Friday, January 20, 2012

Nick Talk's Disney, or "Love, Hate, and Mickey Mouse."

Today, I think I want to talk about Disney.

I have a rather love/hate relationship with Disney. This should not be minimized with the fact that ALL of my relationships are a little love/hate, but with Disney it seems patently so.

I loved Disney growing up… I never got to see the Disney Channel much in the 80’s during my formative years, but it was an oddly special treat to watch the classic cartoons (that you can pretty much only find on DVD archives anymore, if there) when visiting my grandparents in Clearwater, and I fondly remember going to the base’s library to pick through their vast collection of family friendly transfers of the old Magical World of Disney movies like from the 60’s and 70’s.

But the real treat, for me and the rest of the world, were the big features. This was especially true in the heyday of the early 90's when the now not-so-contemporary classics like Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and, of course, Beauty and the Beast were made. Yes, Pixar overtook Disney in terms of market share and relevance when they started pumping out blockbuster after blockbuster if full CGI glory from the mid-nineties on, but those last great traditionally animated features (granted, with a bit of CGI help here and there… like in the case of the Cave of Wonders and the Grand Ballroom) were magical.

There were dark times, of course… the direct-to-video “sequels” that tried to capitalize on said magic only to ultimately fall flat in the eyes and hearts of fans a large (though, I have no doubt they still made money)… and the “Disney Vault” practice still seems to be in full effect, hoarding titles to build up interest for whenever the corporation does decided to dribble much missed titles in that thin trickle their Marketeers™ deem appropriate.

I’m still missing the rest of several 90’s era cartoons from my collection, the final chapters from the Gargoyles saga or the remaining Darkwing Duck seasons still absent from any catalog. And several new shows that have caught my interest and would go well on my library shelf can only be found in minor “special editions” or as singular episodes as bonus features on DVD release of made-for-tv movie releases of the self-same shows.

How long must I wait for complete season sets of Kim Possible or Phineas and Ferb?
Well, probably quite some time, I’d imagine. I just make do with what I can, knowing that my own personal wants and desires from Disney’s vast catalog just aren’t profitable enough for them to sate my cravings (legally, anyway).

Still, there are old traditions begun anew, as the 3D trend has been seized upon by the rerelease proponents of the Disney Vault crew. Instead of recompiling a simple Blu-ray copy those masterpiece 90’s features, they’re bringing the oldies-but-goodies back to the theater for limited runs. It reminds me of their practice back in the day (before VCRs and DVD players and the internet) when they’d bring back Fantasia or Snow White every couple of years to reintroduce a new generation to the classics.

Now it’s The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast… and I can’t say it isn’t good to see them again. Especially since I didn’t have the will or foresight to play the Vault game and pick them up the first time on DVD earlier in the previous decade.

They look good… even if there are only a few shots that utilize 3D effects and several “state-of-the-art” bits look a bit dated (such as the title effects for Beauty). Seeing these family friendly films of yesteryear back on the silver screen… even if from behind filtered spectacles was worth the nominal overcharge for a single-serving shot of nostalgia.

So, I love Disney… and I hate it. I missed Belle and Lumière, Mustafa and Kim-*cough* I mean, Simba and was glad to see them again, despite the unnecessary 3D pandering.

They’ve got me… and no matter all their High School Musicals or screwing me on box sets never to be released (and always at FULL retail)… or censoring out their dirty back catalog history (*cough*Song of the South*cough) in the hopes that the public will forget, they’ll still have me till the day I give up all material possessions and forsake all art.

I don’t see that happening any time soon, do you?

1 comment:

  1. My favorite review!! But then, my DVD collection is made up mostly of Disney films.