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
supervillain rise and fall of Michael Eisner. Audible has the world’s largest
selection of audio books and audio entertainment, including Audible Originals. Audible members get more than ever before. Every month, you can choose
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Yes, I know I should do that. I don’t have time! Audible members can easily exchange
any title that they don’t love at any time. And members keep their library of
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trial today. Choose one audiobook and two Audible
Originals absolutely free. Visit audible.com/LindsayEllis
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.


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    Lacy Gorman

    Welcome to Magdalyne's Blyss Holistic Healing Center GLOBAL NETwork 🧠 💤💪 💜🙋 🌏🌎 🌏🕸️ 👁️🖖 ✌️🖕 ☠️

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    Von Neely

    If you think the number of minorities that Disney puts in their movies is impressive, just wait until you see their overseas sweatshops!
    ( ͡ ͡° ͜ ʖ ͡ ͡°)

    ╭☞ ╭☞

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    Very good video. Also; I think in general in emancipation movements theres this notion of "we all must have power & wealth as a given; just as tHe MeN did!".

    Same with the all the talk of patriarchy; like; yes; men have obviously led most stuff for centuries; but 95% of men have never had any true power; or fame; or even a happy life. And now; we have this sentiment that we should raise EVERY girl to become someone famous; and rich; and "in business"; etc; imo not really bettering anything. Its just like the cliché of the lawyer father that is disappointed in his son wanting to be an artist. I hope this trend doesnt end up imposing the same pressure on women as this eternal systemic race has done on men since ages; just because now they have access to positions of power; fame & wealth. For every winner; theres a group of unvoluntary (and voluntary; also) losers following behind. This has sadly always been a reality.

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    Dimitris Kalergis

    Movies have enough flaws without over-analyzing by those watching them. Very thought-provoking video but if you wanna talk about movies, do it face-to-face. On the internet, its lifeless & irrelevant.

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    Nadia O

    oh god i haven't even thought about how hard they're gonna try to send the message that Ariel didn't do it for a MAN

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    I wish all progressive commentary was this awesome and well communicated (though I don't consider myself to be on the right, FYI). I personally don't care about the failures of Disney or any other company to address its past racial/classist/sexist transgressions, but I'm 100% with Lindsay in being annoyed with/not supporting such blatant capitalistic opportunism. It's easy to feel both ways, e.g. I laughed hysterically when Hasbro released a feminist version of the Monopoly game, and I laughed just as much when they released a socialist version. Opportunistic capitalism always wins the day–and it's kinda hilarious.

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    ada g

    In most, I agree with you but I have a problem with a few things. If you want to make half hour essay about how Disney shows they past at least give an example of how this supposed to look like in a movie. Another thing about people who don't perfectly represent culture in movies like (Moana) do you suggest to take a bunch of on great level animators (If they are such a big number to fill studio) just from Oceania region, transport them to California studios…and when project end idk fired them and replace with Norwegians because new Frozen movie is in making? It radicules. The most important thing in making animation are people who can draw and trust me they are animators and illustrators from many different countries and cultures. I don't know how much do you have an interest in movie making (I do) and Disney especially in animations projects it can take years before the premiere, 2-3 years is mostly research and script riding. If a movie takes place in location different then modern US, studio stuff is sent to places from the source material, they have guides from local people. Omg I'm so glad I'm not American…Only screaming without a solution

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    Det. Bullock

    I never got that the roustabouts were meant to be black until I've started reading stuff in english about the movie. It's probably also because in the time the movie is set that kind of words would have probably described a good chunk of the Italian population (we were one of the most illiterate countries in Europe, the monarchy had no interest in enforcing school attendance and large scale efforts to promote literacy were made only by the Republic after WWII), back during WWI while Austrian forces had trouble dealing with all the mail the soldiers sent home (to the point thay made postcards which said "I'm still alive" just to make things a bit easier) in Italy the soldiers who could actually read or write were so few that mail delivery to and from the front was never really an issue. That it was a racially insensitive portrayal of black american working class is not that apparent out of context. Similar deal with the crows, especially since the dub doesn't really give them a particular accent (different deal with the Irish cat in Aristocats, here he's been changed in a Roman cat called Romeo with a pronounced Roman accent, the geese are still British though).

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    Kat Omen

    Awesome video! Now lets go look up the definition of Propaganda… 🤔 the Disney Machine kinda gives me the creeps the older I get.

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    Lucas Denault

    It's not just Disney that does this. Marvel, DC, Power Rangers, ect all do this. They ignore their dark past because they don't want people to know about it then when do research and rewatch some of it, the franchises have no answer for it and remain quiet and hope that there aren't many people that are gonna dig deep in their closet.

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    Jasmine was a girl boss in the cartoon version. She escaped the palace revolted against the rules of her kingdom saved her prince. And used her womanly charm to help distract jafar. She was a strong woman then. Just because she sang a poorly written song about not being silent … now she’s a woman boss.

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    Simple Truths

    YES! I too wonder why studios don't make movies the sole purpose of which is to apologize for and criticize their past products, which were made in a different time and were successful. I'm outraged, I tell you! Outraged!

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    I think the Shenzi thing (I'm not spelling the name right, more than likely) was to be more accurate to nature, where the female hyenas are typically larger and more respected than the males, the leaders by biology in the hyena hierarchy.

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    Timothy Snyder

    I was 22 when I finally went to Disney World and understood the "It's a Small World" joke from The Lion King. It was a very satisfying moment.

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    Lets be real these werent made for families or children these films were made for nostalgic adults who critiqued it. Just one giant cash grab

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    So huh… what should they have done, exactly ? I'm not sure of what you're complaining about. Should they have just… put back all the racism and stuff in their remakes ? Was that the solution ? Because that does not sound like a good solution to me.

    Sometimes when people complain about how women empowerment is poorly done in movies, or how racism is dealt poorly too, it almost sounds like they just complain about movies not having clear racism and old gender-roles.

    All i'm saying is that i don't understand what you guys think they should have done. Because as far as i can see, if, like in Dumbo, it's a world where racism magically doesn't exist it's a problem ; AND if there's racism but it's portrayed as clearly bad, it's also a problem ?

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    Damn. Two weeks and over 11,150 comments. I guess nobody will notice if I say I realized I hated "woke" Disney after they trashed the Star Wars saga. Good thing I didn't watch the movies they re-made. I'd probably have thrown something at the screen.

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    People have been ignorant for a very long time, if you had been born back then you might not have had any problem with racism. We are all slowly getting better at some things and always evolving as a species. It would be hard to recreate a movie we all loved as kids, as something much more 'woke', while keeping in as many recognizable things about it. Companies are running out of new ideas that catch as much attention as the things we already know and have enjoyed.

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    How can Disney be positioning itself to be the biggest media monopoly? A company is either a monopoly or it isn't, and there is no chance Disney becomes one

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    Daniel Martinez

    Huh, I'm now questioning how to interpret Disney's decision to include Latino consultants in making Coco after the backlash of them trying to trademark the phrase "Day of the Dead" both ENG and SPA. Genuine regret and repreration or damage control and more silence on cultural insensitivity?

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    Tomasina Covell

    Sweety, you dumbo.. they were simply "Cab Calloway-ing" those crows, at the time that was black-culture. I'd rather they'd have hired Cab Calloway, or someone like that, but it's a fact. It's like as if there was some stupid hip-hop sketch like in too many of today's movies.

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    Victory Boogie Woogie

    I've hated every single attempt of "empowered woman" Disney has made in the last years. Jasmine's one was so forced, it had to happen in her imagination, making it the cringiest cringe moment ever.

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    Excellent point. Woke metacommentary as a detached and oblivious way to take old stories to our time is definitely what is happening. Its not a moral reaxamination of past things, but to still feel valid to new generations, while satisfing and not alienating old generations. It is indeed very forced.

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    "It feels like commentary but it's commentary that doesn't say anything."

    That's the best quote I've ever heard of modern Disney.

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    I wouldn't say that addressing Disney's past 'insensitivity' in terms of race and gender is necessary, seeing that the best way to make the topic of race and gender, whether positive or negative, go away is to just stop talking about it and stop taking people as better or worse because of their race and gender. Rather, it would be best if Disney just stopped making all of this an issue and stopped trying to draw in people with how woke it is. Not necessarily just because they won't commit to it, but because woke stories and characters being hamfisted into these stories, whether remake or original, are actually detrimental to the quality of these films. Just check out the Star Wars saga, which suffered a meltdown two years ago precisely because its creators cared more about making the central girl look powerful than anything logical or sensible. The problem isn't in being inclusive, the problem is that inclusivity is treated as something trendy now and if a thing is claimed to be inclusive, it's above criticism whereas if it's not inclusive, it deserves capital punishment.

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    the goal of entertainment is to tell a story first, it doesn't have to be relevant to real life. The old aesops are still valuable: be honest, be kind, be brave, be a hero, save the world, defeat evil. And, believe it or not, people can understand, like and project themselves onto characters of the opposite sex. I mean, Elsa, Sarah Connor, Ellen Ripley, Mrs. Brisby, Chihiro and Sophie from Ghibli. I dont go: "oH they haVe a VaGoo I can'T GRasP theSE ALIeN CHaRacteERs".
    of course most of the modern stuff aren't characters with goals and beliefs and growth-arcs, but loosely glued together feminist stereotypes and cliches just as 2d flat as the fairytale damsel in distress archetype, but in the other direction.

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    Ashbasher22 NERD

    I think you did this critique brilliantly, Lindsay.

    You went from a sassy reviewer that was playing a character into one that engages her audience with context and a lot of understanding.

    Even though I may disagree with some points you said, you still intrigue me so much, I am engaged by you.

    I wish there were more college and university tutors like you, that would make the education system way more engaging.

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    There's plenty of good legitimate criticisms in here mixed in with some confusing ones. Nala and Shenzi getting a scene where they fight is an example of being… what? I don't get it.

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    Choco Zoe

    I kinda like the way Warner Bros post this disclaimer about their past cartoons like Looney Tunes that were filled with racial stereotypes:

    "The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time. They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were commonplace in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While the following does not represent the Warner Bros. view of today’s society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming that these prejudices never existed."

    It shows about them admitting their company's and people's history instead of white washing that Disney is trying to do right now.

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    Marc McDonnell

    There’s an article where Floyd Norman made a defense for The crows of Dumbo are not entirely racist if you don’t believe me? Make a google search and find out for yourself.

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    brittany acevedo

    Sis, if you do not evolve you dissolve. The original dumbo was made a long time ago before we realized how wrong the story of Dumbo was anyone who redid it was going to upset someone by not caring about the lives the elephants & I have been raising my child who cried when Dumbo was separated from his mother and loved it that this is wrong and she would not have liked it it that wasn’t the ending & she would not have related to the girl had she not not had some strength because this is how girls are being raised this is how I was raised 30 yrs ago get with the times hater

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    First of all, you continue to be my absolute favorite YouTuber!
    Second, I feel this video is more vital than ever because of the looming release of Disney +. At first glance, it’s wonderful to see so many old classic movies and TV shows that I grew up getting a platform that will make it all the more easy to relive that nostalgia. (I mean I can’t believe Disney remembered that they own the Gargoyles The Animated Series) Then I considered the fact that streaming services are a Neilsen ratings dream come true when it comes to gathering data about who is watching what and how frequently. Sure right now Disney can see movie and merchandise sales and base future projects on that, but starting in November they will see what we decide to watch with pinpoint accuracy. Not just movies, but individual episodes of individual shows. Imagine the power that would give them when deciding what to remake or give green lights to in the future.

    Suddenly we might starting seeing remakes of Black Caldron or Herby the Love Bug if there’s a high enough view count. And depending on your viewpoint, it could be a great thing (i.e. suddenly they pay more attention to what the audience really wants instead of guessing) or terrible given how they have approached their classical works (for reference, watch this video again).

    Netflix making their own series is one thing, but when the House of Mouse has the means of not only seeing every aspect of what we are watching, but also know what can make for “safe” financial investments, I can’t help but worry we might be going towards an even greater stagnation in the entertainment industry. Statistics will show what people are into right NOW from the current Disney library, so let’s just give them that again but with what ever the new “wokeness” of the year is. However, there is also room for hope. DuckTales was completely remade with a unique approach (and David Tennent) and as best I can see it’s a shining example of a good remake. So I would be curious to see what happens starting next year, and if we see a slight shifting in the types of products Disney starts turning out.

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    While Disney is trying to rewrite history and make bank $$$. Which I understand, I mean besides blockbusters like the MCU, do any of their smaller original films make money? Anyway, are they are they really entirely successful? I mean, many prefer the originals to the newer versions. I watch the originals way more. I'm curious to see which blu rays sell better. Also Dumbo flopped iirc.

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    Amy Van Diest

    Why don’t they just make original content? They should have enough money for good writers.

    Still waiting for a good Star Wars film since Disney bought it out.

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    Shay. W.

    Can't wait for the snow white remake where snow white enslaves the dwarfs because she is a g i r l b o s s , and makes them work for her as their ceo because c a p i t a l i s m i s g o o d , frequently beats them because w h a t e v e n i s r a c i s m , she doesn't get the animals to help her because l o o k P E T A w e d o n ' t h a v e a n i m a l c r u e l t y , and one of the mice is called Mickey because w o k e and b u y t h e m e r c h

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    Sarah Bicknell

    I can't get over how aesthetically repulsive Dumbo is… like even the cartoon was really off-putting to me as a kid, but the live action? It just looks SO BAD. I couldn't stand to watch it for that reason

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    Edgar Larios

    Ummm… In the animated version, Shenzi was calling the shots on the field. She was the lead of her platoon. I don't understand why people think she's any different now that Whoopie Goldberg isn't playing her.

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    Leo W

    One of the few pieces of media I've seen that actually gets anywhere near the fact of systemic bigotry (instead of just portraying it as an individual issue, as Disney likes to) is, of all things, Teen Titans. In one episode, an alien from the same part of space (importantly, not the same planet) as Starfire visits Earth, and he calls Starfire an alien word that visibly upsets her. It later turns out that the word is, basically, a racial slur; she reveals to Cyborg that her people have been subjected to what basically amounts to systemic racism for decades, if not centuries or millennia. They confront the alien in question, but he doesn't change his mind. He laughs in their faces and then fucks off. It's hardly perfect, but I was amazed at how…*honest* it was.

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    Ana Abacado

    I hope you know we are all still waiting for the series "Directly below the enemie's scrotum" about post-modernism. You promised it for Christmas 2019 two years ago in your transformers series… I AM COUNTING ON THAT!!!😂😜

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    Sterling M

    What's problematic about the crows? They're good guys in the film and a tribute to a part of southern black culture that really existed at the time. Are people really upset about a POSITIVE representation of past black culture?

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    Karin Isaksson

    India has about as much to do with the setting of Aladdin as Europe or America does, so I don't know why an Indian director would be any better.

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    I think it’s worth mentioning that hyenas have a matriarchal social structure, which was sort of reflected in the original Lion King.

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    The glorious empire crafted by the careful, wise rulership of ten good kings can be laid to ruin by the eleventh being a tyrant. I'm pretty sure that's one of the motivations towards things like democracy and diffusion of power.

    So Dick Van Dyke dancing in as a board-of-directors chair is kinda the opposite of how things go: usually it takes one bad CEO to foreclose on thousands of families and render them literally homeless on Christmas Eve. (It's a notoriously specific-if-common problem.)

    Sounds like New Disney wants to be an archduke in the Neo-feudalist heirarchy.

    Edit: Formatting

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    You know, the funny thing about Aladdin is that, along with Ali Baba and Sinbad, the most well known tales from Thousand and One Nights, is that none of them are in the original work. They're all additions by European translators, so they're not even Arabic in origin.

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    These videos keep coming up in my recommended, but the 30 minute length turns me off. I mean, who's got that kind of time? But I almost always enjoy them when I eventually watch 'em.

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    It's not surprising that the focus is on presenting a 'woke' image of female empowerment – the market for these remakes is heavily weighted towards female viewers. If they cared about capturing minority viewing audiences, you'd see more focus on racial/ethnic 'fixes'. Hollywood in general is very invested right now in selling to what is perceived as the largely untapped female viewing base.

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    Eren Rodriguez

    They didn't act like the crow scene didn't happen. They had it play in the background during a scene and had 4 black men play instruments on screen during it. Which, isn't much better.

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    The sad thing is, as this video hints, the idea of updating stories with more dimensional characters, filling plot holes and inconsistencies isn't bad. But you can tell Disney did it as an after thought. Like it's some out of touch 60-year-old dude dismissively guessing what he thinks the "hip woke youngsters" want. Without putting in actual effort. Which is sad because when they do it right (Moana, Mulan, FROZEN, Lilo and Stitch) they do it so well. But the creators of the latter works actually cared and were doing it because they wanted well-written, relevant stories. Not just for a check list to justify uninspired, haphazard remakes.

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    Also why does it seem like nobody can act in these movies. Even big names like DeVito and Watson all come off like they’re just saying their lines.

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    I felt like the girl boss thing with shenzi was less to do with a feministic outcry and more to do with being true to the hyena hierarchy: the alpha hyena is always female. Shenzi is the only one allowed to top.

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    This wouldn't disappear from my recommended list.
    Clicked it solely because it wouldn't, but also wtf does "woke" mean?
    Immediately confronted with the fact I'm Steve Buscemi, but 23, and that "Woke" apparently means "self-acknowledging"
    Then watched fifteen minutes of someone bitch about too much feminism (there is) before bitching about how there's not enough racism acknowledging/white shame. Both of these focal points suck, and if they did focus on the latter then I'm sure you'd be bitching about the lack of feminism.
    Brb while I mourn the death of cinema and become consumed by anxiety over the fact corporations are successfully modulating the mass audiences opinions of things as benign as what shade of green is more acceptable to use as bath tissue or whatever.

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    There's no point of this crap its nothing but force feeding a message just like in video games
    Also live action of things never works out usually

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