Does Disney’s Aladdin promote prejudice against Arabs? Is The Lion King fascist? Is Wall-E’s critique of consumer culture anticapitalist, and thus anti-American? We know the overt messages of most children’s films: listen to your parents, be yourself, work together. But are there subtler political messages being transmitted—deliberately or inadvertently—to young viewers?
This work is a wide-ranging survey of American children's film that provides detailed analysis of the political implications of these films, as well as a discussion of how movies intended for children have come to be so persistently charged with meaning.
Disney, Pixar, and the Hidden Messages of Children’s Films provides wide-ranging scrutiny of one of the most lucrative American entertainment genres. Beyond entertaining children—and parents—and ringing up merchandise sales, are these films attempting to shape the political views of young viewers? M. Keith Booker examines this question with a close reading of dozens of films from Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and other studios, debunking some out-there claims—The Ant Bully communist propaganda?—while seriously considering the political content of each film.
Disney, Pixar, and the Hidden Messages of Children’s Films recaps the entire history of movies for young viewers—from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to this year’s Up—then focuses on the extraordinary output of children's films in the last two decades. What Booker finds is that by and large, their lessons are decidedly, comfortably mainstream and any political subtext more often than not is inadvertent. Booker also offers some advice to parents for helping children read films in a more sophisticated way.
• Provides chapter-by-chapter coverage of films from different studios, including two chapters on Disney, one on Pixar, and one on films from other studios (with a special focus on Dreamworks)
• Offers bibliographical listings of both printed works cited and films cited in the text
• Includes a comprehensive index
• Offers a serious, up-close reading of the children’s films that dominate a large portion of our popular culture
• Argues that the political messages in most American children’s films are fairly mainstream, profamily, procapitalist, and far from radical
• Debunks a number of claims of improper, anti-American content in a number of children’s movies
• Expands its coverage beyond Disney and Pixar to include rival Dreamworks