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The Fourth Estate

The Student News Site of Laguna Blanca School

The Fourth Estate

100 Years of Disney

Disney’s new centennial short film sparks concerns about the decline of Disney content.
100+Years+of+Disney

Described as a “love letter” to Walt Disney Animation Studios by the directors, Walt Disney Pictures released an animated short film to celebrate 100 years of film production.

Featuring characters from all 62 feature films and a combination of computer graphics, traditional animation, and live-action, the short ended with a bittersweet “thank you” note to the multiple generations of viewers who grew up watching Disney.

Following the company’s release of this film, critics have opened up the discussion of whether this marker in Disney’s history signifies its downfall.

I prefer the older Disney movies much more compared to the newer ones,” junior Nayeli Castrejon-Peralta, a member of the Arts Club said. “I feel like the quality of the movies has significantly lowered and the ‘magic’ of Disney movies has slowly been diminishing.”

Few people in Gen Z (b. 1997 – 2012) have not grown up watching Disney movies. Over the years, viewers have watched Disney change animation styles and develop more diverse storylines.

Disney’s Golden Age and Renaissance Age are examples of pinnacle time periods in the evolution of Disney. These eras feature movies such as “Pinnochio,” “Bambi,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Mulan” and “The Lion King.”

“I love the old movies because they have a really cool art style that is a mix between slightly animated as well as painted,” junior Opal Peltz, a member of the Arts Club said.

Disney’s visually impressive backgrounds and complex character designs have always been one of the aspects that truly made their films be considered “art.”

The criticism of Disney’s recent content lies in the music of the newer films. From determination-filled songs by heroines to spirited exclamations of villainy, the songs have always been important to Disney.

The songs “Mother Knows Best” from “Rapunzel” and “Friends on the Other Side” from “The Princess and the Frog” are two examples of phenomenal “evil” anthems, featuring manipulation and magic, and an emotional instrumental and lyrical dynamic.

“In a lot of the old movies, the songs give the characters depth, and can also move the story along,” said Opal. “They are also memorable, because they are distinct and specific to the story, such as “Hercules” and “Sleeping Beauty.””

However, with technology rapidly advancing and family-movie ideals shifting over time, many question whether or not the 100th anniversary of Disney marks the beginning of its decline. In regards to content, music and animation, people who grew up on Disney question if it is as good as it used to be.

“Though I believe it demonstrates how far technology has progressed, I don’t feel as nostalgic about it, and I think the plots of the current films are getting progressively worse and censored,” Hayden Abeysekera said.

Disney has, for the most part, transitioned from using traditional 2D animation to a more realistic 3D technique. The differences between modern-day technology and the influence of artificial intelligence has drastically affected the animation world, and not necessarily for the better.

In regards to music, there is a feeling that the songs are declining. Released in 2023, the “Wish” movie has received backlash on social media platforms for its supposedly uninspiring villain song, lacking the nostalgic Disney “magic” as well originality storywise.

The nostalgia and beauty of Disney music is a characteristic that Disney lovers expect to hear with a new film release. While we can not speak on Generation Alpha’s (b. 2010 and 2024) opinion, the youngest generation, this supposed deterioration in music quality is but one example of why the older generations feel that there is a difference between classic Disney and newer releases.

The changes in art style, music quality, and storylines might seem drastic because of the bias that older generations hold towards the movies they grew up with. These films expressing passions and chasing dreams are easy to associate with one’s childhood, and as the older generations put more years between themselves and their youth, the argument over which age of Disney is superior continues.

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About the Contributor
Cierra Nervo, Co Opinion Editor
Senior Cierra Nervo joined the Fourth Estate staff in the 2020-2021 school year. She is the Co-Opinion editor, and focuses her writing on recent trends, film, and environmental issues. She enjoys all aspects of the humanities, connecting other class interests to her journalist work. Outside of school, she writes for the Hope Ranch Stroll Magazine.
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