From its inception, the Walt Disney Company has been an enterprise rife with contradictions. It’s one of the things that make it so fascinating, to me at least. It’s a part of its early desired identity, a keen interest in entertainment geared toward the young and the young at heart, and the range of emotions therein. Hence, the earliest movies like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio followed the fairytale tradition of containing fairly dark elements that existed alongside the pervading sense of magic and wonder. The intentions of engaging children’s imaginations runs deep in Disney history, and designates a significant portion of the studio’s interest in the scary side of imagination as well as the pleasant side. It’s a noble thing to respect the range of imagination that children can exercise, but it’s also fairly creepy.
Externally, there are plenty of reasons to react against the presumed synonymy between “Disney” and “perfect, pure, childlike happiness.” A trip to any Disneyland park offers this. It’s an environment riding high on emotion, but existing side by side with the gleeful screams of carefree kids are the shrieks of unhappy children full of I want, the retching of overstimulated and overstuffed young visitors, and the not always audible but usually visible rising stress levels of overwhelmed parents. On top of that there are issues of how Disney treats low level staff, from park employees to those mysterious cases of disappearing cruise personnel. It’s a corporation first and foremost, and while it makes millions of people happy, at least superficially, there’s always profit motive and all the potentially sinister motivations that can accompany that. It’s a matter of forever trying to reconcile that Walt Disney was a man who seemed like a lovely fellow wanting to spread joy to as many people as possible, and also, apparently, a raging anti-Semite. There are reasons to be skeptical and maybe even hostile to many of the things Disney is about, is what I mean to say.
Here are 6 examples of what could be described as anti-Disney movies for anyone in a slightly cynical mood.
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