
    • The struggle to maintain balance between happiness and sadness.
    • The importance of honesty and openness regarding what you're feeling — towards yourself as well as others.
  • The Iron Giant: It doesn't matter if you appear threatening or villainous. You are what you choose to be.
  • Kubo and the Two Strings:
    • The memory of those passed can live on through their family and friends.
    • Learning through loss.
  • Kung Fu Panda series: Anyone can find greatness through belief in oneself and working hard in their own way.
    • Kung Fu Panda 1: There is no thing that makes you special. It's just you and what you do.
    • Kung Fu Panda 2: Learning to accept your past without being ruled by it.
    • Kung Fu Panda 3: Finding out who you are, and what that means for you. It also teaches that sometimes you've got to make tough decisions in order to do the right thing.
  • The LEGO Movie: Anyone can be special. Creativity is a wonderful, powerful thing that often crops up in unexpected places and, sometimes, unexpected people.
    • The Lego Movie 2 The Second Part: Not everything is as awesome as you expect it to be, and sometimes bad circumstances brought on by anger and misunderstanding can make people change for the worse. However it is still important to make the effort to make things better for everyone and yourself rather than sulking in that negativity.
    • The LEGO Batman Movie: According to Word of God from producers Phil Lord & Chris Miller "Can Batman be happy?" Throughout the film, Batman's neuroses from losing his parents make it hard for him to connect to his friends, family or enemies, as he doesn't want to lose anyone close to him ever again. But despite Alfred, Barbara Gordon, Robin, the Justice League and even the Joker pointing this out to him throughout the film, Batman continues to refuse to admit he has a connection to anyone. In the finale, Batman is forced to admit that everyone, including him, needs others. And instead of protecting you from pain, pretending you don't just hurts those you care about and you yourself.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The struggle of ʻohana (family) in the face of tragedy and hardship. Or as stated in the film itself:
    "ʻOhana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten."
  • The Lion King series:
  • Meet the Robinsons: How people seek their futures based on their pasts.
  • Megamind: Doing what you believe you have been chosen or are fundamentally supposed to do (destiny) versus doing what you want to do (free will) in order to achieve happiness.
  • Moana: Searching for one's identity and purpose.
  • Monsters, Inc.: What do you do when you find out your profession is unethical? What does it take to try and change it for the better?
  • Mr. Peabody & Sherman: The unpredictability of family.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Appreciate what you have and who you are without trying to force others to do the same.
  • ParaNorman: The importance of forgiveness and not getting overcome by anger.
    • Blind fear and mob mentality can make even the most sensible men do monstrous things.
  • Pocahontas: Love and personal courage can change the world.
  • Pooh's Grand Adventure:
    • The world can seem pretty scary when you're alone and afraid.
    • Even if the people you love aren't there beside you, they're never really gone if you remember what they've taught you.
  • The Princess and the Frog: Getting what you want is not always what you need; that need being love.
    • Find a balance in life for hard work and for fun.
  • Ratatouille: Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.
  • Return to Never Land: The loss and rediscovery of one's innocence.
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: There are much worse things in life than swearing.
    • You might not want to take responsibility for your faults, but if you don't, you'll never learn from them.
    • The problems of fighting for a lost cause.
    • Learning to stand up to your loved ones.
  • Tangled: Learning to assert yourself and realize your dreams.
    • The film also has significant Subtext about children growing up under Abusive Parents. In a departure from the original fairy tale, it isn't the tower itself that keeps Rapunzel separated from the world, but Gothel's years of Gaslighting that have convinced her that she is too weak and the world is too cruel for her to ever do anything for herself. Rapunzel's Coming-of-Age Story is realizing that Gothel is wrong.
  • Teen Titans Go! To the Movies: You don't need to be an Ideal Hero to be a hero. In fact, if you be yourself, that makes you more distinct.
  • Toy Story series: Growing old and confronting your insecurities and mortality.
    • Toy Story 1: The destructiveness of jealousy and insecurity, and The Power of Friendship.
    • Toy Story 2: Choosing between long-lasting, superficial admiration or a genuine, fleeting relationship. Confronting your mortality and deciding how you will live your life because of it; is it better to take risks if it means you'll get damaged or even killed, or to live the safe life — and is the safe life really living at all?
    • Toy Story 3: Moving on and accepting change.
    • Toy Story 4: Even if life takes you through many unexpected routes you can't alter, and if you're faced with tough choices, following your heart will ultimately be the best choice in the long run. And giving people second chances can change their lives in ways they never imagined.
  • Up: Life is an adventure. Don't let grief and bitterness keep you from it.
    • Also, don't let the material things you did or did not have or get blind you to relationships, past or present.
  • Uglydolls:
  • WALL•E:
    • Even in the bleakest of scenarios, love and determination can renew life.
    • People need to stand on their own two feet and take care of themselves to make a life worth living.
    • Fighting for free will.
  • Wizards: Does technology and progress drive man to evil, or is it only in how you use it?
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Don't let your nature be defined by your role.
    • We should think about others feel and be more inclusive. Likewise you mustn't let your resentment get to you because if you lash out you will often hurt innocent people and ruin the whole community.
    • Don't drive people away simply because you dislike them. There could be a time when you need them most and they're nowhere to be found.
    • Ralph Breaks the Internet:
      • Sometimes, you can be your own worst enemy.
  • Zootopia:
    • Regardless of who you are, you must define yourself and your positive change in the world.
    • Broad, wanton discrimination can be hurtful, even when you mean well. And even though we all have our prejudices, we need to do our best to see past them for each other.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: