Why Disney Pushed me Over the Edge

High Technology, Opinions, Uncategorized Posted Jun 5, 2015 by Liza Vilnits

With last Sunday being gloomy, cold and wet, the day presented itself as a perfect excuse to hit the movie theater. After checking out three or four trailers, my boyfriend and I settled on Disney’s “Tomorrowland” as it looked to be action-packed and futuristic.

When the previews started and we realized we were the only adults in the theatre who didn’t have kids with them, we started to re-think our decision but then thought, “What the hell, it will be a cute family flick.” The movie was indeed very family-friendly, not quite as suspenseful and thrilling as I had hoped but nonetheless mildly entertaining. What I didn’t love though was the preachy tone and underlying messaging that doomsday is just around the corner and our irresponsible actions are the reason behind it.

Before I delve deeper into the movie (spoiler alert ahead), I want to clarify that I LOVE Disney movies (probably because I’m just a big kid myself) but sometimes I feel like they take it too far with their subliminal messaging.

Tomorrowland-Concept-Art-1Tomorrowland is depicted as this beautiful futuristic kingdom that thrives on openness of ideas and creativity. Only those who believe in pushing boundaries and creating something spectacular are granted access to this magical land. It’s a beautiful idea that says anything is possible.

Unfortunately, a device is invented which looks into the future and shows all of the destruction that will occur (wars, flooding, earthquakes, assassinations) which will ultimately lead to the Earth’s collapse. Because this device shows when everyone will die, people give up and Tomorrowland is shut down.

Of course, the heroes come along, blow up the device, change the course of history and re-open Tomorrowland. Woo hoo! All’s well that ends well.

During that dark point in the movie as the end drew near, the message being conveyed was that all of life’s disasters are our fault because we don’t take care of the planet.

Disney movies usually try to teach a lesson of some kind which is part of the reason why they’re so great; they usually encourage and inspire you to want to do better or to do more, like Nemo who “just kept swimming” and never gave up, even when things looked grim. But on the other hand, sometimes you just want to be entertained without having to think—or be preached to.

overstimulationBack in 2006, J. Walker-Smith, a renowned analyst on consumer trends said that we have gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day in the 1970s to as many as 5,000 a day now—and that was in 2006! I’m afraid to know what that number is today.

Deep down, my irritation isn’t with Disney; it’s with being overstimulated with messages both subtle and overt that tell me what to buy and how to act. When I chose to see a movie that day I didn’t want a lesson. Disney delivered one and got the brunt of my frustration.

Despite my experience with Tomorrowland I confess that I will always be a die-hard Disney fan. Toy Story 4, anyone?