Let me start off by saying I am a diehard Disney fan. There are people who will say that he was an anti-Semite or that he hated children, and to that I say, there are a lot of people who do good things for the world who didn’t necessary have great personal lives.
So that being said, the article “Breaking the Disney Spell” by Jack Zipes made me absolutely angry. Down to the very rhetoric he uses, referring to Disney’s “stranglehold” over the fairy tale, and his “capitalization of American innocence”. This is obviously a man with a vendetta. I don’t know what Walt Disney did to make Jack Zipes so angry, but it definitely comes out in this article.
At one point, he writes, “Throughout the entire production of this film, Disney had to be consulted and give his approval for each stage of development”. But then he goes onto write, “As we know, Disney never liked to give credit to the animators who worked with him, and they had to fight for acknowledgment. Disney always made it clear that he was the boss and owned total rights to his products.”
Already, I have an immediate problem with this statement because if it’s really true that Disney had a hand in every aspect of the production of the film, doesn’t that entitle him the label of “boss” and doesn’t he truly own total rights to the product? He even makes a strong point about how his re-telling of Snow White is truly his Americanized version that just totally strips the Grimm brothers of the traditional meeting. If he totally remade the story in an entirely new way, doesn’t that make him the owner of the product more than if he had just adapted the story directly to film?
Jack Zipes honestly has some huge problem with Disney and his style of bringing traditional fairy tales to life. I don’t see the problem in adapting the stories, because isn’t that how we are left with the versions we have today? From a variety of different people in different places passing the stories on to their children where they get altered a little or sometimes even a lot? Disney is just another one of those story tellers who chose to adapt the story to his own taste. Whether that taste is “Americanized” or not really isn’t the point. He gives our children a story to watch on screen and relate to. Would you rather read your child a story about a mermaid who cuts out her tongue, is in constant pain, and then almost stabs the object of her affection, or would you rather give them a happy ending?
I see absolutely nothing wrong with Disney’s adaptions and I’d really like to know what Jack Zipe’s beef is. He didn’t die a billionaire for nothing.