Wednesday, July 1, 2020

4th of July Disney Movie Recommendations

(Guest Post by David T)

This Saturday, people across the United States will gather together with family and friends to celebrate America’s birthday with barbecues, fireworks, and activities. One such activity is movie watching, particularly films about freedom. If you are having a difficult time selecting a movie, or just don’t know what to watch, here are four Disney movie recommendations that are sure to get you into the spirit of this Independence Day.

Aladdin (1992) 

Some may not consider this animated feature film a flag waving tribute to liberty. However, Aladdin is a movie about freedom. It’s about Aladdin’s desire to be able to move upward economically and socially. It is about Jasmine’s yearning to have a choice in whom to marry, and have that marriage based on love instead of a restrictive law dictating she marry royalty by the deadline of her birthday. It’s about Genie’s ultimate wish to be free from the magical rules and servitude bound by the lamp. And it is about real liberty that comes from being yourself.

A Bug’s Life (1998) 

One of the themes of this film is that there is strength through unity. Near the beginning of A Bug’s Life it is made clear that the queen of the ants and her subjects are oppressed by Hopper and his grasshopper gang due to the latter’s large size. Believing that insects in equal proportion or even bigger is the key to liberating the ants, the underdog or under-ant, Flik, with the guise of approval from the colony council, sets out to find them. Through his journey, and at one point in the face of death, Flik realizes that the way to free himself and his fellow invertebrates is to stand up to Hopper and the other locusts. Inspired by Flik’s words and courage, the Queen, Princesses Atta and Dot, and the entire ant colony unite and, with the help of the circus bugs, fight the gang of grasshoppers. The diminutive ants gain and enjoy their new found independence.

The Rise of Skywalker (2019) 

ATTENTION: Spoilers are ahead for those who haven’t seen The Rise of Skywalker. A New Hope, The Return of the Jedi, and The Phantom Menace contain amazing battles between good and evil. With that said, The Rise of Skywalker is specifically recommended here because of the inspiring last stand between the Resistance and the Final Order. In the epic climatic battle on Exegol, when it appeared the Resistance’ fight was lost, Poe Dameron was ready to resign himself to defeat. This changed as ships piloted by species from numberless star systems led by Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon fill the skies of the planet. From this sight,  and after hearing his friend, Zori Bliss’ encouragement, Poe, Finn, and the Resistance’s faith and determination is renewed. They (with Rey’s help during her own battle on the planet with Emperor Palpatine), successfully vanquish the Final Order, restoring freedom across the galaxy.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) 

For those who want to watch a patriotic, freedom loving hero, Captain America is the movie to see. The origin story of scrawny, sickly Steve Rogers who through a super soldier serum becomes the brawny first Avenger, Captain America is an inspiring one. While physically Cap is an enhanced warrior who can best any adversary in combat, it’s the strength and purity of his heart that makes him such a beloved hero. It’s his service oriented heart that leads Steve to reject the celebrity life as a poster boy for the war effort and join with his best bud, Bucky, and fellow soldiers, in carrying out operations against Hydra. It is Cap’s courageous heart that propels him to stop Red Skull’s sinister plans for world domination. And it’s the First Avenger’s selfless heart that allows him to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save millions of people’s lives in the United States.

So on this Independence Day, between the eating, games, and fireworks, watch one (or maybe two) of these recommended Disney movies, and feel your appreciation renewed and strengthened for your individual and communal freedoms. Happy 4th of July!

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