'Aquaman' Showcases The Issue Of Pollution, Maybe Now We'll Start Caring About Our Oceans

'Aquaman' Showcases The Issue Of Pollution, Maybe Now We'll Start Caring About Our Oceans

The movie may be fictional, but this problem is very real.


I'm a comics fan. I love both DC and Marvel (although Marvel is obviously the better of the two, sorry not sorry). This isn't news to anyone who knows me, so naturally, I was excited for the newest installment of the DC comic movies, "Aquaman." I expected to enjoy it, and I definitely did, but what I didn't expect was to walk out of the theater with a feeling that the villain made a good point.

"Aquaman" follows Arthur, the son of the Queen of Atlantis and a human, his father. He has abilities that make both land and sea optimal worlds for him. When his half brother, the presiding ruler of Atlantis, decides to declare war on the people on land, or what they refer to as "the surface," it's up to Arthur to stop him. I won't get much more into the plot than that for fear of spoilers, but basically, the movie has a lot of action, a lot of humor, and a lot of heartfelt moments.

The movie also spells out a huge issue that our planet is currently dealing with: pollution and the way we're treating our oceans. One of the reasons the people of the sea are so intent on destroying the surface is because of the disregard for what goes into the ocean, into their home.

There's a scene in the movie that provides a stunning visual of just how much damage we're causing in every body of water on Earth. The ruler of Atlantis decides he's sick of the way humans treat their oceans, so he uses his power to create a giant tidal wave. This tidal wave isn't meant to kill anyone (yet), it's simply to send a message. The wave spits every piece of trash, sewage, and every warship inhabiting the ocean back onto the shores, resulting in massive piles of garbage and pollutants on every coast.

Watching this scene unfold, I thought, "Yeah, the guy has a point."

If our oceans possessed creatures strong enough to do something about the way we're treating their home, I'm sure they would. We thoughtlessly dump an unbelievable amount of waste into our oceans every year. In plastic waste alone, eight million tons are deposited into the ocean annually. Toxic waste materials, such as sewage sludge, industrial waste, and radioactive waste make up 80% of ocean pollution. Chemicals and toxins from pesticides are continually flowing into rivers and waterways that eventually land them right into the ocean, poisoning marine life.

This scene alone isn't the extent to which "Aquaman" showcases ocean pollution. I lost count of the amount of jabs at humanity for their poor waste management. The king of Atlantis is angry that humans have simply claimed the oceans as their property without acknowledging the presence of the life within them. The people of Atlantis and the other kingdoms in the sea are fed up with waste and garbage flooding into their home because of the carelessness showed by the surface.

And I can't say I blame them.

Obviously, the declaration of war and the intent to destroy humanity isn't great, but their motives aren't unfounded. This movie raises awareness of ocean pollution and environmental pollution, in general, and makes you think about where your garbage ends up. Though "Aquaman" provides little in the way of solutions to this problem, other than a giant sibling fist fight, the movie still resembles a call to action.

We can't clean up our oceans or stop producing waste overnight. But we can control, to some extent, where our waste ends up. Recycle whatever materials you're able to. Ditch plastic bags. Invest in a reusable water bottle. There are so many simple ways to reduce the amount of waste you produce, and thereby reduce the amount potentially dumped into bodies of water around the world.

Say whatever you will about the plot, the acting, the characters, and the adaptation of "Aquaman," but one thing that can't be denied is that visually, it's amazing, and it creates an image of the damage being done to the sea. It raises many questions about the way we're treating our oceans, and how the oceans would respond if they could.

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The 9 Eras Of Disney Animation

The evolution of Disney animation over the years

As a kid I always loved movies, and no movies did it quite for me like Disney movies did. Whether they were old or new, there was something about Disney movies that just spoke to me. The music the characters, the stories-- they all helped to shape some of my fondest childhood memories and are responsible for many of my interests and beliefs today. But what I always found most interesting is the history behind these films, how the time they came out influenced their themes and meanings. So today I’ll be exploring just that-- the nine eras of Disney animations.

1923-1928: The Silent Era and the Origins of Disney

The history of Disney begins with the Silent Era. In 1923, Walt Disney, working for Laugh-O-Gram studios out of Kansas City, Missouri, created a short film called Alice’s Wonderland, which would serve as the first of the Alice Comedies. After the company declared bankruptcy, Walt moved to Hollywood, where he and his brother Roy formed Disney Brothers Cartoon Studios. They worked out a deal with Winkler Productions to produce the Alice Comedies and eventually, in 1926, moved their company to Hyperion Street, where it was renamed Walt Disney Studios. After the decline of the Alice Comedies, Walt created his first ever original character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and produced 26 short comedies starring the character before a falling out with Charles Mintz, who had by 1928 taken over Winkler Productions. Legally, Oswald belonged to Mintz and his company, so he took the character and four of Disney’s animators and started a new animation company, Snappy Comedies.

1928-1937: Pre-Golden Age and Mickey Mouse

The Pre-Golden Age saw Walt recovering from the loss of Oswald and also set the stage for Disney as we know it today. In 1928, Walt, in collaboration with Ub Iwerks, created a new character that he originally named Mortimer Mouse. However, his wife didn’t like the name, so he renamed him Mickey (I think we can all agree this name is much better). Mickey made his first appearance in 1928 in a test screening of the short film called Plane Crazy. However, the film failed to pick up a distributor, so Walt went back to the drawing board and created Steamboat Willie, which was released in 1928. The film was an immediate success due to the fact that it was the first cartoon to feature synchronized sound and established Mickey as the mascot of Disney. After this, a series of Mickey Mouse cartoons were released. This series also saw the introduction of many Disney staple characters, such as Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Goofy. Donald Duck, another iconic Disney character, first appeared in Disney’s Silly Symphonies, a series of animated short films that were popular for their innovative use of Technicolor. With this, Walt had successfully bounced back from the hardships of the Silent Era and set the stage for the Golden Age of Disney.

1937-1942: The Golden Age

The Golden Age of Disney began in 1937 with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The film was the first full-length feature film to use traditional animation and was an immediate commercial success, establishing Disney as one of the leaders of animated filmmaking. Other films that were released during this time include Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi. Although all of these films would go on to become considered classics, at the time of their release only Snow White and Dumbo were commercially successful. What made this time considered the Golden Age wasn’t the commercial success of these films though, but rather the trends they created in terms of Disney filmmaking. Snow White was the first of the fairytale-based movies that Disney is known for and established the “Disney Princesses,” Pinocchio started the concept of taking well-known literature and turning it into a child-friendly film and Bambi explored the possibilities of making a movie through the eyes of a non-human character. Other Disney staples such as exaggerated villains, the use of music and prominent, comedic sidekicks were first introduced during this time as well. Another key characteristic of the films of this time was the inclusion of many dark scenes, which were usually sandwiched between upbeat and light scenes in order to create a mood shift. A similar, toned down version of this techniques would also be used in later films.

1943-1949: The Wartime Era

With the U.S.’s entry into World War II, Disney Studios faced lower budgets and a smaller team of animators as it entered the Wartime Era. Also known as the Package Era, the films of this time included Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, Melody Time, and The Adventures of Icabod and Mr. Toad. What made these films distinct from the Golden Age films is that instead of telling a single, continuous story, these films consisted of multiple short films within each. These films are largely ignored and widely unpopular, with fans criticizing them due to their lack of consistency and tone in each short. The Wartime Era also Disney Studios producing wartime propaganda, which included anti-Nazi commercials and flyers encouraging Americans to support the war.

1950-1967: The Silver Age and the Death of Walt Disney

Disney’s Silver Age, also known as the Restoration Age saw the return of many of the trends set forth by the Golden Age of Disney. Films released during this time include Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, and The Jungle Book. What made these films distinct from its predecessors was the use of more ornate backgrounds and softer colors. Furthermore, the Silver Age also saw the use of lighter themes balanced with more complex characters, creating many of the well-known characters that are still considered fan-favorites today. The Jungle Book was the last film that Walt himself worked on before his death in 1966, and the movie’s release marked the end of the Silver Age

1970-1988: The Dark Age and the Decline of Disney

Hope you guys have a flashlight ‘cos we’re about to enter a dark place, or rather a dark age (see what I did there?). The Dark Age of Disney, also known as the Bronze Age, saw Disney Studios struggle to find their footing without Walt there to hold the reins. This was a time of trial-and-error in which the animators shied away from traditional storytelling tropes seen in the Golden and Silver Ages and instead shifted toward darker and more secular stories. Films released during this time include The Aristocats, Robin Hood, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Rescuers, The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and Oliver and Company. With the exception of The Great Mouse Detective, which was both critically and commercially successful, most of these films only received little success, with The Black Cauldron being a box office flop. These films lacked Walt’s imagination and were criticized for only being intended to bring in money. The greatest criticism of these films was their departure from traditional animation and their use xerography. This saved both time and money, allowing animators to directly print their drawings onto cells. However, this process did have its limits and initially only black lines were possible using this method. As a result, films during this era are known as “Scratchy Films” because of the heavy black lines in their animation. While these films weren’t initially successful upon release, many have gone on to become cult classics. Also, the Disney Dark Age helped set the foundation for the pinnacle of Disney animation

1989-199: The Disney Renaissance and Birth of the Millennials

If you’re a millennial like me, then most of your favorite Disney moments and films likely come from the Disney Renaissance. The Disney Renaissance saw a return to the musical fairy-tale storytelling seen in the Golden and Silver Age while at the same time expanding on many of the themes and techniques introduced in the Bronze Age. Films released during this time include The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, and Tarzan. These films were also the first films that Howard Ashman and Alan Menken worked on, both of whom are key elements to Disney’s musical success. The films during this time also had many important themes that would influence the current views of millennials; Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame taught us not to judge people by their appearances; Mulan and Hercules taught us the importance of making sacrifices; and Aladdin taught us that there’s nothing wrong with being ourselves and that the circumstances of our birth don’t have to dictate who we grow up to be.

2000-2009: Post-Renaissance Era

Also known as the Second Dark Age, the Post-Renaissance Era was unique in that whereas previous eras were marked with having a common theme about them, this era was defined as a time in which Disney tried their hands at new methods in storytelling, similar to the Bronze Age. Films from this time include Fantasia 2000, Dinosaur, The Emperor's New Groove, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo and Stitch, Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, and Bolt. These films explored new storytelling elements marketed towards kids and more mature themes marketed towards the kids that had grown up during the Disney Renaissance that were now teenagers and young adults. While Lilo and Stitch was a commercial success, spawning several sequels and a T.V. show, most of the other films released during this time only received moderate success. This was in part due to the fact that they also had to contend with huge movie franchises like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Despite not doing as well as their predecessors, the films released during the Second Dark Age are well known for their innovation. Dinosaur was the first Disney film that used CGI animation, which would become a popular element of this era’s successor.

2010-present: Marvel, Star Wars, and the Second Disney Renaissance

Just as a Renaissance followed the first Disney Dark Age, a Second Disney Renaissance followed this Second Dark Age. Also known as the Revival Era, this era marked a return to the fairy-tale storytelling seen in the Gold and Silver Ages as well as the first Disney Renaissance. During this time, Disney bought the rights to Marvel and Lucasfilm, meaning they no longer had to worry about trying to market their films toward older audiences since the MCU and Star Wars did that for them. Films released during this time include Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Winnie the Pooh, Wreck it Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero 6. Like the first Disney Renaissance, the Second Disney Renaissance built off several things introduced by its predecessor. Tangled, for example, used the CGI techniques first used by Dinosaur. Most of the films of this era have been met with great popularity, with Frozen being the highest grossing animated film of all time and Big Hero 6 being the highest audience-rated film of this time period.

And there you have it, the nine eras of Disney animations. I hope you guys enjoyed reading about the history of Disney and its growth through the years. I personally loved writing this article and look forward to writing more like this one.

Cover Image Credit: Travel and Leisure

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I Hope That Disney's 'Aladdin' Remake Doesn't Ruin It

Will they succeed or fail with this movie?


This past week, Disney released a full trailer for their remake of "Aladdin" that is coming out this May. Now there has been a lot of conversation about this movie, especially about the fact that Will Smith is playing Genie. So the main question is will this movie succeed or will it be another Disney remake flop?

There is a lot riding on this movie, so I pray and hope that Disney makes this right. From what I have heard at this point in time, it looks like music from the original 1992 version will be a part of the movie and maybe some new songs from Alan Menken. It still seems unclear if the story will completely follow the same line as the 1992 version. From what can be seen in the trailer I am assuming it will be, but the description is talking about following the book story of Aladdin so we will have to wait and see.

I am just truly hoping that Disney does a good job with this remake because in the past some of them have been good and some of them haven't been that good. Disney is reaching that point where they are starting to remake a lot of the movies that my generation grew up with from the '90s. These movies literally filled our childhood, so Disney has some high standards to be able to fulfill.

I know with the other recent talks about the live-action "Mulan" coming out and there not being any songs in it, has caused a lot of uproars. As well as, the beginnings of a remake of "The Lion King," Disney is hitting on all of our childhood classics. And yes remakes can be great, but sometimes the originals should be the only versions.

Personally, "Aladdin" was my absolute favorite Disney movie growing up and the remake is coming out right after my birthday so of course, I am going to see it. But if Disney turns this movie into a flop, I'm going to be very disappointed. Disney for the sake of all the 90's kids who grew up on this movie please please don't mess it up.

"Beauty and the Beast" is a great example of this. I like the remake, but it still did not stand up to the standards and quality of the original. I think it is great that Disney wants to remake movies and bring that classic Disney magic to a whole new generation, but when they make the movies a flop, it takes away from that classic Disney magic.

In the end, this new remake of "Aladdin" is either going to succeed or flop, I personally hope that succeeds because I truly love this movie. Either way, I am still going to see it, but I really want to keep my hopes high that this movie will do well, even with Disney's previous hits and misses of their live-action remakes. For the sake of all of the 90's kids and the Disney legacy I hope that this remake stays true to the original as best it can.

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