It all began in 1937 when ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ made its debut, this film was a huge success in the box office and this success was what established the Disney brand in our hearts for good. ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ was a pioneering film, it was the first film to use the multiplane camera on a large scale, the animation of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ took 3 years to complete. This technique evolved to become Disney’s signature which they continued to use for the next 50 years. The last time they used it was in 1989 when they created the movie adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Little Mermaid’.
Moving on to 1995 when Disney collaborated with Pixar to create the first full feature film solely animated out of CGI. Disney parted its way with Pixar after the creation of ‘Toy Story’ due to creative differences, but from this point on, Disney never looked back and has since created only CGI films. The only exception to this was of course was ‘Princess and the Frog’ (2009), this film was something of a disappointment only grossing $276m, compared to CGI film ‘Tangled’ (2010) grossing double at $590m. The reason that this was the case remains unclear, there has been some speculations regarding the title, or saying that 2D animation is no longer relevant. The reasons of it’s failure are not determined, and though I can’t speak for everyone, 2D animation has a lot more heart and continues to hold a special place in my life.
Fast forward a few years and we have ‘Frozen’, this movie is in a league of its own, grossing at $1.219 billion, this makes it the 4th highest grossing film, by far the highest grossing animation. ‘Frozen’ is undeniably a great movie, even full grown adults can respect that. It’s a very forward thinking and modern adaptation of the classic disney princess trapped in a castle. The old school counterparts such as Snow White and Cinderella were portrayed as beautiful, gentle and kind souls, they were naive and oppressed and they heavily relied on these values to be their saving graces. Just waiting for the day their sweet prince would come and sweep them off their feet. Now, if life has taught us anything it’s that this notion is a load of romanticized nonsense and there is no such thing as love at first sight. Thankfully as time progressed, so did the Disney Princess, she evolved to meet the needs of the time.
Let’s observe Elsa and Anna, troubled teenage royals in a coming of age tale of self discovery and whatnot. Similar to our friends Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and so on, yes but the values held are polar opposites. Both Elsa and her little sister Anna rely on their strength of character and their ability to hold their own, they’re not damsels in distress needing to be saved. They even mock the old view of love at first sight “You can’t marry a man you just met!”- possibly the most sensible thing, right? Because the reality of life is relationships are something you build and work towards, not something that just happens.
Disney films have evolved greatly since 1937, having grown up with the classics I’ve got nothing but love for them all, even the newer ones. They’ve not only become more visually advanced, they’ve also adapted to the changes in society’s values to match with the values people hold today.
Do you you prefer 2D animation or CGI? Why? What’s your favorite Disney movie? Mine? The Lion King, always.
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