Disney: My Dream-Killing Machine

When I was about eleven or so, I made up my mind: I was going to take over Disney. Disney was my everything. I wanted to be Walt Disney; I wanted to create constantly just like him, and I wanted to spread a universal happiness like he did. I defended Disney like it was my identity, my destiny.

But then Disney crushed my dream. Annihilated it, actually. I wouldn't go as far to say that Disney skinned my dream alive, disemboweled it, and then beheaded it, but it felt like torture as my dream was gradually killed by a company that insists on dreams coming true.

At first, I wasn’t aware of this slow murder. Can you really blame me? I was a bit of a dreamer then, but fear not--I have since become a bitter old man, mostly aware of reality. It all started with Maleficent back in 2014. Like most Disney fans, I was excited for this retelling of Sleeping Beauty. What a “poor simple fool” I was then, as Maleficent herself would say. Then out came the Cinderella remake in 2015, and I will admit that I thoroughly enjoyed every scene of this movie. It was stunningly beautiful. However, if I had realized what was to come after this, I would not have been so pleased.

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In addition to releasing completely original movies, Disney has been consistently releasing live-action retellings/remakes of the classics. The company released The Jungle Book and Pete’s Dragon in 2016 and Beauty in the Beast in 2017, and according to my best friend Wikipedia, more of these remakes and retellings are to come. Next year, Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King are all set to premiere, and in 2020, MulanOh, and don’t get me started on all these upcoming sequels and prequels, including (but not limited to) Maleficent 2, Frozen 2, Genies (an Aladdin prequel), The Second Jungle Book, and Sky High 2 (okay, I do actually want to see that one)--but you get my point.

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But wait, there’s more--Disney is also in the pre-production stage of Cruella, James and the Giant Peach, Lilo and Stitch, The Little Mermaid, Pinocchio, an untitled Prince Charming movie, Tower of Terror, Tink, and freaking Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Let me just say, how dare they remake Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? Who do they think they are? It was one of my top two favorite films as a child--the other being Peter Pan--and therefore, is sacred. But more importantly, it is the first full length animated movie ever released. It won an Oscar and completely revolutionized the movie industry. No one thought it was possible to have a full length animated movie be enticing enough for people to sit through all the way, but Disney proved them wrong and it became the 10th-highest-grossing film of all time in Canada and the US.

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Does Disney really think it should mess with something so classic? The answer is no, it should not. Remaking Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be like remaking Gone with the Wind. It’s a completely disgusting faux pas.

Disney just needs to stop remaking and retelling its stories. It’s disrespectful to the original creators and to Disney himself--not only on the level of the movie itself but also on the level of the purpose of the entire company. As Walter Elias Disney once said, “We don’t make movies to make money; we make money to make movies.” Yet the modern world of Disney insists on tapping into the profitable business of exploiting nostalgia. It’s only focus is success, not the artistry. Instead of focusing all its energy on creating new content, it’s just re-doing what has already proven to be successful.

Disney was not about that. He wanted to break artistic boundaries, explore new stories, be more than a money-making machine. He wanted people to experience the joy of his work.

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Sure, to some degree, I enjoy remakes and retellings of stories. Take Wicked or even the live-action version of One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1996), for instance. But Disney has gone too far and is making too many too rapidly. Admittedly, however, some of these newer narratives have shifted their stories to adhere more to modern ideals, which is an admirable effort. But Disney could still do this by coming up with more original content, or it could, at least, spread out their projects a little more.

Ultimately, because of these remakes/retellings, I have become disillusioned by Disney. I don’t want to work for a company that disregards its purpose, and now, I have no idea what to do with my life. I no longer have any career aspirations. I know you might say that I’m simply using Disney as a scapegoat for my being so indecisive about my future, and I will admit that you are not wrong. But if Disney hadn’t betrayed me, I would at least have a pipe-dream.