I love to create, and enjoy writing both stories and music from time to time. I also highly respect the work of others, and have in recent years learnt to critique it rather than taking it at face value, aided by the philosophies of The Nostalgia Critic and the late great Roger Ebert. Nevertheless, deep down I understand how difficult it is for all the right pieces to come together that even mediocre art gets a tick in my book.
The Simpsons and Disney have always been two great loves of my life. I grew up with them, and they have always been there for me, through thick and thin, for almost 20 years now. And neither show any signs of slowing down. Both have had their high points, and both have their low points. They seem almost human in that sense. When I discovered my assignment for Web Publishing involved writing a blog about something I had a passion for, I couldn’t refuse.
I tossed up between doing an episode by episode review of each episode of The Simpsons. But with over 500 episodes and a 25th season just around the corner, that seemed like a more and more daunting task. So I decided to explore the other little nugget that I had been pondering over for a long time. The notion that Disney was both trying to be a hub for great art and sucessful business at the very same time. And I knew these conflicting goals eventually tore the studio apart. And I was fascinated by this. And wanted to see how it all played out, blow by blow. When watching some of the films, they just screamed to me “executive interference”.
To a certain degree, what eventually appeared on my screen is irrelevant (although they may provide some clues to what went on behind the scenes). The real story is the decisions that were made and why they were made, in bringing these movies to life. What sacrifices had to be made in order for the company to keep with a ‘certain image’. What incongruities were added again and again so the studio could follow a certain ‘successful’ formula. How past failures (caused by clueless executives trampling over the films’ artistic integrity) had been used to excise further executive control. How the growing Disney empire of merchandise, theme parks, tie-ins, sequels, and the Disney Channel, eventually overshadowed the actual talent and forced the company to ride of its previous successes in order to retain relevance. How even those films have been warped in our minds via their marketing strategies which deliberately highlight certain trivial or superficial traits in order to position them in a certain way.
[Addendum: I’ve watched the trailers for the 3D releases of The Lion King and The Little Mermaid, and compared them to the original ones, and I gotta say I misjudged Disney in that regard. They seemed to quite adequately sum up all the dark intense moments in the film, along with everything else such as the romance, comedy, and music. Well done trailer-making people :D.]
These are the questions that inspire me. These are the questions that enthuse me. These are the questions that have led me to create this blog. I am ready to find some answers.