So this morning I didn’t get up to go to church. My mother’s response was to state that she feels I’ve been behaving more and more like a heathen, not reverencing God. I could talk about that in this post, but I feel I still need to digest that accusation in order to speak about it better. I need to sit on it a little bit so that it’s not just a knee-jerk reaction post.
When it comes to fictional-based things that have shaped me, in spite of everything, Disney is one of them. The only thing that is comparative is The Lord of the Rings. (I cannot thank the authors of Finding God in The Lord of the Rings enough – no matter how controversial the book or topic of allegory has been among Tolkienites – because it opened up the dialogue regarding the faith of J.R.R. Tolkien, and finding religious themes in secular literature/media – so that my mother allowed me to watch the films, and then read the books, which began a love affair for all things Middle-earth and Tolkien that has been unwavering; well, it wavered with The Hobbit films, because NO, but that’s inconsequential.) And because Disney was one of those hard-fought-for allowances at times in my my youth, I think that makes many of the films even more special to me. They are something I have a bit of a deeper connection with. And as a highly imaginative and creative person, they spoke to me and inspired me then and continue to do so.
So without further ado, here are 12 questions about Disney and my responses as best as I can articulate them:
1. What’s your favourite Disney film and why?
This is always a little like picking a favorite child. The massive catalog of films makes nearly impossible and I tend to overthink and categorize things. Of the animated canon Aladdin has long been my standing favorite. I connected with it when I saw it in the theater as a kid.
And a lot of my love for the film has to do with the fact that Princess Jasmine, although second (by a margin) to Ariel as my favorite princess, has always appealed to me in so many ways. The moment she freed those birds from the cage because she knew they deserved better was the moment I fell in love with her and the film. Jasmine, to me, was an inspiring and feisty princess who demanded that she be given the respect and freedom she deserved and then even when she fell in love and had a chance at a happy ending, she supported Aladdin in doing the right thing making her so much more than the token prize in my personal opinion. She gets to choose Aladdin, for who he is, not be given to him as a fake prince. Above all that she is clever and cunning, often figuring things out and so on.
2. What was the first Disney film you ever saw?
There’s some disagreement on this one. Some family members insist it was Bambi. Others Cinderella. It is likely one of those two. And those are the first two I remember so I can’t say for sure which. But I like to think, or hope, that it was Cinderella seeing as that film, and the tale in general, has been such a guiding light in my life. Whether it be the various Broadway adaptations, films such as Ever After, or very importantly the 2015 live action film from Disney (which I will spiel about incessantly on this blog), it all began with 1950 Cindy and her faith in her dreams. I know there is a lot of complaint about the themes of Cinderella and what they teach modern little girls about agency, but I’ve always viewed Cinderella, the character, and the film as having to do with someone who has every reason to give up continuing to press on. It’s the ever-hopeful, “it gets better” message. She’s an abuse survivor who doesn’t let that abuse or the difficult-to-change circumstances crush her spirit, her humanity, her ability to love and be loved. It may be unrealistic or idealistic, but there’s nothing wrong in taking inspiration from it anyways.
3. If you could ask Walt one question, what would it be?
I would probably ask him how he feels about Disney owning so many subsidiaries and sticking their foot into everything. Does Disney need to own Marvel? Star Wars? ESPN? FREEFORM? Etc. If that question could lead to a discussion, I would follow it up by asking him if he would prefer the company get back to its roots and focus on creating works of art (and awful live action films to support those works of art) that have the potential of breaking the bank a la Sleeping Beauty rather than focusing so much on the bottom line with ‘soulless’ blockbusters.
Actually, I would probably just ask him if he would have at least stepped in and stopped the horror of a Bruce Banner/Natasha Romanoff romance and if for any reason he even implied he liked said romance I would be forced to consider my life and my choices before throwing out every single Disney movie I own.
4. You’re asked to create an attraction at Disneyland based on a Disney movie. What do you create?
I am not really familiar with the parks or if anything along these lines has ever existed, but I’d like a Treasure Planet attraction. Maybe like a simulator of the RLS Legacy voyage complete with an immersive IMAX-like screen that makes you feel like you’re in the galaxy and then maybe it progresses to a chase by the pirates or the escape from Treasure Planet (I think I’m imagining it something like the immersive feeling of Philharmagic only with an actual boat ride that could simulate physical feelings. Physics-wise this is probably all but impossible?
5. What fairy tale that Disney haven’t yet adapted would you like to see them make?
I want Disney to do The Nutcracker.I know it’s not like your standard fairytale, but it has fairytale elements and I would love to see Disney take the whimsy of it, see how they change it as they do with everything, and turn it into a gorgeous animated film.
6. Gaston is excellent at most everything. But what are you better than Gaston at?
Self-deprecation. His down in the dumps scene is amateur hour.
7. What’s your favourite Disney song?
Part of Your World (Reprise). I know that Part of Your World is her iconic song, but for me the reprise is that moment where all of her yearning for something turns into real, fierce determination. Eric is the closest she’s ever gotten to the human world and it fuels her longing so greatly that she says not matter when or how she’s going to go for what she wants. It’s foolish and reckless and passionate and powerful and leaves me breathless.
Honorable mentions to For The First Time In Forever (Reprise) which has come along in the recent canon and blown me away, Not In Nottingham for being the little forgotten jewel that tugs at my heart and speaks to me when I’m feeling blue, and I’m Still Here for being the ultimate, and rawest, want song of all the canon in my opinion.
8. What’s your least favourite Disney film?
I dislike a lot of Disney films actually. Not fond of too many of the live-action films to even name. I’m not fond of Pinocchio or Fantasia (I like the 2000 version though) or Alice In Wonderland or Sword in the Stone or The Black Cauldron among the ones that I typically name off the top of my head when someone asks. So pick one of those I guess. Oh and Brother Bear. I don’t think I ever want to sit through that film again, thank you very much.
9. You can live in any Disney film. Which one do you pick?
Um… I think Meet The Robinsons would be pretty fun. An imaginative future with retro leanings seems rad.
10. You’re the eighth member of the Dwarfs. What name do you go by?
11. Disney make a new Fantasia. Which musical pieces would you like to see them include?
Probably a lot of things, but especially Boléro by Maurice Ravel with the animation being a quick Disneyfied retelling of The 12 Dancing Princesses.
12. You can invite five Disney characters to a dinner party. Who do you choose and why?
I’d hang with the Big Hero 6 crew. Wait… that’s 6. In that case, how about:
Because she’s my girl.
Because she’s my other girl and she could totally bring Rajah with her.
Because Anita can teach me how to serve up my aesthetic 🙂
Because I’ve always wanted to be Mulan’s best friend. I’ve always felt like she and me would get each other. Like we’d understand family pressures, not feeling like our parents understand us, wanting to honor them but also wanting to find ourselves, being sort of awkward, not overly feminine, etc. and I’d just love to have a heart to heart with her I guess.
Because if you’re going to invite an obligatory male to this little dinner party Wasabi is the only one who makes sense 🙂 At least to me 🙂