If you've been keeping up with Disney over the last few years at all, then you probably already know that Disney just released the third and final installment in the Descendants movie series, which is based around the lives of the children of beloved (and not so beloved) Disney characters' children, such as the son of Beauty and the Beast and the daughter of Maleficent.
The first Descendants movie came out in 2015 and is an avid Disney fan, I've loved the series ever since. In the wake of young Disney star Cameron Boyce's death, people were very anxious to see what the final movie had in store, and I can honestly say it did not disappoint.
As I was watching the film on the night of the premiere, I couldn't help but notice the obvious and important parallels that were being drawn between the film and modern American society. The premise of the series is that Beast from Beauty and the Beast became king of a kingdom called Aurodon where all of the "good' characters live, and exiled all of the villains to a remote island across the lake from Aurodon known as the Isle of the Lost.
In the first film, as Beast's son Ben prepares to inherit the throne, Ben decides he wants to allow a select few of the children from the Isle of the Lost to come to Aurodon because they are innocent of their parent's crimes. The idea of whether it is acceptable to allow children to suffer for choices their parents made is a major thematic element in all three Descendants films and is very similar to the issue of detaining the innocent children of immigrants in cages at our nation's border.
The Descendants movies are meant to teach children, and yes, adults too, that just because your circumstances are bad doesn't mean you have to be. Just because your parents are "villains" doesn't mean you have to follow their path; you can carve out your own path instead. These films show us that good can come from anywhere, and so can bad.
They teach us that looks can be deceiving, and so can people, and that just because someone has blue hair or a parent in prison doesn't mean that they're a bad person. Through the bonds formed between the characters throughout the series, they show us that family is more than blood. When Mal and Uma finally learn to work together for good in the last film, it shows us that coming together and working for mutually beneficial change will always work out better than constantly arguing to no results.
Overall, the Descendants movies are not just quality entertainment, they're powerfully educational. And yes, I know that things aren't always black and white and some issues can't be solved so easily, and yes I know that life is not a Disney movie, but I also know that we as humans have the power to choose how we react to things, and more importantly, how we treat other humans, and I believe that is the message the Descendants movies are meant to convey.