Dark Themes in G Cartoon Movies
Movies rated G are intended for general audiences and can be seen by all ages. They are typically free of language, nudity and violence.
While dark themes can be found in some G movies (bambi’s mother dying, for example), there are many that offer family-friendly wholesome fun. Some of these include: The Lorax, The Jungle Book and Bambi.
Themes of death, loss, war, and racism are woven throughout many g cartoon movies. While the darker themes may be disturbing for younger kids, they are a necessary part of the storytelling and often reflect the original fairy tales and folklore that inspired the films. These themes are not used for shock value, but instead to highlight the darker aspects of human nature and to teach important life lessons. For example, The Lion King teaches children about dealing with loss and Pocahontas is about standing up to prejudice.
Although some movies have dark themes, most g cartoon movies are lighthearted and entertaining. Many of these movies are based on classic fairy tales, while others feature characters like Miguel, a young musician who must overcome family obstacles to show off his talent.
A few years ago, a movie dealing with dark themes might have earned a G rating (the original 1968 Planet of the Apes and 2001: A Space Odyssey were rated this way). However, these days it seems that G movies are more about nature films and animation. That’s probably due to the fact that a G-rated movie cannot include explicit language, nudity, or sex.
As a result, most G movies are not very interesting. The exception is Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke, a beautiful film about a girl separated from her family by a witch. The film is full of arresting visuals and challenging adventures.
Most animation companies have figured out that you can get a G rating by including only mild language. Disney has been particularly successful at this, and even the studios that have pushed the boundaries (such as Blue Sky Studios with Rio and Horton Hears a Who) have not tripped the G rating.
The G rating for animation movies has long been a stamp of approval on films that are supposed to be good, wholesome entertainment. But a new study has found that some of these movies contain more than just slapstick humor and cute characters. They also feature some violence that is disturbing for children.
The researchers analyzed 74 animated G-rated films and counted the number of times that violence occurred in each film. They found that in 59% of the films, physical violence was used as a form of punishment. Objects were used as weapons in 35% of the films, and magic was employed in 10% of the films.
The study’s co-author, Fumie Yokota, noted that cartoon violence often desensitizes children to it and may make them less sensitive when they see real violence on TV. She also said that a more content-based movie ratings system is needed to help shield children from harmful imagery.
Animated movies aren’t immune from dark themes. For example, the Pixar canon includes some fairly weighty themes of fantasy peril (Flynn dying in Rapunzel’s arms!), thematic action (Finding Dory) and mild innuendo (“Shoe size doesn’t matter!” in Frozen).
Even before the ratings system was introduced in 1968, films like the original Planet of the Apes or 2001: A Space Odyssey could qualify for a G rating. This is less because those movies are primarily intended for children than because the rating board doesn’t come down hard on overt violence or off-color language in G films, but it’s worth noting that dark subjects can still slip into the G ghetto.
Other studios aiming at kids have figured out that the G-rating can be used to their advantage, especially when it’s combined with a wry sense of adult humor. Examples include the Shrek franchise and Bugsy Malone, a G-rated gangster spoof that replaces guns with cream-shooting “splurge guns.”