Disney’s Creative And Moral Decline
Disney added colour to my childhood in so many ways. I listened to my cassette soundtrack of ‘Pocahontas’ so much it broke. I still listen to it on YouTube now. I used to pine for October when the next Disney feature was scheduled to come out. As an adult, I went back through the old classics and watched them again with the same joy and wonder I felt as a child. There’s no other brand whose products I’ve been as familiar with so consistently from childhood to adulthood.
Until recently, I used to still look forward to Disney’s new releases. To my despair, however, Disney is now completely committed to rewriting and remaking all its past classics with the intention of addressing every bad faith critique of what are, at their crux, wholesome children’s movies. Making children’s movies for bad faith critics rather than, well, children has proved as disastrous as it sounds. All the charm and joy of the originals have been sucked out these live-action remakes.
As critic Chris Stuckmann points out during his review of ‘The Lion King’ remake: having realistic lions means the emotional expression of the characters is limited by the medium allowing the powerful and colourful emotional moments of the original to fall flat in comparison.
Disney films were successful because they were fantasy and fairy tale. Not only is it odd to see fantasy fairy tales play out in the style of realism but dropping today’s political issues into medieval fantasy settings just feels so tortured. The 2017 ‘Beauty and the Beast’ remake is a prime offender here.
Musicals, in particular, require a great deal of suspension of disbelieve. That’s why they suit animated or highly stylised movies more so than works of realism. Lindsay Ellis has already talked at length about this: