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The Princess is Dead, Long Live the Princess: Disney Won’t Be Letting Fairy Tales Live Happily Ever After…

Apparently Disney are putting an end to the production of fairy tales, which is somewhat ironic for a studio which has an iconic fairytale castle as its distinctive corporate logo. I suppose it was sort of inevitable coming from a studio that was terrified of advertising Tangled as a “princess” movie. Disney board director John Lasseter explained the decision:

Today, among little girls especially, princesses and the romanticised ideal they represent – finding the man of your dreams – have a limited shelf life.

It’s very clever to couch his argument in what might be considered modern feminist terms  – “finding the man of your dreams” is such a fifties aspiration for young girls, after all – but I’m not entirely sure I’m comfortable with what Disney plans to replace them with. I’ll admit that I am a relatively conservative individual – I just don’t like change – but there’s something unsettling about such a major refocus, and perhaps what it says about pop culture as a whole these days.

Okay, so maybe Disney needs to work on its female leads...

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Why Are We Afraid to Scare Children?

I watched the Platinum Anniversary Edition of Pinocchio over the weekend. aside from the revelation of how ridiculously Disney manipulate the market to keep their movies out of constant circulation and creating false scarcity, what really struck me about the movie was how ridiculously (and gloriously) dark it was. As a 23-year-old adult, I felt more than a little uncomfortable watching the movie, so I can only imagine how it would have terrified me as a kid. Turning kids into donkeys and selling them to the circus! Threatening to chop up the lead character for firewood (and showing a similar puppet with an axe in his back)! The lead character lying limp, face-down in a puddle! It occurred to me that you’d never get a film like that made for kids these days. Why are we afraid to scare children?

He's a jackass! Geddit? Seriously, this gave me nightmares.

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Have We Stopped Making Children’s Films For Children?

The three biggest children’s films under discussion at the moment are Pixar’s Up, Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Spike Jonze’s Where The Wild Things Are. These three films have generated a debate about who exactly family entertainment should be aimed at, and whether are not there are themes (rather than content) which should be taboo for films that would appear to be aimed at children. More importantly, these three films have sparked a flurry of complaints or criticisms from adults who claim they are far too mature for younger audiences. So, are we really only making these films for big kids?

Watch out, here comes the Politically-Correct-allo!

Watch out, here comes the Politically-Correct-allo!

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