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Why is there always a dead parent, or a witch or magic, or evil?

I understand every story needs an antagonist and protagonist, but really why does Disney need to kill off a parent or both parents in every story? Why involve magical powers? Can't there just be a movie with out that?

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Asked by Anonymous at 3:22 AM on Apr. 23, 2010 in Entertainment

Answers (32)
  • The dead parent is usually because its easier to develope one parents personality than two and it saves the cost for another voice actor. Not all involve magic powers but many of them are based on old fairy tales (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, ect.) and those usually involved magic and evil.

    Answer by MrsKline at 3:39 AM on Apr. 23, 2010

  • It's all for entertainment. Dead parents and magic are dramatic and people like drama.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:07 AM on Apr. 23, 2010

  • Because it's in Disneys contract with the devil. They have to have those elements. Otherwise they are breaking the contract and they will end up on Judge Judy.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:37 AM on Apr. 23, 2010

  • The reason there are always a dead parent in the movies is that the movies were modeled after Walt Disney's life- he had a deceased parent. I saw an interview about this somewhere, but darned if I can remember where!

    Answer by mcginnisc at 7:48 AM on Apr. 23, 2010

  • When the deceased parent doesn't serve the story in any particular way, I've always thought that they do it to save money and not have to develop and animate another character! For instance, in the Little Mermaid, would it really change the story if Ariel also had a disapproving mother? Not really- so they just gave her a father for the purpose of the story, and saved themselves the time and effort of animating and voicing a second character who would simply do what the father of the story already does. In other cases, the dead parents serve the story... for instance, Cinderella would not have to live with the wicked stepsisters if her own mom and dad were in the picture, and Marlin would not be such an overprotective dad if Nemo's mom and siblings were around. In those cases, it serves to set up the story or as character motivation.

    Answer by Freela at 7:55 AM on Apr. 23, 2010

  • Con't. Magic/evil are common in many fairy tales where Disney draw a lot of their source material from. I can think of Disney films that don't reference evil beings or magic... generally the ones that aren't based on fairy tales. I can't think of any Pixar/Disney movies that have a magic or evil being subplot to them, unless the subject matter itself (living cars/toys, for instance) bothers you. Likewise more naturalistic movies like The Fox and the Hound (though that one does have the dead parent, used to set up the situation where the fox is basically a house pet.)

    Answer by Freela at 7:58 AM on Apr. 23, 2010

  • The magical thing I can understand. Kids seem to really like the thought of being able to do things you wouldn't normally be able to do. Now the dead parent thing, that has always made me wonder too.


    Answer by Jacqalyn at 8:34 AM on Apr. 23, 2010

  • Most of the old Disney classics like Snow White, etc, were adapted from stories told long ago. The original author told of a dead parent or a witch, etc.

    Answer by duckigrrl at 9:13 AM on Apr. 23, 2010

  • Ummm... What else would you like the story to be about?? Take out all the good stuff and you get Little House On the Prairie...

    I just wish they would start making more of their witches realistic... but that would take away from the story as well I guess...

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 9:57 AM on Apr. 23, 2010

  • There are also loads that don't involve dead parents: Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, 101 Dalmations, etc. It really depends on the source material and a dead parent is a pretty common element in fairy tales and other older stories because it was just more common at the time. Plenty without magical powers, too. It's the source material. And hey, who doesn't like the fantastical?

    Answer by Myantek at 10:04 AM on Apr. 23, 2010

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