Disney’s OCLD: Obsessive Compulsive Live-Action Disorder — Zachary Sanfilippo

Disney_LogoOriginally, I had planned to watch and review Song of the Sea for this week’s blog. Of course things never go according to plan. I will still post a review of Song of the Sea, perhaps this coming week sometime, but after reading some news and watching a video I feel the need to discuss something far more pressing to the industry as the whole – at least in my opinion.

As many of you may have heard, Disney has been exhibiting an obsessive desire to make new live action films based on their animated ones. Most recently, Disney announced a live action version of “Winnie the Pooh” would be coming soon. Granted, it is somewhat unfair to tarnish a project before it is even realized (or in this case, “re-realized”) but I still find this new trend to be disturbing. After all, we have only recently gotten news of a live action Mulan and Dumbo. I then stumbled upon this video by following a link on Reddit. It features the man behind Cinema Sins (“Everything Wrong With…” videos) going on a passionate rant about Disney’s trend, and how it signifies yet another nail in the coffin for Hollywood originality. This is especially true, he suggests, considering the massive power being wielded by Disney.

I hate to sound like an elitist cinema snob, but I could help but agree with much of his argument. We are not dealing with just some random production company.  This is Disney – a company which, as the video suggests, is the film industry. They own Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel (and who knows what else they will own in the future?). While such ownership did not did not set off alarms initially, it now feels dangerous. Whether intentional or not, Disney is suffocating any remnants of originality out of the film industry.

It isn’t like I don’t enjoy Marvel movies, but like the man in the video I find the upcoming flood of them to be overwhelming. I feel fatigued, yet know that at the end of the day it doesn’t matter because these movies will continue to rake in tons of money. So will the upcoming slew of Star Wars films, the influx of Disney sequels (including Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2), and the live-action adaptations that will soon saturate a theater near you.

In turn, Disney and other production companies (the video notes Paramount with Transformers) will continue churning out sequels, prequels, spinoffs, and franchises at the expense of high-budget original concepts. Sure, a few will still get made (ex: Interstellar) but it will become far too infrequent. Why? Because we automatically ignore these fresh, new movies in favor of the big-name films and franchises.

I am not anti-business, and I do think that Disney can make whatever movies they please. But as someone who wants to work in the film industry, I agree with the sentiments expressed in the video. Disney will produce mass entertainment rather than entertaining art, which will diminish much of what I love about the film industry. So the question is where do we draw the line?

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