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Why Does Disney Insist on Shitting All Over My Memories?

Illustration for article titled Why Does Disney Insist on Shitting All Over My Memories?

Dear Disney,
I hear you’re releasing The Lion King in 3D. First you shit out two horrible sequels and now this? Are you trying to ruin my childhood?

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This is about hooking ‘em young, right? You’re throwing in a pair of free Simba-inspired 3D glasses to draw our wide-eyed youth into the newest film fad. Sure, Avatar proved that 3D movies—if done right—can be awesome. But Lion King 3D will not be awesome. Nobody needs to see Mufasa’s tragic death from three dimensions. It won’t make it anymore painful than it was in two. It might even make it silly.

That’s because Lion King’s creators made something moving and iconic in the first place. Adding bells and whistles to their work won’t automatically enhance its artistry. In fact, it’s somewhat akin to brightening the colors on a Da Vinci just to make it pop a little. After all, they’re fucking cartoons! Their two-dimensionalness is charming! If we wanted to watch realistic lions and monkeys battle it out to the death, we’d rent Planet Earth. Or we’d go see some talented people on Broadway.

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But this isn’t just about you jumping on the 3D bandwagon just for the hell of it. This is also about exploiting my precious childhood memories for profit. Every time you release a faux-movie that reinvents the Simbas and Aladdins from your classics, the eight-year-old in me dies a little bit more. My generation is broke and pessimistic about the future. All of our TV shows and movies are about drug rings or confusing relationships. The Disney Vault of classics is one of the last places we can go for a brief, happy-go-lucky viewing experience. But it’s just not the same when I know some two-bit peons revamped it in 3D and threw in some promotional prop just to make a couple bucks off some kids that don’t know any better. It takes away the authenticity of the experience and reminds me that this was not just a fun Disney flick made for my viewing pleasure as a kid. It is a money-making vehicle for the man.

So, well, fuck the man. The man has taken a big giant dump in the Vault. And it’s called 3D. Hakuna matata will never sound the same to me again. [RealD]

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DISCUSSION

robshapiro002
robshapiro002

Alyssa, I hear what you're saying - and though its really just your opinion, I'm going to tell you why you're wrong.

Sure the 3D thing is played out and super lame - but you have to admit, in instances where it works and really looks great, it is a lot of fun. A nice little 'extra' if you will. Coraline is a great example, in that the film is really a pleasure to watch, and with the 3D bits it really plusses it. I especially enjoy the opening credits with the stitching. I think it works nicely.

Now in the case of Lion King, here you have truly one of the masterpieces of 20th century animation. I worked at Disney at the time of production, in the Florida animation studio, giving tours of the facility to VIPS that would visit the parks. What a magical time it was in the early 1990s, when Disney was on top of the world and everything the touched turned to mountains of gold.

So the Lion King makes oodles of money and gets barrels full of praise. It comes out on video and tips the scales in home video dollars. Its a freight train of money for Disney. Well, why shouldn't they capitalize on that? Why not make a sequel - sometimes sequels are really great. Godfather 2, Toy Story 2 and 3, The Empire Strikes Back... not all sequels are 'Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls'. So they did some straight to video work. This was commonplace throughout the 1990s and the 2000s. Most were't that great. Some were wonderful. The bottom line is, its entertainment, and although its wonderful and great for grown ups, most of it IS greed towards kids. And guess what? Most kids aren't picky cinefiles. They don't care if the characters aren't quite on model or if Jim Cummings is doing the voice for King Triton this time around instead of Kenneth Mars. They just enjoy seeing their favorite characters in new situations.

I dare you to watch 'Lion King 1 and 1/2' and not find a little bit of entertainment value. Looks, its not the original, and its not 'Raging Bull'. It is however, better than 'Freddy Got Fingered' and worlds above any of the Barney, Dora or other 'not Disney' stuff that winds up on home video. By the way, some of the straight to video sequels have piss poor animation. Some of them, however shine far above even the theatrical features. 'Bambi II' is really a lukewarm movie. Not a great story, mediocre songs - the animation though is phenomenal.

So, back to the 3D... As I was saying, its simply there to 'plus' the movie. It gives you a little bonus while viewing something familiar, and if its the first time you're seeing the movie, its a nice way to add to the experience. No one is making you go see it in 3D, after all, you can watch it in wonderful 2D at home on DVD or on Blu-Ray in another couple of months. If it was simply 2 dimensional and that is it, then why did they bother adding tone mats to the characters, giving them those incredible underbody shadowing? Why add depth to the backgrounds and operate in virtual multiplane through the CAPS system of layering, coloring and filming? Because they wanted to have the most dimension available at the time. Now, with the new 3D format, they will be able to really showcase what they credited back in '94.

And it is NO way ruins the movie. If Disney releasing a 3D version of a film is indicative of them 'shitting on your memories', then your memories are as fragile as once-broken-then-glued china.