10 Harsh Realities Of Rewatching Disney Animated Movies | Pretty Reel

The recent release of the Disney movie Strange World is a timely reminder that there’s still plenty of magic to be found in the studio’s animated brand. Indeed, some of their animated films are now considered true cinema classics.

At the same time, it must also be admitted that there are some harsh realities that viewers have to face when rewatching various Disney animated films from throughout the studio’s history. While some aspects of these movies hold up, some of their shortcomings have only become more glaring over time.

Princes lack personality

It’s no secret that there are many great Disney Princesses out there. In fact, the studio’s animated brand is often reliant on these characters. However, this often means that, with a few notable exceptions, the princes in these stories tend to be on the thin side.

This is most evident in movies like Snow White and Cinderella, but it’s also present in characters like Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid. It’s not that they’re necessarily bad characters, it’s just that they’re so much less interesting than their princess counterparts, so much so that it’s sometimes easy to overlook them completely.

Gender roles are outdated

While they may be somewhat drawn, there’s also no escaping the fact that many Disney princes are the ones directing the majority of the action. With few exceptions, the various princesses – including the more active ones like Jasmine and Belle – rely on the male characters to save them from the dangers they find themselves in.

Obviously, part of that comes from the source material, and another part from the times they were produced. Still, for a new generation of moviegoers, some of the more glaring gender dynamics in these movies can be shocking and more than a little vexing.

Some movies are just boring

Disney has created some of the best animated films in the history of the form. However, for every thrilling adventure or retelling of a classic fairy tale, there’s an example that shows that sometimes Disney movies are just plain boring.

To take just one example, Pinocchio, while technically quite proficient, lacks the visual vibrancy of some of the studio’s other offerings. The same can be said of Cinderella, which largely lacks the kind of visually stunning look of Sleeping Beauty or Disney’s livelier Renaissance princesses.

The end of the Renaissance was not good

Disney’s Renaissance movies are an undeniable high point for the studio, and they showed what could be achieved. However, the films that followed – such as Home on the Range – lack the things that made their immediate predecessors so entertaining and hugely successful.

It’s not that such movies are explicitly bad per se, it’s rather that they exhibit a certain kind of lack of artistic purpose, and it becomes very quickly clear that they lack the same spark of creativity that made the success of previous works. More than anything else, they feel like paint-by-numbers efforts rather than works of art in themselves.

The 1980s were a dark decade

While there are a number of underrated Disney films from the 1980s, overall it was a pretty dark decade for the studio. Yes, The Black Cauldron is enjoyable, and The Fox and the Hound is heartbreaking, but none of them quite have the level of aesthetic maturity of the films that preceded or succeeded them.

In fact, given the lackluster performance of many 1980s Disney films, the studio’s return to box office dominance in the 1990s is even more extraordinary. It’s never wise to cancel Disney, no matter how badly their fortunes fall.

Some sequels just shouldn’t exist

Throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, Disney excelled at producing several sequels to its most famous films. While some of them, like The Lion King 2, came somewhat close to the greatness of the originals, for the most part they were very subpar efforts, marred by subpar animation and songs and dull stories.

While they’re harmless enough, it has to be said that, in a way, they also manage to tarnish their original films. Specifically, these sequels should also warn other studios of the dangers of trying to go back to the same well too often.

Some of them are just plain racist

Disney films, like any other set of films, are largely products of their time. Unfortunately, this tends to mean that some of their earlier efforts in particular contain elements of racism, especially in the way they portray certain minorities.

This is evident in a film like Peter Pan, for example, with its very outdated presentation of Native Americans as explored by Smithsonian Magazine. It also appears in other places, such as arguably Disney’s most notorious film, Song of the South. Fortunately, it looks like the studio is learning from its past mistakes as it now strives to deliver more inclusive stories, creating films like Moana and Encanto, which celebrate the cultures of the Pacific Islands and Colombia, respectively, in a way positive and sensitive manner.

Unrealistic happy endings

Since so many classic Disney animated films are based on fairy tales, it makes sense that they lean into their happy endings. However, it’s one element of their stories that doesn’t always stand up to scrutiny during a new watch.

In particular, they often feel more than a little undeserved, and that’s not helped by certain elements of the stories that aren’t as fully developed or articulated as they should be. Equally important, it’s also a more cynical age in terms of popular culture, so it makes sense that many viewers aren’t as patient with the traditional happy ending.

History is almost always wrong

One of the most remarkable things about the Disney Renaissance was the extent to which it was willing to set its stories in actual historical periods. This was the case with Pocahontas, the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Mulan and even Hercules.

However, it also comes with the caveat that the story involved is often misinterpreted so that it fits more perfectly into the established framework of animated history. In particular, Pocahontas remains Disney’s most controversial Princess movie due to its damaging rewrite of Pocahontas’ real-life story (per CBR). The liberties many Renaissance Disney films take with established history are stark, especially from a 2022 perspective.

Homophobia via LGBTQ+ coded villains

Disney has always excelled at creating great villains. These endearing characters are the ones most people remember, and they’re often far more interesting than the heroes that are supposed to be at the center of the story.

At the same time, there’s no doubt that many of these villains are also coded to be considered LGBTQ+, or non-normative, in one way or another. Among the list of queer-coded Disney villains are Captain Hook, Ursula, and Maleficent. While this is what makes them so appealing to many LGBTQ+ viewers, it also supports the subconscious idea that there is something inherently wrong with being born this way, which is an uncomfortable notion for viewers. modern.

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10 Harsh Realities Of Rewatching Disney Animated Movies | Pretty Reel

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