Episode 81: The Trouble With The Disney of the Past


Last week, I talked about my favorite Disney songs from their movies. When I looked at my list, I noticed that none of those songs came from any of the older Disney movies. Not a single one! Maybe that’s because I don’t really care for any for the Disney movies of the past! Harsh, I know but it’s the truth! I’ve watched Snow White, Dumbo, Cinderella and their other films but I’ve never been as enamored as I have from their more modern movies such as The Little Mermaid, Hercules and The Lion King.

While I don’t have anything against the older Disney movies, I just don’t have the same love for them as I do for their more modern animated films. The only exception possibly would be Alice in Wonderland. I’ve never really thought too much about why but, since I was looking for something to write about this week, I chose to tackle the topic.

Now, I guess I do have to clarify what I mean by “modern” Disney films. What I mean here are the films that were produced during and after the Disney Renaissance period. Basically, any movie that was released after The Little Mermaid. Disney’s movies looked and felt differently from their previous entries as they were more like musicals rather than just straight up adventures. This was also the birth of the Disney Princess fad as well as focusing more on a flawed but otherwise good-natured person or animal (yes, I haven’t forgotten about you, Simba) who has to grow up.

I guess these were things that I could understand and identify with. Like The Little Mermaid, I knew what it was like to be a girl who lived a very protected life. With The Lion King, I knew how it felt to want to grow up but never thought of taking of being more responsible as well. With Mulan, I understood the idea of trying to break female stereotypes. Even as a kid, I could feel what they were feeling and think what they were thinking!

That's more like it!

That’s more like it!

With the older movies, not so much. The older movies were more focused on telling age appropriate stories for children. I’m not saying they weren’t any good. I just feel they weren’t really intriguing. Snow White was always a goody two shoes, I always felt. Oh, she can cook and clean and not lift a finger to defend herself! The same thing with Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. They all left it to others to help them out rather than taking the bull by the horns and trying to do something about it!

Maybe this is precisely why, out of all of the earlier Disney films, I like Alice in Wonderland. Alice wasn’t really truly helpless throughout the film. She would get plunged into a strange world, meets an odd (and insane) cast of characters and no one really came to her rescue. If you really think about it, that’s pretty amazing for a pre-teen girl for the time!

It's my unbirthday, too!

It’s my unbirthday, too!

And it’s not just the stories and characters that irk me. The animation style also kind of freak me out. The animation during the Disney Renaissance and beyond, while smooth and fluid, still moved like animated characters. But I didn’t mind. The animation was still fantastic to watch.

With most of the older cartoons, they relied on having actors performing the moves and then tracing over the animation. This made the animation and movements look really realistic… and very off putting for me. It always looked too fluid and strange to me. I guess it’s because it looks too much like real life and, seeing that kind of fluid movement in a cartoon, looks really strange to me and takes me out of the moment.

Like I’ve said over and over again, it’s not like I don’t enjoy the older cartoons. I like them more than a lot of the Disney cartoons that occurred after the Disney Renaissance. I think they’re much better than that odd period of Disney animated films that no one really cared about. And to think it happened after the Disney Renaissance! And I’ll talk more about it next time!

Do you enjoy the older Disney animated classics or the more modern features? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!


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