Friday, May 27, 2011

Fiction Friday: Disney Movies

So movies aren't books, but they're still fiction.  And I can't think of anything else to blog about for this Fiction Friday.  Lol.

I am like a lot of people who grew up watching Disney movies.  In fact, there was this youtube video that showed brief clips from all 50 of the animated films Disney has put out so far (did you know Disney has put out 50 films (not even counting the Pixar movies)?  Now you do.  In fact, there might be more by now...shrug).  Of those 50 films, there were only two I hadn't seen.  Part of that is because I watch kids, and part of that is because I pretty much am still a kid.  Which two Disney cartoons haven't I seen?  Brother Bear and Home on the Range.  That almost makes me want to go rent them so I can have my perfect record...but...nah.

Anyway, like most good American girls, I was raised on stuff like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White.  These put all kinds of unrealistic ideas into my head.  For instance, I think I grew up fully expecting to be able to waltz out into the forest, sing a song, and immediately befriend three dozen forest animals before Prince Charming came along to carry me away.  (I love the movie Enchanted, because Disney is making fun of itself.  And self-deprecation is one of my favorite forms of humor...and I also like it because Amy Adams is incredible.)

Then Ariel came along and showed all us independent women that we didn't have to listen to our dads.  I mean, sure.  King Triton was overbearing and had a short fuse, but dude was a single father who was just trying to take care of his SEVEN daughters...while also trying to run an entire underwater kingdom.  Talk about pressure.  Ariel was a princess.  She had a lot of good things going for her.  She had a loving family.  She had great friends.  She could sing amazingly.  But who cares.  No big deal.  She wanted MORE.

Oh, good job, Disney.  You completely violated Hans Christian Anderson.

I believe The Little Mermaid came out in 1989.  And most of the Disney animated films of the 1990s have that similar theme of wanting more more more.  Belle wanted MORE than this provincial life (nothing against Belle, though--she's my fave--she reads books).  Aladdin wanted everyone to see there was so much MORE to him, while Jasmine wanted a different life, too.  And honestly, I couldn't blame Jasmine for not wanting to get married off--but in her culture, she would have been raised to expect it (and if she had defied her father like that in real life, he would have probably done something horrible to her--just sayin').   Simba just couldn't wait to be king.  Pocohontas wanted to find out what was beyond the river bend (and with this film, Disney mutilated historical fact!).  Quasimodo wanted to spend one day out there (although I have to admit I liked the happy Disney movie better than the original novel where everyone died,  I'm sure that Victor Hugo is rolling in his grave).  Hercules wanted to be a true hero that could go the distance.  Mulan wanted to be a warrior (okay, okay, so she was being noble and protecting her father).  Tarzan wanted to know more about those strangers like him.

There's nothing particularly wrong with that theme.  It's just that I noticed that these movies were a big part of what shaped my later childhood.  It's probably why I spent a lot of my time staring into the sunset in my late teenage years, wondering what MORE was in store for me instead of actually doing stuff with my life.  There's nothing wrong with dreaming.  There's nothing wrong with hope.  There is something wrong with discontent, and I'm not blaming Disney for this as much as myself.  Because I tend to get caught up in fantasy...if you haven't noticed.

Anyway, the 2000s were kind of a let down for me, Disney movie-wise (again, not counting Pixar--because I love me some Pixar).  I loved Fantasia 2000, but what followed it were a series of Disney films that just didn't seem very Disney-ish.  The Emperor's New Groove made me laugh, but it lacked something I'd come to expect from Disney films.  Perhaps it was simply that the main characters didn't burst into song every five minutes for no apparent reason.  I like Disney movies where people burst into song.  In fact, I'd like life a lot better if everyone just randomly burst into song.  I've tried it, but usually people just give me funny stares and I eventually stop singing...or I just endure the funny stares.

Yeah.  Like NONE of the Disney animated films from the 2000 decade have people that burst into song--unless you count The Princess and the Frog.  I liked that one, but it didn't strike me as a truly Disney film.  It lacked something.  Some kind of magical Disney quality that I believed to be dead.

When I saw previews for Tangled, I just sighed.  I had no desire to see it.  The previews just made it look like a stupid parody--like Disney was trying too hard to be hip and cool and funny.  But it was playing at work one day, so I watched part of it.

Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I had to go rent it afterwards so I could watch the whole thing.

The Disney movie is NOT dead.  Tangled is a funny parody, but it's also a more traditional Disney movie--complete with characters randomly bursting into song!  I don't want to give too much away if you haven't seen Tangled.  It's an original story that does a great job of incorporating the original fairy tale.  I'm not sure what Disney animation has in store for the 2010's, but I'm paying attention again.

Only this time, I hope I'm able to differentiate fantasy and reality.

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