I want to start a series for Disney characters that I think are particularly important and why. These characters will range from main characters to minor characters. It’ll be a fun mini sort of project, that’ll be interesting to research and entertaining to write. It’ll also be yet another excuse to watch Disney films!
To start with, I thought I’d take a closer look at Finding Nemo‘s Dory. Both films contain some perspective on animal rights, especially the sequel, so she’s clearly involved in some particularly important films anyway! And her being there just adds to the importance of them.
Dory’s an incredible character, hilarious and so sweet. Within the first and second movie, Dory is always there for Marlin and Nemo, and never gives up on them. Even when she and Marlin has an argument, she still sticks by his side, is loyal to him, and still wants to help him out. While she may be scared, she keeps her courage to help and go out of her way.
Whilst on her adventures, Dory makes friends easily and trusts others. Marlin learns to put his faith in others because of her. He learns it the tough way, but better late than never! Because they trusted others and made new friends, they succeeded in ‘finding Nemo.’ And in the sequel, they found each other and *spoiler* they find Dory’s parents.
Dory is also an amazing character who has a mental illness. Nevertheless, her illness doesn’t hold her back. While it’s difficult for her to cope, she always pulls through. She’s so inspirational that even Nemo thinks, ‘what would Dory do?’ and teaches Marlin to do the same. Watching the movies, you can see that Dory tells us that it’s okay to have a mental illness, and that it doesn’t have to hold you back.
Lastly, Dory is voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, who is gay and is a feminist. Personally, I think she’s one of the best celebrities out there! Her and Dory are quite similar, personality wise.
As you can see, Dory is extremely important. And, actually, quite underrated. She represents some marginalized groups and is inspiring, funny, sweet and loyal. Plus, fishes are cute; so that’s a bonus! I’m sure I’ve left some valid points out, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less important.
Not so long ago, I wrote a post about the ways in which Disney promotes animal rights, in general. However, in that post, I didn’t get a chance to include every movie, without making the post too long or too ‘preachy.’ So, this will just be a quick run-down of some Disney films that promote animal rights in some sort of way.
Finding Nemo/ Finding Dory
These two films are great for promoting animal rights, more so the sequel than the original.
In Finding Nemo, we hear great things from the shark meeting. Their motto, ‘I am a shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change my image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food,’ is just priceless.
Then, in the sequel, Finding Dory, the animal rights and animal welfare message is much less subtle. There is a strong ‘anti-SeaWorld’ and anti-animal captivity message. It shows that none of the animals are happy being trapped in ridiculously small cages or being stared and poked at. They want respect, just like we do.
The Little Mermaid/The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea
On the topic of sea life (not sea food), Sebastian literally fights for his life from the chef in both films. He does not want to be eaten and he’s making sure he won’t be!
This classic film shows the harsh reality of the circus life, for animals. It’s cruel, unfair and unjust. Poor Dumbo is bullied, taken away from his mother, forced to jump from an incredibly high ladder. He was even forced to wear humiliating costumes and makeup. All of the circus animals were tortured and terrified.
Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast
The whole Tinkerbell movie series is quite underrated. They are all funny, hold an interesting narrative, have quirky characters and they’re cute. But this movie in particular has a strong ‘animal welfare’ narrative.
Fawn, an ‘animal fairy,’ has just found the Neverbeast that is supposed (by legend) to be extremely dangerous. Everyone, apart from Fawn’s friends, including Tinkerbell, want it ‘sorted.’ But, following her heart, Fawn decide to study the animal instead of handing him in, even when it meant risking her own life. And, she was right; the Neverbeast wasn’t anything to be feared. He was just misunderstood.
Pocahontas and Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World
In the first Pocahontas film, Pocahontas teaches John Smith to be more sincere, empathetic and compassionate to animals. In the song ‘Colours of the Wind,’ he points his gun to a bear, and she stops him. She proved that animals are friendly!
In the underrated sequel, Pocahontas goes to London to help settle things. While there, the King invites Pocahontas and John Rolfe (voiced by Billy Zane OMG!) and Ratcliffe arranges a show, involving a bear being tortured, or ‘baited.’ Pocahontas stops this and calls them out by saying, ‘your behaviour is savage. You and your people are the barbarians.’
During this film, Professor Porter and his daughter, Jane, travel to study gorillas. Clayton accompanies them as their security. However, Clayton wanted to kill, kidnap and sell all of the gorillas; he had no compassion for them at all. There’s a reason he’s the bad guy! Tarzan, Jane, Proffessor Porter and the animals don’t let him get away with it.
Everyone knows how sick Cruella DeVil is; wanting to kill innocent animals just for a coat! She does it just to look fashionable. Luckily, the animals know what’s up, and help before it’s too late!
In this visually stunning film, the wildlife was completely disrespected. Bambi’s mother is shot by a hunter, leaving baby Bambi alone, petrified and confused. Then, near the end of the film, they set the forest on fire to lure the animals to a riverbank to become an easier target. It’s fair to say that this movie traumatized all of us, but at least we learnt a good lesson from it; don’t hunt!
The Fox and The Hound
Here’s another movie that probably traumatized us! The start of this movie is very intense. After Tod’s mother is shot by hunters, Tod becomes orphaned, and alone. But it’s not long until he’s taken into a loving home. However, Copper is raised to believe that he’s supposed to hunt. Naturally, these different upbringings would make their friendship difficult.
When O’Malley takes Dutchess and her kittens home, their owner keeps him as part of the family. She could have easily chucked him back out on the streets, but chose compassion instead. She also helps other alley cats, showing that animals who are homeless are just as important as those who do.
Pretty much every Disney Princess film shows compassion towards animals. Yes, some of them may eat animals (*looks at Moana and Merida), but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. After all, Moana did save a little chicken. All of them care and have animal sidekicks.
Throughout this film, Remy’s dad keeps reminding him of the harsh treatment rats get from humans. Even though his dad is just scared for him, Remy ignores him because he wants to follow his dream. Because of this, all of the rats receive love and care at the end of the movie. No one is ‘grossed out’ by rats anymore! How could anyone think rats are gross though? They’re so cute.
The remake of the Disney classic is quite spectacular and beautiful! One of the many things I love about it is how Cinderella actually follows her heart; she has courage and is kind. Basically what I aspire to be like! When Cinderella first meets the prince, he’s out hunting a stag. She stops him, and tells him, ‘just because it’s what’s done, it doesn’t mean it’s what should be done.’ What a beautiful quote! And that basically sums up all of the mistreatment of animals.
Obviously, there are so many more Disney films that help promote animal rights, but that’ll be saved for another time!
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“Disney movies have consistently touched on the concept of animal rights. They have almost invariably shunned humankind, highlighting our species as the destructive, selfish virus it collectively is.” – theveganshoclar.com
The more I watch Disney now that I’m older, I can understand more of the things they show. And I’ve realized that the majority of movies and characters actually promote animal rights. They encourage equality, respect for nature and emphasise love for the world and animals alike. Here are some ways in which the pixie dust filled movies do it.
Circus animals are victims forced to perform acts they don’t want to.
The film Dumbo shows a very emotional aspect of the circus. The eponymous character Dumbo was cruelly taken away from his mother, forced to wear humiliating costumes and makeup, and was forced to jump from an incredibly high ladder. Poor Dumbo was terrified. All of those circus animals were tortured and didn’t have a healthy or a happy life.
Wildlife should be respected and the animals shouldn’t be treated unfairly
Within the film Tarzan, Professor Porter and Jane wanted to study the gorillas. They took Clayton as security, who had a different approach, however. He wanted to kill, kidnap and sell the gorillas. Obviously, he was the bad guy.
Similarly, in Bambi, the wildlife wasn’t respected and the hunters were the bad guys again. In the scene that traumatized us all, Bambi’s mother is shot by a hunter as she was looking for food. Little Bambi was left petrified and confused. The hunter’s then return near the end of the film, where they set the forest on fire to lure the animals to a riverbank so that they’re an easier target.
It’s safe to say; these films completely turned us against hunters.
Fur on clothing is cruel
Cruella de Vil is easily one of the worst villains ever. Killing a litter of puppies just to look ‘fashionable’ is just sick! Animals are not clothes!
Fish are friends, not food!
As Bruce from Finding Nemo says, ‘I am a shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, then I must first change myself; fish are friends, not food.’ Literally, this is one of my favourite replies whenever someone asks me if I still eat fish.
The Little Mermaid also supports this. Sebastian makes it clear that he doesn’t want to stay on that plate after literally fighting for his life.
These films make it clear that animals don’t want to live in a tank. In Finding Nemo, the dentist doesn’t keep his fish in a tank to be cruel – even though he did ‘fishnap’ Nemo – but none of the fish want to stay in that enclosure. Finding Dory also states this; ‘there are no walls in the ocean.’
Every life matters
The Fox and The Hound is another film that’s strongly against hunting. Tod, a baby fox, becomes orphaned after his mother is shot by hunters. Then Copper, the hound, is raised to believe that he is supposed to hunt. This film is so heartbreaking; if it wasn’t for the hunter, Tod’s mother wouldn’t have been murdered and Tod and Copper could have been friends. Best friends. He even kept his dogs tied up outside, the poor things!
The Aristocats also emphasises this – that alley cats are just as important as house cats. After O’Malley takes Duchess and her kittens home, their owner keeps him as part of the family. She also helps the other alley cats by starting a foundation to home all of them. She isn’t a ‘crazy cat lady,’ she’s compassionate.
Be nice to animals
Pretty much every Disney Princess film encourages you to love animals. Cinderella was friends with rats. Aurora and Snow White were friends with the woodland creatures. Pocahontas had a racoon and a bird. Rapunzel had a chameleon and even befriended a horse that kept trying to get Eugene arrested. Moana stopped some villagers from killing a chicken because he was… ‘different.’ They love animals unconditionally, which is such a positive thing to show.
Let’s be honest, all of the animals in Disney are so cute and fluffy and it makes you want to have the power to talk to them. Animals are well-respected in Disney and I really hope to see more films like these in future.
The long-awaited sequel to the first film, Finding Nemo, was finally released last Summer. I was so excited to watch it; I actually counted down the days from when it was first announced. I was like a little kid waiting for it to be released.
And then the day came when I finally saw it; I was not disappointed at all. It was such an amazing film, filled with nostalgia. Having a rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, this film is suitable for all audiences, and is guaranteed to make you laugh your tail off.
We get to find out more about Dory. As expected, we see her as a baby, we meet her parents and we find out where she comes from. I guess we really are ‘finding Dory‘.
Baby Dory is so cute! Her big eyes and tiny little fins are just simply adorable. Her sweet voice to go with her appearance is to die for. I can’t get over how precious she looks, it makes me want to cry.
“There are no walls in the ocean.”
As someone who is passionate about animal welfare, my favourite thing about this film is the message it sends. ANIMALS WANT THEIR FREEDOM!! It perfectly captures the shifting attitudes of keeping animals confined, and the shifting attitudes of animals that are being confined. Dory’s new friends, a begula whale, Bailey, and a nearsighted whale shark, Destiny. Bailey develops a fear of life in the open ocean while Destiny develops an insecurity about her swimming abilities, as she keeps bumping into the walls. They overcome these fears and insecurities, which helps keep the strong message alive.
We see familiar faces from the first film, which makes your inner-child SO happy. The references and little ‘Easter Eggs’ to the first film help make it that much more memorable and exciting. There’s even a ‘after credits’ scene. It was worth the wait.
This fun-family adventure definitely meets the expectation of being as good as the first film. Maybe even better. It has things that adults and children will find funny and understand. The much-loved characters meet more characters that will be just as loved. It is a story about family, love, and animal rights. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re missing out! If you loved the first film, and want to watch something fun and new, then this is the film for you. It could be your new favourite film. You won’t be disappointed!
(I do not own any of these images, they belong to Disney)