So imma have a go at putting some refined words together. If we’re all honest, there’s space in everyone’s heart for a Disney movie, we all either grew up subjected to them or we absorbed them via some osmosis via our siblings or friends. Certain things stick however and some don’t, so I’m going to use my experience here as; a guy, a father and a person to highlight my 3 personal choices for any man who’s to be subjected, either against their will or through their own curiosity. They might not be the movies you initially think of.
Firstly, some movies are classics. Straight up. These choices are not supposed to succeed the likes of Aladdin, Lion King or the Toy Story series. What I’m looking to do here is to cover 3 movies which appeal to me as a man both as a child and as an adult and father to a daughter… to whom I will inadvertently subject these to too (go gender neutrality!).
There are very general themes that run through these selections, male leads, adversity and comradery and even the lack of music seen throughout Disney’s other works. Each movie also has a unique but I familiar theme which are something which men around the world can relate to.
Disney’s dark age is something everyone should be exposed to. The movies released between 1970 and 1988 have the charm of hopelessness which cannot be replicated today. Robin Hood has an oppressive regime that begs for reprieve. Enter Robin Hood himself, who has a loveable rogue charm. He’s somewhat untouchable against the literal army that stands against him, swerving and dodging their every attempt to capture or kill him. It’s actually frustrating that I wasn’t able to write this a couple of years ago, as otherwise I’d also be able to highlight the fantasy aspect of this movie where all the characters are woodland creatures. Curse you Zootropolis/topia!! Ignoring the aforementioned movie, it’s rare to see a Disney movie which features anthropomorphised animals as characters (with the exception of their own mascots naturally) for no reason other than for the entertainment value. It’s a moniker that stands to this day though, the sly fox, the strong bear and the irony of the cowardly lion. The whole piece contains just the right combination of action, banter and even plays down the romance element enough to keep any man (or boy) entertained. There’s no grey area for baddies and just the right amount of comeuppance too. Plus you’ll be whistling the tune for days afterwards!
The Emperors New Groove
This is a movie not many would have probably seen. Released on 2000 alongside classics such as Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet. Not a high point for the company! So why has it made the list? It’s an off the wall buddy comedy that repeatedly breaks the forth wall (without a genie in sight) and I’ve always been kind of stunned it actually got made by the studio. I’m even more surprised it got a straight to video sequel and TV series too! Featuring a typically adult cast including John Goodman, Patrick Warburton and David Spade, the story puts a selfish king in need of help with a peasant whom has just been told his family home is to be demolished for a holiday home for said king. Despite the obscure elements where the king is transformed into a lama, the story is a typical feel good affair where the king (eventually) learns to be a better person through adversity and teamwork. So many Disney movies pair up a male and female lead, or give the hero a humorous sidekick, instead here we’ve got the good old banter and slapstick of a comedy duo. All this is tied together with a villain, sidekick combo who are just as entertaining for completely different reasons. I’ve intentionally kept most the details vague here so if you choose to indulge you’ll have a spoiler free experience. Enjoy! On a side note, if you’re a fan of the setting and the witty bants I’d wholeheartedly recommend Dreamworks The Road to El Dorado. But I’ll leave it there as this is Disney’s yard.
Wreck It Ralph
So jumping as up to date as I’m going to get here, I couldn’t write on this topic without mentioning Wreck It Ralph. I’m going to (risk it all and) make a sweeping statement here which is that RETRO gaming is predominantly a male pass time – repeat RETRO gaming (modern day girl gamers are commonplace but I sure as hell couldn’t find any when my master system was where it was at!). It’s odd to see branded characters inside a Disney movie but they have so much fun adding the charm to their personality’s you begin to forget their not all real franchises. Fun thing I find to do here is to let your friends or partner (in my case wife) guess which characters and franchise are real and which were made for the movie (a game about a movie about games!). You’d be hard pushed to not find several cameo’s, easter eggs or references which wouldn’t fanservice your inner child. I’m sure many of you will have already caught this upon release but if not (or even if so) look it up at the earliest opportunity. In basic terms the story is about Ralph, a “bad Guy” who is unsatisfied with his lot in life and decides to break some of life’s rules in order to be considered a hero. Along the way he caused more problems than he solves but does so in such an endearing fashion that you can understand his frustration and motivation at every point. Throw in a great blend of supporting main (they can be both) characters who will help or hinder his progress for the greater good (and to clean up the messes he invariably makes).
The movie has that charmingly self aware of their world in a world vibe similar to the Toy Story franchise and near the end might just induce as many tears. In my opinion this is the greatest video game movie out there and pays a delightful homage to gaming as a whole. Even watching the end credits will bring a smile to your face.
So there you go. 3 recommendations for the testosterone fuelled which you can slyly recommend the kids watch and will likely enjoy yourself. There are other movies out there which would also fall into the category I’ve put together here, but these are the ones most dear to me and ones I’d wholeheartedly endorse.
I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read here and that a few more of you choose to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) real soon. If you have enjoyed and you’d like to read more of what floats through my mind I am a founding member of www.NerdOutWordOut.com which is where you can go for a regular dose of geeky goodness including articles and podcasts.