Editor’s Note: This article was first published in September of 2013 as “6 Animated Kids Movies with Annoyingly Intrusive Political Messages.” It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months… Click here to see the top 25 so far and to advocate for your favorites in the comments.
The animated children’s movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 lands in theaters this week [it’s now available on Blu Ray] with a strange anti-food processing message: The bad guy wants to take adorable anthropomorphic animal-foods and feed them into his giant food processor to make energy bars.
Surprisingly, this movie is actually less obnoxiously political than lots of other offerings being sold to your kids. Here are five especially egregious examples of kids’ movies with intrusive political messages.
1. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009).
The original film took a fun kids’ book and loaded it up with political freight: it’s set in a struggling island town that hits a windfall when a young inventor named Flint Lockwood invents a machine that can turn water into food.
Before you know it, it’s raining meat and produce. Sounds like a resource-management problem: If it rained gold, would we figure out a way to profit from it or scream that doomsday has arrived?
The movie turns into a lecture on materialism, inviting us to see the connection between consumer habits and extreme weather/global warming. See, if we don’t get out of our big comfy SUVs and stop craving so much food, the weather-gods will plague us forever. Hollywood’s neo-Puritanism is alive and well.
2 and 3. Happy Feet (2006) and Happy Feet 2 (2011).
Freshman year at Liberal U. was less heavy-handed than this paired program of penguin propaganda.
The first (and far superior) film built on mid-2000s global warming hysteria (as well as leftover environmentalist fears from the pre-EPA early 1970s, when everyone thought we were slowly being killed by our garbage). Some also detected mockery of Christian iconography in the first film’s “Great Penguin in the Sky” segment and its mockery of a false prophet. As unmistakeable as the original’s political stance was, the sequel doubled down, bringing us a vaguely creepy we-are-the-world theme that made it suitable for matinee showings at the UN, plus Matt Damon and Brad Pitt as a pair of campy gay krill — Ocean’s Two.
A question you may hear after the movie: “Daddy, were those boy shrimp married? I’m confused.”
4. Cars 2 (2011).
After the huge success of the revved-up, boyishly good-timey first film, Pixar director John Lasseter boasted that the sequel would burn up all that goodwill like a ‘73 Chevelle burns 10W-40, telling the press that “big oil” was a natural “uber bad guy.”
Just don’t take the movie seriously enough not to buy all that plastic, petroleum-based Cars merchandise that is sold alongside the film. Not that anyone really thought this one out. Cars? The stars of a movie that hates on oil?
You might as well have bears that hate blueberries. Cars 2 was a mess, though critics were divided on whether it ran out of gas or crashed into the wall.[jwplayer config=”pjm_lifestyle” mediaid=”56592″]
5. Wall-E (2008).
Not a terrible movie, but truly a classic museum piece of paranoid Limousine Liberal condescension that openly wishes for the world to be destroyed so that we can start all over.
Hey, negating everything and rebooting life at Year Zero has a lot of cool fans. Like this guy. Like many other kid movies, Wall-E is a plea against pollution, but unlike too many others, it imagines that garbage will chase Man off the planet and into outer space, where the remainder of the human race will be represented solely by torpid entertainment-consuming fatties rolling around in hovercraft wheelchairs, too obese to get up and walk.
Few films show so much contempt for the American middle class. “A 90-minute lecture on the dangers of over-consumption, big corporations and the destruction of the environment” said one entirely accurate review.
6. The Lorax (2012).
Dr. Seuss’s book also came out of the feverish period when the EPA was being born, but the movie takes the environmentalist theme much farther, imagining a world where not only have the precious truffula trees been chopped down to make worthless thneeds but air is so scarce that an evil corporation controls the rights to oxygen.
The MSM response? How dare anyone accuse this harmless kids’ movie of having an agenda! And by the way, it’s just expressing “unimpeachable values” to make a movie about malevolent corporations who run roughshod through nature to turn a buck.