Monday, October 22, 2007

WTF is with Disney and Sequels??

I just finished a biography of Walt Disney entitled: Walt Disney: An American Original, by Bob Thomas. Probably what stood out to me the most was Walt's philosophy in making movies.

In 1933 Walt Disney produced the cartoon Three Little Pigs. It was a hit. Though cartoon shorts usually lasted only briefly in theaters, it was shown longer than most feature films. Millions bought records of the song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" feeling that it was a sort of anthem for optimism in the wake of the Depression. When theater owners clamored for more pigs, Walt resisted. He didn't want to duplicate; he was always looking towards the future, trying to push the boundaries of animation and art itself. He didn't want to do more of the same. And so he was quoted as saying, "You can't top pigs with pigs."

Disney did his best not to duplicate; he constantly attempted new animation techniques and styles, and tried not to belabor ideas. But after his death, it looks as if the Disney company has forgotten Walt's beliefs.

Not only have they made remakes of classic live-action movies ("The Shaggy Dog," "Freaky Friday," and "That Darn Cat" to name a few) but also sequels of classic animated features. Why make "Bambi II," "Lady & the Tramp II," "Fox and the Hound 2," "Cinderella II," & "Jungle Book 2"? And even their newer movies have been sequelized: "The Lion King 2," "The Little Mermaid II," and "Kronk's New Groove." It's as if any time there's a hit, Disney sees dollar signs and churns out another. None of the sequels or remakes have done nearly as well as the original; none have surpassed the quality of the classic. (The only exception seems to be Pixar movies, with their dual hits of "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" -- and now "Toy Story 3" is in the works.)

So please, for the love of God...for the love of Walt!...don't take a classic and make a sequel out of it -- even if it's just for video. No amount of money is worth butchering a classic. Just remember the wise words of Walt: "You can't top pigs with pigs."

1 comment:

pixie said...

Monkey's favorite movie is Cinderella, and it's also one of mine. It's a classic that can't be replicated. Of course, this didn't stop them from making Cinderella II and Cinderella III, both of which are far less movies than the original. It almost demeans the classic version.

My other pet peeve of Disney is cranking out these lame TV series based on a hit movie (ie. Lilo and Stich and Buzz Lightyear). Bring back the old Disney shorts with Mickey and Donald, I say.