Thursday, 27 August 2009

Why yes, I do watch Disney films without critically analysing them. Thanks for asking.

Everyone loves sounding clever at parties. What's more satisfying than sitting yourself next to a poor half-educated shlub and tooting brains out of your mouth-hole for ages and ages while they nod and wistfully dream of one day becoming as clever as you? Nothing. Nothing is. Unless you're a Nice Person, in which case this sounds like a fuckawful thing to do, and have probably had it happen to you on more than several occasions because you were too polite to pipe up and admit that you didn't quite understand the past ten minute's worth of bullshit. You see, I am often this person in question, the ranter. But I'd like it to be known that the difference between myself and your common or garden show-off is that I generally talk for ages and ages and ages due to a combination of gin and misguided super-appreciation for a subject. I'm generally trying to convince somebody to watch something (Withnail & I, The Wire, A Goofy Movie), listen to something (generally some band I've only just decided I LOVE out of sheer inebriation) or more regularly, read something (to my complete embarrassment, I nearly always tell people to read Thomas Hardy books. I do love Tess...but it's just not party speak). I often find myself on the receiving end of a conversation I don't want to be a part of however, and normally this ends up in friendship disaster. Drunk people are annoying at best, but combine my considerably more confident post-cider state and some "intellectual" who wants to chat endlessly about Women's Rights or the state of Cinema today, and you're probably looking at a relationship-ending comment, the fallout resembling the worst emotional nuclear winter ever recorded in history. Some things should be left in the old head box.

And so we jump seamlessly now from my insensitive boorish personality defects, to good old Disney films. As a kid, I only ever watched Disney films. Not out of prejudice or preference, just because they were the videos I had. The colours were nice, and the songs were catchy. I rarely watched TV and watched a whole film even less, because my mum comes from the "make the kids play in the garden as much as possible" school of parenting, which I actually enjoyed loads. What this meant was that watching a Disney (which is what I used to call films - either that or "something more colourful" as in "Can we watch something more colourful?" while the news was on. Invariably the answer was No) was an exiting event. Even now, at my grand old age of 21, the music that accompanies the beginning Disney castle logo makes me happy. It's a sort-of Pavlov's dog-type scenario. If it was raining, I was allowed to pick a video out of the cabinet, and choosing the video was very important. You didn't want to watch one you'd seen recently - that would be a waste of quality video time. So you'll forgive me, please, if the films themselves take a backseat to nostalgia and general appreciation. I just enjoyed watching them because they were a treat, and I still do now. I'm not very interested in new Disney films, because they don't hold the same magic for me - the reason I love Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast is because I loved them so much as a kid. The newest one I liked was Hercules, so it's really hard for me to enter the ongoing debate regarding CGI and proper old-school Disney, because as you'll have already noticed, I am somewhat biased.

It's not particularly cool to be a Disney fan when you're older - for some reason comics, anime and general Marvel action tomfoolery is allowed pretty much across the board, but mention that one of your favourite films of all time is The Lion King, and (in the circles I'm in at least) people will look at you with derision, and possibly sympathy. But that film has no subtitles! Where is the subtext? It's a cartoon for God's sake! You must be there a German live-action remake with added scenes from Hamlet? Incidentally, if I am told once more that The Lion King is based around a Shakespeare play, I may kill everybody in the whole world with the giant ball of flames and fury that I become. He recycled stories, Disney recycle stories - it just happens. I am in no way comparing the two, I'm just saying. Drop it you boring bastard, and continue with your life. Apparently, in order to Fully Appreciate Disney as an adult, you have to fully embrace the total nobbery that is Critical Analysis. Watch the films as much as you'd like, but try your very best to detect undertones of sexual discrimination, crime, cultural references, and most of all, aspects of racism. Adult Disney appreciators/critics (because everybody's a critic) generally love pointing out that old Walt was anti-Semitic, making links to Hitler and even banning their children from watching any of his classic cartoons for fear that the Pure Unbridled Evil will leap from the screen during the Little Mermaid's wedding scene and into their kiddy-winkle's brains.

Completely rational, considering a child's capacity for looking beyond chirpy soundtracks and fast-moving colourful shapes to unpick a hidden racist meaning. I've said it a thousand times before, but I'd like to say it again - Jesus Wept.

I might sound like a simpleton, but I don't care. I like watching my Disneys occasionally, just to enjoy them. I'm not a huge fan, I don't wear Winnie the Pooh t-shirts and go to Florida every year to see Mickey, but I think sometimes there's a time and a place for such a simple pleasure. If that makes me a fool, then so be it. I'd rather honestly enjoy something, than become a joyless blabberer, sucking the fun out of films that don't have to be viewed in-between the lines. If you want intellectual discussion, go somewhere else. My feature-film fairytales are to be ruined on pain of death.


Anonymous said...

Have you seen that Disney are making their triumphant return to hand-drawn 2d films, with The Princess and the Frog. I am right looking forward to it

Katie said...

I had not, but I'm jolly glad - I don't know why but I love the older hand drawn ones. Not Snow White or anything, but Hunchback of Notre Dame etc. The mix of CGI and drawing added something really lovely to the films. I thought.

chestymorgan said...

1st Disney movie to make me sob was Hunchback,Lilo&Stitch got me too..fastforward to Mummydom&I weep at many things;Makkapakka from in the night garden alone in his cave&most of all WALL E.
(no shit.It was the 1st cinema trip for Isla&I spent 85 of the100minutes sinking deeper into the neck of my top so as not to traumatise her with my weeping)

Disney SHOULD represent magic.The stories about Walt,weirdness & cryogenics are bandied about by sneering mo fo's who've had all the joy sucked out of them by a preoccupation with whether or not others think theyre cool.

I LONG TO HAVE A DRUNKEN CHAT WITH U MISSY;I too tend to innappropriately recommend Thomas Hardy books:D XXX

chestymorgan said...

oops,think I went off at a completely irrelevant tangent there.Sorry lovely!

It's bein in this ere capital;I love it but it is also a bit like being cock slapped with folks delusions of how cool&clever they are xx

Katie said...

You're probably absolutely right - people look for ways to sneer at Disney just like they look for ways to sneer at christmas. I, for one, will never stop loving both of these things, no matter how uncool it is to have a tiny bit of childish "yay" inside you.

Our drinky weekend must happen :)

gnasher said...

Agree with all that you've said - one of my housemates at Uni has an extensive collection of Disneys that we used to watch happily without analysis, but with plenty of beer. We're not gay or owt.

I also wanted to say that your writing is beautifully vibrant. It fairly leaps off the page with enthusiasm, wit and wisdom. Thanks for sharing!

Katie said...

Good stuff - Aladdin is best enjoyed with beer and a friend who knows the words as much as you do :D

Thanks for your lovely comment by the way :) I hope you'll stop by more often.

Anonymous said...

I cried at Wall-E too!
I think people generally enjoy being snobby about entertainment, whether its books, TV or films.
I personally don't see anything wrong in appreciating a Dickens' novel and also loving Harry Potter and Heat magazine or with enjoying a highbrow documentary as well as Big Brother and X Factor. And I know it certainly doesn't make me any less intelligent.
The amount of times I've had to argue my corner over liking all that stuff is ridiculous though!
I see it as a bit like food; most of the time you'll eat healthily, but every now and then you'll treat yourself to some junk and you'll enjoy it!
Another great blog by the way, really enjoyed it.

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