From Raya and the Last Dragon to Coco, Disney’s animated dads grow into humble, ‘hot-humble’ characters


The recent fathers of Disney and Pixar in films like Inside Out and Coco, exude the often crumpled and lived-in “ family man ” vibe that arouses unprecedented appeal to audiences.

I thought the whole man thing was played, then came Benja.

First, I triggered her voice, which is warm, soothing, and capable of delivering copious amounts of exposure in just one breath. Then there is her face: high cheekbones, strong eyebrows, no pores. And could you watch the way he loves his daughter, Raya? Come on, the guy is a trap.

With all of these things going for him, Benja quickly jumped to the top of my long list of midlife crushes. Yet whenever I tried to imagine some sort of future for us, I kept getting distracted by two blatant red flags: one is that evil spirits just turned Benja to stone, and the other is that it is animated. (At least the first is reversible.)

While many find the entire person-pixel to be a deciding factor, I continued to search for Heart Tribe Chief Benja (Heart Tribe!) While watching the latest Disney + computer animated film. Hotstar Premium, Raya and the last dragon. Then, as the closing credits went on, I took to Twitter, where I found plenty of other pros who were proud to let their freak flag fly.

“The father of the protagonist in Raya and the last dragon smokes hot, “tweeted Hollywood Reporter film critic David Rooney, who also said,” I must love anti-thirst animation. “

Writer Hanna Ines Flint confirmed, “Man’s arms, I want to hang them,” she tweeted.

It’s not only Raya: Recent animated films have demonstrated a commitment to putting sexy dads onscreen that can only be rivaled by no matter what the cast Riverdale. Think about last year’s elf daddy Forward, who looked a bit like a warm blue John Krasinski or Riley’s dad from Upside down, whose five o’clock mustache and shadow once inspired a very dashing Buzzfeed article.

The hottest anime dads like Miguel’s dad in coco, only has a little time to make a good impression, but a few treasures make the entire movie shine, like the lantern jawbone and barrel-breasted paterfamilias of The Incredibles. Their ranks keep growing, but I was still wondering: are animated dads really getting hotter and hotter or are we just just crazier and crazier?

Always from Coco. Image from Twitter

“Hotness isn’t just the way they’re drawn – it’s all of those other things that come together,” replied writer Bim Adewunmi, former host of the crush-focused podcast. Thirst aid kit. She pointed out that Disney had hired Lost Actor Daniel Dae Kim will voice Benja, “We interviewed him in person at Sundance in 2020, and I look like such a kinky teenage girl, but he has a hot aura. He radiates calm, like a good friend.

Part of the reason the hot animated daddy thing sounds like a modern phenomenon is because the early Disney movies were more than happy to leave the protagonist’s parents out of the way altogether. Later, Disney might have cast a dad or two for intrigue, but they tended to be old and bonkers, like Jasmine’s dad in Aladdin.

“Why do they have these long gray beards?” Adewunmi wondered. “That’s the problem with Disney: Moms are all dead and Dads are just old. What happened? Even the occasional attempt to have sex with some of these older fathers struck Adewunmi as implausible: “King Triton in The little Mermaid has those amazing abs, right? But it’s like you have seven daughters, my good sir. When does he find the time to go to the gym? “

It wasn’t until recently that Pixar entered the scene and cracked the code in a big way.

“Pixar doesn’t make an ugly dad,” Adewunmi said. But Pixar dads aren’t hot in the same way as, say, Regé-Jean Page’s Bridgerton is hot: instead, they’re humble, often crumpled and inhabited, like you searched for a handsome ex on Facebook and found out he had a wife, kids, and that something-something.

If you’re single and still struggling during the pandemic, isn’t it appealing to imagine a generally good-humored, relationship-oriented character who would be happy to be there for you? After Raya was over, I half expected Benja to jump off the screen and onto the couch next to me, where he would finally be the supportive partner I need to watch silly episodes of The circle with. Plus, he looks great in patterned aqua blue tunics, and you can’t say that about all dads.

“See, I don’t even think I could pull this off, so in some ways he’s far superior to me,” Dae Kim said. When I called Kim a few weeks ago, Raya and the last dragon He had just been released and he had started picking up the internet whirlwinds.

“And I also got a lot of feedback about how this character looks like me,” Kim said. “So I guess by the transitive property, I’ll take that as a compliment.”

In fact, Kim revealed that Benja got hotter as development went on: “The character I originally saw was thinner and leaner and longer,” he said. “I found it intriguing, then when I saw a rough cut it had widened, it had become a little more muscular and I noticed a hairline that looked like mine.”

Still, there must be more to all of this than just well-rendered computer modeling, right? As Kim reflected on Benja’s appeal, he wondered if these spirited dads provided a sense of G-rated comfort in a sorely lacking cultural moment.

“In some ways I think Benja is the father we all wish we had,” Kim said. “He’s a warrior, but he’s kind and compassionate to his children and seeks to unite people rather than divide them.

And if we’re so hungry for that kind of cute flathead that we start to have a crush … well, what then? Kim laughed, “I remember that quote from Who wants the skin of Roger Rabbit, where Jessica Rabbit says, ‘I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.’ “

Kyle Buchanan circa 2021 The New York Times Company

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