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The Thunderbeat

The Student News Site of Bellevue West Senior High School

The Thunderbeat

The Student News Site of Bellevue West Senior High School

The Thunderbeat

Thunderbeat staff shares their favorite childhood movies

The 2008 film “Bolt” follows canine television star Bolt who believes he possesses the same superpowers that he has in his TV show. These delusions get him into trouble after he is accidently shipped from his Hollywood set to the streets of New York. Accompanied by only his feline and rodent companions Mittens and Rhino, Bolt must find his way back home to his owner and co-star Penny.

The life of me as a five-year-old revolved entirely around this movie. I had posters, stuffed animals, and even dressed up as the main character Penny for Halloween one year. I could probably quote the entire movie if I tried as I’ve seen it more times than I could count on both of my hands. 

“Bolt” stands the test of time nearly 13 years later with its funny one-liners and captivating storyline. And of course in typical Disney fashion the one song in this movie “Barking at the Moon” is well-written and bound to get stuck in your head. “Bolt” is the definition of nostalgic for me and could still entertain me years in the future.


In the 20 years since the release of “Shrek” this movie has been memed into oblivion. Even considering that this classic is a well made movie brings laughter and ridicule from peers. But they are all wrong. Rewatch “Shrek” and it is easy to see that it is leagues more than a children’s movie. This film is a cultural reawakening. Just down to its bare bones, it’s a story of loneliness, persecution, and the true layers that encapsulate the human experience. 

Growing up, “Shrek” has always been there for me when many others weren’t. From Donkey’s relentless friendship to Lord Farquaad’s inhibition these characters represent reality from a fantasy perspective that can be wonderfully displayed to all ages. The character of Shrek rises from the ashes and shows the world that he is more than the label that has been placed on him, all the while saving the lives of those around him. It’s a timeless story with loveable characters that will stay with us forever. 

On top of the constant nuance is a layer of comedic gold that pushes the film to new heights. When Donkey says “In the morning I’m making waffles!” it transports me back to a simpler time while showing a perfect blend of childish innocence and the rough reality of working class America. While many animated comedies at the time focus only on fart jokes, genius Eddie Murphy brings his A-game and leaves in numerous one liners for all audiences to enjoy. His relationship with the dragon is especially hysterical.

“Shrek” is nothing short of a masterpiece disguised as a family film. It holds up where most fall, and should be thought of as a classic.

Claire- Lion King:

The “Lion King” has been a staple in my family since my mom first saw it as a teenager. From the minute I could actually comprehend movies, my mom showed me “Lion King” and ever since, it has been a movie that I go back to and feel nostalgia with. It was probably one of the first Disney movies shown to me that I can remember and I wouldn’t pick a different one.

Looking at the movie now, the animation and colors of the African savanna are breathtaking and the music is no match for anything else. When I was little I would always watch this movie when I was with my grandparents whenever we’d visit. Watching it now brings back those memories and makes me want to sit with my grandpa once again and sing the songs along with him. The movie opens with the well known song “Circle of Life” and from then on has music that can make anyone bop their head along to. Even the villain Scar’s song “Be Prepared” has me moving your head. 

The on screen relationships between Pumbaa, Timon and Simba is what makes the movie for me, and of course their song “Hakuna Matata,” oh what a wonderful phrase. This movie will always hold a special place in my heart and will continue to be my favorite Disney movie by far. 

Meg – Hercules:

Disney’s 1997 “Hercules” follows the Greek hero as he is stripped of his immortality as an infant after being taken by Hades. As Hercules grows up, he learns how to control his god-like strength, and as a teenager, works to become a hero and prove his worth to the gods. 

From a young age and even now, “Hercules” is the first movie on my list when I’m wanting something lighthearted and fun. In fact, it was a struggle to write this short review without singing the catchy songs from the movie, like “Zero to Hero” and “Go the Distance.” The movie has a near-perfect mix of funny and serious moments, keeping you entertained whilst continuing the story. 

The movie did not come without criticism, as people point towards the differences in the tale of Hercules. The story of Hercules in the Disney film is very loosely based on the true Greek myth, excluding the part where Hera (who actually wasn’t his mother) curses Hercules and leads him to murder his entire family — yikes. But in pursuit of making a family friendly film following a Greek tale, Disney did their best, and despite the differences, the film still loosely follows Hercules’ attempt to redeem, or prove himself.

Though I might have a special movie due to a character sharing my name, Meg, the movie’s catchy songs and funny one-liners make it my favorite childhood movie. 

Mia- Mulan

“Mulan” isn’t your classic Disney princess movie, it creates a very realistic situation where she must step up and fight for her family. Mulan brought me so much joy as a child because it showed a different perspective of being a woman and that there was more than being a princess. 

The creators also add LGBT+ representation by Mulan dressing in a man’s clothes and doing what was considered a man’s job, which causes her to feel unsure about who she is. This is shown in the beautiful and well-articulated songs that Mulan sings throughout the movie. In the song “Reflection” you can really see the emotion coming through the lyrics while sending a powerful message. 

The biggest message that has stayed with me throughout childhood was how Mulan showed how rebellion isn’t always bad. The way she always put up a fight even if it caused problems was what taught me to stand up for myself and my family even in the hardest times. 

Caitlyn- Rango

The movie “Rango” is about a chameleon becoming a savior for a town called “Dirt.” “Rango” is memorable because of its raw visuals. Instead of the regular vibrant colors we get from your average children’s movie, Paramount gave us natural yet still vibrant graphics.

The comedy behind “Rango” is subtle, but still noteworthy. Because of this humor it brings a light to the serious situation going on in the movie. There are still parts that bring me laughter to this day even though the movie is implied for younger children.

“Rango” has amazing animations and that’s what makes it most nostalgic for me. The animations are what brings me the most joy. All of the unique characters (especially the goldish) is what I can remember the most from first watching this movie back in 2011. 

Chloe- “Monsters Inc.”

Since I was little, “Monsters Inc.” has always been one of my favorite Pixar movies. When I first watched it, I became enamored with the idea of parallel universes which lie beyond our own comprehension. The instance that different doors could lead to other dimensions with unknown beings struck me as a child.

Throughout the years, I pursued this enthrallment through art; I began drawing pictures of outlandish worlds and mythical creatures. These drawings helped me realize my passion for art. Since then, I moved on from haphazardly producing unfinished sketches of creatures and pursued other forms of media. 

I like to think that “Monsters Inc.” is, in some ways, responsible for inspiring me to pursue more creative outlets in life. Without it, I may have never taken the time to draw as much as I did when I was younger.

Still, every time I watch ‘Monsters Inc.” it takes me back to a time so much simpler than the one we are living in now. In today’s world, it would be nice if we could simply open our own bedroom doors and escape from the overwhelming dilemmas that afflict us. Regardless, taking the time to find what makes us happy can be the best form of escapism, whether that be pursuing a hobby or simply watching your favorite childhood movie.

Taylor- Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron

Nostalgia is a funny thing. I could rewatch this children’s movie and no matter how many times each song bounces to the corners of my typically empty brain I always resort back to the days of sitting on my racetrack rug and wanting a pony for Christmas. 

As a movie person, I don’t typically rewatch any movies. Having said that, Spirit is my one exception. I can quote every song, picture every scene, and feel each emotion as they animate through my mind. I rewatch Spirit religiously. It has an incredible soundtrack, and a message that connects deeply to my heart: hope is persistent even when the world around you tries to break you. 

It isn’t the typical happy Disney movie stereotype either, it connects to many different emotions and not everybody in the movie got their traditionally happy ending. It is nostalgic to me for many reasons, but mainly because it would play every day I walked into preschool, and every time I got home.

It has been and will be my favorite movie for years. My inner child still feels a hint of wonder every time I watch this movie. Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron forever lives as a piece of my heart.

Jacki- Big Hero Six 🙂

Released in 2014, “Big Hero Six” was more than the classic Disney movie that so many people give it credit for: it was a charming artistic vision carried out into one of the most delightful animated movies I’ve seen. The movie follows the main character Hiro (Ryan Potter) as he meets his brother’s robot Baymax (Scott Adsit) and together they adventure to stop an evil plot.  

I idolized multiple characters in this film as a kid, but the one that has always stood out to me most was Tadashi (Daniel Henley). Through his compassion and intelligence this character was an outstanding role model to me as a kid, and I remember wanting to be just like him someday.

My favorite aspect of this movie was how generally heartwarming it was. With such caring characters and sweet messages, “Big Hero Six” perfectly embodied the themes that I wanted in my life, and will always be the perfect movie to rewatch just for wonderful, nostalgic moments.

Emmalie- The Princess and the Frog

I can still remember picking out my green “Princess and the Frog” themed gel high heels that lifted me just high enough off the ground to reach the remote to turn on the TV. Then, after flipping through the DVD case and finding the deeply scratched green and gold disc, I slipped it into the player and grabbed all the chocolate I could find. 

Even after rewatching “The Princess and the Frog” for what feels like the billionth time, I still laugh and cry and sing along to this movie like it’s my first time ever watching it. The characters draw viewers in with their heartwarming personalities and their big dreams. 

While being a Disney movie, “The Princess and the Frog” isn’t drowning in cheesy, annoying Disney music. A lot of the music is actually inspired from the jazz music that originated in New Orleans and it aids in showing us the character development that appears so often.

The animation in this movie is incredible. Every transition is so creative and I could spend an entire day writing about those alone. The ending is one of my favorite parts, unlike Cinderella and some of the earlier Disney princess movies it doesn’t end with a marriage. Sure, we get to see Tiana marry her “froggy prince” but it doesn’t stop there, the movie concludes with Tiana achieving her and her fathers dream of owning a restaurant. I’ll definitely be trying some of those “man catching” beignets while in New Orleans this spring break.

Carlee – Coraline

Growing up I always had an obscure obsession with the movie “Coraline,” begging to watch it just about any time I took part in some sort of movie night. Released in 2009, “Coraline” is a movie about a girl who discovers a secret door that leads to an alternate universe. Within this universe she also has “Other Mother”and Father who serve at what seem to be better parents, the only catch is they have buttons for eyes. 

One of my favorite things about this movie is that it is entirely claymation. However, I know most people are put off by this movie for this same reason. This movie is extremely creative, it has interesting characters and an even better plot line. 

The color choice and overall style of this movie was always something I admired. This movie makes me feel, as cheesy as it sounds, tranquil. While most people might not see this movie as a good basis for life lessons, it honestly taught me as a kid to appreciate what I have already and view scenarios with skepticism, as these are two really big themes within this movie. 

Gnally- To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar 

My family has never embraced the traditional entertainment background of Barbie and Shrek. I remember as a child I would stay up late watching “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar” with my mom. The story is set around two drag queens headed to Los Angeles for a National competition. However, when a misfit queen joins their troupe, they are forced to embark on a cross-country roadtrip. The movie documents their journey as they get stranded in a small town in the middle of nowhere. 

There are so many things to love about this movie. The characters are the peak embodiment of feminism that every young girl needs. These queens are nothing less than the fierce women they present themselves to be on stage. These women taught me how to stand up for myself, how to demand better, and how to never settle for anything less than. Their journey of self-discovery is all brought to a neat close, and I love a clean ending. 

Growing up, this movie may sound unconventional for a six year old, but therein lies the joy or rewatching the movie as I get older. Everytime I rewatch it I catch a new detail, or a new reference catche me off guard like I haven’t seen this movie at least forty times. “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar” is easily one of my favorite movies to date because it doesn’t matter how old you are, you will take something away. 

Rowan- Ponyo

Growing up my family especially loved watching films. One of my favorite childhood movies I watched was “Gake no ue no Ponyo” by Hayao Miyazaki. I was always captivated by Miyazaki’s incredible stories and had the privilege to grow up on his films. 

“Ponyo” released in 2008, is very different compared to Miyazaki’s more famous works like “Spirited Away” or “My Neighbor Totoro.” Though a Japanese animated film, it’s a lot more simplistic and doesn’t follow Miyazaki’s usual storyline trope. 

The film follows five year old Sosuke and his mother who live on an ocean-side cliff. One day he meets a goldfish who is magical. Ponyo, the goldfish, is the daughter of a wizard and ocean goddess. She turns herself into a girl and falls in love with Sosuke. Together they go on adventures in a world where Ponyo wants to stay a little girl but creates an imbalance in the universe.

“Ponyo” really resonated with me as a child due to the animation, and playful colors. It was a weird but magical and nostalgic experience for me. I love that there is so much life and charm in the characters and the story. There are also some climate messages and lessons in the film as well. It stuck with me and created a wholesome memory that has lasted through my childhood and to this day. I think “Ponyo” is different from an average Disney movie, and creates a different experience that will stay.

What was your favorite childhood movie?


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