Animated movies are very popular with young people, for obvious reasons. However, some of them can be very confusing to follow along with. The plot lines are not always linear, which can make understanding what’s going on very difficult. More often than not, children are completely oblivious to the plots of these movies, they just like the fact that they are animated.

If you are trying to watch animated movies but aren’t having much luck understanding them, then this post has got you covered. Here are some tips for understanding modern animated movies:

photo of people watching photo

Reading Guides

Perhaps the easiest way to understand animated movies is to read guides, written about the films that are confusing you. Animated movies aren’t just popular with young people (as is obvious from the fact that they interest you). Because of this, there are myriad guides on the internet written about them. Reading such guides will help you to understand plot details, like how old is Flynn Rider in Disney’s Tangled, or why the Hunchback of Notre Dame turns into a beast. Make sure that when you are reading guides, you read ones written by people who know what they are talking about. The best way to determine an author’s experience is to read reviews of their site. More often than not, if a site is worth reading, it will have positive reviews. That said, if a site doesn’t have reviews but appears authoritative, then give it a go.

Original Story

Some animated movies are based on much older stories. For example, the film just mentioned, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, is based on a much older story. If the animated movie that you are watching is based on an older story, then the easiest way to understand it is to purchase a copy of the original book and read it. Reading the original story will help you to get a sense of what the film’s all about.  You can then check online and see if there are any articles further exploring the story in its original form, which you can read for more insight.

Reading Blurb

If you have purchased an animated movie on DVD, then usually the DVD’s reverse cover will have a little bit of blurb, explaining what the film is about. Sometimes, DVDs also have little books inside them, which reveal more information about the film. Something else worth considering is visiting the film’s official website. Most modern animated films have their own websites. You can then use these websites to learn about the films that interest you. Such websites typically have ‘Contact us’ widgets which you can use to reach out to the film’s production staff and ask for support.


Many animated films draw from ancient folklore and mythology, rather than written stories.  If you are watching a film that’s rooted in folklore, then it will be very easy for you to figure out what it’s all about. All you have to do is to research the folkloric elements of the film, then you can derive your own interpretations of the film’s meaning. You should know that not all films have an actual meaning, they are meant to be ambiguous. This is especially common in children’s films, where they are just meant to provoke joy, not intelligent conversation and thought.

Asking for Help

If you do struggle with any elements of the animated films that you are watching, then you can reach out to people more knowledgeable than you and ask for help. As mentioned previously, you can reach out to the producers or directors of a film using their social media pages or the film’s website, or you can reach out to people on forums and online communities, who know what they are talking about. Asking for help is without a doubt the most effective way of getting definitive answers to your questions.

Enjoying Yourself

Finally, when you are watching animated films, do not think too much about their meanings—just enjoy yourself. Animated films are a lot of fun. However, if you spend your entire time obsessing over what they mean or what they are about, you will never truly enjoy yourself. Watching movies should be a fun experience, not a stressful one. Again, most animated films really don’t mean anything. If there are any folkloric elements included, they are usually done purely artistically, with no ulterior or hidden meanings intended. After all, most animated movies are just children’s films.

Animated films can be fun, regardless of age. However,  it is often the case that adults view everything cynically and sceptically. In other words, they tend to overanalyze. Learning about the films you are watching can be fun, but don’t let your maturity and inquisitive nature detract from the purpose of animated films, which is to have fun.

Published by HOLR Magazine.