Rated: 3 / 5
(calm, soft spoken, yet above a whisper)
You know, I remember seeing this as a toddler, off of a VHS recording from a television broadcast, shown at a Daycare center at my school. I don’t recall much of the live action bits (boring to kids like me at that age), but was all into the animated sections. How we enjoyed Br’er Rabbit, how we laughed at some of the antics. How we would try to imitate him by hopping around with our feet turned 45 degrees (we tried 90 degrees, but that’s kind of impossible), like Charlie Chaplin on steroids. I remember going on the ride at Disneyland for the first time, the smooth log ride through various areas, seeing the characters and their antics, and the shadow animations, the slide down, the water splashes. We loved seeing remembering, and acting out as those characters. We also hummed or sang that zip-ah-dee-doo-dah song, and smiled whenever we heard it in commercials for either the film itself or for some Disney commercial, about as often as we heard, “It’s a small world after all.” It was pure entertaining bliss as a child.
(hardens just a tad, volume goes up ever so slightly)
Only to find out many many years later once I’m well past the innocence of my youth that other children are to grow up deprived of this. Because some people look at it in a completely different way, in a way a child cannot comprehend. They see some form of racist propaganda that goes against the intentions of Walt Disney and those who made the film. They see this as something that glorifies the age of slavery, rather than something that envisions a period in time during the Reconstruction when plantations were around, that slavery was dying off, the Civil War ended, and a time of healing was to begin. A time where children could grow up not needing to be aware of the violent past, but of the blissful present (with some shadows still upon it). A time when everyone is starting to put all that behind them and focus on entertaining tales with good moral lessons to teach children, and how adults of any race and any position could appreciate the good that it’s all doing.
(hard, not quite loud)
And so they take it all away. The current people who run Disney going against Walt’s wishes. Those who have been brainwashed by these sick twisted demented hypocritical motherfuckers to spit upon all those lessons because of a misguided hatred dredged up from the past. They dare say it’s not ok to watch this, not ok to show this to children, not ok to have them be entertained by this. They became the very thing this film was made to allow us to move past. They have decided that those who have tried to move past it have been delusional this entire time, and we are still stuck in that same period after all these years. Despite how much we’ve bled and sweat and clawed away from all this, they drag us back in. Just when we thought we were out during the late 90s and early 2000s, they pull us back in. And they tarnish everything the film stood for in the process, so that characters like Br’er Rabbit and songs like zip-ah-dee-doo-dah can only be acceptably viewed as offensive.
(volume goes down a notch)
I’m past being angry about this. I just don’t see how anyone who views this film both through the eyes of a child, and through the eyes of an adult in retrospect, can view this the way the NAACP (unofficially) does, let alone the way those currently running Disney. I don’t see how they can look past all of that above, plus what Walt Disney himself did. How Walt, upon hearing James Baskett’s (actor who played Uncle Remus) voiceover of one of the butterflies in the film, met with him personally and offered to give him the bigger role that defined his career that ended too soon. How Walt let Remus land the role that became one of the first Hollywood portrayals of a black actor as a non-comic character in a leading role in a film meant for general audiences. How Walt would refuse to attend the theatrical premiere of the film (outside of making introductions), and would stay at his hotel, because the segregated city of Atlanta wouldn’t allow the black actors to attend the film’s screening. How Walt maintained personal contact with James well after the film was done, how he campaigned for James to receive an academy award for his role, which resulted in James winning an Honorary Academy Award in 1948, a few months before James would die of heart failure.
The hell I’m past being angry. Does any of this sound like the actions a racist company and a racist individual would make!? Does any of that sound like they had devious intentions behind any of this!? Walt would be rolling in his grave with how despicable the company he founded has become. Fuck the Disney vault. It’s shit like this that makes us sympathize with professional thieves who break into vaults for a living and steal shit. This is why I feel no regret whatsoever for getting a hold of unofficial copies that don’t support the company in any way. If they’re going to steal away our childhood, I say it’s only fair that we steal it back. And not only do the thieves steal it, they polish it. This is why I took it from archive.org, in all it’s fan-remastered glory, and enjoyed it.
To hell with what anyone says. People of all ages should still be able to watch and enjoy this movie. Even if taking on that feeling and lesson of a blissful happily ever after where everyone gets along in the end is just a vain pipe dream, as modern mainstream culture has dictated.