We Need to Stop Gatekeeping our Childhood Films
by Anne Marielle Eugenio, August 01, 2019 2:40pm
Art by Ahl Mirambel
Millennials grew up with the “Rennaissance” period of Disney. During that era, there are lots of animated movies about princesses and fairytales like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Hercules, and Aladdin. Young girls would want to be damsels-in-distress, waiting for a noble prince to save them. Disney became an icon of our childhood, and it is now one of the primary sources of our nostalgia.
The existence of Disney live-action remakes are always up for questioning and comparing. What does make it better? Does it seek to improve the animated classic, or simply mimic the original for a new generation to experience? Or does it only aim to recycle animated reels to make profit continuously?
Millennials are hard to please, most especially when it comes to remakes of things we claim to be ours. For millennials, “OGs” will always be far better than any remake. It was evident when Disney announced two new live-action versions: The Little Mermaid and Mulan. These two are made different from its animated versions.
Disney recently announced that the new Ariel is going to be a woman of color. Halle Bailey, the other half of the American R&B duo Chloe x Halle, was given the role of the famous red-haired mermaid. While some people commend Disney for this representation, some spite Disney for not sticking to Ariel’s red hair and white skin. But here’s a gentle reminder: the Ariel we know is also just a product of Disney’s rendition, not of the original story. Hans Christian Andersen didn’t specify what The Little Mermaid should look like. And Danish people (we assume mermaids, too) are not all white.
As for Mulan, it was announced there won’t be Mushu and Captain Lee Shang. Fans are also in for a disappointment as this film will not feature any songs from the animated film. But in an attempt to honor the original Mulan story, such characters and elements should be omitted. We may say goodbye to singing along to “Reflection” and “Be a Man,” but let’s rejoice since this piece of Chinese culture will finally receive the proper representation it deserves.
People who grew up with these animated films consider them like gold, and they only want the live-action adaptations to do them justice. But we also want equality, empowerment, and representation, and Disney is making things right through these adaptations. We need to stop comparing the live-action from what we grew up with unless we want division.
It’s about time we let go of these judgments and comparisons. Let’s not keep these films for ourselves. The kids of this generation also deserve movies that would shape their childhood—we should let them have those.