Twenty-First Century Films - Fathers and Sons

In contrast to the films of the 1990s, the films produced by Disney, Pixar, Sony Pictures Animation, DreamWorks and Twentieth Century Fox Animation since 2000 have tended to feature young boys,4 and so do the ones analyzed in this chapter. Like the 1990s live action films Bruzzi discusses, these films also feature the ‘troubled, “fragile” father-son rela- tionships’(2005, 158), and they also evidence the same ‘paternal turn’ as the live action films for adults studied by Hamad. The fathers in the recent animated films are more important for their children than the fathers in the 1990s films. Wooden and Gillan, analyzing Pixar films, have termed this the ‘glorification of dads’, which suggests that ‘fathers are crucial to the successful raising of boys’ (140, 139). This successful raising of boys appears to necessitate a removal of mothers. Consequently, the absence of the mothers, or rather the deaths of the mothers, has become more central. In the films discussed earlier in this chapter, the mothers’ absence is either not mentioned at all, or referenced in a joke. The fact that the fathers are widowers is not addressed, nor how they feel about being single fathers. In the films under discussion in this section, the mothers’ deaths and the fathers’ concomitant widowerhood is addressed, but in such a way as to marginalize the mothers even further and undermine any lingering influence they might have.

 
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