Is Disney losing some magic?


Growing up, Disney films were a must in most twentysomethings lives, geeking out to Cinderella, The Lion King and Jungle Book. Yet in 2016, some people are worried that Disney is taking the “magic” out of movies and making these made up stories too dark.

There was a lot of controversy about last year’s remake of Cinderella because of lead actress Lily James’s waistline. Conversations began over whether it was a good idea to take children (especially girls) to see the film. Not only because it is the stereotypical fairytale of “you need to find a prince to be happy” but because it seemed to promote unrealistic body images.

Victoria Lambert who is a Mother and journalist explained why she wouldn’t take her children to see Keith Branagh’s remake of the Disney classic.

“What I dislike about Branagh’s version is that his vision is one in which young women are most attractive when they have a waist the size of a preteen.” explained Victoria Lambert a mother and journalist for Britain’s Telegraph.

Lily James portraying the character of Cinderella. Going into the palace for the ball
Lily James portraying Cinderella going into the palace for the ball.

This years Jungle Book had really good CGI effects that made the animals look incredibly real. The original Jungle Book of 1967 shows a young boy lost in the Jungle being raised by wolves and making friends a long the way, but ultimately just trying to survive.

The new Jungle Book also depicts the same storyline but is darker and more sinister. The once-loved film that was light and about forming friendships now becomes a mission of survival and how to live with certain wild animals in their environment.

“I went to see the film when it was released earlier this summer. I thought it was good I just missed the music in it. With the disney film there was a lot of good soundtracks. Because this film was a new version I guess they didn’t put those songs in. It didn’t feel like the jungle book without the music.” said Trisha Iyar a student from McGill University.

Professor Carl Weins, who teaches in Sheridan’s Animation faculty says “Disney (and Hollywood) has a problem coming up with new content, so they mine old material and dress it up with CGI. This does not make things better, but it does sell a lot of tickets and merchandise.

“I watched a lot of children’s movies when my kids were smaller. Of course, I have an emotional attachment to the older movies, as they were a part of my growing up. Don’t mess with the classics.”

Some critics say the Tarzan remake starring Margot Robbie and Alexander Skarsgard  seemed more realistic and believable than the Jungle Book because they didn’t have talking animals in it. Tarzan outlined the struggles of being uncomfortable in your body, fighting for your family and protecting those you care about. The film had good themes throughout and stayed very true to the original storyline. There was not much humour or light heartedness in the film though. It was very dark (again) and not suitable for children to watch like the Disney version.

Tarzan as the animated character from the Disney film.
Tarzan in the animated Disney film.
Alexander Skarsgård as Tarzan in the 2016 remake.
Alexander Skarsgård as Tarzan in the 2016 remake.

Sony  plans to remake Mulan with director Guy Ritchie but will make them more culturally correct. For example Mulan is scheduled to have an all Asian cast. They are also planning on remaking The Lion King, which has an IDMB rating of 8.5, and as of 2014 has made $6.2 billion on stage.