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war, peace, and revolution, like three beats of an endless waltz

Posted by sphynxlike on 2005.11.16 at 14:08
I've never heard these terms before joining this comm:

Golden Age, a second golden age, and a rennisance, now its time for a Revolution!

(...well, I've heard of them, but not in reference to Disney...)

Since I've never had them defined for me, I got to thinking about phases we can see in the history of Disney:


golden age
n.
1. A period of great peace, prosperity, and happiness.
2. Greek & Roman Mythology. The first age of the world, an untroubled and prosperous era during which people lived in ideal happiness.


The classics. I know everything gets tagged as a "classic" by marketing anymore, but when I hear "Disney classic" I think of Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Bambi, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians. I think this term is less centered around a time period and more around a mood/theme/sense/style. There's always a happy ending and there's never any serious danger (even in stories like Snow White, where she dies but we all know she's going to be okay).


renaissance
n 1: the period of European history at the close of the Middle Ages and the rise of the modern world; a cultural rebirth from the 14th through the middle of the 17th centuries [syn: Renaissance] 2: the revival of learning and culture [syn: rebirth, Renaissance, renascence]


I sort of feel that this should go before the second golden age chronologically, probably because I came of age in this period and see it as stretching the limits thematically and artistically, the actions which prompted the second golden age in the same way the European Renaissance prompted the Age of Enlightenment. In my mind, the Disney renaissance falls around the "holy trinity" of Ashman/Menken musicals (this is probably also personal influence, since these three movies were my childhood) with The Black Cauldron and The Lion King bookending the category (not only timewise, but also in terms of story and aesthetic). These films have more edge to them; heroes are three-dimensional (the outcast saves the day in the end), villains are badder (but they also have motives deeper than OMG i'm so EVIL i have to KIll something) to the degree that you almost have to like them, sidekicks steal scenes (are they ever going to release the outtakes from Robin Williams' recording sessions? he told James Lipton he "went a little blue"), plots are fuller (for the most part because the characters are fuller, and vice versa, they each contribute to the other's benefit), art is off the chain (some of the most breathtaking shots I've seen), and the songs are better (Howard, come back to us! Quick, someone get the Ouija board!).

I think I tend to overanalyze.

Anyways, this brings us to the second golden age, a time of great commercial success for Disney, a time for it to reap what it had sown. Following the box office killing of The Lion King, Disney brought out heavily merchandisable products like Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Toy Story, Hercules, Mulan, Tarzan, A Bug’s Life. Most of these movies make me shake my head. The stories, for the most part, come from fairly dark source material, which is taken care of by running as far away from the initial story as possible. This is rather disgraceful to me, because, even in the “classics” you had violence, but never to the degree that it had to be omitted. It was perfectly acceptable to choke to “death” on an apple or fight a dragon in the golden age, and even if the Brothers Grimm had a different version of the story, it was still supposed to end happily ever after. By this time I was a precocious tween, and –shock- knew that Hercules was the result of rape and spent most of his life being hunted by his evil stepmother Hera, that Pocahontas was a thirteen-year-old girl who was later taken to England as a curiosity and died there of tuberculosis, that the only characters alive at the end of Hugo’s novel are Phoebus and maybe the goat. Which is why I like Tarzan and Mulan much more, because they don’t push the icky out of the way to make a story more sellable. We see Tarzan fight and kill the leopard, see the aftermath of a Hun attack, (not to mention we’ve already seen blood in Beauty and the Beast) but that doesn’t keep the movie from being acceptable to kids. They see worse on the news or in their own neighborhoods, and sugarcoating a violent story only makes it all the more shocking when they discover the truth and realize that they’ve been suckered.


rev•o•lu•tion
n.
1.
a. Orbital motion about a point, especially as distinguished from axial rotation: the planetary revolution about the sun.
b. A turning or rotational motion about an axis.
c. A single complete cycle of such orbital or axial motion.
2. The overthrow of one government and its replacement with another.
3. A sudden or momentous change in a situation: the revolution in computer technology.
4. Geology. A time of major crustal deformation, when folds and faults are formed.


(all definitions taken from dictionary.com)

So what does the future hold? Besides Chicken Little, American Dog, and Rapunzel Unbraided, I get the urge to slip Lilo and Stitch in here. Probably because such a deal was made about it being the last cel animation feature, and it seems so different from the trademarks of the second golden age. There’s tragedy and real danger, outcast heroes and comically melodramatic bad guys, and the design is aesthetically significantly different from its peers. Lilo and Stitch is a sort of closure, and though I haven’t seen Chicken Little yet and the rest are in production as of now, I rather hope that what’s to come follows its lead.
EDIT: I suppose Fantasia 2000 too, and maybe even the original, because they’re in a class of their own.

Okay, that went on longer than I’d planned, so lj cut for your reading pleasure. Any thoughts, or difference of opinion, or coexisting opinions? Let’s get this comm started!

Comments:


_midnightsyren_
_midnightsyren_ at 2005-11-17 02:06 (UTC) (Link)
I cannot begin to tell you how appauled I am by the second golden age movies and supposed "revolution" movies. Yeah, the revolution is destroying my love, loyalty and fasination with Disney. I like some of the second golden age films like Hunchback of Notre Dame even though it strays SOOOO far from the original story, but the freaking 2 movies DRIVE ME INSANE. They are all basicallt the same story line of original characters have a baby, baby grows up rebels against parents, comes back to the parent, and saves the day...COULD YOU PEOPLE BE A LITTLE MORE CREATIVE?!?!
gah...I tend to stick with the renaissance and golden age films. (Sword in the Stone, Black Cauldron,Song of the South, all those good movies)

wow...that was a long comment. There are just some topics in this world that you DO NOT want to get me started on. This is one of those topics. I could probably write you a novel on this subject, but seeing as this comment is already too long I shall end my rant right about...now! :D
sphynxlike at 2005-11-17 02:27 (UTC) (Link)
I could probably write you a novel on this subject

Please do! Personally I think that the "revolution" has a chance to make up for the blasphemy that was the second golden age, perhaps I am just too optimistic, but whatever gets you through the day, you know?
And am I correct in guessing that "freaking 2 movies" are all those lazy direct-to-video sequels like Cinderella2 and JungleBook2, becuase I haven't found anyone who like them. I didn't even consider them in any catergory, since they just seem like shame upon the frnachise, even thouogh chonologically they'd be second golden age :P
_midnightsyren_
_midnightsyren_ at 2005-11-17 02:46 (UTC) (Link)
yes, all of those lazy direct to video movies are the ones I loathe with a capitol "L". The category for them would be "The Dark Age" films. *meh, I sound really bad saying "freaking" I need to watch that*
And yes, I agree that some of the revoltion movies have a chance to return Disney to the glory of its golden age, but there are only one or two that have impressed me so far.
Would Pirates of the Caribbean be a revoltion film?
sphynxlike at 2005-11-17 03:44 (UTC) (Link)
I want to say yes, as it doesn't fall under the heading of "second golden age" or "abomination". It's live action (and I didn't think about live action as much, but most of them are golden age like Mary Poppins), which we haven't seen much of from Disney for the past decade, and it's down and dark and dirty, but it respects the story and doesn't attempt to fluff over it. I'd love to see more movies like it.
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