Thursday, May 13, 2010

Disney haters: Happy Endings

There seems to be so much Disney hate out there. Not necessarily in mainstream, but there seems to be this attitude that educated and enlightened people look down on Disney, for several reasons-today I'm addressing the idea of changing the tales to have happy, idealistic endings. I'd just like to throw on the table: it's not wrong to create versions of fairy tales that are specifically for children. We have versions specifically for adults, or young adults. What's unfortunate is that culture now perceives fairy tales as only appropriate for children, whereas that's a pretty recent development in the history of fairy tales. (Almost) anything negative people accuse Disney of is part of a trend started earlier in Victorian times, most notably with the brothers Grimm (Good always being rewarded and evil always punished, helpless females, etc.). I can get a bit sarcastic about Disney myself, but I have a very big brother attitude about it: "No one beats up my little brother except for ME!" Though Disney makes its endings happy, there's still a lot in Disney movies considered to be scary by real, modern children. I was retelling the story of Lion King to some little girls, and when I got to the part where Mufasa dies, the 5-year-old said, after expressing her dismay and disbelief, said "Why would they put that in a story for kids?" Definitely, Disney shapes how a lot of children think about stories and fairy tales, but Disney isn't the only thing they watch. What other children's products (or "family friendly" products) DON'T end in happy endings? Should Dora the Explorer kill Boots? Actually that would be awesome. But that would only ever happen in a parody. But you get the idea.


  1. Good points here, Kristin. I love happy endings, but I also love tragic events and unexpected moments leading up to that ending.

    1. Thanks! I had almost forgotten about this post...I'm sure I would have a lot more to say if I addressed this issue again! You're very right about the tragic moments leading up to the ending; in fact that's really a huge difference between a movie that has a disappointing happy ending, and one that's really satisfying. Disney definitely has quite a bit of tragic moments in their films, which make us long for resolution too.