Woke Disney

Woke Disney

“Let’s get ready for Dumbo!” Twice. They do it twice. “Let’s get ready for Dumbo!” In the last couple of decades, there’s been this trend of family films
being self-aware and trope-savvy, as if to say: yes, parents in the room, we know that you have to endure this, but we also know
that you are, in fact, smarter than your five-year-old. You did it. And while this has been present in Disney films since debatably Aladdin, this kind of
meta-commentary has slowly been shifting from the occasional throwaway gag– “It’s a small world after all…” “No! No. Anything but that.” –to full-on important thematic statement. Enchanted is the real milestone here and also represented a turning point for the
studio in general, the entire premise of the film positing what would actually
happen if a Disney princess were magically transported into the real
world. “Don’t sing. It’s okay. You know, let’s just walk.” See, Patrick Dempsey’s trying to get his daughter into, like, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “A book?” He wants her to be a strong independent woman.
But then, hey, a literal Disney Princess brings magic into their lives.
So hey, I guess the truth is somewhere in the middle. You can be a
strong independent woman who also buys Disney Princess merch. “And today we’re going to be checking out some new toys in honor of Princess Jasmine.” It wasn’t obvious at the time, but this was laying the groundwork for a much broader trend
of Disney acknowledging that times have changed from the era of princesses being
saved by princes, and it’s cool that you want to go to law school, strong independent woman. But please don’t stop buying our stuff. Audiences really liked this meta aspect of Enchanted, and we saw similar elements in other films like Frozen. “You got engaged to someone you just met that day?” “Yeah. Anyway…” Moana “If you wear a dress and you have an
animal sidekick, you’re a princess.” And more recently,
Wreck-it Ralph: Ralph Breaks the Internet “Were you poisoned?”
“No.” “Kidnapped or enslaved?”
“No. Are you guys okay? Should I call the police?” Soon we entered the era of the live-action
remake/sequel/spin-off, beginning debatably with Tim Burton’s
Alice in Wonderland, starring Girl Interrupted Alice what wears armor and a tortured tragic Mad Hatter and whatever this is. As far as this trend goes, Cinderella
felt like a test-run. It had no real interest in reinventing the wheel so
much, as much as it slides in on the whole knowing the prince before the ball/riding
a horse equals empowerment shtick that Ever After did better.
Because by this point, that was old hat. But on the flip side of the coin, we have Maleficent.
Or as I like to call it: my trash. Maleficent is a remake sort of,
which works as meta commentary by suggesting that the villain wasn’t
one-dimensional but had sympathetic motivations. Very sympathetic motivations. Motivations which I think that only Angelina Jolie knew what she was doing. I mean, I get a girl. But really, the difference now even from a movie as relatively recent as Maleficent is that
these films are not so much using commentary as a means to examine their
past and the films that they are based on as much as they are using meta
commentary to justify their own existence. “Teaching another girl to read? Isn’t one enough?” Get it? The original movie wasn’t empowering. But now it is. The tendency to self-correct the outdated or
questionable morality of the source material is all over the place in these
remakes. Dumbo in particular is rife with it. “Look at the sign! Dumbo!” See, in the original film, Dumbo accidentally gets lit on some champagne and hallucinates. But here… “Champagne for Dumbo!”
“No booze near the baby.” No, we couldn’t allow underaged elephants to drink. What would the children think? And where the original Dumbo reunited with his
mother at the end of the movie, who seems to be enjoying retirement on
her own train car, the remake has them return to the jungle. And Danny DeVito gets an epilogue
where he explains to the viewer that the circus is now cruelty-free. “We believe no wild animals will be held in captivity.” So the remake has this forced
Aesop that animal cruelty is bad. You know, which is not a bad thing in and of itself.
It is bad, and I’m glad animals in circuses have been phased out.
But that Dumbo happens in the late 1910s, and that this is how the film ends feels a
little…disingenuous. Like, audiences know it was a different time.
I don’t think anyone wanted or expected a Dumbo remake to
have a message about how it’s probably kind of unethical to have circus animals. “Here I’m making fun of your ugly baby.” So instead of addressing actual criticisms
that people have had of Dumbo–and we’ll get to that–it seems that the film is
presenting itself as thoughtful by fixing a moral outrage that no one but PETA really had. So some of this strategy is built either around
blatantly ignoring said dated material and cutesily joking it away, but in the
interest of pretending that Disney is at least somewhat more hip to the criticism
that it faces as a powerful conglomerate, it has latched on to addressing other critiques with that thing that the kids like nowadays: The woke-ness. “How do you do, fellow kids?”
“What?” Because these movies need a reason to exist, right? So it’s that thing you like already. But woke. I’ve done a whole 35- minute video on this topic, so I will be brief in my beating of this very dead horse and very girlboss horse. But the 2017 Beauty and the Beast remake is what I see as the turning point from meta
commentary as a fun way of reexamining Disney canon to woke meta commentary as
justifying the film’s existing at all. “Yes, the poor thing is probably in there
scared to death.”
“Exactly.” This is where the movies stop trying to expand and
instead want to be more like, Yeah, we’ve read the YMMV/Head Scratchers
page on TV Tropes, so let’s nitpick our own movies! “What’s your name?”
“That is a hairbrush.” She doesn’t have Stockholm Syndrome.
She’s…she…she basically says so! “You’ve taken me as your prisoner, and now
you want to have dinner with me?” The Beast negs her, and she rolls her eyes at him. “Actually, Romeo and Juliet’s my favorite play.” “Why is that not a surprise?” She tries to escape. See? What a girl boss. She’s an inventor, who reads! Girl boss. Their utter lack of chemistry is, I don’t know, feminist somehow. And as much as the 1991 Beauty and the Beast
was a success for the studio, it also became an easy
target for bad faith or lazy criticisms. It feels like an exercise of self-flagellation, but one that the audience is in on. Since Disney Studios’ brand is so tied up in the idea of princesses, it’s been constantly re-evaluating its relationship to the concept. We definitely saw some evolution in the 90s. “Then maybe I don’t want to be a princess anymore!” But in the wake of Lean In, it’s like we can’t have a female character without really overt text
about how empowered she is. In Dumbo, there is a girl child, Colin Farrell’s daughter, who wants to be a scientist. “Toys?”
“They’re not toys. They’re for my science experiments.” Not a circus performer like her father wants,
which, fine. “I want to be noticed for my mind.” Except it plays into the plot not at all.
Like, she doesn’t discover anything about Dumbo or, like, figure out
the aerodynamics of elephants flying. It serves no other purpose other than to
show that, like, she’s not like other girls. What with their frippery and need
for attention. “Maybe I don’t need the world staring at me.” This girl is like two lines away from pulling a Neil deGrasse Tyson and asking her dad if he knows how many people die in elephant related accidents compared to the Spanish flu. And in The Lion King, not only is Nala’s part expanded, but Shenzi is a girl boss now. You know, but sinister. Which means they listened to the feminist
critique of the original, or something? It wasn’t a critique that any actual human
person had, but okay. Let’s pretend there was this big groundswell of mad feminists who were like, Yeah, Shenzi should have been a girl boss,
and Disney was like, yeah, we hear you. So they added that but changed nothing else nor does
the film change any of the elements that people actually did take issue with,
so…thanks? Aladdin likewise features new empowered
girl boss Jasmine. “I was born to do more than marry some useless prince.” Jasmine in this version doesn’t only want to marry for love–which to her, seems kind
of a secondary concern if that– she wants to be the Sultan. “I have been preparing for this my whole life.” She quite literally aspires to be a girl boss. “You shall be the next sultan.” See, the monarchy isn’t bad. It’s progressive. It
just needs a female CEO. Also Jasmine, one of the most iconic dynamic and beloved princesses, gets her own power ballad about how she’s not speechless, and
you’re gonna listen to her. “I won’t be silenced!” Even though that was never an issue for
that character in the original. “How dare you? All of you. Standing around deciding my future? I am not a prize to be won!” And also isn’t really an issue in this movie either.
She doesn’t really self-censor, she’s not shy about her needs or stating them.
Also there’s something just kind of hilarious about a character power ballading to the
gods about being speechless and then immediately being taken prisoner and
needing to be rescued. “I won’t be silen–”
Fwoop! So the goal here is to make princesses feel still
relevant, and they do that in the way that’s effectively, you know, we need more
female CEOs. “The people, they make it beautiful. And they deserve a leader who knows that.” And with that in mind, I really can’t wait to see how they’re gonna wokeify The Little Mermaid. Like, it’ll have Ariel really lean into
that like, “bright young women, ready to stand” line, and have her wanna be on land because she found a shipwrecked copy of Girl Wash Your Face. And they’re gonna go way out of their way to say it’s not for a guy. It’s not for a guy!
He’s just a…he’s a fringe benefit. So the metatextual inclusion of gender-related progress
gets addressed by adding Lean In feminism and making everyone a girl boss.
But how do these new live-action movies address critique of race in older Disney films? That’s certainly a hot topic. Well, here is a Washington Post
article that asked that very question about Dumbo. How do they deal with it?
They don’t. Despite being more than happy to address
gender-related criticisms in the metatext by just adding a coat of girl boss paint,
race-related issues go completely ignored. Take, for instance, The Lion King,
a story about how divine right birthright monarchy is not only good, but
divine by nature. And also about how segregation is probably best for everybody. Now, these themes are there in the
original, but given that the original elevates itself into this magical
emotional realm, it just reads differently than the remake, which is run
through this hyper-realism sterilization filter. So while Lion King 2019 does a little bit of the girl boss thing, it also kind of doubles down on the
whole “race mixing is bad” thing. It can’t just be this obscure “nature is mad at
the disruption of the natural order” as it was in the original, the text has to
explain why the hyenas are bad for the pride lands. It has to justify why they are naturally worse than lions. “The lions eat after the hyenas.
And they don’t leave much behind.” This sidestepping of race issues is
nowhere more evident than in Dumbo. The original Dumbo was kind of beautiful in
how flawed it was, including the elements that are abrasive to modern
sensibilities. Which happened. And are a part of Disney history, and we’re not doing ourselves any favors by pretending that they did not. Take, for instance, the scene of baby Dumbo accidentally getting lit, which, yes, we need to lampshade. “Champagne for Dumbo!”
“No booze near the baby!” Now, the pink elephant sequence–which is one of the best sequences from early Disney because it’s just so unapologetic and creepy and, you know…good– does get referenced in the remake. umm…uh…kay… “Pink elephants!”
“So?” Sure. Dumbo is also arguably the most… let’s be charitable and call it “racially insensitive” of the feature canon. The Song of the Roustabouts shows these guys pitching a circus tent and has lyrics like this So that’s completely ignored in the
remake. More infamous, and perhaps the most glaring in omission, are the crows
Dumbo befriends towards the end of the film. The crows employ some pretty
egregious stereotyping, singing a song written by white songwriters. “But I be done seen ’bout everything when I see an elephant fly.” the crows voiced largely, if not entirely by white actors, featuring a lead crow named by
the animation department, Jim Crow, “What’s cookin’ round here? What’s the good news? What’s fryin’ boys?” And it took us a while to figure out whether
this was apocryphal or not because Dumbo is like the least-chronicled of all of
the Disney movies, and there basically are no production notes, and what few
there are don’t actually mention it, but turns out, yep. Yep, that was a thing. And I know there is discourse on how to handle history like this, but pretending
that it just didn’t exist, just ignoring it all together and pretending it didn’t
happen… How is that helping make the world better or educate people? “When I see an elephant fly!” The crows are a part of the DNA of Dumbo, just as much as Baby Mine or Pink Elephants, but
unlike those two, which are ham-fistedly jammed into the remake, the crows
don’t even get mentioned. The song isn’t there, save a few words,
which strikes me as noteworthy since the song itself is pretty tame. “You’ve seen a horsefly.
You’ve seen a dragonfly.” “Well, I’ve seen a horsefly.”
“I’ve seen a dragonfly.” “I’ve seen a housefly.” “You’ve even seen a housefly.” But the crows aren’t referenced, and even Dumbo’s
feather, which was gifted to him by the crows in the original– “Use the magic feather. Catch on?”
“The magic feather! Yeah!” –has somehow also managed to turn white. It’s like there was never racism here in this universe and there never will be. We just kind of
live in this nice multi-culti-verse where other forms of bigotry exist and
are not the ones we live with in the real world, but, you know. “What’d you do to that thing? That ain’t a real elephant. Those ears are fake!” We have our cutesy analogs sometimes. If the films acknowledge racism at all, it’s never systemic, but the product of a
few bad apples, ie, The Princess and the Frog– “Which is why a little woman of your
background would have had her hands full.” –and not the system itself.
Systemic racism doesn’t exist in the metaverse. If it does–again, Princess and the Frog–it
can be handled with basically the ideological equivalent of a good guy
with a gun. John Goodman just needs to realize that the woman who makes his
favorite beignets needs more money. “This is it. I’m gettin’ my restaurant!” See? He’s a nice guy. There are good rich whites. It seems like meaningfully addressing any of these societal problems in the text
of their films would mean that Disney would have to really acknowledge its own past, which, well, that’s not really why these films have meta-commentary, now is it? They aren’t woke to make the world better.
They’re woke for you to buy stuff. “Next we have the singing Jasmine doll from
Hasbro inspired by the Disney’s Aladdin movie.” “Jasmine is smart, she’s funny, she’s
brave.” It’s… it’s a whole new world… to lean in to. See, there’s no, like, Girl Wash Your Face lean in feminism that Disney can make marketable
where race is concerned, so where they can over-correct the princesses and make
them more marketable by turning them into girl bosses, ain’t much they can do
to correct critique of race in Disney movies that’s, you know, corporate approved.
So they just ignore it. But one of the more nefarious of these “joking about the
sins of the father” aspects of these remakes comes at the “expense” of the Walt Disney Company itself and its business model. Dumbo really leans in to this.
The plot of the original Dumbo comprises basically the first act of the 2019 remake,
and from there, goes into what appears to be a winking metacritique of
Disney itself. “Join me in my family. “Let me take us all into the future. Let me
take us all to Dreamland.” With really obvious and heavy-handed references to Disneyland in its theme park owned by Michael Keaton’s villain, Vandermeer, himself a weird
mixture of PT Barnum, Walt Disney, and Vanderbilt? There are blatant nods to
actual attractions like the Astro Orbiter and the Carousel of Progress and
just park aesthetic in general. There’s a Wonder of Science
attraction that, well… “Dad! Wonders of Science!” Don’t worry, honey. It’s bought by Exxon Mobil. Also, within this, is a weird half-assed critique of the overuse of the word “dream”
and the need to feel like a child again. “You’ve made me a child again.” I’m still parsing out what the intention of
this weird take on Disney’s own past and corporate culture is meant to…say…
besides a weird, “Well, you can’t hate their corporate
monopoly if they make fun of themselves. Self-awareness is relatable.” It feels like commentary, but it’s
commentary that does not say anything. Vandermeyer’s park looks like Disneyland,
but beyond that, it seems to be an indictment of PT Barnum more than anything.
Especially since the film ends with Dumbo going back to the jungle and
woke circus getting rid of all their animal acts. Mary Poppins returns also has a curious
relationship to wealth and power. Jane has grown up to be a union organizer. “No, it’s the society for the protection of the
rights of the underpaid citizens of England.” “A labor organizer.” Which, considering Walt’s relationship to
unions itself is kind of hilarious. But she is mostly portrayed as kind of a ditz, and the ending relies on
her asking the lamplighters for unpaid labor not for the benefit of any kind of,
you know, labor union, but to help her save her house that she owns. Jane’s advocacy doesn’t really do anything for organized labor. If anything, it’s just more, you know, just ripping off the original, you know. Well, her mom was a suffragette,
so… Jane’s a pinko, I guess. But the main plot surrounds the Banks
and also the bank, which wants to repossess the Banks’s house. In the original, the
bank is portrayed as something of a neutral evil. Heartless and bottom-line-obsessed. Something that Mr. Banks over- values at the expense of his family.
Meanwhile, in sequel land, the main villain is a rogue Colin Firth, the bad rich man. “In two days, Banks will be out on that street,
and the house will be ours.” The Banks family is on the cusp of losing their
house because Michael is bad at money and Jane is a communist. A home they love
so much they’ve tied their identity to it in much the same way that Mr. Banks
did his job in the original. Towards the end, it looks like they’re going to lose
their house unless they do the thing by the stroke of midnight. But don’t worry,
the one bad man is removed, they are able to keep their house because the bank
itself is good and moral and is on the side of the middle class, and thus… “The house is yours.” The Banks’s identity and happiness can
continue to be tied to their possession of material things. And I find that interesting,
because in the original, Mr. Banks lets go of the thing that he had
erroneously attached his own value and sense of identity to. But in the remake,
don’t worry, they never have to have that moment of self-reevaluation because they
never lose the thing they were worried about losing. Because good capitalist
is here to save the day. And he’s played by Dick Van Dyke! Dick Van Dyke is over here
like, “Oh, the bank would never intentionally hurt their trusting
customers!” “I’ve nearly doubled the profits of this bank.” “Yes, by wringing it out of the
customers’ pockets.” A large business always has the best intentions. Big corporations aren’t bad. But the rare nefarious individual, that is the bad one. It is not
the system that is bad, but a few bad apples. If anything, the transition from
old Disney to new Disney is a transition from “monarchy is good” to “capitalism is good.” There’s always a good king or a good bank or a good businessman.
And these conclusions, while they pay lip service to progressive ideals, ultimately
conclude that nothing of the status quo need be challenged. Not really.
Which feels pretty convenient when the company producing these things owns more and more
of the media that we consume every day. “But now Disney will have full control of
Hulu. Uh, will control its customer management, its technology, its data
sharing.” This is not to say that empowering women to be leaders, or a
family keeping their house, or cruelty-free circuses are a bad thing, but if
that’s all you got, then that’s not progress. That’s just marketing. These movies are redundant with a couple of exceptions, weird outliers like…Maleficent.
And I guess you could make a case for the Jungle Book…
But for the most part, these movies don’t need to exist. So they give themselves a
metatextual reason to exist in the text. It’s that thing you like. But woke. For The Lion King, it’s take the majestic thing and run it through this hyper-sterilized
realism filter. For Beauty and the Beast, it’s sending this love story
about personal growth and forgiveness through the #BeastForShe filter. And for Aladdin, its sending Princess Jasmine through the girlboss filter. And for Dumbo, it’s take the problematic thing and deproblematizing
it to the point where it’s unrecognizable, and Dumbo isn’t even the
main character anymore. “Wow. This is a disaster.” Like, okay, so you’ve taken a
property from the 1940s and you have identified that it has certain… insensitivities
relating to race and animal cruelty. You have declared the thing problematic. Yeah, great. Good for you. In the words of Alan Arkin, “So?” And that’s one of the more frustrating things about this era of pop-criticism,
where we look back on media history, and be like, “thing bad!” And people
can look on history with this smugness of hindsight and say, “You know that thing
you liked as a kid? Well, it had problems. It was problematic. Did I blow your mind yet?” And it’s like, okay. “So?” You’ve taken step one. You’ve identified
the problem. What do you want to do with that? Are you that guy in that Onion
article that always likes to bring up that John Lennon beat his wife? Do you want to drag the company that made the thing through the street? Do you want to
wave it off and say it was a product of its time, so who cares? Or do you want to
do what Disney is doing with its remakes and just erase the history and just
ignore the stuff that aged poorly and just pretend it never happened? “Wow. This is a disaster.” Because a part of media literacy is taking film history, understanding its context,
exploring different viewpoints on the media and the history in question, and
accepting it for what it was. Not pretending it didn’t happen. There are some power structures that Disney movies are never going to challenge.
The original entries in the Disney film canon were never about challenge or
change. And so it goes with their remakes and their reboots and their sequels. It’s not the system that’s bad, it’s that women aren’t allowed to be CEOs. Let Jasmine be a girl boss Sultan. It’s not that class stratification is bad, it’s
just Belle totally sticking it to those narrow-minded poor townies by owning a
VC funded washing machine startup. Only Maleficent, hot mess though it is, kind of
feels a little transgressive and an outlier in this trend because it’s actually
centered on women in their pain. And actually challenges the foundation of
the original in a way that you don’t see in any of these other movies. And Maleficent’s girl boss angle doesn’t feel so hollow since it ends with the ladies
in power, and we actually develop the originally very underdeveloped lead of
Aurora in lieu of trying to correct anything in the original. It must needs be remarked that one of the big issues here, especially once Disney started
dipping into the waters of making animated films with non-European
settings or characters of color, is that people of color or from the backgrounds
of the people being depicted were rarely involved in the behind the scenes work. With the live-action films, there could have been space to correct this, but…
Guy Ritchie’s directing Aladdin, I guess. Was all of Bollywood busy? All of it? Again gains made, but ultimately still minute compared to the sheer volume of content
that Disney puts out. Especially in the live-action department that is presently…
doing pretty… pretty well. Why the company wants to show that they recognize their problematic past with gender but totally ignores its problematic history with
race is because it’s really easy to make lean in feminism profitable. After all, Disney Princesses are girl bosses now. “Do people assume all your problems got
solved because a big strong man showed up?” “Yes! What is up with that?” Just like you will be one day. And this is why I find Disney wokeness highly cynical. They’re more than happy to show
how they’ve changed in some regards but only the profitable ones. They have
better race representation now, which is good, but they aren’t about to admit that
there was ever ever anything the company has to move beyond. Song of the South?
That didn’t happen. That’s never getting a release. These parts of Dumbo? That
didn’t happen. What Makes the Red Man Red? We Are Siamese? Didn’t happen. There’s no, like, corporate approved profitable way to make any metatextual examination
of Disney’s history with race representation, or lack thereof,
profitable. So they don’t. The insidious thing to me is that with Disney
positioning itself to be the biggest media monopoly in
history, the trend is less about meta commentary, but priming people to be
loyal to the company. After all, the company sees and hears your criticisms.
It agrees with your ideals about inclusivity. So don’t worry about the fact that they’re well
on their way to owning…everything. They’re here to support you being a girl boss. “Do you have daddy issues?”
“I don’t even have a mom!” “Neither do we!” And speaking of being a boss babe,
we need to pay the bills. Because we live in a society. So this episode was sponsored by Audible. And originally, this episode was going to
have way more to do with Disney in the 90s. But then it didn’t. But I’m going to recommend
Disney War on Audible to you anyway. If you want to read about the
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or text LindsayEllis to 500-500 that is audible.com/Lindsayellis
or text LindsayEllis to 500-500 Yes, I have to say this twice. Like it’s the radio. And now I finally earned this… I don’t even know what these things are called.

100 thoughts on “Woke Disney

  1. I get what you're saying, but not what you want. It kind of sounds like you wanted Disney to include the old racism, like the crows, but what is wrong with cutting it out entirely? It is what I want to happen with racism: to be completely cut out of society. ( While still acknowledging that it was a thing in the past that is now over. ) If this stuff were to be included in the movies … I just don't see how it could be done. And that's a Problem I have with your Videos. I love them and your humour, but it's mostly critique and no solutions.

  2. The original Dumbo's hallucination was borderline nightmare fuel, so I think that would have set a message against it actually. Meanwhile this one just avoids showing the effects of this happy water at all even though they could have totally done the dream via CG

  3. I gotta say this, Shenzi being a girl boss made some sense. Female hyenas irl are the dominant ones–

    But yeah I agree with everything you said.

  4. These singing dolls… require you to press into their breasts… to make them sing. The package, has a hole cut so that you can touch them. Is this ok?

  5. How to make a strong female character: 1. Make a strong character. 2. Make that character female.

    Also applies to characters of color. I don't understand why people (if you can call Hollywood studio think tanks people) don't understand that. Ellen Ripley's gender is not integral to her character, Myles Morales would still be Miles if he wasn't black, etc.

  6. I hate sounding pernickety Lindsay, but why would Bollywood necessarily be ideal for Aladdin? Bollywood is based in India, whereas Aladdin is set in a fictional middle eastern country.

  7. Oddly enough. The hyena being a #girlboss is actually a thing in hyenas. The females became so strong and aggressive to the point where they lead their groups (i dont know what a bunch hyenas are called). I dont think they looked at it from the real world biological perspective tho….

  8. Sheesh…this is just frustrating.

    and besides, i can't help but feeling as if Disney feels that the audience is dumber than poo….

  9. Thomas Edison had animals and an elephant electrocuted, to try and show that Tesla's alternating current was dangerous. But they don't teach you that in school. Yeah he was an asshole.

  10. I haven't watched any of the live-action movies, and now after watching this video I just don't want to watch them.

  11. 8:40 y tho

    Edit: Oh god did Nu Jasmine really beatbox

    Edit 2: OK I kinda get what LE is saying, the new Disney movies parade as commentary on their old works but really have nothing of substance to say about their past, but I don't really why a children's movie needs to have commentary on the systemic racism/sexism and general imbalance of the past. Really the issue is that movies exist at all, they purely fund corporate greed to the easiest marks possible, children. Disney acknowledging? the racial insensitivities won't change that you can go watch Dumbo and see it for yourself. The real solution to the problem is to stop going to see these fucking movies.

    Edit 3: Yeah I'm pretty sure LE just has unreasonable expectations for the nuance of children's media thematic messages

  12. 16:40 I don’t get what you mean here. Of course there were “good rich whites.” To say anything else is stereotypical.

  13. i feel like i am so glad i did not bothered with any of the live action disney movie.

    Oh right, there is that maleficent sequel.. i guess they dont learn anything.

  14. what if i am a feminine girl? what if i am looking for romance, a man to sweep me off my feet? should i be ashamed now disney????

  15. "The transition is one from 'Monarchy is good' to one of 'Capitalism is good.'"
    My idea is: The modern system we know as capitalism isn't capitalism. Wealth and power are inherited, and spread among a select amount of people who benefit from the labour of the masses. Large corporations hold immense amounts of power over the political landscape, especially in the USA, where both political parties are fairly indistinguishable from one another where it comes to policy. One claims to be progressive, the other claims to be conservative, but in practice, both are corporatist; their political identity is but a paint job on their political reality.
    This isn't capitalism. It is oligarchy. And oligarchy is the first step to monarchy.
    Capitalism is not a self-regulating system. It's not really a system at all. It's just the assumption that where a trade takes place, both participants feel like they gained more value than they lost. A good idea in theory, but unless that idea is protected by legislation an regulation, the result is that bad actors will inevitably kill it by accruing more value and tying people to forcibly trade away high value resources (like time and effort) for relatively low-value but essential resources (food and commodities that allow participation in society). This is not capitalism, but dependency; when those who own all of the value dispense those goods, then those who require those goods are forced into servitude. This is where capitalism goes to die, and monarchy rises.
    'The Good Banker' is the same person as 'The Good Monarch.' There is no difference; only by the grace of the authority can the subject hope for relief. Not by the subject's own power, own labour, own initiative or own choices, but by hoping the person is charge will be nice for… No really good reason.
    Capitalism isn't a bad idea, but it cannot stand on its own and survive. It must be protected. And as far as I'm concerned, socialism is the only thing that can adequately protect it.

  16. Correction @ 14:20, all of the crows (aside from Jim Crow) were voiced by African Americans which was unusual for the time.

  17. 20:06 "Phillip Banks wants to empty the banks, fill our streets with banks and run a bank-making operation out of his banks."

  18. I disagree with the animals in the circus thing is just a PETA thing, but I would argue that means they shouldn't make the movie in the first place. Around when I first heard of live action Dumbo, it was when they were banning elephants in the circus. That seemed to cause a ripple with the production because they seem to have some sort of realization that current times have a different mindset about animal welfare than the people in the original setting. shocking You know, like how race representation has changed. When pretty much 99% of the original setting and story have changed in what is appropriate, maybe choose a different movie? Or make take a risk and make something new?? But I guess the easy money is just too tempting.

  19. Look no further than Bob Iger and Kathleen Kennedy along with their supporters in the company itself for those responsible of woke. They care more about what's acceptable in China than actually creating quality for the rest of the world. Disney wil destroy anything it touches during the current timeline and decimate your wallet if you try to go to one of its theme parks. Walt turns in his grave.

  20. What are all those CGI/live action versions of the classics I have never seen nor heard about? Is that a real thing? That actually happened?

  21. Omg. Very insightful. Disney’s is no different than the rest of U.S. society in it’s deliberate efforts to avoid addressing & correcting racial inequality while addressing gender inequality with shallow, surface, faux “Lean In” 3rd wave feminism. And if I see another historical film where “empowerment” for women means being able to do a man’s job, I’ll throw up in my mouth. Women have NEVER stopped being the ones responsible for the domestic work that’s typically called “women’s work” and it’s certainly not going to be done by the men. And it DOES have value. Try to hire a live-in chef, nanny, & maid. Basically this kind of “Lean In” feminism is convincing women that doing two jobs to men’s one job is “empowering”. Working at a job you hate while having strangers raise your kids can as unfulfilling as stay at home. Furthermore, women have had their own kind of power throughout history and most of it involved diplomacy, compromise, & communalism. Movies need to be able to start depicting women as empowered in their own ways. 🙄

  22. Tbh, I didn't expect any better of Emma Watson. The Beauty and the Beast remake represents a lot of the nonsense Watson has been sprouting for years. I don't know what's wrong with movies. I read tons of books with amazing female protagonists, but in movies we get this feminist crap. And not empowering feminism; complaining about men feminism.

  23. Pink Capitalism, gotta love it. Exploitation is okay, so long as they're PROGRESSIVE exploiters. Everyone is oppressed and alienated equally. Or at least we'll pretend the system is even capable of that. In other news, Israel is absolved of all their atrocities on the Palestinians. Why? Because they let LGBT serve in their military, clearly we super woke bootlickers got our priorities straight.

    For how intent Disney is on commodifying progressivism, they really do a good job at pushing that old Ayn Rand-style individualism and depicting systemic problems as "personal errors." Just a new excuse to contempt the masses and make the oblivious "middle class" labor aristocracy feel good about themselves. Instead of being "sub-human" or "degenerate" like in the old days, they're now "problematic" and "regressive" compared to those benevolent, progressive capitalists and that's why they need to be put in their place in our inclusive pecking order.

  24. Dude Disney is garbage if people have brains they would stop supporting these s*** movies but they don't even know they're bad movies because it says Disney it's a brainwash people are the brand tells them it's good so their judgment is made up before they watch it sheep

  25. There are no signs of this corporate pandering stopping any time soon either. The new Lady and the Tramp features an upper-middle-class, mixed-race family living in a mansion in 1915 Savannah Georgia with a very "racism never happened" aesthetic. Really Disney? Slavery ended 52 years before your movie is set, there were miscegenation laws. The Immigrant Exclusion Act is still in place banning most people from coming to America. Not to mention the housing covenants that forbad people of colour, mixed-race couples, and Jews from buying houses. And you know….the pervasive issue of lynching throughout the American south at the time. Could Disney have addressed this or at least changed the period or location if they didn't want to deal with these issues? Yes, but instead they chose is to say, "F#@k all that depressing stuff, in Disneyland it never happened, we are going to make the same film but go with a race-blind cast to show how "woke" we are today and have Janelle Monae redo We are Siamese. Disney has now cured racism". The question this all raises is, does this work? Is this really what people want to see or are these movies making most of their money because they are being aggressively marketed in the Chinese market. If you can get on screens in China with even a mediocre movie it will almost always guarantee an eight-digit dollar opening. I think it is the assumption that foreign viewers will not be as aware of the important nuances being ignored and as such gives Disney a pass to make lazy soulless movies. And hey if they can throw in a famous Indian or Chinese actor in a small part it might make it more marketable in the Asian market.

  26. This Comment Section Consists of:
    62% Mansplaining about hyenas,
    15% Not understanding that the vast majority of the visuals from both Alladin movies came from Indian and not Middle Eastern aesthetics,
    11% Disney is bad because of the Jews,
    7% People revealing that the only time they have come across the phrase "Queen Bee" is in hentai,
    5% Thoughtful and nuanced commentary on the subject.

  27. Inner dialogue while watching the breakdown of the original Dumbo:

    12:50 – "Oh man, I LOVED the crows from Dumbo!"
    12:53 – "… okay, I can see how that's problematic, but the crows are good characters, so that's… fine."
    13:48 – "Oh no this is bad."
    13:53 – "Oh noooooo"
    14:11 – "This song still holds up so well. So guuud."
    14:21 – "… they named him… Jim Crow. Jim. Crow. I… you… wha… Jim Crow. They named him… Jim Crow. I can't… what. WHAT."

  28. No, Disney won't touch race because they know it's toxic. If they so much as whisper anything about it, however well intentioned, the twitterati will always find some way to 'problematise' it; for that is the sole aim of deconstructionalism. When it comes to identity politics, the only winning move is not to play. Disney have learned this.

  29. 8:32 Except that hyena clans are run by female leaders in real life. And in the original Lion King, Shenzi was shown to be the smartest of the trio. She was like a mother for Bonzai and Ed. So…I don't know why they had to make that little fact more known in the remake, but hey, what else would you expect from Disney?

  30. Wait, was shenzi not a girl in the original? I always thought she was! Maybe that's just because she was voiced by Rosie O'Donnell…I think

  31. I honestly think most people dont care or dont notice how problematic the old movies were at times. Like if you rewatch a film with your kids you might go "hmmm cant do that today thats awful" and move on. Videos like this exist for the same reason disney is going woke, to appeal to hardcore nitpickers and fans like us. Its a wink and nod to film nerds and woke people. Its essentially disney patting us on the head saying "oh did you catch that? Ha of cpirse you did my special audience always gets it."

  32. I love most of your cultural commentary, but I have to respectfully disagree with your point here. Yeah, for people like us who sit down and analyze the shit out of media, this stuff might feel a bit silly, but for most people watching (many of which are young girls just becoming cognizant of gender roles in the world), these changes are unironically positive.

    Like, I get being cynical about any time a corporation promotes a message of social responsibility, but I think most of these examples are perfectly fine and the sort of things that I'd be glad for my daughter to hear rather than not.

  33. One thing I want to point out was how depressing the original was. Like you said, it took place in a guilded age. The line "We work all day. We work all night. We never learned to read or write" that you call racist could have been sung by a white crew back then because most people weren't educated then and most workers were treated horribly. The people were abusive drunks and the animals were, well, heavily abused. And they gave you the lite version. If you read about the history of these travelling circuses you'll learn that they were hells that took advantage of the mentally ill and disabled because it was the only work they could get.
    But the remake gives you and even more lite version of what is really a depressing story.

  34. So if I wanted to direct a samurai movie, and Lindsay was head of a studio and I pitched it to her, would she tell me I can't because I'm not Japanese? Because that's kinda what she's implying by her "Guy Richie/Bollywood" comment.

  35. That Guy Richie comment reminded me of Coco which was directed by a white guy. While Coco is arguably one of the best Pixar films out there, it doesn't change the fact that the creators did not respect Maria de la Salut
    who Mama Coco was based on. She was never once named as the inspiration for the character and honestly, that's just your typical case of white man stealing from POC yet again. 🤦 Much like when white people tried to steal The Lion Sleeps Tonight from a South African musician. 🙄

  36. 11:50 is exactly why I can’t stand The Lion King’s story, though the originals soundtrack and animation are quite glorious

  37. So it's not a women movement, but a cash in on feminism and cash in on nostalgia through woke glasses, and they afraid of the people who are suppose to be kind and thoughtful, but are ones who would attack Disney for offending anyone.

    They've completely ruined all their movies, Star Wars and Avengers as well.

  38. The problem with the "good guy with a gun" thing is it implies the existence of good and evil. You shoot somebody because it's better for everyone that they not do what they do, and you lack the time, opportunity, or strength to take a better option. No one wins when the good guy shoots down the bad guy, you just lose less than if you hadn't.

  39. Yeah… I totally forgot that Shenzi wasn’t a “girl boss” in the original Lion King. She definitely did not keep the other two hyenas under control, she wasn’t the smart one and she definitely was not the first hyena to call out Scar’s bs at the very end. Nope none of that ever happened. Not until the remake :/

  40. First time watching you, very smart take on all of this stuff. Really great critical look at corporate bs. But disenchanting people with Disneys race representation is only one part, what's your solution?

  41. I think it's helpful to understand Disney films as products catering to a specific market, as opposed to artistic works. The probable reason for the studio to choose these "themes" isn't to advance a plot, deepen a character etc. The purpose is target the princess themes to young girls, and target the political themes to their mothers. Once these methods fail at increasing revenue Disney will stop using them.

  42. The Little Mermaid remake is going to have at least some mentions of the trash in the ocean and you can't change my mind.

  43. I thought (OG) Sleeping Beauty was about three old magic lesbians in a poly-amorous relationship raising a child, then saving the day.

    Change my mind.

  44. Love these videos and the way you analysis is such an articulate and meaningful way. Can I just add that Alladin was one of the most disappointing remakes for me, Alladin is a story from a collection of stories called "1001 Arabian Nights", which is based on a fictional land called "Agrabah" which was influenced by cities like Baghdad in Iraq, meaning that the characters are of Arab/Middle Eastern descent with Arabic culture and traditions. Though Bollywood and India are a huge market to target, this story is not Indian, but Disney decided to base the story on what it is known as (Arab) = bad but basing it around Indian culture = good. This is not to discredit the actors in any the way or India at all, this is a criticism of the dancing, the costumes and customs that no one seemed to do any research on, as it did not look or feel like an Arabic story at all, but an Indian one. The fact that people genuinely believe it is an Indian tale is baffling, but this also means that Disney did a good job in not highlighting that Arabs have cultures and tales to tell, potentially deepening the racial stigma to towards them.

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