Last week, I talked about how Disney was floundering and how Pixar was just the company to bring back the old Disney magic. I mean, before Pixar, Disney was definitely floundering, releasing abysmal films like Brother Bear and Home on the Range. But when Disney bought out Pixar and promoted Pixar’s John Lasseter to the head of the animation department, the House of Mouse was poised once again to rule the box office world.
But it didn’t happen immediately. No, the New Renaissance took a while to build up some steam to the point where it is now. Unlike the original Disney Renaissance where you can pinpoint The Little Mermaid as its starting point, the New Renaissance’s point of origin is a little more murky.
While most fans would either say it started with Meet The Robinsons (the first film to be released under John Lasseter’s management) or Bolt (the first really big smash hit for Disney after a long time), I have to disagree with both points. Although Pixar’s former head had nothing to do with the movie (as far as I know), I actually say the New Renaissance all started with the live-action movie Enchanted.
Why do I say that even though it’s not even a fully animated film? Well, for me, it’s because Enchanted was the first Disney movie to acknowledge that their old ways weren’t working anymore. The days of perfect little princesses has passed and a more modern depiction of the world (and woman in general) is what the viewing public wanted. And Enchanted was a movie that showed just that by making fun while paying respects to the era.
I think after that, Disney realized that and decided to show more realistic depictions of strong women in their films. Girl characters that other girls can identify with. Tiana from The Princess and the Frog was a hardworking girl who didn’t just wish for her dreams to come true. She worked hard in order to try to achieve her dreams! Rapunzel from Tangled had to disobey her “mother” and be on her own in order to grow up. Vanellope from Wreck-It Ralph just wanted to fit in with the other girls. And do I even need to mention the strength of Anna and Elsa from Frozen?
Another thing that the New Renaissance did was to focus more on the nostalgia aspects so that adults would be entertained. The 2011 Winnie the Pooh theatrical release probably drew in as many adults as kids just so they can reminisce about the adventures of that silly ol’ Pooh bear. Wreck-It Ralph probably had a lot of jokes that only adult could enjoy since they grew up playing those games.
But the thing that really defined the New Renaissance is practically the same thing that defined the original Disney Renaissance: the focus on the characters rather than the story. If you look at their more recent films with an analytical mind, you’ll see a ton of flaws with their more recent films. There are huge plot holes and times when you have to really, really, really suspend your disbelief because some plot points and twists don’t make sense. I’m looking at you, Frozen! All of a sudden, Hans was a bad guy all this time? Then why didn’t you just kill Elsa when you had the chance?
But you forgave them because the characters were oh so good! And when you love the characters, you can pretty much forget all the blunders they made! They made characters that we love because they are so well defined and never truly annoying.
I do hope this New Renaissance period can keep up for some time. Disney films have been beloved by children for almost a century now! Here’s hoping they keep making good films after another hundred years! If they don’t, well, at least we have the memories!
You know, I’ve been writing about Disney for quite a while now and I just realized! It’s Christmas! I don’t want to call it “the holidays” because I think that’s stupid. And I’ll tell you why next time!
What’s your opinion with the New Renaissance? Let me know in the comments section below!