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Topic: Disney and science fiction< Next Oldest | Next Newest >

Goofyteer Offline

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Posted: Nov. 10, 2003 12:59 am/pm Quote

There seem to be a lot of folks out there who will poke fun at Disney when they release something like Treasure Planet, and they'll say that Disney should "stick to what they do" and "stay out of science fiction" saying that science fiction "isn't Disney enough". Those people usually seem to be the type who are either not too familiar with traditional Disney or only recently started going to recent Disney films during the last ten years or so, and so are just making an honest mistake.

The truth is that Disney has been involved with science fiction almost since the rise of its popularity really hit the screens since the sixties or maybe even earlier. Disney was fascinated by the idea of scientific discovery and did several tv programs about space travel explorations and such, but besides stuff in his park his studio has released quite a lot of sci-fi movies both duing his lifetime and afterwards. Probably the reason why many of these films are not discussed these days are most likely because they were sci-fi film types from a more innocent era of science fiction, the fact that they weren't really types of the Close Encounters or Star Wars variety. But they are enjoyed by longtime Disney fans and even science fiction fans who otherwise aren't that heavily into Disney. In fact, Disney took chances with sci-fi ideas at times when it was considered the riskiest form to jump into - it didn't become anything close to a "respectable" form of cinema at all until 2001 came along, according to film history books I've read.

Besides doing things like contributing special effects to the movie Forbidden Planet and lots of cool Disney books and comics with science fiction stories, here's a few examples of what Disney has done - and I'll let The Black Hole slide for now as I want to mention ones I liked growing up.

Moon Pilot - This one isn't a fast-moving film, but then most of the other movies with this sort of plot idea I've seen aren't either. It would be unfair to give away the plot of this one, you'll see what I mean if you see it, but it's a favorite of mine. It reflects back to a very special time of innocence in science fiction that really doesn't exist the same way anymore. (Psst, here's a hinting spoiler, don't read it if you don't want to know what this one is is about and plan on seeing it for the first time: this movie was made at least a decade before the movie The Man Who Fell To Earth!;)  )

The Cat From Outer Space - Title says it all, this one is still cute after all these years!

The two Witch Mountain movies - Telekinetic kids from another solar system who were really popular when these came out.

TRON - Every sci-fi fan's favorite example and my biggest favorite piece of science fiction to ever come from Disney. While other movies like The Matrix have been called successors to TRON, none of them have matched it. TRON is sheer poetry and is still every bit as much fun now as back then, the sort of movie that only gets made once in a blue moon. It's a very special film with a majesty and beauty all its own, not to mention strongly reminescent to Christianity in its story, and despite what a lot of people think it was not a flop by any means (just ask Leonard Maltin!;).

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes - Ages before we got movies like Weird Science, teenager Dexter got zapped and suddenly had his brain "downloading" the intelligence from a supercomputer. Reminescent of a lot of sci-fi that came out during the fifties, I think.

There are a lot of others, but I won't go into listing them for now. But I write this to pay tribute to the fact that Disney has always been attempting fun science fiction, that his studio was always know for its experimenting, and that when te studio has done anything along science fiction lines they didn't do just one or two styles but several, from the quiet type to the "weird science" type to otherwordly stuff. Here's hoping that sometime more modern audiences will realise this and pay credit where it's due! :mickey: :coolgrin:


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Chris T. / Goofyteer
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