As children, we often view animated characters with wide-eyed innocence, but as we grow up and gain life experience, our perspectives change. This is especially true for parents who start to see things differently and wonder how they missed certain aspects of these characters when they were younger. The magic of animated movies remains, but with a more discerning eye, we can now see the complexities and issues that have always been there. Here are five animated characters from movies that you might see differently as an adult.
As kids, we saw Shrek as a big, mean, rough, and tough ogre who was abrasive and rude. However, throughout the movie, he showed a softer and more caring side. As adults, we realize that Shrek wasn’t such a bad guy; he was just lonely and didn’t want to admit it. He had become a hermit and lacked the social graces to interact with others, except to scare them.
Looking back at the Genie from Aladdin, it’s hard not to think of slavery, as he was bound to the lamp and its master for a very long time. As kids, we heard his desire to be free, but did we truly understand the concept? The movie was flashy and over-the-top, making it difficult to focus on anything other than the spectacle. As adults, we can see that the Genie had a rather horrible life before he was finally freed.
3. Peter Pan
Peter Pan was a lot of fun when we were younger, inviting Wendy and her brothers to Neverland, where they would never grow up and could have adventures all the time. However, Wendy was just old enough to realize how dangerous and unwanted this could be. As adults, it’s kind of creepy to think that Peter would just fly into someone’s bedroom and convince them to fly away with him.
Zazu, the little hornbill from The Lion King, seemed like an irritating character because all he did was report to Mufasa and annoy Simba and Nala. In reality, he was trying to look out for them and keep them out of danger. As adults, we can see that Zazu was there to help, even if his approach was a bit annoying. The cubs, like most kids, were eager to ditch him and have fun, not realizing the potential danger they faced.
This might be controversial, but Ariel from The Little Mermaid was a spoiled, rebellious girl who fell in love with a guy she barely knew. Fathers of daughters can understand the frustration of watching Ariel become infatuated with Prince Eric and call it love. While King Triton did overreact, Ariel was irresponsible and failed to plead her case in a reasonable manner, as the Disney writers intended.
Seeing these characters through adult eyes may not be as carefree as it once was, but it offers a deeper understanding of their complexities and the lessons they can teach us.
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