Still to this day, one of my favorite movies is the Lion King. Not only do I love the actors, the animation, and the music, but I also love the storyline of the movie. I think that is why it is truly one of my favorites, now as an adult and also when I was younger.
Character development is the thing I enjoy the most about movies and television shows. If you know me, this probably comes to no surprise knowing my current infatuation with criminal profiling, body language analysis, and my overall obsession with “people watching.” Every movie I watch, I expect a good amount of character development to go along with the plot development. Every great story ever told has a good amount of character development.
This is where current problems arise for me.
A lot of recent children’s movies have flip-flipped the role of character development in their movies.
Time for an explanation:
There are two types of characters in every story – flat characters and round characters. The flat characters are usually two-dimensional in nature and highly predictable. Their role and intent don’t change throughout the story. Round Characters, however, are dynamic in nature. They are multi-dimensional, and they are only as predictable as the plot will give lenience for them to be.
In many movies and popular stories, usually the protagonist (good guy) is the round character, whereas the antagonist (bad guy) is the flat character. In the Lion King you can clearly watch as Simba transforms from boyhood to manhood. Of course the transformation was a reminder of something he already knew – that he was the true King of Pride Rock. However, to get there he had hurdles and building experiences where he changed for the better of himself, and in the end, the better of everyone at Pride Rock.
Recently, I’ve come to notice that this seems to be opposite in children’s movies. The main character seems to be the one that is flat. They want or don’t want to be something or someone, and the antagonist doesn’t see that as acceptable. So the main character will go through the movie/story still hoping and striving for this, while simultaneously the antagonist will change and start seeing where the protagonist is coming from. The two most recent children’s movies I have seen have had this: Brave and Hotel Transylvania.
While this does teach perseverance and holding on to what one might think is true, it is very optimistic in nature. This tells children that they don’t need to grow, that parents are always wrong, and that if they hold to what they “ignorantly” believe to be true, that in turn, the world will change for them.
That simply is not how the real world works or should work.
Life is a series of trials and errors. People learn from their mistakes. And people definitely don’t change because of someone else… They can only change on their own accord. And while mankind should be sure to hold close to their convictions and truths, they also need to make sure that what they are holding onto is the truth and not some paper tiger of truth.
I guess the point I am trying to get to is this: our life’s journey is about how we have changed for the better.
It is from this change that we have potential to change the world. We cannot keep expecting the world to change around us if we aren’t trying to bring the change, and if we weren’t first changed from darkness to light ourselves.
If you are flat, it means you are done growing, done learning. There isn’t one person on this planet who has reached the end of this. Being round means that you are growing, learning, and still experiencing more than what you’ve experienced the day before. Humble yourself, let God continue to change you, and you’ll discover yourself becoming the character in your story you were meant to be.