First off, let’s admit it: Disney movies are children’s movies. When a new Disney movie comes out, princess dolls flood the girl’s toy section. Stuffed animals based on the characters are available everywhere. Every small child walks around singing a botched version of the most popular song in the movie (if it’s a musical). Even movie theaters will have special showings for young children of these movies.
So you ought not to see it if you’re an adult, right? After all, you’ve outgrown it. You are not the target audience anymore. It’s time for you to become a Real Adult and leave all that kid stuff behind. Right?
The beauty of Disney movies, these animated films marketed toward the world’s children, is that every single one has something for adults, too. Whether it is jokes or references only adults will get – like when Wreck-it Ralph mentions “Children of the Corn” – or more adult themes – like the beginning of “Up” – Disney movies always have something to offer to adult audiences.
One movie I never watched much as a child was “Lilo & Stitch.” Despite its popularity among my friends, and the countless number of Stitch-based paraphernalia still being produced, I had never found it as enjoyable as everyone else seemed to. Then, just a little while ago, I decided to watch it again, and I found that the larger issues in the movie – think Nani trying to impress the social worker in order to keep Lilo – started to make sense to me, where they hadn’t as a child. I was finally able to appreciate what was happening in the film, and it made the overall message about the value of family even more powerful.
Even my childhood favorites have seemed to age with me. For as long as I can remember, “Beauty & the Beast” has been my absolute favorite Disney movie, and Belle my favorite princess. As I have grown, I have learned more and more lessons from that movie, such as loving the person for what is inside them, fighting for what you love, and never giving up hope (think Mrs. Potts: “It’ll turn out all right in the end. You’ll see.”). I also learned to love other aspects of the movie, such as the “Macbeth” reference in “The Mob Song,” the reading “Romeo & Juliet” during “Something There,” and even the flirtatious relationship between Lumiere and the Featherduster. All of these things have not only shaped me as a person, but have allowed me to continue to enjoy one of my favorite movies throughout my transition into adulthood.
The point is, every Disney movie has something to offer its adult audience. Whether it is relating to the parents in “Inside Out” or choosing your own destiny like Merida in “Brave,” there are still things to be learned and discovered in each Disney film. So break out your old VHS tapes and watch a few of your childhood favorites. You’ll be amazed at the magic that still lies within.