Wednesday, December 19, 2007
As Deborah Siegel nicely details in her review of the movie, it doesn't quite distance itself, in the end, from all - or maybe even any - of the problematic characteristics for which Disney movies are constantly - and rightfully - criticized in the academic world. I recognized that immediately when I saw the pivotal role that the Evil Stepmother was going to play. (And Jessica says to herself, "A-gain I think I'm watching a movie for fun, and it turns out to be homework.") A witchy mother - who, as Nick Schager astutely points out, is also literally a monster during the movie, "an evil dragon lady borrowed from Sleeping Beauty (Susan Sarandon) who likes to pose as the old hag from Snow White" - seeking to keep her son from falling in love with another woman in order to keep all of the power for herself. Let's see, does that sound familiar? Number One, portraying what you're seeking to mock does not usually effectively do so; in my experience, it actually enables you to more distinctly present the stereotypes that you have in mind - and thus, rather than really attacking them, actually makes those stereotypes more distinct for viewers. Number Two, I question why anyone thought that Disney was really seeking to mock any of those old ideas of theirs anyway. All that they do seem to be attempting, according to this New York Times article, is to find "new" ways to make money without hurting the rich old ways that they already have. As the caption there best describes, it's just another Disney movie with an added "modern touch" - but nothing is gone or has changed.