It’s a six-letter four-letter word. To the movies what Monsanto is to food. Or a plague of locusts. Marching alongside McDonalds in the vanguard of the globalisation army. Bland. Trite. Meaningless. Corrosive and corrupting. And the prices they charge at the store – well, they’d melt your face.
This is what we’ve been raised to believe. Really. As if without Disney our children would have been raised on a diet of arthouse French cinema to a background of Woody Allen clarinet solos.
So maybe Disney’s not perfect. Maybe my exposure to the stuff over the last few years has rotted my own brain to the extent that I can’t tell the wheat from the chaff. But when I look at the alternatives (yet more Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder come to mind) all I can do is thank my lucky stars for Tinkerbell and Enchanted and Buzz Lightyear and yes God Help Me the Princesses, the ubiquitous Disney Princesses.
The first time I heard about the Disney Princesses it induced Leveson-level gagging. But I can’t help it. I’ve fallen for them. There’s a surprising level of wit there, in Tangled and Beauty and the Beast, and in Tiana you’ve got a heroine who’s hard-working, entrepreneurial and brave. And that’s not even mentioning the real hero of the piece, a New Orleans which when the film was made was still putting itself back together in the aftermath of Katrina.
And the thing is, there’s room for other stuff, too. Disney haven’t crowded out everything else. They haven’t, surprisingly, left the world with a gigantic Whopper of homogenised gloopy entertainment. You want your Italian surrealists and your French avant-Garde or your Mike Leigh with Woody Allen on clarinet? You want subtitles with that?
You got it.
If you liked this, please comment and share, and don’t forget to take a look at some extracts from my soon-to-be-published novel Without Due Care here.