So I’ve gone over my basic premise behind this blog, and my justification for doing so. But before I get stuck in, I wanted to talk a little bit more about what I intend to write about and how I plan to go about writing it. My first post was quite long so I’ll try to reiterate much of it in a concise manner.
As I have already said, this blog will be focused on everything related to Disney animation in the past 25 years or so – since the Disney Renaissance. This is not all Disney is, but it’s what I intend to focus a lot of my time and energy on. I believe there is a lot to this story that we never caught wind of. I, having discovered scraps here and there implying major behind the scenes issues in regard to the creative team vs. studio executive divide, wish to investigate further. I love Disney so much, and respect it immensely. And that is why when I see an almost-masterpiece, irreperably tarnished due to a gross negligence in regard to understanding what the audience want and what makes a good film, I feel sick watching it. Both for myself – seeing all the lost potential, and for the creative team – who no doubt wept for the lost content.
I get the feeling that the way Disney has chosen to market itself ever since the beginning of the Disney Renaissance is a watered down version of Disney itself. I see a facade. If someone says “that is so Disney”, what are they *really* saying about it? And is Disney actually responsible for this connotation? Despite its films being genuinely great and full of so much amazing content, it brands them in ways that really only bring attention to a tiny (and ultimately supercial) portion of them. As an example (which I’ll no doubt go into much more detail with in a later post), view the trailer for the original 1991 release of Beauty and the Beast in 1991, side by side with the trailer for the 3D remaster in 2012. See how all the wonders of the film – spoken about in the first trailer, are swapped for essentially a trailer highlighting the ballroom scene and the Celine Dion/Peabo Bryson pop song. It’s a disservice to both the film and us. Back in 1991, they spoke about everything great that B&B had to offer. It’s an insult to reduce an entire film to two aspects that dont event represent the film properly. You might say that the film trailer was based around nostalgia and timelessness. But I would counter that my saying that if the films were genuinely bad, I could understand them succumbing to a campaign based on nostalgia in a desperate attempt to create interest. But why do they solely rely on both nostalgia and the 3D gimmick when advertising the film? Why not tell us to relive the extraordinary story and chacracters on the big screen? Why advertise a genuinely good film in this manner? This is the sort of disneyfication I’m talking about.
And another example is the complete decontextualisation of films in, for example, the Disney princess franchise – which takes the characters out of their original settings and stories and make them essentially postergirls for dreaming, being a princess, and looking pretty. Which is not what any of those films were about at all. Okay, perhaps the earlier ones, but why return to that when Beauty & the Beast and Enchanted actively satirised those tropes, while the rest of the post-Renaissance films did their fair share of feminism too? Belle was probably the least concerned with her looks out of any of them, and as a part of the Princess franchise, she looks all promiscuous. Not to mention there was a massive blowup when Merida from Pixar’s Brave – a character that goes against everythin Disney Princess stands for – was redesigned in a whore-ish way for her Disney princess coronation.
I assume a lot of this is because Disney wanted to maintain the connection between animaiton & kids throughout the 90s – something that ironically the company itself had tried to fight against for so long. And I believe this conviction meant they were willing to actually sacrifice the quality of their films in order to achieve this goal. Disney is a beast. Disney has deliberately been constructed and designed that way. That’s why we can have contradictory views about it. That’s why in a sweeping epic we can also have Looney Tunes-style slapstick animation – sometimes within the same scene. Disney is “only for young girls”, and yet it is also responsible for the Oscar nominated film Lincoln. how does one make sense of all this? Not to worry, mind you. I will also be exploring many other aspects of the Disney empire, including some contextual information, general trivia on films and characters, and info on how Disney has shaped the animation industry at large.
So, to quote from a non-Disney film: “To infinity and beyond!” 🙂