For the past couple of months, Disney has been on my mind more than usual. That is, I've begun to think about it a bit more critically, in addition to ingesting the amount of Disney media a nostalgic centennial does. I've seen a few of the latest Disney films and even visited Disneyland for the first time. Disney pop culture has become somewhat of a common language. Disney's well-known characters and franchises comprise a cultural glossary that most people tend to refer to more objectively than subjectively. With that, I've realized that I have a few unpopular Disney opinions I'd like to discuss.
I strongly disliked Toy Story 4. (FYI: spoilers included).
This film went on so. many. tangents. As a whole, it felt as if a bunch of writers threw in different ideas without truly collaborating. On a micro-level, scenes that didn't forward the plot took up far too much time. What really got me, however, was the terrible ending.
The message of all four movies was ultimately thrown in the trash can, much in the way the concept for Forky should've been. Seemingly, the resounding motivation for Woody and the usual toy gang is "be there for your kid." In the case of this particular movie, it's why Woody trails after Forky in the first place. Yet, at the end, Woody leaves both Bonnie and his most loyal friends to hit the road with Bo Peep. This doesn't feel so much like a dynamic part of Woody's journey as it does a regression from his most iconic and worthwhile values. It's especially odd given that Bo doesn't seem to care if he stays or not. It seems more like an abandonment of his friends and an unwillingness to stay positive through challenges (i.e Bonnie not playing with Woody as much as Andy did) than a genuine desire for adventure, novelty, or even a life with his long lost fling.
I'd be lying if I said my heart strings weren't pulled by the "to infinity and beyond" line being split up between Woody and Buzz. However, I was less sad about them parting and more sad about having not seen them interact for more than two minutes in the entire movie. For the first time in my life, I wanted to become a frat boy and chant "bros before hoes." As much as I adored Bo Peep's character choices in this movie, the love story that holds Toy Story together is the one between Woody and Buzz.
Disney is becoming a lot more like Dreamworks.
In other words, they have been lowering their standards.
Now, don't get me wrong-- I have nothing against Dreamworks. I have nothing but love for Shrek, Megamind, and Shark Tale. There are many things Dreamworks does that Disney could learn a thing or two from, but not the things I'm about to talk about. Tonally, there's been a deliberate discrepancy in tone between the two companies. However, the gap is starting to involuntarily shrink as Disney relies more on cheap humor and cop-out celebrity cameos. Aka, not the kind of thing either should be doing, but has been more typical of Dreamworks. A recent example of this is Key and Peele's gratuitous characters in Toy Story 4, which were clearly written to assign celebrity names to the film and not to really enhance the story. Their characters weren't funny, necessary, or even endearing. Disney has built a reputation for creating vivid, original characters with voices of their own, but their specificity and nuance has declined in newer works.
Disney’s habit of buying other companies is compromising their creative potential.
I'm constantly unsettled by the notion that Disney movies are fueled by an abundance of corporate greed and a lack of artistic originality. The corporate greed has always been there, I'm sure, but it's more out in the open nowadays. The warm and fuzzies I feel watching older Disney media are trampled by the sterile moneymakers Disney now churns out like clockwork. In short, I think Star Wars and Marvel would be better without Disney's ownership. In an ideal world, letting them do their own thing would leave us with more innovative content.
The Lion King (both old and new) is wildly overrated.
There, I said it. It's boring, Simba is a jerk, and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" makes me puke in my mouth. I rest my case.