Disney and all that entails

I’ve almost run out of computer animated kids’ films to watch, and after watching Chicken Little and Bolt, I’ve decided to watch all the animated Disney movies I’ve never seen before.

Disney, Disney, Disney. Is there a more loaded word in family entertainment? On the positive side: animation would be a much sorrier art without their decades of technical innovation. To a certain extent, through form and content they have also defined what a kids’ film should be. Their films are international, that poor benighted cipher Mickey Mouse has been recognised all around the world for more than eighty years, no mean feat pre-internet.

Of course, the negative side of Disney is an extension of all those positive points. Disney films appropriated the great fairy tales of Europe, scrubbed them even cleaner than the Grimm Brothers did, and sold them back. They effectively own a large chunk of the literary imagination of the Western World, those classic cautionary stories of magic and good and evil, and woe betide you if you step on their copyright. Disney helped sell the idea of post-war America by being clean and bright and blindingly white. They’re almost a byword for sentimentality, and Mickey is an avatar of American imperialism, although Euro Disney rocked when I went there in 1992. Their broadway tunes are fucking terrible. They did awful, awful things to Winnie-the-Pooh, who is still one of their biggest merchandising earners. They nearly squeezed all of the juice out of Pixar in their greed.

Anyway, first up, The Little Mermaid. Never did see that one.


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