Insane Lessons in Popular Films

I loved the Toy Story movies and The Incredibles, but I have to admit that this Cracked article about their moral lessons has a good point.

When you think about it, the villains in Toy Story 1 and 2 are only villains because they treat toys like inanimate objects rather than sentient feeling beings.  But in the real world, toys are inanimate objects.  In the world of the film, this isn’t the case, and audience knows that.  But there’s no reason for the humans to suspect this at all.  To them, they’re living in the same world we are.

When you recognize this, Sid is just a kid who is creatively repurposing junk to make new works of art.  And Al the Toy Collector is putting a lot of work and research into finding items that people are discarding as worthless junk, which could instead be put in a museum to bring happiness to many people.  They don’t know the toys have feelings. So why are they considered bad people? At worst, they’re victims of ignorance.

In The Incredibles, Syndrome is trying to invent technology that will improve everyone’s lives.  Yes, he’s also murdering people, so he can’t be considered innocent the way Sid and Al are.  But the film portrays the murder as secondary to his villainy, whereas his primary evilness comes from him wanting to create beneficial technology.

Some interesting stuff to think about.


5 thoughts on “Insane Lessons in Popular Films”

  1. I was always deeply offended by the premise that the Incredibles villain was rejected because he didn’t have “natural” born abilities, and instead wanted to use his brain and technology to become a superhero. What a horrible message to send to people. I can’t blame him so much for giving a big “fuck you” to the world after that. Mr. Incredible was kind of an asshole.


    1. Joe – Oddly enough, I’m currently working on a novel that explores the difference between superheroes with mystical abilities versus those who only have their own human ability/training/courage/inventions.


  2. I remember some discussion years ago that was appalled that the moral of the Potter saga is essentially “If you’re destined for greatness, just keep cruising and do what you’re destined to do, and if you’re the chosen one’s friend, make sure you sacrifice just about everything and support him all the way.” After 20+ hours of film, Harry Potter is still essentially the same character he was an hour into the first movie.

    Snape, on the other hand, is profoundly interesting as a character because he actually has an inner conflict that must be overcome one way or another, but no one reading the story to their kids has ever told them to be like Snape when they grow up.


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