Some of you will be able to predict what’s coming, because you’ve heard this speech before. But then, you probably didn’t listen to me the first time anyway, did you?
One thing that really irritates me is the number of fairy tales that have been ruined by “disneyfication”. This process is the conversion of a whole range of superb childrens stories into identical pieces of trash about talking bunnies and a genetically modified strain of royalty that bursts into song every two and half minutes. Disney are not the only culprits, of course, because that is now how fairytales are printed in books, but they started it, or at the very least made it popular.
The worrying thing is that now whenever any such story is told in a darker fashion, those responsible are accused of perverting a nice wholesome kids’ story. Recent examples include American McGee’s Alice, or even your average Tim Burton movie. The truth is that they, along with authors like Roald Dahl, are the only ones who remember how fairytales are supposed to be written. Dahl’s dark children’s tales like The Witches are truly terrifying, not watered down drivel with dancing ladies who happen to have a penchant for dark clothes.
They’re supposed to be scary! Kids want to be scared. Hey, maybe kids need to be scared, but people don’t think about things like that before messing with a tried and tested formula. What gives Disney the right to edit stories that were so masterfully told a century before? Did they think The Brothers Grimm was supposed to be ironic!?
My biggest gripe is naturally with the portrayal of my favourite Snow White. Even forgetting for a moment how bland their main character was, Disney went so far as to cut a scene involving a magical girdle that constricted her because it may “disturb children”. Who did they think the story was written for in the first place? While Snow White: A Tale of Terror, with Sigourney Weaver as the evil queen, was not a standard interpretation of the story, at least it maintained the dark character in which fairytales are supposed to be told. The best compromise was the recent Snow White: The Fairest Of Them All, starring the delectable Kristin Kreuk (which admittedly almost singlehandedly won me over because she looked perfect). It was still bold and brightly coloured, but was also extremely surreal and otherworldly (and restored the girdle scene!).
These fairytales were written back in the 1800’s and many were told long before then, so while I’m all for reinterpretation, the fluffy bunny syndrome the world seems to be infecting its kids with at the moment is disastrous. No wonder kids are so screwed up these days: they’re being taught the sterile Disney way of life only to suddenly find out all alone that life is actually harsh and cruel. That’s what they used to learn through fairytales and that’s what we’re denying them now, leaving them isolated and confused in a very cold world. That sounds crueller than any wicked witch (singing or not) to me…
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