Disney Changes

Disney Changes

With so much content being produced, why does Disney continue to build on pre-existing IPs? Money. Behind everything a corporation does is the desire for monetary gain. Although Disney is already a billion-dollar business, they continue trying to make as much money as possible. In the last ten to twelve years, Disney has made live-action remakes of various original Disney stories accompanied by certain questionable changes to these beloved films. In these modernized versions, Disney seems to try to adapt to societal expectations. Through these adaptations, many consumers of the Disney corporation do not approve of the new modern plotlines and cast changes that occur in the movies. 


The start of this trend can be traced to Alice In Wonderland (2010) being the first notable remake with a few before that weren’t in the same vain. Next was Maleficent (2014) which was a great concept of retelling a classic Disney story that was not just a live-action remake but a darker adaptation of the Sleeping Beauty story. The next few were simple remakes like Cinderella, Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast, which stirred a bit of controversy for “Queer-coding” Lefou. Soon after came Dumbo, Aladdin, lady and the tramp, and The Lion King. These fall under the simple remake category as little to nothing was changed and caused a notable backlash. Then came Cruella which failed to accomplish what Maleficent had done in taking the antagonist and telling a story from their perspective. Next was Pinocchio which was just another simple remake. But finally was Mulan. Mulan was criticized for Disney having a relationship with the Chinese government to use land in China to film. The reason this was problematic is that China has a horrible reputation for how it treats the Chinese-Muslim community. 


Simple remakes like Alice In Wonderland, Cinderella, Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, Aladdin, Lady and the Tramp, The Lion King, and Pinocchio are called cash-grabs because they take a pre-existing IP and use them to make money. All movies exist to make money. However, the problem arises when that’s the sole purpose of the films. 


There is criticism towards Disney’s consistently changing aspects of characters to represent marginalized groups which in theory sounds noble. However, in practice, this has backfired as they have been accused of queer-coding and virtue signaling. Queer coding is the action of hinting at a character falling into the LGBTQ umbrella without confirming it. This fits into the idea and accusation of virtue signaling for money. They are appealing to these groups to get ethically questionable money. However, it is also worth noting a fairly common belief is that there is no ethical or moral consumption under capitalism.


In the last ten years, Disney’s movies have had many questionable changes to their original movies. Recently, the announcement of the live-action remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves has caused an uproar in upset movie fans. There are two main reasons for the stigmas attached to the new movie, one, the casting, and two, the plotline changes. Although the original Snow White movie features seven “dwarves” accompanying Snow White on her journeys, Disney is only casting one person with dwarfism in an attempt to stop the stereotypes associated with them. However, in their attempt to not further marginalize them, Disney is creating the stigma that they do not wish to hire actors with dwarfism. This poses the question from many critics; is Disney further hindering dwarfism awareness? In an interview with the news company Deadline, Disney stated “To avoid reinforcing stereotypes from the original animated film, we are taking a different approach with these seven characters.” However, Disney could be taking this as an opportunity to employ marginalized communities, including people with dwarfism. 


Not only did they change the dwarves’ part in the plotline, but they also changed to the classic love story of Snow White. The lead actress in the movie, Rachel Zegler, claims in an interview, “She’s not going to be saved by the prince and she’s not gonna be dreaming about true love, she’s dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be.” This is something that has come up in several other remade films. The female lead actress tends to use vocabulary mentioning the woman being the “leader” or needing to “find herself.” The problem with this is that in the last five years, movies have increasingly caused women to feel as though they must fit into society as a leader, rather than a mother or a wife. There’s nothing inherently wrong with pushing the narrative of being an independent woman. However, the problem with this is the way this problem is being addressed leads to an overcorrection. 


Along with the casting of the dwarves, Disney cast a Hispanic actress to play Snow White. Although they are trying to appeal to and possibly even make up for marginalization, Disney is changing a character in which the movie has a song stating “her skin white as snow.” Many people are offended by the fact that they changed something that is mentioned specifically. 


Overall, Disney has started to drastically change their original movies, and it has affected how they are viewed as a company. Through their new remakes, they are losing sight of the original, when In reality, they could be creating new IPs, and new characters that fit into modern society. Instead of taking already well-developed characters and changing important aspects of them, Disney could avoid a lot of controversy by creating new storylines. 

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