The Emperor’s New Groove

The Emperor’s New Groove
Rating: G
Run Time: 78 Minutes
Released: 2000
Director: Mark Dindal

Cultural Rating: pawpaw

Although The Emperor’s New Groove depicts a non-white, non-Western culture, the film does very little to engage with disability, sexual orientation, or gender.

Summary:

After being turned into a llama, Emperor Kuzco seeks the help of courageous llama herder, Pacha, to regain the throne.

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Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 115 Minutes
Released: 2015
Director: Elizabeth Banks
 

Cultural Rating: pawpaw

This film does a good job of fostering “girl power” and including a diverse group of positive female characters in the storyline. However, the film’s use of satire complicates its attempt to subvert tired stereotypes regarding gender, race, and sexual orientation.

Summary:

After an a cappella group, the Barden Bellas, are suspended from performing in the Aca-Circuit, they take on the challenge of competing in an international competition to regain their status as performers.

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ParaNorman

ParaNorman
ParaNorman
Rating: PG
Run Time: 92 minutes
Released: 2012
Director: Chris Butler, Sam Fell

 Cultural Rating: pawpawpawpaw

This film is significant in that it features the first self-identified gay character in a mainstream children’s animated film. The film also promotes family togetherness and teamwork but does little to engage with other cultural identities.

Summary

Norman uses his gift of communication with the paranormal to release an evil spirit that has been haunting the town of Blithe Hollow for hundreds of years.

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Cinderella (2015)

cinderella 2015

Cinderella (2015)
Rating: PG
Run Time: 105 minutes
Released: 2015
Director: Kenneth Brannagh

Cultural Rating: pawpaw

Cinderella is very neutral regarding cultural progressiveness. While some traditional gender roles are challenged by the lead female and male characters, the film does very little to engage with disability, sexual orientation, or the body. However, it should be noted that the film makes an attempt at racial diversity.

Summary: Now an orphan, Cinderella must find a way to escape from her evil stepmother and stepsisters.

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X-Men: First Class

x-men first class

X-Men: First Class
Rating: PG-13
Released: 2011
Run Time: 132 minutes
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

Cultural ratingpawpaw

This film addresses notions of Othering and also sends the positive message that a person shouldn’t change who they are just to “fit in” to society.

Summary

A group of misfit mutants band together to stop a villain from causing war and taking over the world.

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The Big Green

the big green

The Big Green
Rating: PG
Released: 1995
Run Time: 100 minutes
Directed By: Holly Goldberg Sloan

Cultural ratingpawpawpaw

Despite the comedic format of the film, The Big Green tackles some very complicated issues regarding class and race stereotypes. Overall, this film does a great job of engaging with cultural identities in a positive way and offers an often ignored narrative regarding immigration into the United States.

Summary

A soccer team made-up of misfits shows that with dedication and teamwork anything is possible.

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The Book Thief

book thief

The Book Thief
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 131 minutes
Released: 2013
Director: Brian Percival

Cultural Rating: pawpawpawpaw

Overall, this film does an excellent job of engaging with a narrative, that of a German girl living in Germany during WWII, that is rarely considered in the discourse regarding Hitler’s occupation. Also, the film does a fantastic job of challenging gender roles regarding masculinity and femininity and engages with issues of race and ethnicity. However, while the film does provide some contextual information regarding the atrocities of WWII, it should not be considered as an educational film on the Holocaust. Providing some appropriate contextual information to the audience regarding the treatment of Jewish people and other marginalized identities in Europe and the Holocaust is strongly suggested as the film seems to presuppose that the audience (given its PG-13 rating) already has some knowledge regarding the Holocaust.

Summary

Liesel, a young girl living in Germany during WWII, develops a love of reading as her foster parents hide a Jewish refugee in their home.


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The Lego Movie

lego movie

The Lego Movie
Rating: PG
Run Time: 101 minutes
Released: 2014
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Cultural Ratingpawpawpaw

Overall, this film challenges stereotypes regarding masculinity and femininity and engages with a number of other marginalized identities (the body, disability). However, the film does little regarding sexual orientation and race.

Summary:

Emmet and WyldSytle team-up to prevent President Business from taking over the Lego universe.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

hp and sorcerers stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Rating: PG
Run Time: 152 minutes
Released: 2001
Directed by: Chris Columbus

Cultural Rating: pawpawpaw

In addition to positive messages regarding friendship and teamwork, this film engages with multiple cultural identities by having strong male and female characters and positive depictions of various body types.

Summary

When Harry learns he is a wizard he attends his first year at Hogwarts and discovers secrets from his past.

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The Princess and the Frog

princess and the frog

The Princess and the Frog
Rating: G
Released: 2009
Run Time: 97 minutes
Directed By: Ron Clements, John Musker

Cultural Rating: pawpaw

This film is notable because it stars the first black Disney princess. However, Tiana is a frog for the majority of the film. Further, the film adheres to many stereotypes regarding race, disability, class, and religion.

Summary

Tiana, an aspiring restaurant owner, turns into a frog to save Prince Naveen from a curse.

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