Life After Walt
Review By: Gringo

First of all, I'm far too old to be watching Disney's feature films. Oh, but Gringo they are fun for kids from 1 to 101, you say. Also you ask why I refer to myself in the third person and by a pseudonym (I know big words). For some reason I decided to watch several of the House of Mouse's - oh my - more recent offerings; from the tale of a mermaid who just wanted to do it with a human being, to a bunch of lions fighting over a rock. I noticed a couple of trends in the movies, which I am going to share with you, yes you, my dear, dear amigos. I was going to write a review for something more recent, but I live in a box and only have three cents to my name, so going to the cinema is out of the question.

The Little Mermaid. Ariel is a mermaid. She is little. She wants to be a human, so that she can do it with a hunky prince (swish!) she saves from drowning. Papa Triton, king of all the sea, is having none of it - but a fat witch called Ursula might just help! Hooray! However, whilst the focus is on Ariel's wish, the most memorable character is Sebastian, a jive-talking crab. Every single thing he says is done to rule, following common Disney trend #1: stupid foreign voices. If the character has a particular accent, count on it being overdone. Most of Sebastian's dialogue is presented in what must be intended as a Caribbean accent, so all of his conversations go like this; "ARIEL, DEE WORLD UP DERE IS NOT FILLED WITH STEREOTYPICAL VOICES! UNDAH DA SEE! DIGGITY!". Of course, this musical crustacean also continues trend #2: bursting into song for no apparent reason.

Ariel gets her wish in a tainted form by fat witch Ursula. This spell-casting gravel-voiced loon has purple skin. Ariel agrees to swap something for being human... her voice. In an animated voice-over cartoon, Ariel loses her voice. Hello, sense! Here is an example of the way Ursula's twisted witch mind words: once upon a time there was a fatty melt monster, and a lonley merman. Ursula turned the fat man into a busty woman, thus letting the merman find love. Icky. This kicks off common Disney trend #3: subversive promotion of a wide range of sexuality. This example promotes gender-changing man-man love as an acceptable lifestyle. Golly! There's even a penis on the movie's poster! Go see! Of course, that's all an untrue urban legend...or is it? DUN DUN DUN!

Beauty & The Beast. This movie, which is probably second best to the Lion King (next week I shall no doubt be rating Care Bear toys as I regress to being four years old), continued the worrying common Disney trends. First of all, the overdone accents. Angela Lansbury is a teapot, some French guy is a candle-holder. Both talk in ludicrously thick Cockney and French accents respectively. Lansbury's teapot is all "Oi, cor blimey guvnor!" whilst the candle-holder enjoys saying things like "Ooh la la, I am sure ze ladies will want to light my wick, monsieur". Secondly, the questionable sexuality. If The Little Mermaid was about sex-changes, Beauty & The Beast is even worse, urging us to accept bestiality as an alternative lifestyle. Judas! Hey, and I never had any Care Bear toys. Honest.

Of course, this being a Disney movie everyone bursts into song as often as possible. In fact here it's worse than ever. It seems like the non-singing parts are just filler for the songs. There's some twisted logic in this movie, too. The town that Belle (the one who loves doing it with animals) lives in is screwed up. They think she's a freak of nature because she reads books. All of the villagers even line up to sing this to her. Belle's lucky she's not obese, because the entire village would probably prod her with sticks and try to kill her for ham supplies. Their hatred of her seems a bit odd, but hey, it gives an excuse for a couple more songs! Great!

Aladdin. Hi! I'm the genie! This is a good point to mention trend #4; the over-use of sidekicks in Disney movies. A crab and fish in The Little Mermaid, household objects in Beauty & The Beast and now a monkey wearing a hat in this movie. The film-makers had a brief lapse into common sense, as Abu the monkey couldn't talk, he just made homosapian-like noises. But of course one sidekick is never enough. Oh no. So what do we get? A living flying carpet and a rather irritating genie. I like Robin Williams' humour. Well, to a point. I even like some of the movies he's been in, even if Bicentennial Man makes me want to grab hold of a shovel and beat his face repeatedly. But his whole over-acting comedy routine was already getting tedious by the time Aladdin came around. However, this being a Disney film the more outrageous the sidekick's behaviour, the better.

Apparently, Aladdin continues the theme of sexuality in the role of bad guy Jafar. There are some people who think that he's a homosexual because he wore a big hat and didn't want to marry Princess Jasmine, Aladdin's love interest. Oh, and the Genie makes the pretty pathetic joke: "I'm getting kind of fond of you kid, not that I want to pick out curtains or anything." Ha. The only good thing about the use of the sexuality trend here is that Disney exhausted all the various types of sex references, so the final movie - involving a king and some lions - is sex-free. Apart from the nude scene with Whoopi Goldberg. But I think that was cut from most editions.

The Lion King. The last three movies had ignored what was once a prolific trend in Disney movies. However, in the shape of a lion called Scar, this movie managed to resurrect it instantly. I'm talking about rule #5; the English are BAD SCUM. See, apparently anyone who speaks like Lord Autumnbottom is a dastardly bastardly devious devil. Might just be a bit harsh on the English, but then again...anyway, Scar speaks with the requisite pretensious accent so the audience can learn early on he's the bad guy. Of course, they totally ignore the fact that supposed wise man Mufasa is voiced by James Earl Jones, who also voiced Darth Vader. The lesson is: American accents good, English accents bad.

Yet The Lion King isn't a bad movie, in fact it's actually quite good (hi, I am 10 today!). However, like its predecessors it's guilty of many unfortunate trends. I've not seen any more recent movies from the studio like Tarzan or The Emperor's New Groove, but like I said that's because I live under a bridge in a cardboard home. Therefore, I can't tell you if the trends continue. So to summarise; Disney wants you to believe that sexual deviancy is good, singing advice for no real reason is normal, patronising people with accents is funny, having annoying sidekicks is good for you, and anyone with a stiff upper-class English accent is a dirty, no good varmint. I'm fine with that.

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