The Fall of Disney?

Syringa Garcia, Co-Editor 2021-2022

Disney: the most lucrative and well-known entertainment company in the world. Almost everyone has some sort of nostalgia for a Disney movie they grew up watching. Even kids currently are influenced 24/7 by films and shows created by Disney, whether personally or through pop culture.

Despite sticking to creating original animated films that are aimed towards family, the content they release now has changed significantly from their original films, even while ignoring the obvious art style change. For example, Disney has started to move further and further away from animated films about romantic love. Even in Disney’s Frozen, which involved a romantic relationship, romantic love wasn’t the main focus. They focus more on family love and finding yourself, stuff that both children and adults can relate back to their real lives. Along with this, times, in general, have changed. Disney no longer puts scenes in their animated films that depict racial stereotypes or “damsels in distress”. They also now would never include scenes that depict underage drinking or drug usage. Which are all examples of changes typical to current movies and shows. It’s not a surprise and is widely viewed as a good thing. However, recent Disney movies, despite not stirring up any extreme social controversies, have ended in disaster.

A big part of the reason is that Disney’s live-action remakes have become a big portion of the films they’ve been releasing over the recent years. A lot of people find it ingenuine and have many complaints about them. This is obvious with the rating for them averaging about a 6.8/10 on IMDB and 60% on Rotten Tomatoes, even managing to dip into the low 50% range. It seems lazy, and like they’re just trying to leech off of people’s nostalgia. Nothing in the films improves and there’s no real point to them. For the most part, there are no real changes. The one movie Disney recreated that was changed immensely from the original animated film, Mulan, ultimately flopped and is now widely hated by a number of people. Other than failing as a movie on its own, Disney didn’t deliver on anything they promised: a strong female lead or more accuracy towards Chinese culture. It was so bad, in fact, that an Asian woman created a whole YouTube channel just to point out everything wrong with it, why it was wrong, and correct Disney’s misinformation. This channel is called Xiran Jay Zhao.

The live-action films are not the only movies that have suffered Disney’s seaming carelessness towards their movies. Whether out of the goodness of the team’s hearts or out of their lust for money and trying to appeal to the masses, Disney has started creating several movies based on other cultures and depicting a multitude of races and ethnicities. It’s a cool idea, and fun to see movies based on things the typical American doesn’t know about. Especially if it’s done well and helps people respect and understand others better. It’s no surprise that a lot of companies are trying to be more diverse, with the world’s recent hyper-focus on racial equality and representation. Even a large percentage of commercials seem to have adopted a non-white spokesperson in the past year or so.

Ultimately though, Disney hasn’t been delivering up to expectations. Their movies have been bland and unimaginative or just forced too much plot into a too-short time limit. Especially with the time-limit problem, that can completely ruin a movie. It can make the movie confusing and a lot of time the creators will have to cut large portions of their story out to make it all fit.

With all the seemingly rushed and uninspired movies being released, it’s hard to not wonder if Disney has become more concerned about money and making themselves look good in front of the people rather than creating quality content they are passionate about, the same quality they used to deliver consistently.

All things considered, Disney is still a large corporation and can’t be expected to change overnight, especially when it comes to greed. It can only be hoped that Disney will figure things out or the business will fall into the hands of someone who is truly passionate about creating beautiful, everlasting stories that will fill children’s minds with joy and imagination.

Link to Xiran Jay Zhao’s channel