It’s highly unlikely that a member of our readership has NOT encountered a film from Disney at some point in his or her life, whether through family, friends or out of mere curiosity. When you walk into a movie theatre and the Disney castle appears on the screen, I can guarantee that you will likely walk out with either a smile on your face or teardrops streaming down your cheeks; the emotional connection Disney provides through its characters is unparalleled for a wide audience of adoring fans. Conveniently, Disney movies almost always guarantee a happy ending, meaning that the whole ordeal will be both inspirational and well worth your two hour’s worth of full attention.
It is not a surprise when we see Disney making the “The Most Anticipated Movies of the Year” list on a regular basis. It has been decades since the company released its first movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a mammoth blockbuster in 1937 as the first feature-length animated movie ever produced and distributed. It earned more than 185 million US dollars at the box office worldwide, equivalent to over 1.5 billion US dollars present day.
I, too, have a strong affinity for and personal relationship with many of Disney’s most noteworthy productions. Nowadays, almost every child living in the United States knows the Disney empire by name an branding because of how much the company has been a part of the entertainment opportunities for a wide range of audiences, both young and old, for nearly a century. Like many of those children, I was influenced by the other kids in my grade who swore by Disney and considered each new cinematic offering as a Gift from God. My friends and I would gather around the big TV screen on a Saturday night with our thick blankets and hot chocolate, always ready to re-watch our favorite Disney movie (Monsters Inc.), indulging again in its rich content and positive messages. Call it peer pressure, but the push to join the cool kids’ love of these films was strong and undeniable. This isn’t a bad thing, as their stories have helped create communities and strong relationships by modeling general virtues that are universal. There are worse addictions that young people could have.
Summer break is around the corner. Our time to escape into the magical world of Disney will most likely increase tenfold. During this occasion, we are provided with more time and opportunity to rewatch some of the classics. These movies help us look back on our pasts and recall some of the most heartwarming things that these movies have provided for us. Just like music brings people together, films are a great way to help us feel closer and connected. Studies have shown that watching films is a “social glue” in a way; it helps you and your friends recall significant occasions or even people in your life that joined in for the viewing. Disney movies, by their continued production over such a long time period, create a virtual timeline of our lives that remind us what we have done, where we have been, and who we have shared our lives with.
My personal favorites of Disney come from two ends of this timeline: Monsters, Inc. and Sleeping Beauty. Neither seems to show its age and, each time I view these, I am reminded why I am the ultimate fan. I recall buying the DVD collection of both of these movies with my brother, who loved them as much as I had. Watching these movies together with my brother helped close the six-year age gap and got us to talk more and more. It provided a bridge for my sibling to eventually become my soul mate.
Monsters Inc. was a peculiar movie. As a child, I would always be horrified by the images of the monsters featured. Still, I did have a soft spot for two of my role models, Sulley and Mike Wazowski. In this movie, we enter a world full of monsters who are assigned the job of scaring children by opening magical doors which would make way into a new world full of humans. These magical doors were located in the scream-processing factory in Monstropolis, the main city of this monster world. However, when a little girl named Boo wanders into Sully and Mike’s life and finds her way into a world full of monsters and encounters trouble. Their adventures include trying to keep the little girl out of sight and to bring her back home (to the human world) safely. Their mutual love grows throughout the movie. As a child, I would imagine encountering a world full of monsters and reenact some of the scenes from Monsters, Inc. with my friends and family. The wonder and creative spirit that it brought into my life is the aspect that I most miss in my film spectatorship today.
Sleeping Beauty was a film produced in 1959, loved by almost all of my childhood friends for its thrilling plot and the admiration of the beautiful princess. Being six and probably one of the clumsiest children, she appealed to me in having the perfect qualities: kind, beautiful, and royal!
This movie centers around this princess who is the victim of an evil spell cast by a wicked witch such that, on her sixteenth birthday, she would die from pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. The movie features Aurora’s life before she turns sixteen as well as after she pricks her finger and is left to die, only to survive if she were to receive a kiss from her true love. The plot of this movie was fascinating and engaging to the dreamy, whimsical me at that age.
Even in the modern world, Disney is continuing to have a big impact on adolescents year after year with their positivity, fantastical storytelling, and high-gloss productions. The power of Disney films is truly something that Disney fans cannot get enough admiration of. Their next big release is set for November 2, 2018: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is perfectly positioned to premiere and dominate the pre-Christmas holiday cinematic season. I am thrilled to continue my journey as an advocate for Disney fandom and hope that children of ALL ages continue to be active spectators for years to come.