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Disney's Focus on Live Action Remakes

What are your thoughts on the prevalence of live action remakes of animated classics on Disney’s upcoming release schedule?
How do you feel about the ones already released e.g. this years The Jungle Book. Is it cheap of Disney to invest only in the cost of CGI for these animal tales, knowing they have a sure thing on their hands financially, rather than in innovation and creativity to produce new stories?
Finally, are you looking forward to your favourite animated classics being retold, live action, with your favourite actors, or would you rather these remain untouched?

  • How bout also the positive outcomes of seeing from cartoon to live-action? Beauty and the beast as one of them along with the little mermaid and mulan. Which ones deserve to have live-action remakes? – cjeacat 8 months ago
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  • Another consideration are whether these live-action versions improve on the original or not. For instance, I would say the live-action Cinderella improves on the cartoon, but The Jungle Book, while not bad, is still too indebted to the original to really work on its own, and, in my opinion, a live-actin version of Beauty and the Beast is absolutely unnecessary. – Allie Dawson 8 months ago
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Live action versions of Disney classics.

With live-action versions of Cinderella, Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion King, etc., it seems that every animated Disney film is likely to be re-imagined. Discuss why filmmakers are drawn to recreate these classics and the consequences. Have the most recent Disney animations, such as Moana, been influenced by the sudden live-action interest?

  • Don't forget to talk about Beauty and the Beast! – albee 9 months ago
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  • Also The Jungle Book and how this particular reimagining may be superior to the original film. – DallasLash17 9 months ago
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  • Maybe one of the reasons is that they needed more original ideas and they thought the concept was good enough to keep the economy going. – RadosianStar 9 months ago
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Is Disney Running Out of Ideas with their Live Action Remakes?

Over the past several years Disney has churned out Live Action remakes of many of their beloved animated films. Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and most recently The Jungle Book and Pete’s Dragon have all been rebooted/remade. Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Dumbo,The Sword in the Stone and Winnie the Pooh are being remade as we speak or will be in the future. Even an Aladdin Prequel is in the works. Does this slew of live action/future live action films show that Disney is running out of ideas? Would it make more sense to remake/reboot some of their films more than others (such as their lesser known animated films)? Also include how Disney compares to Pixar (which is part of their company), and other animation studios today, and to other companies in general in terms of creativity.

  • I believe it's less so a case of "running out of ideas" than it is "easy money." Familiarity has been one of Disney's most valuable resources since the very beginning, making it require less effort to market recognizably-titled classics with preexisting positive intertextual connotations. Pair that with the less effort required in writer's room, and you arrive at a cost effective formula for successful filmmaking and distribution. As the animated Disney films from the past decade have indicated, there is currently no lack of original and/or previously unused content to be made. – ProtoCanon 11 months ago
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  • I saw a video where the creators said that they wanted to redo a lot of the old cartoons because the "technology is better." That "people want to see it all come to life." Something to think about. – Jaye Freeland 11 months ago
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  • I do agree with ProtoCanon's "easy money," comment, but I also think it's a move of trying to stay relevant. Those movies mentioned are outdated and do not really have an audience to speak to any longer. Even when trying to show the films to your children, kids do not respond to the films, no matter how good the story telling may be, due to their having grown accustomed to the graphics of today. Disney is basically attempting to reboot its brand. – danielle577 11 months ago
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  • Jaye Freeland, excellent point. Music's the same way. The accurate protestations of Neil Young and Bob Dylan, etc., aside, the "cleanness" of digital recording technology is a boon. If they could clean up Vocalion Records' catalogue - which recorded less lucrative "race records" on bowling ball-quality vinyl - I'd be happy. – Tigey 11 months ago
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  • Isn't that the entire point of a re-make? – Christen Mandracchia 11 months ago
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Race and Culture in Disney

Discuss what was going on behind the signs in older Disney movies, and analyze both the time period some of the movies were released in, and how the happenings of those times affected certain characters in the film. For example, discuss the portrayal of the ‘Indians’ in Peter Pan, or Aladdin, and his white American-sounding self in an Arabic community. Then, consider how Disney is changing its views on culture and race, and including new characters of different races and culture such as Tiana in The Princess and the Frog

  • I think it's less a matter of what was going on "behind the sighs" (did you mean "scenes"?) than it has to do with the ignorance of the times. I don't think anything in particular was happening in 1953 to influence the derogatory manner in which Peter Pan depicts native people; they simply didn't know better. They didn't understand what so-called "Indians" really were and knew nothing of their culture, which led to such horrible depictions. With regards to Aladdin (and the same is true of Pocahontas and Mulan), that's simply a matter of whitewashing, caused by white North American producers, screenwriters, and animators having trouble relating to a character who does not fit into their own cultural mould - and consequently believing that their audience (presumably comprised of other white North Americans) feels the same way. The Princess and the Frog was Disney's way of acknowledging the mistakes of their past and trying to make amends. Whether that was a genuine attempt at reparations or a mere token gesture remains to be seen. It has been nearly seven years since it came out, and we've yet to see another Disney film with the same representation of POC since. – ProtoCanon 1 year ago
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  • Not that those crows in Dumbo were built on racial stereotypes... – Tigey 1 year ago
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  • I think racial stereotypes also came from what Disney believed *kids* thought Indians were, or black people were, or whatever. If you were a kid growing up in the '40s and '50s, you might believe the crows in Dumbo talked the way real black people did, for instance. That, of course, brings up a whole other issue of what we've taught kids throughout the generations and how we can do better. If The Princess and the Frog is Disney's way of atoning for mistakes, it's a good start, even a great one. Personally though, I think they have more work to do, not only in representing people of color but representing all people groups. – Stephanie M. 5 months ago
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"I don't wanna be like Cinderella": Fairytales and Feminism

The Grimm’s Fairytales are a collection of stories aimed at children with the intention of teaching them right from wrong. Disney took its own creative liberties with the stories, turning them into perhaps more-child-suited stories, a lot of which targeted young girls. To this day the cartoons are re-watched, musicals attended with fervor, and now there are increasing numbers of live-action re-makes and spin-offs. As these stories continue to teach children, especially girls, what are the messages being received?
To consider:
1) To what extent are the characters (male and female) developed? How does this change in different versions (from Grimm’s to today)?
2) The appearance of the characters, especially the actresses chosen for the upcoming remakes (race, body physique etc?
3) The impact of these stories on young children (both boys and girls) – are these characters good or bad role models?
4) What do these stories teach us about behavior, social expectations, and even romance?

  • I took a class in studying patterns in fairytales, and in terms of gender relations, heterosexual marriage features many times as an end reward for the (often poor) main character, either male or female, and the love interest is often not mentioned much and a member of royalty. This sort of crosses into class issues, but it is an aspect of the societal expectations and what is seen as desirable (wealth and romance that leads to marriage and likely children). – Emily Deibler 1 year ago
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  • Taking a cultural perspective on how the lessons in these stories have changed from the original Grimm's Fairytales to the contemporary re-makes would be especially enlightening, as it would illuminate the prevalent cultural priorities and values of our present day. – HeatherNicole 1 year ago
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Children's programming and what it means today

As the average age of viewing goes up for films like Zootopia, Big Hero 6, Inside Out, one has to notice a pattern – the target audience is much broader than it once was, now branching out to the parents of the children as well as the children themselves. Is this due to the accurate representation of difficult themes, or simply the bright colours and chance to escape into childhood again.

  • Could you explain what you mean by pattern? – Munjeera 1 year ago
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  • Is that better Munjeera? Let me know if I've not been clear enough. – Miles Smith 1 year ago
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  • I think film-makers have realised the way to offer a fuller plate to the audience is to offer a multi-layered experience which caters for all of them in one way or the other. The film that started all this, in my opinion, was 'Toy Story'. – J.P. Shiel 1 year ago
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  • One might also go into the history of children's programming and do a comparison of, say, classical Hollywood vs today. I would argue that in the censored days of yore there wasn't a need for child specific programming. However, I don't know enough about the topic to create a coherent article! I look forward to reading whoever writes this one. – sophiacatherine 1 year ago
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  • I believe that animated movies are trying to push out of the zone that is exclusively 'for kids.' Just as culture is constantly changing - interests, humor, lingo etc - I find that animated films such as the ones you've listed are interested in broadening themes to make older audiences reconsider the medium. The times are changing quickly thanks to technology - animation is a technology to be taken just as seriously and these films remind us that they can be appreciated by all audiences no matter what the content. – yeongjae 1 year ago
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  • I think it is probably due to the big changes that has occurred in the way films are made. But it would be nice to see if someone could explore a few particular movies. – ferozan 1 year ago
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  • This is an interesting topic, it would be interesting to consider the business point of making movies that appeal to larger audiences. For example, the Despicable Me movie started the whole Minion franchise, which not only helped with marketing the movie but also garnered enough attention to create a movie exclusively about them. This allowed for higher box office profits thus making it a business plan. So the question is whether or not these movies are being made for the enjoyment of larger audiences or is it just a business plan to garner more profits? – aakrutipatel 1 year ago
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The Changing Appearance of the Disney Princess

Look at the changes in the Disney princesses throughout the decades. The princesses went from being all white, to finally adding in some other "races." However, most of the princesses even today are of white European appearance. There is a shift happening within the world of the Disney "princess" to where princesses of other persuasions are slowly joining the beloved originals like Cinderella and Snow White. With Tiana, there is finally an African American princess. There are other heroines such as Ariel, Megara, Esmerelda, Pocahontas, and Mulan. However most of these characters could be classified as ethnic whites. This group is a minority in the group of Disney heroines and princesses. Disney is coming out with new movies that are introducing characters from other places in the world besides the European region. Show the changes in the princesses’ culture and ethnicities and explain any patterns that have developed. By this I mean to look at the additions to the Disney princess grouping since the 1980s.

  • The "shift" happened in the mid-90's and it seems like another is happening "now." Is your topic asking to explore the different patterns that have occurred with ethnic princesses since Snow White or just recently? I think this needs clarification. Also does "appearance" also include animation style? Because that too has changed with technological advances. – Cmandra 2 years ago
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  • I'm not sure what you mean by "ethnic whites". It's an interesting term, but Mulan is Chinese (Asia) and Pocahontas is Native American (North America). Esmeralda is Romanian, Megana is Greek, Ariel is a fish. Do you mean how light-skinned they are in the films? – Katheryn 1 year ago
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  • Ethnic whites are those that look white but are not European. Merida would be an ethnic white. So would Rapunzel. – amandajarrell 1 year ago
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The Unrealistic Expectations of Disney

Disney is known for its unrealistic expectations. Point them out in specific movies like Snow White, Frozen, and perhaps The Little Mermaid to name a few. Also point out the ways in which these expectations impact children and other audiences.

Unrealistic Expectations:
1) Finding love in a short period of time.
2) Female in need of a savior
3) The female who is submissive/desperate to find love.

  • The "Unrealistic Expectations" that you list are up for debate. Firstly, Disney films, just like other films are products of their time and movies of the old guard like Snow White fit a more gendernormative paradigm while movies like Beauty and the Beast and Pocahontas involve a woman saving a man. More recent films involve more active women (thank you third wave feminism) and movies like Frozen mock the pace at which other Disney love stories unfold. Still an interesting topic; perhaps a study in "the ways in which these expectations impact children" would be the most telling if one can find solid evidence of this and not speculation on how people "might" react to this based on the author's analysis. – Cmandra 2 years ago
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  • Perhaps it would be interesting to also look at why we have these seemingly unrealistic expectations in so many stories across all cultures -- why did these recurring themes you listed become so universally recurring? Since 99% of all Disney stories are based on far older stories/fairytales. – rp92 2 years ago
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  • Disney leaves children with the unrealistic expectation of the real world, because most of their movies are based around fairytales. There is no such thing as a bad ending in a Disney movie, they sugar coat the true story for most of their films. An example of this expectation is the Chinese princess Mulan. In the Chinese poem, she saves China in replacing her father and going to war. This poem teaches children the importance of family values. She does not fall in love like the movie portrays. This is how Disney twists stories and gives them an unrealistic expectation of finding love. – dennykim 2 years ago
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  • Disney also used to be a vehicle for exploring the theme of parent child separation anxiety. In many Disney movies children are somehow separated from their parents and thrust into harsh reality. The child then overcomes these trials and becomes a stronger person. Maybe the person writing this article could look at how struggles are overcome in an unrealistic way with female characters. Munjeera – Munjeera 1 year ago
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Disney Parenting

How does Disney potentially teach kids lessons early in life? Sure there are good and bad things in disney movies, but ultimately, isn’t it better for kids to understand these things when they are young rather than having to go through the harsh reality later in life?

  • I saw you guys speaking about exploring this topic further, based on what I had written in my article. So I'm very flattered that it inspired you to look into it more. Although, I thought you wanted to write an article about this yourself, not offer it up as a topic for someone else to cover? Also, I think the description you've written here doesn't quite remove itself enough from my article, in that it asks basically the same sort of question I asked, and sets the potential writer up for the very same answers and content. It might be more fitting to approach further exploration of this idea by asking people, "In what ways can Disney films, and other animated movies for children, be used to actively teach lessons and morals, rather than just appreciating them as entertainment?" This gives a more specific and different intention for a "sequel" article than what could result in a rehash. – Jonathan Leiter 2 years ago
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  • Be careful with this topic as a similar article has already been written on it! It was my first one actually haha, comparing Disney and Chaplin. It was quite a long time ago, true, but if you could explore the more 'parenting' side and differ from it, that would be better for The Artifice! – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 2 years ago
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  • If this topic has been done already. Perhaps you could branch out into stories in general? Or moral based stories? Or even silly things we tell children about the boogie man. – Tatijana 2 years ago
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  • I want to know more about this topic because I wonder if it the right thing or not. I haven't watched disney channel in a while, but when I see it nowadays, the topics are about dating and other teenage topics that I wonder is good or not for young children who are watching. – sidneylee 2 years ago
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  • A different angle for this topic might be the parenting styles represented in Disney movies. For example: Cinderella's stepmother Lady Tremaine is authoritarian and abusive. Ariel's father King Triton is not purposely abusive but definitely authoritarian. Jasmine's dad doesn't really "parent" her since she's an older teen, but he definitely has shades of the permissive parent. Tiana's parents are authoritative but attentive, as are Mulan's. How does each style influence what a character does and how he/she gets along in the world? What do kids learn, good or bad, from watching these parents? Can parents learn anything from them? – Stephanie M. 5 months ago
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Disney Princesses and Progression

With equality and the rise of awareness of the LGBTQIA, is Disney heading in the right direction with their films? Should their next princess be part of that, and how would that affect their supporters? Or maybe it’s time for the first Disney Prince movie?

  • What's an example of a princess who is "getting better" so to speak? Or is your topic just saying that they should get better? – Tatijana 2 years ago
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  • Oh, interesting! I think 'Mulan' would be a good starting point here, the tale of a girl disguising self as a man and flourishing in a man's role. – CalvinLaw 2 years ago
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  • Your last question is provocative. My first instinct was "No, it's little girls that are the primary audience for Disney films!", but then realized that perhaps that's because there are no Disney Prince films. – Katheryn 1 year ago
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