Disneyfied, or Disney tried?

(Formerly known as “Disney – the Dettol of Storytelling?”)

Like most people, I grew up with Disney films, and some of my favourite films have been made in their studios. However, they are notorious for sanitising many a fairy tale for more modern and family-friendly audiences. Out of curiosity, I am embarking on a literary quest to see just how different these films are from their source texts. It’s also an excuse for me to watch lots of cartoons and actually do some damn reading.

Just to clarify, I love Disney films, so I won’t be tutting through each note saying how the book is much better than the movie. Also, I know that Disney don’t always take inspiration from the bona fide original (Sleeping Beauty being a case in point), but I’m primarily interested in how much the story has changed from the original, and Disney’s own interpretation of it.

Where possible, I will read the source text in its original language (French and Italian FTW), but I may have to draw the line when it comes to Mulan (see what I did there?).

Thanks for dropping by, and I hope you enjoy my blog.

13 thoughts on “Disneyfied, or Disney tried?

  1. Hey Okapina! I was thinking, you should really do Frozen vs. The Snow Queen. And although you’ve already done a Disney vs. source material on it, a Disney vs. Nature on Bambi would be interesting. On a last note, I think that a top 5 list on your favorite voice actors (and actresses!) would be a great thing for all of us. Thanks!

    • Hi Frost!

      Ha ha I was wondering if you were a fan of Frozen due to your name. Yes, I’ve got this one on my to-do list as well so this will appear on the site at some point.

      I did consider doing Bambi for the Disney vs Nature series but aside from the red deer vs. white-tailed deer debate (see Fritz-the-Cat’s interesting comment on the Bambi post) I didn’t find much else to write about for that one.

      Voice actors is a good one actually, I keep coming across characters voiced by the same people and I didn’t even realise! Thanks for the ideas there, and for taking the time to comment πŸ™‚

      • Thanks so much for replying! Yeah, I like Frozen a lot because of my name and stuff, and it’s also an awesome movie! (Let it Go is my favorite song in the world!) OK,I have another load of suggestions, so here it goes… For that one section with Mickey the Merciful (I don’t know its name) you could do 5 Sidekicks Disney Added Solely for Comic Relief or something like that. (Like Olaf) Oh, and just to mess with everyone’s heads, Holes vs. Holes would be good. (You never said they couldn’t be live action movies. I love loopholes.😜). You could also do a section where you compare animated Disney movies to their live action remakes, like Sleeping Beauty vs Maleficent.(the main difference there being that Maleficent can now turn her raven into a smoking hot dude at will.πŸ˜‰) One last thing, you should do Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh vs. Winnie-the-Pooh. Just don’t put a picture of the infamous Winking Pooh Doll from the end of the movie anywhere, because that thing scares the crap out of me! OK, I’m done, I promise. Thanks for reading my comments!😊

      • Wow you are full of ideas! For the time being I’m looking at the animated films, mainly because they’re the ones I loved the most growing up. Hmm, I think Maleficent may have the same problem as The Lion King as it takes inspiration from another story that’s been diluted, so not sure that would work! But you’ve given me some food for thought for the mini inbetween posts, so thanks a lot for that! Take care πŸ™‚

      • Since you blogged about Disney movies, are there any other ones that you wish to blog about?

      • Hmm, yes and no. I grew up with Disney, and they’ve made a name for themselves “reinventing” fairytales, so that’s why I find these comparisons the most interesting. There are a couple of non-Disney ones like Spirit I’d like to look at, but not much else at the moment I have to admit!

    • Hi again Lana, hmm I’m not sure about that one as it’s a “re-imagining” of the Treasure Island story, and not intended as Disney’s own version of the original. Same with Oliver and Company, although it’s based on Oliver Twist it’s not trying to be the original story. Maybe I could introduce a section where I look at films like these two. Thanks for commenting!

      • Yeah, you should Totally do that! Another great movie for a section like that would be The Lion King! (It’s based on Hamlet.) The Lion King 2 is based on Romeo and Juliet, so that would be interesting too.

      • Argh as much as it pains me I can’t do The Lion King as it’s not officially based on anything – it’s a mixture of Shakespeare, Moses and various other things apparently. That’s why I did the Disney vs Nature series, so I had an excuse to include it! The same goes for The Lion King 2, regardless of my own (snobby) opinion about it, ha ha!

  2. Really enjoying reading through this website! I’m a Chinese Language major and am considering doing a small project about the “original” Mulan vs. the disney version, so I found this page through looking to see what I could find already out there on the topic! Found it absolutely hilarious (as did my Chinese boyfriend!). Hope you don’t mind if I come back here creepin’ if my professor approves the topic ;P In the meantime, I’m having great fun reading through all your other comparisons, your writing style is just too fun πŸ˜„ Any plans to make more of these? Pocahontas, Tangled and the Princess and the Frog would be very interesting to see your take on!

    • Hi Amy, thanks for taking the time to comment. You are more than welcome to creep around my site if it helps, glad it’s entertaining! Yes things are a bit slow at the moment but those three films are most certainly on my list. If you are looking at info for Mulan do check out the book in my sources section – it has five of the most famous Mulan versions in it, and each of them are quite different and interesting: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mulan-Versions-Classic-Chinese-Related/dp/1603841962/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

      The 2009 film is also worth a look: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mulan-DVD-Wei-Zhao/dp/B003ATD7OY/ref=sr_1_3?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1346224822&sr=1-3 not the best editing but it’s another variation on the story. Good luck with your Chinese degree, you’re a braver woman than I!

      • Yes, the book in particular looks awfully useful! Just need to see if my professor would approve of me mentioning disney haha (he’s kind of a classical Chinese expert, and this would be for a Chinese literature and culture unit, so I don’t know if he’ll take the idea seriously or not) Looking forward to more posts from you, though I can imagine it takes a lot of research for each! When I think about it, most popular Disney movies are based on some source material… seems like you have plenty to choose from! Thanks for the luck, and the advice πŸ˜€

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