Disney Loses Tidal Wave of Talent

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Tim Burton next to Jack Skellington

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

The Walt Disney Animation Studio has entered what many fans call its “Flop Era,” which has been painfully represented by the recent box office bombs with the studio’s recent movies. However, are the movies themselves alone to blame?

Logo for Walt Disney Animation
Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios

It takes tremendous talent to get a Disney movie off the ground, and many of cinema’s greatest directors, writers, and producers have cut their teeth on some legendary movies. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), The Little Mermaid (1989), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), and even the maligned Black Cauldron (1985) all had iconic figures attached to their creation, so its no wonder many of them would return to the studio to make their own contributions to the house of mouse.

Related: Bluey Dethrones Mickey Mouse and Adults Are “Obsessed”

In recent years, however, the Walt Disney Company has been suffering with both its image and reputation and films like Lightyear (2023) and Strange World (2022) have done anything but help. Although those examples have left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans, it’s not for lack of effort on the creative side.

Disney Animation Needs Directors’ Vision

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

Although we might be venturing heavily into conspiracy theory territory, many of Disney’s latest films seem to follow a distinct pattern. With certain exceptions from the works of Pixar, recent films have relied heavily on elements that seem to check some sort of box for a modern Disney movie.

Related: Disney Fans Blame Bob Iger for Floundering State of Company

Due to what many suggest is corporate meddling, most of Disney’s recent cinematic offerings include a woman of color in the lead role, a pop-influenced soundtrack (with or without Lin-Manuel Miranda), and a plot that barely resembles a classic Disney movie. If South Park is more concerned about these tropes, the studio must be in hot water.

Wade and Ember from Elemental smiling together
Credit: Disney Pixar

That doesn’t mean everything has been a colossal failure. Movies like Pixar’s Elemental (2023) and Turning Red (2022) are some of the most recent successes for the Disney name. Why? Because there is an undeniable passion behind them.

Peter Sohn and Domee Shi use their own backgrounds and practically pieces of their soul to make those movies come to life, and that’s something that’s been absent from Disney for a long time now. Furthermore, it extends to more than just the animated features.

Related: Immersive Disney Animation is Nightmare Fuel

There has always been a certain stigma around the Disney live-action remakes, but that doesn’t mean they were all bad. Both Keneth Branagh’s Cinderella (2015) and Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book (2016) are regarded more favorably than the others, primarily because they were both clearly passion projects that reinvented the Disney fairytales while honoring them at the same time. Unfortunately, many of Disney’s best collaborators have been jumping ship in light of recent events.

tim burton being interviewed
Credit: Netflix

Tim Burton, one of Disney’s most legendary directors, went from the studio’s beloved weirdo to an artistic outcast shortly after Dumbo (2019). The prolific filmmaker previously referred to the studio as a giant circus, wholly disillusioned and cutting ties with the brand after giving the company such hits as The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).

Related:Walt Disney Is Dead, His Legacy Is Hated

Disney Animation has incredible creatives like Brad Bird, Chris Sanders, Pete Docter, and Robert Zemeckis on the studio payroll, but how long has it been since they’ve been allowed to do what they do best? In this writer’s opinion, a Disney movie doesn’t need a marketing committee to be successful; it needs a creative vision and the passion to make it happen.

Has Disney lost touch with its creative side? Tell Inside the Magic what you think in the comments below!



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