Dear Disney: Please Stop Making Live Action Films
For anyone who's been paying attention the last ten years or so, you likely couldn't help but notice that Disney has been remaking most of their animated classics (namely the beloved Renaissance ones) into live action films.
While I haven't seen all of the live action remakes, and while I did enjoy some of them (Jungle Book was okay), I can't help but feel that the bad outweighs the good here. A lot of the live action films are really terrible.
And combined with the endless amount of sequels they keep making to established films, Disney's most recent work just looks like laziness, greed, and/or a complete lack of inspiration.
What the hell is going on with Disney? I mean, seriously? Why is it so hard to just make a new film instead of rehashing old ones and creating pointless sequels?
And the more live action films they make, the more disappointed and annoyed I feel.
Take 2019's live action Dumbo.
When I was a child, the animated classic Dumbo used to come on TV once a year as a sort of tradition, and I would be on the couch every year, ready to watch the film. I absolutely loved it. It was one of the first Disney films I ever loved.
So when Disney brought it out as a live action remake with a completely new story that no one asked for, I couldn't help but roll my eyes. I never went to see it because the hideous CGI elephant turned me off.
I also wasn't surprised when the reviews came out ripping the film apart.
Then were was (God help us) live action Aladdin.
If I'm writing an article about a movie, it's usually because I like the movie, even if I'm mocking it or poking fun of it.
You may have noticed that I wrote no review of live action Aladdin. I saw a five minute clip of that unfortunate film and it was all I needed to see.
Then Mulan 2020 was announced, and like everyone else, I was psyched.
Mulan is easily one of the best Disney Renaissance films, so seeing it brought back again in any capacity is going to make a lot of people (namely Millennials) happy.
I was happy . . . until I found out that there would be no songs. No Mushu and No Li Shang, I can deal with. But no songs???? What the actual f***, Disney?
I'm not outraged or anything, just baffled. The songs were easily one of the best things about the film. Why cut that out to make Mulan into a broody coming of age documentary????
Incredulous, I found myself reading the baffled online comments of others (as a sort of solace) and sadly, I noticed people saying that Mulan was the only Disney princess not ruined by feminism . . . sigh.
People are so confused about what feminism actually is that they don't even realize that Mulan is actually a feminist movie.
The funny thing about anti-feminists is that they aren't against feminism -- they just have no idea what it is. It forever amuses me how I can talk about feminist issues, and people will agree with everything I say, until the moment I say the word "feminist" and then I'm instantly invalid?
Even putting the word "feminism" in a Hubpages article title is a guaranteed way to make sure no one reads it. Incredibly sad.
Such ignorant comments about Mulan and feminism reminded me that I need to stay off the internet more.
And somehow, it made me want to see a live action Mulan even less.
Most recently, Disney announced a live action The Little Mermaid with black actress, Halle Bailey, cast as Ariel.
I feel like I'm the only black person on the planet who is actually annoyed by this. Not outraged or anything. Just slightly annoyed.
On the one hand, little black girls deserve to see themselves on screen as princesses, too. We don't have much representation, so arguments such as "What if Tiana was played by a white girl???" don't hold weight here.
Tiana is the only black Disney princess, so if a white person played her, black people would have a good reason to be annoyed. But there are an endless amount of white Disney princesses.
Some of the complainers b****ed about wanting Ariel to have red hair because it was so important when they've also got Princess Merida and probably sixty other red-haired female characters they can look to for their self-insert fantasy.
Another outraged person commented, "What if they recast all the animals in The Lion King with white voice actors, even though it's in Africa?" apparently unaware that the original "Lion King" animated classic was mostly white voice actors . . .
White people have plenty of representation. Casting a black mermaid in a children's film they likely won't even see won't shatter their entire world -- and if it does, maybe it's time to reevaluate their lives.
The people making complaints have no idea what it's like to grow up without seeing yourself depicted positively on screen, and they have no empathy for those who do.
Makes sense. Being a racist largely involves having zero empathy for another race and their lived experience.
On the other hand, I am so f****** tired of black people being cast in white roles, as if we didn't have our own stories to tell. We are the descendants of a rich African culture, and yet that culture is ignored completely. continuously -- while other races get to have Princess Jasmine, Pocahontas, Moana, Lilo, Mulan. (God help us all if they release a live action Lilo and Stitch).
Princess Tiana had to be inserted in a European fairy tale, and it's annoying AF. Contrary to popular belief, ancient black people across the globe did have kingdoms, queens, princesses, stories, and legends (Queen Amina comes to mind, as well as Queen Khalifa, for whom California was named).
Why is it so hard to let black people have our own stories?
I suppose for the same reason it's so hard to let black people tell our own stories (and here I'm speaking as a writer of the racist publishing industry).
Black people deserve more than to be diversity quotas and tokens.
The controversy surrounding the live action The Little Mermaid remake is what made me finally just stop giving a crap about Disney. It was basically the last straw.
I remember a few years ago, I was one of those people who sat on the internet arguing about casting and racism in Hollywood. Now I'm all serene and chill. Now, rather than being mad, I just find myself laughing in amazement at people who are whining about Halle Bailey.
These people have way too much time on their hands if they care this deeply about the race of a mythical being from an underwater kingdom that doesn't exist.
That sounds hypocritical because I cared enough to write an article, but I'm writing this from a tired, detached viewpoint. I'm not full of rage on Twitter. I'm not sitting around trying to find scientific reasons for why a non-existent mermaid can't have melanin.
I'm just wearily writing my observations and kind of shaking my head at the world's madness. I feel like I just want to wash my hands of it all and just stay in my happy bubble, where I paint, write poetry, and live in relative peace, far removed from such petty concerns as the race of a mythical fish woman.
So I guess I'm done with Disney.
I no longer believe them capable of making films I actually want to look at.
I've still yet to see Moana, and who knows? I might like it. But after all the flops Disney has produced over the most recent years? I'm done with anything new they might churn out.
I probably should have realized this years ago, but . . .
Better late than never.
© 2019 Ash