When it comes to the portrayal of hunting in animated films, the majority of examples do so in a negative way. Hunters are often shown to be a threat to the main characters. This is usually because children’s cartoons will often feature anthropomorphic animals.
Using a hunter as a villain gives the story an added sense of threat. The characters who we sympathise with, are always in danger of having their lives taken by a gunshot or hidden trap. Other times, the hunters are non-human predators who use their natural skills to lure in unsuspecting victims.
This is perhaps the most notorious depiction of hunting in an animated children’s film. It tells the tale of a young deer who has his life changed forever when an unseen hunter shoots and kills his mother. The scene of Bambi finding the lifeless body is considered one of the saddest moments in movie history.
The Fox and the Hound
This Disney film is yet another example of an evil fictional hunter. The story follows a fox called Tod who makes friends with Copper, a hunting hound. However, their friendship is tested by social pressures. Eventually, Copper’s owner tries to hunt down and kill Tod. He ends up falling onto one of his own traps and learning a lesson about not harming innocent creatures.
The Rescuers Down Under
Set in Australia, it sees a young boy becoming captured by a cruel poacher. This villain is intent on finding a rare bird. The boy is the only one who knows its whereabouts. So, he keeps the child locked up until he will tell him the location of the bird’s nest. While in captivity, the boy meets several talking animals who discuss the cruelties of poaching.
The violece of hunting plays a secondary role in this tale of rabbits looking for a new home. One of them called Hazel is hit by a shotgun blast at one point. Another character is caught in a snare which almost chokes him. Luckily in both cases, the rabbits survive.
Two fish meet a group of sharks in this Pixar feature. The sharks take them to a gathering where they discuss their addiction to hunting. They hope to hold back their primal killing instincts and be more friendly.
How To Train Your Dragon
This film is set in a Viking civilisation which is in constant contact with dragons. The elders encourage younger citizens to learn to hunt these winged creatures. However, one boy meets a friendly dragon and realises that they can all live harmoniously. With his help, the Vikings decide to abandon dragon hunting and integrate them so that everyone can coexist.