Classic Disney Films- What they Were and What they have Become

I love this video because this guy touches on some really good points as to how the morals and ideals delivered by Disney movies are far inferior to that of some of children’s leading visual media of today. HOWEVER I would like to make a couple of comments of my own.

First of all, I think we should take a moment to appreciate  the process in which Disney films were originally created. They were painstaking and mind numbingly HAND DRAWN. No graphics tablets, no Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, or After Effects. Just good ol’ fashioned transparent paper, pencils, perseverance, and masochism.  Every character for every frame for every second of every scene had to be drawn. Prior to the revival-renaissance of Disney in the 90s where CGI started to take form in animation- it would originally have taken about about 130,000 drawings to create a 90 minute length Disney film.


In regards to the ethical implications – Classic Disney films were simply created during a time in America where the economy was at its peak and there was relatively little thought given to ethical issues we deal with currently such as gay marriage, sexual equality or even racial equality. Why is it so hard to believe they were creating films about girls being swept off their feet by some prince and living happily ever after? During that time the ideal for women WAS to get swept off their feet by a man and live happily ever after.

Secondly, I think we should address the fact that less and less parents are even bothering to try to get their children to sit down and watch an entire Disney movie. With the ever increasing momentum of feature length animations and game development, lets face it- kids just don’t have the same attention spans as we did. So in light of this, I think it’s safe to say that aside from the never ending onslaught of Disney (princess) merchandise geared towards children, classic Disney films are transforming more into pieces of art rather than means for entertainment.

One thing that often gets forgotten is that most Disney films actually focused quite a bit on music. And I’m not just talking about the musicals either- One of Walt Disney’s most praised qualities was his imagination and ability to put visual form to music. This of course was most obvious with Fantasia, where he often applied music to abstract visuals i.e. making flowers “dance” to the same music originally written for the famous ballet “The Nutcracker”. But even in the earliest of Disney feature length films (Snow White) we can see evidence of this, such as trees and sticks appearing as demons and crocodiles to Snow as she ran through a forest while frightened. And who could forget the time poor Dumbo was tirpping balls


So while yes, I totally agree that the messages of Disney films are completely outrageous and outdated at this point and I doubt I would ever try and make my future child watch them, I still don’t think the movies should be discounted completely.

That’s why I like this video so much though. This guy is openly criticizing Disney films that people often consider classics that every child should experience. Because NO they aren’t for children anymore. They are for people who have enough knowledge to understand the underlying social, idealistic, and grossly outdated morals they teach, thus being able to look beyond and appreciate the films on a more artistic level.

Kirsten Young-Clark


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