Are truly positive movies even possible anymore?
I have to admit, the first time I saw the Disney movie Frozen, I had to do a double take. It’s as if they ran a movie based on a script that essentially destroys all Disney movies. They took visual elements here and there and they created a new language that basically mocked the long tradition of Disney movies.
The great thing about Disney is that for so many decades, parents always had a stand by when it comes to kid’s movies. In fact, Disney’s stock and trade are G rated movies. Anybody can watch these movies. They’re created for kids. They’re completely innocent, they’re a lot of fun and there are no value judgments.
They don’t poke fun at society, they don’t ask weighty questions, they don’t rock the boat. A lot of people might think that this is a bad thing. After all, Disney has more than its fair share of criticism as far as its historic work product goes.
If you need a good example of this, take a look at the movies The Jungle Book and Songs of the South. In the Jungle Book, Disney is currently being criticized for portraying a sanitized version of colonialism. You see brown subjugated people being very happy and innocent. To modern critics, Disney did not go deep enough as far as colonial relations go. They didn’t explore the harsh oppressive side of colonialism in the turn of the 19th century.
Similarly, the Song of the South is foddered for critics of Disney’s sanitized depiction of slavery. In the minds of these critics, there’s no such thing as a happy slave. In their minds, the happy slave is a stereotype aimed to justify one of the worst periods of American, if not human, history.
Well, that may be the case, but the critics are also engaging in their own stereotypical vision. I don’t know which is any better. On the one hand, you have the stereotype that slavery was not all that bad. Slaves were happy, content and as presented in the movie Song of the South.
On the other extreme, you have this modern stereotype of slavery as such a qualified human evil that everybody who was a slave was either depressed, extremely oppressed or planning a revolt. Talk about two extreme views and both of them are equally divorced from reality.
This is why it’s really quite a challenge to look for positive movies that do not involve any kind of politically correct agenda. If you are a big fan of political correctness and believe in all sorts of leftist stereotypes of power structures of American history and Western responsibility and culpability, you could say with a straight face that there are tons of positive movies being produced today.
But if you have a fairly balanced perspective on culture, gender politics, historical development, you would be hard pressed to find anything positive about today’s cinematic offerings.