Disney-Pixar Fever

A cultural-representation ranking of the latest Disney and Pixar Animation Studio releases since 2021

Mickey Mouse. Princesses. Toys. Rats. Since the beginning of Walt Disney’s movie-making career in 1923, the collaboration of various animators has brought magic to the screen, inspiring millions of children worldwide with courageous princesses and heroic soldiers whilst playing with the cultures of multiple countries.

Additionally, Pixar Animation Studios’ debut in 1995 with the first 3D animated movie, Toy Story, brought along the stories inspired by the traditions and experiences of its directors, bringing both liveliness and heart to its audience. As such, here is a ranking in terms of uniqueness and cultural vibrancy of the Disney and Pixar Animation Studio films released in 2021 and 2022.


#4- Raya and the Last Dragon (Disney Animation Studios)

While the spice and vibrancy of Southeast Asia were a new branch of exploration for Disney Animation Studios, the mere brief glimpses and clumping of the various styles and cuisines of multiple countries (including Indonesia and Thailand) diverges Raya and the Last Dragon away from its overall portrayal of cultural representations.

Raya and her loyal critter TukTuk stare off at the kingdom of Heart.

Rather, only furtive combinations of various Asian products (although let’s not forget the shrimp stew offered by Boon on the Shrimporium) were included in the movie, thus bringing only the scenery rather than the charm of Asia to its global audience.



#3- Encanto (Disney Animation Studios)

Encanto shook the world in 2021 with its rhythmic tunes and karaoke-worthy songs as Mirabel attempts to find the missing pieces laid out in the house with magical properties.

Mirabel seeks reassurance from her mother Julia after a dark vision, who heals her with an arepa pan con queso.


With the cultural setting taking place in the South American nation of Columbia, the beats and foods (such as the national dish of the arepa pan con queso) bring the color and life to the film, yet an emphasis on the plot itself overshadows most of these cultural intonations.



#2- Turning Red (Pixar Animation Studios)

As the most recent film released from Pixar Animation Studios, Turning Red (which was directed by Domee Shi) revolves around the Chinatown center in Toronto, Canada, where 13-year-old Mei Lee explores her relationships with her mother and friends as she spontaneously turns into a giant red panda (and at the same time “turns red” with embarrassment at her mom’s pestering with her teenage life).

Mei tries to calm herself down upon realizing that diluting one’s emotions tames the red panda spirit.

The intermixing of Asian culture and cuisine in a Canadian society brings the city of Toronto into a new light through the light-hearted and decorative motifs of a teenage girl growing up in two worlds of cultural and familial life.





#1- Luca (Pixar Animation Studios)

With every new story, it is often strenuous to find a cultural background to suit the ideals wished to be expressed in light of the plot. Yet no environment can better portray the adventurous and colorful aspects of the friendship shared between Luca and Alberto than the Italian coast in Porto Rosso.

Luca and Alberto feast on the trenette al pesto made by Julia’s father.

One of the most remarkable scenes of the film includes Luca’s observations of the village center, which blooms with the aromas of Italian coffee and flavorful gelato mixed with the classic trenette al pesto served by Julia’s reserved father. As such, the atmosphere the culture of Italy brings to the table of Luca earns its spot as the most unique film regarding cultural representation through a combination of fun and warm hues on the silver screen.