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Disney’s magic is gone

To+Emily+Cole%2C+recent+Disney+movies+feel+a+little+less+magical%2C+causing+her+to+hold+tight+to+the+original+movies+that+satisfied+her+as+a+child.+
Mary Elizabeth Autry
To Emily Cole, recent Disney movies feel a little less magical, causing her to hold tight to the original movies that satisfied her as a child.

OPINION

When I think of the most magical place on Earth, I think of Disney. Or at least I used to.

My most cherished memories were built from watching Disney princesses grace the screen and wishing I could have a Prince Charming to take me on a magic carpet. Even to this day, I am still singing along to some of the most recognizable tunes of my childhood. I watched Disney because it was safe, and in return, Disney granted me stories and lessons that I would take with me throughout my childhood.

All in all, Disney is one of the most influential media producers ever, for me at least. Disney and I have grown since my childhood, but now I wish Disney had stayed the way it was.

Recently, the mass media company has been struggling to live up to the magical image I remember from my childhood. Some of Disney’s modern movies have seemed to be aimed at making statements rather than stories.

For example, Disney used the 2023 live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid” to make an effort to cast more diverse actors, but they did it in a lazy, unfulfilling way to score cheap points.

This new “Little Mermaid” was met with both enthusiasm and backlash pre-release due to Ariel being portrayed by a Black woman. I, however, didn’t think much of it until the trailer came out. 

When the trailer came out, I vividly remember everyone’s enthusiasm. One of my favorite moments from its release was seeing videos of Black women and girls seeing themselves in the one and only Princess Ariel. I was thrilled to see everyone’s happiness with the trailer. 

But then came the movie. Don’t get me wrong, Halle Bailey is very talented, but the movie was not what I expected. I thought the cast change would contribute to the story, creating a deeper connection to Black audiences through subtle storyline changes. Instead, however, it felt like an empty gesture.

In my opinion, what they could’ve done to make their effort more effective was to make a new movie. This way they could’ve shown how they cared about their audience through a plot that really, truly connected and not just copy-pasting the same character.

I was fed up with Disney, but when they announced their live-action remake of “Snow White,” I tried to set my frustrations aside. 

This is a familiar, sweet story about a beautiful girl who lives with seven dwarfs and is saved from danger by a handsome prince. Happily ever after. I loved this movie as a kid. And despite my recent irritation with Disney, I was excited to see this new Snow White, which is set to release in March of 2025 starring Rachel Zegler as Snow White.

I later learned that, to my dismay, Disney isn’t simply remaking Snow White as a live-action film. Instead, they are rewriting the entire premise of the story, again trying too hard to pander to their audience and sacrificing the magic of a story.

Controversies surrounding this upcoming movie started after an interview with Zegler, during which she gave a brief explanation of her new portrayal of Snow White. 

“[W]e absolutely wrote a Snow White … that’s not going to be saved by the prince, and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love. She’s dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be,” Zegler said

In other words, Disney is fundamentally changing “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in order to make a feminist proclamation. Again, this feels like a statement, not a story.

This upsets me because Snow White is supposed to be about her being saved by a prince. It’s the whole premise of the story. With this change, they take away something that made the story so special: love. I get the feeling of wanting to be a strong, independent woman, but it’s also okay to want to be saved by a man and to fall in love.

There will still be a prince, but based on Zegler’s interview, I have little faith that he will play a role as important as he did in the original.

It’s all just a way for Disney to share their opinion on certain matters, and I’m not sure it’s really effective. Besides the obvious decrease in box office sales, all of these new decisions Disney is making have affected the quality and nostalgia of their new works, in my opinion.

I had some feelings about this. Sadness, anger and emptiness among them because, if I’m being completely honest, this was my last real hope for Disney.

Why is Disney changing stories that used to satisfy my child self and so many other children across the world? It’s to make a statement, not a story.

“You’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine,” was said by Snow White all the way back in 1937. If my dreams come true, then maybe Disney will try to be the sunshine again, just like they were all those years ago. Until then, I’ll stick to my old, nostalgic, and oh, so magical Disney movies.

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About the Contributors
Emily Cole, Reporter
Emily Cole is a freshman who is very excited for her third year at St. Mary’s and her first year on Tatler. She is eager to explore a type of writing style that is different from the essays that she is used to writing in school. This summer, Emily visited the Rocky Mountains with her family, but one item on her bucket list is to someday see the Northern Lights. For now, you may find her watching her all-time favorite show “Survivor,” eating egg rolls or mint-flavored ice cream or sprinting for the track team. Emily is also a fraternal twin who loves the color yellow and animals; specifically, her cat Figgy, her two dogs Penny and Ollie and the fox that has moved into her backyard. Emily is a little nervous but mostly excited to be starting high school and is looking forward to trying new sports, classes and other activities.
Mary Elizabeth Autry, Photographer
Mary Elizabeth is a freshman starting her first year on Tatler as a photographer. She has always been interested in photography and is excited to share her photos with others through Tatler. Mary Elizabeth has been a ballet dancer for around five years. When she is not in the studio or taking photos you can find her playing with her two dogs, Jengo and Romy, baking, running, reading or watching her favorite TV shows. Right now, she is a big fan of “The Summer I Turned Pretty” (a big fan of the books too), but she cannot wait for the new season of “Stranger Things” to come out. Although it is not Mary Elizabeth’s first year at St. Mary’s, she is excited to experience all the traditions that high school has to offer. Specifically, she cannot wait for her first Derby Day. Mary Elizabeth cannot wait for her first year on Tatler and her first year as a high schooler!

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  • M

    Martha PughFeb 1, 2024 at 11:13 am

    Love this,Emily…very insightful and sad too…

    Reply
  • A

    AnabelleFeb 1, 2024 at 7:14 am

    GREAT JOB EMILY!!

    Reply