If you ignore the typos in this article from comicbook.com, the information that you get is somewhat interesting.

The top three grossing animated features by Disney are Frozen, The Lion King, and Big Hero 6. I think this is fascinating and important information.

These three movies do something that’s incredibly important. Think about what they have in common:

Protagonist Loss
Spoiler Alert! Each of the protagonists in these films loses someone early on–someone who was there for them. A mentor, a guide, a parental figure. This loss strikes a chord in all of us, because even if we haven’t lost someone close to us, we can imagine how powerful that loss would be. Especially when we see it on Anna’s face as she sings through the wooden door, or Simba’s heartfelt begging of his father to get up.

(Does anyone else bawl their eyes out every time they watch The Lion King, or is it just me?)

The importance of Familial Love
Of course, this theme runs through a lot of Disney films, but what’s important about these three in particular is the lack of the “damsel in distress” angle. Familial/Friend love takes precedence over Romance. There’s no Prince Charming coming to save Anna. Simba doesn’t spend the entire film looking for a wife. Hiro has no romantic interest in Big Hero 6. The romance between Kristoff and Anna takes a back burner in Frozen. What’s key is the relationship between the sisters, the “Act of True Love” that thaws a frozen heart comes from the family bond, not from romance with a character she’s only known a day and a half.

I think these are powerful stories, even if romance is non-existent, or takes a subplot.

Protagonist choosing his/her new family
This is key. Timone and Pumbaa become Simba’s family. Hiro finds Baymax, Fred and Honey Lemon to glomp onto. Anna and Elsa rediscover each other. As they grow through their loss, they discover that the most important thing–the thing that will help them heal–is to surround themsevlves with good, strong, solid, loving people. And to fight for what they believe in.

What does everyone else think? Am I way off base? Do you agree with me? What else do you love (or hate) about these movies?

Missy Kirtley

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