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(Photo: 'Wall-E' Facebook Page)

The Secret Life of Pets is getting a new installment with this week’s release (June 7) of The Secret Life of Pets 2. The first film filled us in on what our pets think about and get up to when we’re not home. The short answer: trouble.

In the original Secret Life of Pets and its sequel, the house dwellers band together to battle the outdoor elements.

As we head into National Best Friends Day tomorrow (June 8), this list of eight animated films is a good reminder of the importance of relying on and supporting those around us:

1. Wall-E

2008’s Wall-E revolves around a robot, who is left alone on Earth to pick up garbage. He finds himself listless and lonely until another robot, Eve — a girl robot — arrives on a mission to look for life. She finds what she’s looking for, a seedling plant, and reports back to her command ship. Wall-E finds what he’s been looking for, a partner and a love interest. While Wall-E revolves around two robots, it’s a story of humanity and not giving up on hope.

2. Trolls 

Based on the undeniably cute troll dolls, the 2016 Trolls movie follows the story of a tribe of trolls on the run from the very hungry Bergens. When making their escape, some of the trolls are captured. The survivors could’ve kept going, but Poppy, a princess and a leader, lives by the rule: “No troll left behind.” She and a small group face their fears and go back to save their friends. While on Bergen turf, Poppy befriends a Bergen scullery maid, and helps teach her that happiness comes from within (not eating trolls as she and the other Bergens grew up thinking).

3. Sing 

Also out in 2016, Sing revolves around a struggling theater, whose koala director puts on a singing competition in an attempt to save their organization. We meet Johnny, a gorilla, who successfully auditions to compete on the main stage of the competition. While he and the other animals are rivals, they still help each other to be their best selves. As the story progresses, Johnny gets up the courage to tell his father, who is in the mob, that all he really wants to do is sing.

4. Shrek 

In 2001’s Shrek, the title character, a large green ogre, was absolutely fine living a life of solitude. Actually, he was more than fine with it, that’s what he preferred. But when his doom-and-gloom swamp is taken over by overly happy fairy tale creatures, because they’ve been pushed out of their magical forest, he’s forced to take action. Shrek finds himself on a mission to save Princess Fiona, who has been abducted by an evil lord. When Shrek learns what he’s been missing out on, love and companionship, he can’t go back to the life he knew before.

5. Toy Story 

The Toy Story franchise originally kicked off in 1995, revolving around a boy and his toys. When the little boy at the center of it all, Andy, goes to sleep… his toys come to life. Woody, a cowboy, is the leader of the pack. But when a new toy arrives, Buzz Lightyear, Woody feels threatened and that he may longer be Andy’s favorite. While that is a genuine worry, the toys have to join forces to survive the torment of the next door neighbor boy. Woody and Buzz put their differences aside and ultimately realize they aren’t all that different.

6. Frozen 

2013’s Frozen revolves around two sisters, Elsa and Anna. Elsa has been hiding a secret ability their whole lives, that she can control the weather. Now queen, in a heightened moment, Elsa lets her emotions get the better of her, accidentally turning their kingdom into ice. Upset with what she has done, Elsa runs away. Her sister isn’t going to just let her leave and hide in shame. Anna sets out to find her with the help of a mountain man and his pet reindeer. This is a good example of power in numbers.

7. Minions 

In 2015, the Despicable Me Minions got their very own movie. In the origin story, we learn Minions’ sole purpose is to work for a villain. But, when they find themselves in between jobs, they become restless and lost. Kevin, Stuart and Bob set out to find a new leader. They land themselves in London, with a mission to steal the Queen’s Crown to prove themselves to their new master, Scarlet Overkill. Kevin et al. didn’t give up on their community and found purpose for themselves and friends. While Minions might be do-badders, we can still take a page out of their book.

8. James and the Giant Peach 

Based on Roald Dahl‘s story, James and the Giant Peach was released in 1996. It starts off live-action and from there goes into animation. James Henry Trotter loses his parents unexpectedly and finds himself living with his two awful aunts. The young boy seeks refuge inside a ginormous peach. He befriends the talking bugs who get cozy in the peach. With his new friends’ help, he sets out on an adventure to NYC and ultimately an escape from his aunties’ oppressive ways. While things were difficult for James, he didn’t surrender to this being his fate and found support through unlikely friendships.

What better way to head into National Best Friends Day, happening tomorrow (June 8). 

Do these movies with a message speak to you??

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By Brigid Brown