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Values Dissonance / Animated Films

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Values Dissonance in animated movies.

  • Most Disney Princesses are under 18. As per Deliberate Values Dissonance, several end up married or engaged at the end of their stories (as they were in their original tales). While not illegal even in America, it's no longer socially acceptable to get married so young and is looked down upon (this in Western society, in the East it's the other way 'round). The real issue however comes with the how they're presented. The most extreme example would be Snow White, who in the original story was seven when she was married, and in the Disney movie is fourteen according to Word of God. Ariel from The Little Mermaid and Jasmine from Aladdin both have scenes with quite a bit of subtext or just outright G-rated sexuality. They're both 16, which, while above the age of consent in many countries (including most U.S. states), still leaves an uncomfortable taste in many viewers' mouths. Beginning with The Princess and the Frog, Disney has made it a point to have their princesses be above eighteen, something explicitly established in their 2010s films (such as Rapunzel from Tangled, who is explicitly 18; or Princess Anna, who is 18 years old in Frozen and 21 years old in Frozen II), if romance plays a major part in the plot. Younger ones, like Moana from Moana and Merida from Brave (which was made by Pixar but counts as a Disney Princess film), don't have love interests or are at least light on fanservice and avert Artistic Age.
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  • At least two examples from older Disney films are pretty much banned from being shown in this day and age, one being Song of the South, the other being a short segment from the original Fantasia. Both for major issues with racism. Song of the South presents sharecropping (slavery in all but name) as being not so bad, but in Fantasia, it's the character Sunflower of the Pastoral Symphony. Looking at her, you can probably figure out why. She's been completely cut from the movie since 1969.
  • Non-negative, possibly deliberate example in the Kung Fu Panda movies: All three Big Bads, who are villainous by at least Western standards for being mass murderers, are even worse morally from a Confucian perspective, which makes sense given these are movies about China. Tai Lung is pretty guilty of familial impiety (turning on one's mentor), which is a major sin in the value system (as in "actively counter to the philosophy"), while Lord Shen is more-or-less a living blasphemy against its moral code (cruel, disloyal, and again, filial impiety). Kai commits the most blasphemous acts by far in regards to Confucianism, as he steals the life force of kung-fu masters alive and dead and denies them their rightful rest in the afterlife, and he uses jade (regarded as a sacred material symbolic of the Confucian virtues) to contain their spirits and as knives.
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  • In Pinocchio, which was released in 1940, the title character, a sentient puppet, is seen smoking a cigar along with Lampwick while the boys are playing pool, through Lampwick was in the process of turning into a donkey… or jackass to be precise. Granted Pinocchio hasn’t become a human yet, still the idea of a child smoking wouldn’t settle well nowadays. In fact, since the usage of any tobacco product is a factor before rating boards like the Motion Pictures Association of America, the film would’ve gotten a different rating like PG-13 or PG. Additionally, the film treats playing pool as being just as bad as smoking, drinking, and all the other vices the boys take part in. Nowadays, it's considered a respectable game of skill that people of any age can take part in and have fun.
  • Another Disney example, albeit one in which they addressed the issue instead of covering it up, is the treatment of Love at First Sight and True Love's Kiss. In the 21st Century these values have gone from being seen as romantic, to being seen as reckless and irresponsible. So, at least five Disney films (Enchanted, Maleficent, Frozen, Into the Woods and Brave) have actually Deconstructed the whole concept. The Cinderella remake was something of a Re Construction, but was careful to at least give the couple a few conversations to relate to each other before their wedding.
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  • In the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, a student draws an unflattering caricature of Ichabod Crane. He is about to smack the kid with the pointer - at the time the story was set, this was actually standard practice for schoolteachers, making this a case of Deliberate Values Dissonance.
  • Bolt:
    • A mild example occurs in Bolt. Bolt is shown to have been bought from a pet store. Pet stores have heavily fallen out of fashion since the film came out due to animal welfare issues; a large number of American pet stores don't even have puppies or kittens available to buy anymore. Shelters, breeders, or buying from people have become more popular ways of adopting dogs. There's a reason for that, though— the scene of Bolt's adoption was part of a Show Within a Show, and he actually spent all of his life on the show's set.
    • Mittens herself is this because she's declawed. The movie depicts this as a negative thing because she can't hunt, but it doesn't go into the issue much besides that. Since the movie's release the negative aspects of declawing has become a large issue amongst cat owners to the point where many countries (but not most of America) outright ban it.
  • In Inside Out, a mild example occurred— for its Japanese release, the animators had to digitally replace the broccoli that Riley refuses to eat with green bell peppers. Japanese children generally like broccoli, and don't see why a character would hate it. However, green bell peppers are considered bitter and "yucky".
    Plus, the animators offered different distributors a choice between hockey or football (soccer) for the sports memory sequences, as hockey is a "foreign-looking" sport in some countries. Most countries opted for the hockey sequence, since the family was from Minnesota and it added a bit of local color.
  • Aladdin:
    • Aladdin stands out as Disney's first attempt at atfilm starring non-white protagonists. The film hasn't aged gracefully in certain respect. Unlike their 2000s+ films, not as much emphasis was put on accurately portraying the culture. This wasn't a big issue in the early '90s (though, even then they received criticism) but has since become one. The film has received a lot of flak for not being accurate enough and for featuring white actors voicing Arabic characters. It's also received criticism for being accidentally offensive (for example, the original lyrics of "Arabian Nights" mentioning cutting off someone's ear if you don't like their face, a merchant trying to cut off Jasmine's hand for stealing, and Jafar's design in contrast with Aladdin and Jasmine's).
    • Jasmine has been critiqued for being too sexual for her age. She has a Impossible Hourglass Figure and dresses like a Bedlah Babe, but she only turns sixteen late into the film. The film also features some scenes where she fakes seducing Jafar and even kisses him. Part of this could be chocked down to Deliberate Values Dissonance, but many have complained about Disney's first Woman of Color princess being hyper-sexualized compared to their previous ones.
  • Pocahontas has received criticism for not accurately portraying the indigenous cultures enough.note  It's also received criticism for the casting of white actors to voice the ethnic characters. Pocahontas did have a Native American cast, but had some of the singing doubled by white performers (Judy Kuhn, who sang for Pocahontas, was told she would also do the voice if they couldn't find a Native American actress). Contrariwise, one of the reasons why Mulan was well-received in China was due to the nuanced depictions of Chinese culture.
  • In The Little Mermaid III: Ariel's Beginning, Aquata notes that she can't dance by saying "I look like a spastic piece of kelp!". In many countries outside of America, "spastic" is considered an ableist slur against those who have cerebral palsy and isn't allowed in family works. This has eventually spread to America as well, with films and shows in the 2010s being less likely to use the word.
  • Lady and the Tramp:
    • The reason behind Rusty and Jock's Honorable Marriage Proposals to Lady were Deliberate Values Dissonance even at the time of release due to the film being a Period Piece, but the meaning behind the scene goes past modern viewers' heads. They were trying to save her reputation but not for the reason people online cite. In the 1890s, an upperclassman girl like Lady was considered Defiled Forever if she spent a night with a man (even if it was for chaste reasons). There's also the issue of Lady being in danger of being kicked out of her house for supposedly attacking the baby, so they're offering to take her in. These strict social rules are a thing of the past so viewers jump to other conclusions: Tramp got Lady pregnant and her friends were offering to marry her and raise her puppies together.
    • The One-Scene Wonder cats are Asian stereotypes that may have been acceptable upon release, but just scream "yellow peril" afterwards. It's one of the most controversial scenes in Disney media due to the racist portrayal.
  • Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas takes a figure from Arabian mythology, gives him a Race Lift to become Mediterranean and has the entire brown-skinned cast voiced by white actors (though Catherine Zeta Jones, who voices Marina, does have Greek roots). The film got some flak for this at the time, but there would almost certainly be even more controversy if it was done today. The film was made in the early 2000s, and it has been suggested that filmmakers feared having an Arab hero would affect the Box Office numbers (not that it helped).
  • Peter Pan
    • The film's portrayal of the Indians is so laughably racist that it borders on self-parody. It features a mishmash of different tribes and cultures, a ferociously inappropriate song called "What Made The Red Man Red?" and of course Tiger Lily as an exotic Ms. Fanservice. The filmmakers later regretted this caricature, and the tribe was notably absent from the sequel (made in 2001).
    • The female characters are all defined by their crush on Peter. Most notably the mermaids try to drown Wendy just because Peter brings her to their lagoon. The film also eliminates the explanation that fairies only have room for one emotion at a time - making Tinker Bell seem like a Clingy Jealous Girl.
  • Cinderella
    • The montage of dress-making has a baffling line where a female mouse says to Jacq - "leave the sewing to the women" - after he happily volunteers to do it. Granted they could mean that he's so clumsy he'd mess it up, but it still sounds strange.
    • Cinderella herself is frequently attacked for seeming too passive or submissive to her stepfamily. Ignoring what years of physical and verbal abuse will have on a person's psyche, Cinderella has limited options in the time period her story is set in. She can't leave home and find another job - she's a penniless orphan girl who'd struggle to find a better situation.

Alternative Title(s): Animated Film


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