By Thalia Lauzon
I’ve gotten into several debates on the “greatness” of Disney movies. My most recent one last week was, as usual, a heated discussion in which my friend preached the amazingness of the movies while I tore into them like a hungry lion with meat.
Sure, they’re entertaining in the mindlessly stupid kind of way, but great works of cinema like my friend argues? I think not.
My friend literally said, “They teach you important lessons as a kid, though!”
I’m sorry, what? No, they do not. Let me take you through my argument.
First, let’s start with the actors. They somehow find the oldest looking teenagers or actual adults to play kids. This messes with the child audience’s expectations on not only their school experiences, but also their body images.
Case in point: “High School Musical” –– all of them.
First of all, it became rite of passage to be struck with the knowledge that no high school was like East High: no musicals, no break dancing, no one who looked like Zac Efron. Why? Because life just isn’t like that.
Everyone looked like they were 20 instead of acne-ridden, sweatpant-wearing, waiting-to-grow teenagers who make up the majority of most schools. It can kill self esteem and make you feel like something is wrong with how you look. How is that good?
Second: dating and marriage. Name a Disney movie that doesn’t have romance in it. Yes, it’s a trope and appealing to most viewers, but the characters are supposed to be in middle or high school. In most movies, you actually see more of the love story than the school itself.
Apparently “true love” is more important than education.
But, I’ll admit it: seeing kids sit in a classroom is far less appealing than seeing drama come alive.
Still, these movies teach kids that they are supposed to be finding love or a date all the time. It kills independence and increases the stigma around being alone –– even if you’re too busy or don’t want to date.
Also, I was forced to watch “Descendants 3” –– which is about fairy tale characters’ kids –– and the main character Mal literally gets engaged to her boyfriend at 17.
By the way, her fiancé Ben is the king and assumed the role at 16. And no, his parents aren’t dead or anything. They willingly stepped down to hand their 16-year-old son the entire kingdom.
I’m sorry, but do you remember when you were 16? You were a sophomore or junior in high school. Remember how many things you regret? Or have you blocked them out?
Third, no one ever actually gets in real trouble for things that are actually really bad. In “Camp Rock,” the main character, Mitchie, lies to everyone about who her mother is. She pretends her mother is some big music executive in China, but she’s actually the cook at the summer camp she’s at. Mitchie gets caught and her whole life seems terrible for about five minutes –– and it’s not even that bad.
By the end of the movie, all she has to do is sing and everyone forgets the entire lie. She never actually apologizes or does anything to make it up to the people who were hurt by her dishonesty. She gets a happy ending without undergoing any actual growth or regret despite her immoral actions.
Disney Channel movies are messed up. They’re as mentally stimulating as watching paint dry and about as detrimental to your mental development as hitting your head repeatedly against the wall.
No one can tell me otherwise — I can pull out 50 more points to prove it.