So, early reviews for Aladdin are in. As I write this blog post, I notice some positive and negative reactions. I’ve also noticed the seething hatred from Star Wars fans after the negative fan reaction from The Last Jedi. I’ve talked to fans, and former ones. I’ve also done some self-reflecting as well.
Congratulations on any success with Aladdin (even though it’s a once again reminder that live action movies will never beat the animated original). But I can’t say congratulations to you for…. most other things, to be honest.
Whilst Disney has triumphs in some areas, the brand in its current state has a negative perception amongst film fans and lovers.
Now, I have two options: I can tell you that I sympathise with you, that this is a rough patch that you can overcome, that everyone knows that you love movies. Or I could tell you truth. Your films are soulless cash grabs that lack heart, have nothing interesting to say, are bland, and that Star Wars fans will never forgive you. Hell, I didn’t hate The Last Jedi as much as others did!
But I can’t get over soullessness in art. You see, Disney, art is supposed to make people think. It enriches peoples lives. I know, I know. Disney is a business! Yet, whenever people (rightfully so) criticize your product, you hide behind ‘it’s subjective’ or ‘it’s something you wouldn’t understand.’ You act like an overly emotional emo band songwriter, but want the success of Jeff Bezos. And it’s time you were called out on your behaviour.
The original Walt Disney- a man who enriched cinema, inspired generations and was passionate about his work- is having his legacy being taken advantage of. I go into Uniqlo, and what do I see? Countless Disney t-shirts. Hell, Australian Pyjama store Peter Alexander is constantly having Disney-themed collections. You want to make money off our nostalgia for classical disney- whilst pissing all over it at the same time.
There’s no denying it: you look at our love for Cinderella, and you just see all the ways you can profit from it. So yeah, you are a business. Stand by your product. Listen to your customers. Don’t throw the ‘we are a business’ excuse to justify your mediocre art, and don’t say ‘we make art and thoughtful films’ when you are bad at business. There’s no point in pretending in be two seperate things if you are not competent at it.
My heart breaks for those fans who’ll watch anything with the words ‘Disney’ attached to it because of a sentimental relationship with their childhood. You’re like a band from decades ago, releasing new content that sucks but the fans still buy out of hope you’ll return to greatness. And I think, Disney, that you know that.
Now, to this point- I haven’t explained where Disney have gone wrong. I personally enjoyed the live action version of Cinderella– particularly the cast and the characters. Yet the Beauty & The Beast film was drab, lacking the romantic energy and lush imagery that defined previous classic interpretations of the story.
I have no clue why Maleficent is getting a sequel. It works better as a stand alone story. I think what frustrates me is that there are plenty of competent people who work with Disney.
Now onto the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not like any of those films even touch The Dark Knight in terms of vision and in quality. Likewise, the new Star Wars films can’t hold a candle to the original film. The offensive thing? Disney movies- for the most part- aren’t bad movies. They are okay, and average. 5/10 stuff. My review for Captain Marvel indicated a film that was, well, okay.
But why are you doing to bare minimum to get the maximum audience? I feel you have lost your touch and have forgotten what made the original classical films so spellbinding.
I’ll wrap this letter up now. But know this. What you are currently doing? Don’t think it’ll last. We have generations and generations of young girls and boys growing up on Cars sequels and Frozen tie-ins. Will they show it to their children? Remember: kids like new and exciting things. As much as I love the classics, they are old and don’t belong in the generation of the current youth. My point is that your strategy won’t work in the long time.
I know that there are people who work on your movies who care and take great pride in their work. My heart was bewitched by Inside Out for this reason! Just acknowledge that when you producers and executives get together. Working at Disney is a dream for many- and have the dignity to not exploit it. I wish no harm or bad-will to the cast and crew of Aladdin– but I know this movie isn’t for me. I’ve known that ever since I saw the trailer, and I broke up with you after I realized how you lie to your audience.
You want every media to be under your thumb, so all of its generic and Disney-ridden. I have great trust in the independent media, and they’ll stop you from deciding what everyone watches.
A Former Disney Fan.