Thank you for Inspiring me, Sunshine

I haven’t written on the blog quite as often as I should, although the ideas and theories never stop running through my head. I write them down in my notebook, but they stay there waiting to be freed… in this case waiting for me to have a life outside of work.

A few weeks ago I went to see Brave with a friend of mine (yes, the darkest of sins, I missed a Disney movie premiere) and although the movie was good, as all Disney’s creations are to me (each in their own way), once again The Walt Disney Studios* fell short on (re)creating a Celtic tale. The movie had some harsh reviews, but like most of the reviews we read, they were subjective to the bloated egos of their authors and were completely over the top, Brave is a good movie: technically brilliant, smart sense of humor, wonderful new characters that you know you’ll remember for years to come and the unmistakable seal of Disney’s, that splash of magic that only Disney can weave. Nonetheless, you expect more from the creators of mind-blowing masterpieces like Snow White, Wall-E, Peter Pan, Toy Story, Lion King

Brave was a very small splash of magic compared to what The Walt Disney Studios can do and, believe it or not, this is the 3rd time that Disney attempts to bring to life an Arthurian-like tale and misses the mark. This is a phenomenon that I like to call Disney’s Celtic Jinx.

This started in 1963 with The Sword in The Stone, Disney’s adaptation of T. H. White’s story, that portrayed the life of the young Arthur and his education in the hands of Merlin until he finds Excalibur. The movie totally misses the ambiance and tone of White’s story and although you have some funny episodes and some memorable landscapes and background animation, the action is poorly connected and the character development is shallow, none of them has that magnetic power that Disney’s characters usually exude. The movie was a hit in the box offices, but failed to win the hearts of the “fair audience”, it is one of Disney’s least remembered animated features.
In 1985, Disney released their 2nd jinxed epic remake, The Black Cauldron, oh let me guess… you’ve never heard of it?
This “Tolkienesque” adventure was based on Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain and it was an overly ambitious project for the unstable times The Walt Disney Studios (Walt Disney Productions back then) was now facing. The Black Cauldron was a much too complicated project to be taken on by a new generation of artists who were not yet attuned to Disney’s spirit and to each other’s work. With the legendary “Nine Old Men” leaving, these young artists, although very talented, were still very green and the production of this feature dragged on for years, becoming more confusing by the hour. The movie release was a fiasco, the action and sets were too gloomy and excessively soaked in mythological cliches. The Horned King, one of the visually scariest Disney characters, is two-dimensional and completely out of place, there is nothing in that character that makes you say, “this is Disney’s work”!

And we’ve reached the 3rd jinxed attempt of creating a celtic-like myth. Although Brave is an original script, it still disappoints: the beginning of the plot is very promising and the characters have that incredible liveliness and uniqueness that only Disney characters have (just watch the expression on Fergus’ face), but the story inevitably falls into cliche, stumbles all over the action and crashes into a nonsensical order of events and character interaction. Don’t get me wrong, it has deliciously funny moments and characters, sweet contagious optimism and magic, but it leaves us hungry for more… I guess after the 3rd jinxed attempt we are waiting for the final redemption. The 4th is a charmer, doesn’t the story goes like this?

What will it be Walt Disney Studios? will we have a 4th attempt that will make us forget the Celtic Jinx saga?

*Note to the readerThe Walt Disney Studios encompasses the creation, production, promotion, sales, distribution of live-action and animated motion pictures, home entertainment releases, music and soundtrack recordings, and live stage plays. The Walt Disney Studios business segment includes the following brands: Walt Disney Animation Studios; Pixar Animation Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Disneynature; Marvel; Touchstone; Disney Music Group and Disney Theatrical Group.

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