My sister has on more than one occasion called me an animation snob. This outburst is usually directed at me after I mention that I won't be buying any Disney direct-to-DVD films, or "cheapquels," for my kids at all.
"Oh, you're such an animation snob!"
The description is also usually meant in jest, but I know that there's truth to her joking. I know because I am an animation snob. There, I admit it. I'm an animation snob. I can't help it. I've studied the art-form for far too long to plunk down 20 bucks on a product that is considered sub-par in my opinion. The way I see it, all those direct-to-DVD "films" released out into the unknowing public are produced with one thing in mind: the all-mighty DOLLAR. There is absolutely no entertainment value in them at all. Sure, this is nothing new. It's been debated about and argued over for several years now, but mostly within the animation community. Rare is the argument overheard in the family/children's DVD aisle when it comes to anything Disney produced. The majority of the general public out there simply do not care about whether or not this animated film is better quality than that one. If the name "Disney" is on it, then what's the use of arguing? It's bound to be good, right?
Now, my sister is no spring chicken. She knows her share of animation—all thanks to me, of course. But she's been a parent longer than me and knows that her kids like to be entertained. She knows what her kids like and she'll do anything to make sure they're happy. And now, since I've been a parent for almost 6 years now, I'm beginning to see what my kids' interests are, and yes, I'd do anything to make them happy as well.
But Disney direct-to-DVD movies (and any of those impostor films made quickly to cash in on the current trend) will not be a part of their happiness. Sorry, but I can't do it. To me, it's more about the notion of retaining the Disney name as something that of QUALITY. Remember when "Disney" was synonymous with "quality?" Remember when a Disney film ignited excitement and wonder whenever one was released in the theaters? I still get giddy just thinking about when I saw THE JUNGLE BOOK in the theater back in the 70's. It made a big impact on me as a young boy. The same goes for FANTASIA.
Yes, yes, yes, I understand that everything is vastly different now—the marketing, the venues, the box office, the production, the audiences, the films themselves—everything is different and probably will never be the same again. I understand that. But still, creating sequels to classic films like BAMBI? CINDERELLA? THE JUNGLE BOOK? C'mon, people. I saw CINDERELLA 2 and I wasn't impressed. When we see Cinderella and her new groom fade off into the distance in the original film, we assume that all is okay with the world. They will, indeed, live happily ever after. I didn't want to know anything else about Jacque the mouse, that he wished that he was a human. Or whether or not one of the evil step-sisters will find true love—they were evil and THAT'S THAT! End of story.
Geez, I'm such a snob. I know. But I want my kids to try and experience the Disney canon of films similar to how I experienced them: with wonder and amazement. And to do that, I try my best to make each viewing of SLEEPING BEAUTY or THE JUNGLE BOOK a special event. I sit down with them (well, I try with Ezra, but that little bugger just doesn't like to stay still) and watch the movie and oooo and aahhhh at all the right moments, and look at them to get their reaction as well. I try, mind you. I try. Sometimes it doesn't always go as planned, but if that's the case, I'll put on something else. But I really do try and watch all the old films with them personally, to make it an event that the whole family can be a part of.
Sequels and direct-to-DVD atrocities will never capture the same spirit as the originals, no matter how much money you put into them. Some might make nice with me, but overall, I will not succumb to the watering down of the Disney name. With new people in charge at Disney now, there's hope. I hear that they will stop the cheapquels once and for all. And to that, I say, good riddance.