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Sunday, August 20, 2023 

A Disney animator who defends Song of the South, while the son of a late animator slams Snow White remake

A writer at Pajamas Media tells of a veteran animator who's defended Disney's 1946 combination of live action with animation, Song of the South, and it looks like the studio's first African-American animator did too:
Walt Disney fought hard to make “Song of the South” his way, and he was much more hands-on with it than he had been on a film project in years. It paid off in a style that still looks inventive today.

“Song of the South” also inspired the longtime Disney Parks attraction Splash Mountain, which recently closed at Disneyland and Walt Disney World for new theming. Yet “Song of the South” has remained buried in the Disney vaults since 1986 because somebody, somewhere expressed discomfort with the film’s black sharecropper characters (today, we would use the term “problematic”).

Despite support from legendary film critic Leonard Maltin and Disney’s first black animator Floyd Norman for re-releasing “Song of the South,” Disney stands firm. Norman even wrote about showing a print of the film at a black church in Los Angeles in the ‘80s, and the congregation loved it so much that they requested a second screening.

“Yet even today the film continues to be mired in controversy, and that’s a shame,”
Norman wrote. “I often remind people that the Disney movie is not a documentary on the American South.”
Something that was distorted over time is that, contrary to any absurd claims made about it being set in a slave plantation, the movie is set in the post-Civil War era, and the African-American workers there are NOT slaves. Rather, they're paid employees, who're free to go whenever they like. So why, after finding such a positive reception at a black congregation, they suddenly decided to lock the movie away in the vault till kingdom come?
A few weeks ago, Tony Baxter, the iconic Imagineer and Disney Legend, did a lengthy interview with Zeitgeist Design and Production in which he defended both Splash Mountain and “Song of the South.” Baxter told interviewers that as Imagineers were planning what would become Splash Mountain, then-CEO Michael Eisner rereleased “Song of the South” in theaters to see if it would resonate as well with audiences in the ‘80s as it had 40 years earlier. The film did even better than it had done in any previous theatrical runs.

Baxter said that the Imagineers were aware of the potential racial pitfalls of both the movie and the ride, so they worked with the NAACP to make sure that Splash Mountain, which centered on the animated animal characters rather than the live-action human actors, avoided elements that the black community might find offensive.
So it's definitely ironic that since the late 80s, the film was largely withdrawn from distribution by Disney themselves, and now the theme park looks to be drastically changed, no matter how it was originally designed.
Disney puts disclaimers on all kinds of films and shows on Disney+, so why not re-release “Song of the South” with disclaimers? Or why not produce a documentary about how race relations have improved since the 1870s (the setting of “Song of the South”) and the 1940s (the making of “Song of the South”) to accompany a Blu-ray or streaming purchase?

Here’s the thing: everybody knows that “Song of the South” isn’t in touch with modern sensibilities, but neither is much of anything from that time period. It’s too late to save Splash Mountain (except at Tokyo Disneyland), but Disney could allow new generations to enjoy the entertainment and homespun life lessons of “Song of the South.”
And regrettably, they won't, with the way they're going, no matter what liberal serves as CEO. And even more regrettably, the problem with Disney today is that they follow a woke narrative that the USA is "systemically racist", and cannot be mended in any way, shape or form. Just one of the reasons they're losing out in ticket sales now.

Now here's another report through the Daily Caller, about the son of the late director for Disney's Snow White classic, who takes issue with the new, politically correct live action remake:
The son of the original “Snow White” film’s director claims the live-action remake would disgrace his father.

David Hand, son of the director of the 1937 “Snow White” film, criticized Disney’s new live-action remake Friday as “insulting” and “woke,” according to The Telegraph.

“I mean, it’s a whole different concept, and I just totally disagree with it, and I know my dad and Walt would also very much disagree with it,” Hand said.

The live-action film was described as a “pathetic” project that would have the deceased director, also named David Hand, and Walt Disney “turning in their graves,” the 91-year-old son said to The Telegraph. He also said the studio “destroyed his father’s creation.”

Actress Rachel Zegler, cast as Snow White, said the princess will “not be saved by the prince” and that she is “dreaming of becoming the leader that she knows she can be.”

“The original cartoon came out in 1937 and very evidently so,” Zegler said in a viral red carpet interview with Extra TV. “There’s a big focus on her love story with the guy who literally stalks her. Weird, weird.”
Which sounds more like a claim it would've been far better if Snow White had remained comatose forever, and the prince was nothing more than a lech who had no right to fall in love with her. What a sham and a terrible farce this film's become, if this is how the live action remake's own star is going to publicly denigrate the source material. The Federalist responded with the following:
Rachel Zegler, the star of Disney’s upcoming live-action “Snow White,” has spent what seems like every interview about the movie regurgitating the tired talking points of current-day feminism. Zegler, along with the many women who share her beliefs, blindly undervalues the long-standing feminine traditions that deviate from her ideal girl boss archetypes. She ought to reconsider what women truly find fulfilling.

When asked about Disney’s new angle on the fairytale during an interview, Zegler said, “I just mean that it’s no longer 1937, and we absolutely wrote a Snow White … [who’s] not gonna be saved by the prince, and she’s not gonna be dreaming about true love, she’s gonna be dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be.”

Zegler’s “progressive” take is actually regressive, mirroring trends that negatively impact marital stability and social cohesion. She fails to see the value in a reality many women do live and many women do find fulfilling. Zegler and those who share her beliefs could benefit from listening to the classics rather than jumping to critique them, starting with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
Yes, and as I've argued before, it's hilarious how live action is valued so much over animation stateside. A movie like the new Snow White only compounds that perception. John Nolte at Breitbart also stated:
Overall, this Snow White remake is so poorly conceived — and I can hardly believe this — Gal Gadot plays the evil queen jealous of Snow White’s beauty. Yes, we’re supposed to suspend enough disbelief to buy into the idea that this woman is jealous of this oompa loompa’s beauty.
Speaking of Gadot, her new movie broadcast on Netflix, Heart of Stone, got a pretty poor reception, currently at less than 30 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and audience reception wasn't much better at 56 percent. That's certainly a non-starter for a movie they may have been hoping would be the start of a franchise (and much less than her previous vehicle, Red Notice). Can't say I'm disappointed, seeing how she's lent herself to a Disney project that's stunningly woke, and if I were in charge of Heart of Stone's production, I wouldn't want to hire a writer as awful as Greg Rucka for scripting. This is why it's hard to say Gadot's got a serious film legacy to her resume, when merit and reception is so weak.

I sure hope this new live action Snow White melts into a puddle at the box office. It's plain shameful how Disney's been turning their classics into non-animated travesties for the sake of political statements.

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One of the writers of Heart of Stone is leftist comic book writer Greg Rucka (Whiteout, The Punisher, Wonder Woman, Lazarus). And one of the dialogues of that movie's climax is blatantly woke.

Bear in mind, though, that Snow White predated Disney by many years. The Disney cartoon was modified a lot from the original fairy tale. So it is hard to complain about a new version, They are both taking liberties with the same old story.

To be fair, the Disney cartoon also had to budget time so they needed to make a few cuts to make sure it met the deadline, so them making changes was a bit understandable given the circumstances.

Either way, at least the original Disney cartoon didn't make its changes to push a socio-political ideology, unlike the remake (if ANY Disney cartoon did something like that, it was Beauty and the Beast).

ALL the Disney films were like that. They tended to make everything, well, Disneyified, much sweeter and nicer, smoothing out all the rough edges. That is why P L Travers hated what Disney did to her Mary Poppins books. The Disney films pushed an ideal of feminine domestic sweetness; it was a different ideology, albeit one that you agree with.

But fairy tales are like that; there is no fixed and definitive form or canonical version and they always change in the retelling.

I'm not entirely sure Disney really managed to make things particularly sweeter for their fairy tales. The Evil Queen most certainly was considered a very terrifying version of her, arguably MORESO than her original rendition where she was usually depicted as comically hideous even BEFORE disguising herself, yet Disney insisted they make her look plausibly beautiful specifically to ENHANCE the fear factor regarding her. And Cinderella was primarily based on the Charles Perrault version, which was sanitized to begin with. Even Sleeping Beauty ended up making Maleficent into a genuine threat (originally, she disappeared from the story after cursing Aurora and just let fate handle the affairs, while here she also issued a 16-year-long manhunt against Aurora, was implied to have possessed or at least brainwashed her into pricking the spinning wheel, captured and psychologically tortured the prince, and in a rather pointed reference to Talia, the Sun and the Moon, Sleeping Beauty's basis, she planned to keep Philip for a century before releasing him to awaken her as an old man, implying that she was going to engineer rape). And don't get me started on The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, where their subject matter was arguably DARKER than the original stories due to themes of racism/sexism, and Ariel entering a faustian deal and VERY narrowly avoiding that fate and having to redeem herself.

If anything, the PBS fairy tale adaptations in Super Why! were WAY more sanitized than Disney EVER was.

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