Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Junior Contributor I
Do we still watch cinema?
Consider the decline in visiting the cinema and how this (negatively) impacts our appreciation of the visual and sound quality, as purposely designed by the director for the theater.
You mentioned Lynch a lot which begs me to raise the question of how artists move between the two options. Beginning in black and white was the natural route for many film makers we now regard as masters and it is undoubted that it offers a much more considered education on lighting and colour. In black and white the emphasis is down to lighting to mix up your tones in the frame, when a film maker then moves to colour they are spolied for choice but with training in black and white are sure to much more carefully deploy different colours. Consider Blue Velvet as an example of an evocative, striking and down right excelled use of colour. It’s not just reality as we see it filmed as it was but carries much more significance which i think many filmmakers without a base in b&w overlook.
Personally this is my favourite Disney. The problem with Disney IS the standards and songs and I wholeheartedly disagree that reproducing a (commercially) successful formula should be advocated or applauded.
Criticizing the lack of background of characters in The BC is suggesting that the fuller portraits of idealised princesses of more acclaimed titles is more realistic/believable? I know that disney themselves probably reflected on where they failed (as you identified well with their traditions in this genre) however these are the aspects which I believe made the film a stand out from normal disney predictable crap. I enjoy not being told where a character came from and is going to and there is much more mystery that enshrouds this film and fun to be had imagining the past life of the bard or Dalben etc. Also Eionway is far more progressive as a female character than is sadly the norm.
Another thing is the issue of the source. I have read a few of the books and they are a bad patchwork of Tolkein and Welsh mythology, diluted for children. So there’s not much to work with however I believe the ominous background music, and various settings create an expansive and threatening world, far more interesting than most Disney films of this genre.
I think the obvious risks they took (genuinely scary villain and one of only two depictions of blood in their films at this time) are rewarded in how most people I speak to about this film recall it from childhood as something they were both scared and intrigued by, far more affecting than Cinderella.
It doesn’t tick the boxes of a disney film but this is to be celebrated not condemned. I admit it’s far from perfect but this is personally more preferable to a twee, well knit story with well defined aspects.
It’s terribly sad when you grow up to realize that people of colour are primarily recognized/applauded for playing the roles predetermined by their race and it’s traditional connotations in patriarchy. As good a step as it would be for films like Straight Outta Compton to be recognized and given equal space as representations of Black society, I think it’s equally critical that there is a rise in people of colour playing typical white roles, i.e. Bond- albeit a continuation of masculine and western ideals, these films will continue to be made so it would be a small but crucial step in the right direction.