You’ve Seen Disney’s “Wokest” Movie, It’s NOT ‘Strange World’

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Disney's Wokest Movie; 'Strange World' Movie Moments collage with Ethan Clade Closeup

Credit: Inside the Magic

The term “woke” is more or less a derogatory term these days, especially around the Disney community.  Some might define “woke” as open-minded,  but some might use the term to describe something that expresses and explores alternative perspectives. When it comes to “wokeness” and Disney, however, there is no offender more grievous than Strange World.

Ethan Clade (Jaboukie Young-White) in Disney's 'Strange World'
Credit: Disney

Even without the controversial inclusion of the “first gay Disney character,” the project had a shaky history from the start. Once it hit theaters, however, audiences tore it to shreds. Its woke reputation has garnered such a backlash that its use in one Florida teacher’s classroom has her under a government investigation.

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These same people calling the animated feature “woke indoctrination” fail to realize that Disney’s woke film has existed for decades. Not only that, but they more than likely gave it a standing ovation.

Hunchback of Notre Dame: Woke since 1996

live action Hunchback
Credit: Disney

Although it is a VERY loose adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame was Disney’s answer to the biblical epic. While it might have taken more than a fair share of liberties with the source material, it gave audiences of all ages a story of prejudice, love, and acceptance long before any of the modern social movements existed.

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There are thousands of Disney fans who bill this underrated animated gem as an absolute masterpiece. It’s been studied, discussed, and poured over for years, becoming more and more relevant as our culture continues to evolve, but it might also be the one Disney movie we need most of all.

Quasimodo frees a baby bird in Hunchback of Notre Dame movie
Credit: Disney

There are so many subjects covered in the 1996 film that saturate our modern culture. Even in the ’90s, Disney was breaking down barriers they didn’t know existed yet.

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The film consists of a protagonist with a physical deformity, a woman of color as its leading lady, and perhaps the darkest and most realistic Disney villain of all time, a corrupt minister of the law who abuses his power. If the studio even dared to attempt a plot like that today, the right wing would go supernova.

Why Does It Matter?

Esmerelda sings God Help the Outcast
Credit: Disney

To quote Tom Cruise, we live in a cynical world. Every day, newsfeeds are choked by reports and plights of those that are almost identical to those of Quasimodo, Esmerelda, and Judge Frollo. The film eerily resembles the world we live in today, where marginalized people have to hide their faces and voices, racial and cultural conflict runs wild, and people in power fail to protect those they represent.

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame isn’t just a better film than Strange World, it does the “woke” message right, by holding a mirror up to the audience. The only reason someone might have a problem with it is that they don’t like the reflection they see looking back at them.

Do you think Hunchback of Notre Dame is “woke?” Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!


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