Hey Disney, Are You Okay?

I know I rant about Disney a lot here, and while that isn't meant to be the purpose of my blog, the massive conglomerate of fantasy and dreams seems to be on a downward spiral with an exponentially increasing velocity. There were several new announcements over the past week which provided further confirmation things are not likely to improve any time soon. Last week, I posted about their forced revival of The Princess Diaries franchise. Even though it's unnecessary, at least it's not another remake, right? Plus, with all the remakes released so far, there has only been one sequel produced. I've found it in my heart to forgive Maleficent 2 due to the fact that it takes place in an alternate universe from the original Sleeping Beauty and never could have existed in the animated universe anyway. That is not the case for the new Aladdin, which was a pretty good remake but a fairly literal translation of an animated franchise that already has two sequels and a series. At least they're only focusing on franchises that are older than 20 years to let the new ones stay fresh and exciting, right? Wrong. What's this I'm hearing about a live-action "Rapunzel" movie? The animated series hasn't even ended yet!

Disney, are you guys okay? I know you have some of the most creative talents in the world, so what gives? Is there something in the water? Considering how hard it is to get a job there and how much harder it is to keep it, you would think that whoever remains should be the most hard-working and imaginative people alive. Why, then, do you insist on making the same movies over and over and over again? Are there truly no original ideas left in the world, or is it that the people who do have them will not be backed by a major studio with a large enough budget to make them a reality? Walt Disney once collaborated with Salvador Dali, a risky and creative move on a project that very few people are even familiar with. Now his company is meticulously copying the very movies that made them famous as a creative studio in the first place. There are so many other obscure fairy tales they could cover. What about "All-Fur"/"Donkey-Skin" from the Brothers Grimm? Or "The Fairies"/"Diamonds and Toads" by Charles Perrault? Even Disney's animated "Jack and the Beanstalk" project was canceled.

Disney, I am asking you as a friend because I am genuinely worried about you. We were once so close. You used to bring me joy and make me want to sing through my day, but all you seem to be able to do right now is make my eyes roll. Why, oh why would you remake Tangled, a movie that is barely even ten years old? I know what you're going to tell me. This isn't a remake of Tangled, right? This is an original Disney adaptation of the "Rapunzel" fairy tale. If that's truly the case, are you going to include Rapunzel's pregnancy that indicated to Gothel that a man visited her in the tower while she was away? No? Are you going to show the prince's eyes get violently gauged out by thorns? No? Then it's still a remake of Tangled, even if it's not exactly the same as your other version. I know you're also going to tell me that the live-action Aladdin sequel won't really be a remake of Return of Jafar, one of Disney's most embarrassing direct-to-video releases, but let's face it. If the movie takes place immediately after the story of "Aladdin" and features the same protagonists and antagonists, it's still a reimagining of Return of Jafar with new story elements in the same way that next year's remake of The Little Mermaid will have some new elements of its own.

I'm concerned for the future of creative people like myself. There are so many new ideas out there to explore, and you won't give any of them a chance. You used to be the most innovative company in the world. What happened? Is there no longer an outlet for original ideas pertaining to fairy tales and fantasy? Where can we go to find new princess stories to inspire us that we haven't already heard a thousand times? I am begging you to get your act together because you own the entertainment world, and without you, no one's voice can be heard by a wide audience. I know it sounds harsh, but I have had enough of this and am putting my foot down. Please give us some new heroes and heroines before it's too late, and for the love of all things princess, stop copying your own ideas! I was so excited for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, but it turned out to be a disaster with a cookie-cutter script that reproduced elements from every other Disney movie from that decade and nothing from the original fairy tale. It's time to start honoring other people's creative talents. It's what Walt would have wanted.

I realize this wasn't my most original post and far from my most positive, but it needed to be said. Disney is no longer the creative outlet it once was. That alone wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact that they've grown so powerful that no other studio can compete with them. This is bad for those of us who want to tell new stories because our voices are being silenced. Every new announcement of an upcoming remake or sequel makes me a little adder to be living in a world where the biggest proprietor of fairy tales refuses to dig a little deeper into the vault. All we can hope is that they see the error of their ways before it's too late.


Anonymous said…
Hi again!
I’m the person from The Princess Diaries post.

Really?! A Tangled remake? Oh god… whywhywhywhy?
I agree with everything you’re saying here. And Disney’s behaviour right now is scary.
All the money, all the talent, all the potential but still afraid of taking risks.
This is really sad…
According to the MPAA website, the live action remake of Mulan will be rated PG-13. It's the first live action remake to be given this rating. I wouldn't be surprised if the supposed live action Tangled movie got a PG-13 in order to fit some of the darker elements you described.

Lady of royal manners said…
...Time for another Dark age? This is never a good new and I was not looking forward to revive it, but still...You are never sure when Disney dark ages begin (only in retrospect), while Renaissances are clearly announced with a promising looking movie ("Princess and the frog", the last time). Live action "Mulan", to be fair, look like more a new adaptation of the legend than of the animated version (as they suppressed songs, most of the original characters, etc). But ot will certainly be disappointing for that reason.

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