Okay, look. This is what’s called an in medias res strip. The action was in progress before you started reading.
One of my biggest grievances towards the Disney Corporation is that creatively, they came to a crossroads in the late 1980s, and they chose the wrong exit. Instead of concentrating on their solid contributions, like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Dick Tracy, they put absolutely everything into princesses, mermaids, and straight-to-VHS sequels. As they did in 2015, they forsook true movie magic for moolah and mommy issues. Roger Rabbit and Dick Tracy never got sequels because they were made by men and women who stuck to their guns. Disney abhors guns, even metaphorical ones.
In high school, I got the opportunity to tour CalArts as a prospective student. This included Disney’s wing, where a guy from my hometown worked. He showed me all the gigantic matte paintings for their upcoming blockbuster, Dick Tracy. Those sprawling, engrossing cityscapes crammed with buildings?
Every window, every detail. In person, they looked like you could fall into them. The painters hid lots of inside jokes, like names of beloved pets, and the silhouette of Disney icon Mickey Mouse’s head is suffused into several backdrops. To create a sense of geography, the painters repeated landmarks, like the mythical “Hotel Grand” neon sign. Notoriously prickly director and star Warren Beatty ordered it changed to “Grand Hotel”, then back to “Hotel Grand” again, and the painters aired their frustration with “Hotel Grunt”, which was visible in theaters for the final shot. I’ll bet you can see it on the Blu-Ray.
Anyway; this is just a fraction of my personal history with Disney. Roger Rabbit is a whole other animus; the equivalent of his movie and its subsequent shorts could and would not be made today.
Well, that’s thanks to Disney’s utter mollification objective.
Tarzan is a classic naturally masculine character. Naturally masculine men are a threat to media, in multiple ways. So Disney portrays Tarzan as a mushy, under-confident naif, with an utterly pusillanimous song from Phil Collins at his worst, “You’ll Be In My Heart”. Tarzan’s trademark vine-swinging is a vehicle for self-effacing slapstick and then-current effects. This sloppy mouthing of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ scrotum went on to be one of Disney’s most successful movies.
The only time Disney is comfortable portraying strong masculinity is when it’s an animal. This is Disney post-Dumbo. One of their few decent animated features since then is The Lion King, despite its wholesale cribbing from a Japanese cartoon (Kimba the White Lion). Masculinity is portrayed in two ways; quiet pride and treacherous evil. Children who embrace this Manichean reduction will become easy-to-herd adults. They’ll believe that anyone important in their lives will die randomly at any moment.
And when things get “too scary”, one of the shittiest Elton John songs in the history of sound pours molasses over everything.
Here’s why I don’t have children, in imaginary playlet form:
“Daddy, we want to watch Lion King again!”
“But we want to!!!”
“No. Not while I’m around.”
“But we WANT TO!!!”
“Here, watch Watership Down, you little shit.”
“NO!!! WE WANT TO WATCH LION KING!!!”
“In about five minutes, all you’re gonna ‘want’ is to breathe again.”
For me to sit in the presence of a child while The Lion King is playing, I would have to keep my opinions and profanities to myself. That ain’t gonna happen. There is nothing in that movie that would keep me from scarring a kid all the way to therapy, in my ranting. You don’t know what it’s like to be in earshot when I’m forced to see a movie I find contemptible. We’re talking Omaha Beach.
Every day I worked in the shopping mall after ’94, I had to hear that wretched Elton John song. Every single morning.
Then in 1997, Princess Diana of Wales died in a brutal car accident, after being dogged by paparazzi.
If you have any doubts about Disney’s imprinting of the “Princess” ideal, you didn’t have a girlfriend on August 31, 1997.
Tread eggshells when you discuss Princess Di with American women. “Princesses” are ingrained now.
Elton John’s maudlin “Candle In The Wind” was rewritten as a special single, commemorating Di’s death. Originally, it was a memorial for Marilyn Monroe, then Ryan White, a boy who died of AIDS. By 1997, any integrity this dirge might’ve had was obliterated along with Diana’s limo.
[This is where I embedded a YouTube link to the song. I’m tired of replacing the link t0 that piece of shit every time it’s taken down. You go look it up.]
When I was a teen, the main Elton John song on the radio and MTV was “I’m Still Standing”. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great, either. In the 1980s, the AIDS scare caused the expected issues in the media for Elton. As Wayne Gale said in Natural Born Killers, Elton was coerced into claiming bisexuality, in Rolling Stone. That’s what you do to get the bastards to leave you alone; they will try to bring you down with your own sexuality, otherwise. That’s tactic number one in the Asshole Playbook: Stab at the aspects of your enemy’s identity that the average person can’t understand.
I truly loathe the songs “Levon”, “Your Song” and “Crocodile Rock”. I used to think “Daniel” was a Jimmy Buffett tune. “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” enrages me.
Hold on a second, someone’s yelling–