Narrative Disney Essay

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“Whilst other animators were known for anarchistic and inventive styles, Disney played it safe and followed the traditional narrative style.” Critically discuss this statement by Janet Wasko with reference to three Disney films. Disney feature length films are known worldwide for their representation of a unique and identifiable style. Under the influence of Walt Disney the characteristics within the feature length films are obvious and stereotypical. The films feature a light entertainment style with predictable storylines and formulaic characters as Disney represents specific values and ideologies to its audience. Other animators such as Warner Brothers focused on often extremist versions of the real world; whilst Disney’s plausible impossibility represented the real and identifiable. Often known as “Classic Disney” (Wasko, 2001:110) the traditional narrative style has become a consistent theme within Disney to which I will be discussing in three of Disney’s most popular animated films, Snow White (1937), The Little Mermaid (1989) and Beauty and the Beast (1991). In “Classic Disney” there are reoccurring themes which can be identified in almost every film. These themes reinforce significant moral values to which audiences aspire to follow. Disney’s film process during the early years was largely representative of the values of America in the 1930s era. During this time folk tales were extremely popular and therefore Walt Disney was able to adapt this in the reinvention of folk tales, where the stories go through a process of ‘Disneyfication’. This means the tale will go through a process of Americanisation and sanitation to ensure it is presented as Disney’s own, Zipes states, “Of all the early animators, Disney was the one who truly revolutionised the fairy tale as an institution through the cinema.” (Zipes 1995:343) After Disney has adapted a folk tale it

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