A "super" family that we all know and love will return to the big screen in Disney's Incredibles 2. Disney knows a thing or two about telling family stories, and while that doesn’t mean characters always like their relatives (Cinderella’s stepmom and stepsisters, anyone?), we can always count on courage and kindness to help our heroes find happiness.
The Parrs (Bob, Helen, Violet, Dashiell and Jack-Jack) are in hiding as superheroes after events in The Incredibles, but they still must deal with the same challenges as your average suburbanites, what with the sibling rivalry, teen angst and dueling midlife crises. Beneath that faux surface of relative tranquility, however, is something well above par - something super. They are a family of superheroes that needs to overcome normal problems (trust, communication, insecurities and assorted what-ifs) to work together for the good of everyone. Sound familiar? Everyday heroes don’t wear capes, and neither does the Parr family, secret identity or otherwise.
While the respective makeup of Disney families may vary, the bonds between each member are something very special, and the message is clear: Families love films about families, all shapes, all sizes, and all kinds.
It got us thinking about other Disney families that we love (and why). Here are six very different Disney families that we absolutely adore:
The "against the odds" family: Rooted deeply in the love, tradition and culture of family, Coco gives audiences plenty of reasons to be thankful. Of course, the majority of Disney families are pretty incredible, often in the face of great odds—or perhaps because of them. Such is the case of Coco’s Miguel and his extended family (some extended more than others, like into the Land of the Dead extended) as they discover through adventure and humor the truth of their shared history, overcoming overwhelming odds to remember each and every family member.
The "follow your own path" family: Granted, not everyone in the family is onboard with Moana following her own path. Her father, Chief Tui, and her mother Sina, are far more overprotective than her supportive (instigating?) Gramma Tala, but it is her parents' insistence on understanding one’s role and responsibility that provides Moana with a well of strength to draw from while facing overwhelming adversity (including, but not limited to, the thick narcissism of Maui). In the end, Moana’s choice to defy the conservative paranoia of her parents is the very thing that saves them. It feels like there is a lesson there.
The "you can go home again" family: Finding Dory builds upon the complex and beautiful relationships we all want and/or cherish between parents and their offspring - a theme we previously followed in Finding Nemo. This time, Dory, with the help of her "new" family Marlin and Nemo, is the one searching for her parents, and in doing so she has to overcome obstacles both tangible and internal. Meanwhile, her parents Jenny and Charlie have spent their entire life creating a beacon of hope amid a life of loss and sadness, which can provide a strong conversation starter for viewers that can, unfortunately, relate.
The "nobody gets left behind" family: Lilo & Stitch is the classic “make your own family” story, in which two orphaned sisters rely on each other and those that enter their life (planet) to build (and rebuild) a home. Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten. The power of this sweet, funny film is in the acceptance of others and the reaffirmation that family doesn’t always mean someone you are related to, but those you care about most of all.
The "weather the storm" family: Frozen may be the strongest showing of sibling connection in cinematic history. Following the fairly common Disney trope of parents passing, sisters Anna and Elsa are kept apart due to the fear and guilt of a family secret. Later, when outside forces threaten to split the sisters permanently, they come together to redefine true love and sacrifice, opening doors and hearts, respectively. The moral? When it comes to hiding secrets from your family, sometimes you just have to let it go.
The royal family: Disney loves royalty, which makes picking our favorite royal family pretty difficult; however, we are going to go with a real royal family and say that The Lion King gets the crown. All of the intrigue and dynamics are here: Simba, the cub who would be king; Mufasa, the just and noble monarch who falls victim to regicide at the paw of his power-hungry brother Scar; Nala, the proud queen swallowing her own pride to protect it; and, of course, Timon and Pumbaa, royal subjects that provide such humor and emotional support that they are as good as adopted.
Let’s face it, there are probably 101 cases to be made for favorite Disney families, but each of us relates a little differently than the next, and frankly, that’s what it is all about. That’s how family works.
Just ask Elastigirl and her family. They’ll tell you all about it.
Incredibles 2 opens June 15 - get your tickets now!