Why There Is No Originality Left In Disney
by Sean Sloan

I’m relieved that Old Walt is dead. I’m actually glad he’s gone. I don’t think he could have handled the way his empire has crumbled over the past 36 or so years. It is better to have him long buried than to have to blame the creator for the problems of his company. The sad part is that when they laid him to rest, Walt Disney Enterprises was sent to Heaven with him. Well, at least the movie division…

The impending release of The Jungle Book 2 has inspired me to finally write this article. I’ve been talking about it for more than five years. It is well known that the original 1967 The Jungle Book was the last project that Walt oversaw before his death. The last Disney film which had that original "magic." Sure, they came out with a few classics after 1967. The Boatniks, Gus, and The Black Cauldron to name a few. I mean, how can you hate a movie starring a mule that kicks field goals! Seriously, though, both The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast are masterworks and should be considered alongside some of the greatest works in the Disney canon.

I still will argue that there is no originality left in Disney. Why? I could sum it up in one basic comment: Cinderella II: Dreams Come True. Did the current Disney animators ever see the original? Doesn’t the end of the film go something like "And they lived happily ever after"? What else is there besides happily ever after? What could possibly happen in the sequel? Cinderella has two screaming kids and a drunken Prince Charming that she wants to divorce? No, she lives HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Nothing more, nothing less.

Now, I really shouldn’t pass judgement on the rash of Disney "sequels" that have been churned out to the public over the past ten years or so years. I haven’t seen ANY of them. I don’t feel the need to. I have absolutely no interest in what happens when Peter Pan and the gang Return To Never Land. I certainly don’t need to see Baloo still trying to figure out "The Bare Necessities" 36 years later. And, I definitely don’t care about when Pocahontas journeys to a New World. Hey, wasn’t she already in the "New World" to begin with?

It is evident that Disney has run out of ideas. Each year they are only able to develop ONE animated movie that isn’t based on some old formula (Treasure Planet being the exception). That is rather pathetic. It is especially sad when none of these "new" films do well at the box office or fail on video. Atlantis and The Emperor’s New Groove are prime examples. Were these films even in the theatres for more than a week? Does anyone even know what these films are about? If you’ve seen them, let me know.

Should I even discuss Disney’s live action department and their TV arm? I’ve seen countless vintage Disney movies rehashed with a new cast and "a whole new spin on an old classic." I could go on for paragraphs about the "sins" Disney commits to their live action movies. Are they designed to fool us? Maybe Disney thinks we won’t remember that it was Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster in Freaky Friday, not Shelly Long. Maybe they think we won’t realize that The Love Bug came out in 1968, not 1997. What about The Parent Trap? I don’t think I want to even discuss the dynamics of that horrid remake. Lindsay Lohan is no Hayley Mills.

Can a company that was once daring and innovative truly be fresh out of ideas? My answer is yes. There is plenty of evidence out there that there is no originality left in the Disney company. If you don’t believe me, go out and rent some films for yourself. Try 101 Dalmatians II: Spot’s London Adventure. Or the previously mentioned Return To Never Land. How about Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical Christmas? Or maybe your tastes wander to The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea? See how much you can stomach Lady and The Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure.

Or maybe you should see Cinderella II: Dreams Come True. We really are desperate to know what happens when you live HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Please let me know when you find out.

Too bad that Walt doesn’t get to live happily ever after. He’s waiting until they find a cure for cancer so he can be set to defrost. Maybe that myth is true. I hope it is. Maybe he will return one day to provide us with quality family entertainment that won’t make us feel like we just got our pockets picked by Michael Eisner.

Copyright 10 Jun 2003 We Like Media.
You may email Sean Sloan.