Thursday, October 8, 2009


While I definitely appreciate Giroux' criticisms about Disney and its depiction of certain races/genders/playing into stereotypes, I must confess that I have a major soft spot for most things Disney. I grew up on many of the films mentioned, and still consider "The Lion King" to be one of the greatest films ever created. In fact, during my senior year of high school, several friends and I decided to take a trip to Disney World (rather than Cancun or the Bahamas, like the bulk of the grade). It was incredible bonding time, and a chance for us to embrace our respective inner children prior to the start of college--that next major milestone.

It's difficult not to be moved by Disney...their receptionists even end telephone calls with: "Have a magical day." The word choice is fitting, as "magical" is an excellent way of describing what Disney films still do to me as a twenty-something. If anything, I've come to appreciate them more than when I was a child, and their main demographic.

Giroux tends to focus on the classics, so I'm going to hone in on something more recent. Pixar has become a major force over the past decade or so, to the point where practically anything released is an award winning box office smash. I don't tend to see many films, and see even fewer in movie theatres. That said, over the summer, I heard incredible buzz about "Up." I knew next to nothing about it, but it was repeatedly described as inspirational and a revelation. One especially bad day, I decided that $12.50 would be a small price to pay for some semblance of the magic I was used to receiving from Disney.

What I've learned in recent years is that Disney movies aren't truly for children. They're brilliant and multilayered--easily accessible by youth, but interesting enough to have higher meaning and still resonate with adults. Further, people can truly grow with the titles, catching new moments as maturity makes it appropriate to do so.

YouTube won't allow me to embed this clip, but this is the trailer for "Up," which I didn't watch until after having already seen the film:

While the plot may seem bleak (an elderly man's journey to follow through with the dream of his dead wife), it wasn't. Giroux argues that films for children should be censored. To what extent would that be appropriate? In the case of "Up," should we blind them entirely from mortality? I feel that learning about coping and the overcoming of death is a far more useful lesson to learn, even if it means stripping away a bit of innocence in the process.

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