MICKEY MOUSE’S BID FOR WORLD DOMINATION
I drove around town today in our old beat up Subaru with a freshly cut “Charlie Brown Special” strapped to the roof. The amount of smiles it produced from onlookers was intriguing. I have no idea whether the smiles were in approval, jest (at the case of anorexia the tree suffered from) or the fact it just looked authentic (not some melted down ice cream bucket like tree that may come in a Barbie play set). Hopefully, the tree may have reminded them of the simplicity of the past.
I have made ample trips to the toy stores already (which is quite impressive for a guy like me), and unfortunately, have walked out disappointed each time. Not because I couldn’t find what I was looking for, but because there is just…so…much!
It’s too much!
The Past: Me and Star Wars
I remember as a kid when Star Wars first came out in ’77. The only other significant space movie that had ever squeezed a decent nickel from the public up till then, was “A Space Odyssey” (that creepy H.A.L. still gives me the willies.)
But when Star Wars, “A New Hope”, came out, everything on the science fiction shelf at the local “Video World” looked like it was made by drunk puppeteers. Star Wars had set the bar almost unreachably high; deterring many amateur Sci-fi geek filmmakers from producing more horrible films. I’m sure the dumpsters around their houses suddenly became full of discount movie props and reels of film.
With the Star Wars series, came toys.
I remember getting the Sears Catalogue and drooling over the miniature Death Star set. It was way past anything Santa could fire down our chimney, maybe the rich kid down the corner could blackmail it home with some pub-crawl photos of “Jolly ol’ St Nic” and the elves.
But for us peasants, we’d had to settle for some of those stiff action figures or maybe, just maybe, a ship!
Toys vs Movies
Nonetheless, each toy was cherished and bragged about and slept next to and shared a spot at the table with you and….and…and…
What you had there was so valuable to you, that you may have considered trading your birthright or at the very least, the family pet for.
But today, and I’m as guilty as the next chump. We shop at WalMart, Toys-R-Us and (gulp) the Dollar Store. There’s so much plastic in these places, that if they had a fire they’d melt into a huge plastic glob that looks like the melted Tupperware lid accidentally left on the stove element. It’s all junk.
But instead of one Death Star Detention Block (which included a Princess Leigh that looked like Hugh Jackman with boobs), you can have twenty different scene sets. There’ll be twenty different “Leias”, twenty different “Lukes” and twenty different “Han Solos”.
George Lucas was asked what it was like to be the best movie producer in the world. You know what his response was? “I’m not a movie producer, I’m a toy producer.”
It’s no wonder the last three over CGI-ed Star Wars flicks looked more like hallucinogenic animations starring spoiled children, than the epic movies of yesteryear.
Old ‘Georgie-boy’ was just looking to have some background to his new, NEW! Leia figure (Star Wars geeks everywhere just covered their ears and shut their laptops screaming “NO! NO! Tell me he’s lying!! TELL ME HE’S LYING!!!!”).
But I’m not.
And the truth is, making another Star Wars movie (whether it’s good or not) is about business, only business (especially since the sale of “Lucasfilm”).
Coming to this realization caused me to wonder if it was the same story for other movies; are they just a vehicle for selling stuff?
The answer is disappointing when you consider that some of us have looked at particular movies as art and therefore forge emotional connections with the characters. We wear shirts with their symbols, we repeat little quotes to other fans with cheeky little grins (“May the force be with you!”); we gleefully wait for the next installment in the series. Obviously the original authors of the scripts and possibly even the directors and maybe the producers hope to make a good picture. But are they interested in making a good picture because of the art, because they want it to touch people or is it about pleasing the critics and producing a market for toys?
Disney Owns How Much?!
Which brings me to one of the most powerful companies on the face of the earth: Disney.
Not only a massive movie producer, they are also involved in music production, (of course) theme parks and toy making on mass.
Disney owns: The Disney ABC Television group, ESPN, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts U.S., Inc., Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC and Marvel Entertainment, LLC. As well, DreamWorks‘ films are marketed and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures under its Touchstone Pictures banner (yes, Touchstone).
Forbes lists Disney as number eleven on the list of the world’s most valuable brands at 179.5 billion dollars.
The Disney of today is not the fun loving, family content creator of yesterday.
Disney in my Vicinity
Yes I have been in the Disney stores and ‘oooooed’ over the toys, bright colors and cool coffee mugs. But never could I imagine their reach into the toy market till they bought the Stars Wars franchise for a cool $4 Billion.
Everywhere I go, its Star Wars this; Star Wars that. The prices are outrageous and you can get everything from “Jedi –Flakes” to “Wookie-fur” lined toilet paper (maybe a bit of an exaggeration).
It’s outright ridiculous.
Disney is making a Death Star-load of money. They started dropping their toys into the market probably a year before the new flick hit the theatres. As much as I have considered myself a Star Wars Geek in days gone past, I find myself nauseated by the Star Wars blanket over everything I see.
We used to be unofficially an underground force (pun right there).
Disney and PP
Even worse, is Disney’s continued (official repeat offender status) support of Planned Parenthood, even after the baby parts harvesting scandal. They don’t just throw a bit of cash their way, Disney has actually put functions together to gain support for PP. Numerous public lists of PP supporters have made their way onto the net. Many companies were mortified to see themselves as supporters of such heinous business and quickly released statements on their pullback of funds or their supposed naivety of where their philanthropic-checks had been going.
Disney was not one of those companies.
No comment; no stop of the cash chugging its way to the ‘septic tank’. Ironic that their image is that of an entertainer to children and yet they sponsor their murder and dismemberment by funding thugs such as Planned Parenthood.
An Apathetic Church
But Mickey Mouse continues to conquer the world and even the church doesn’t want to interrupt their summer holidays to Orlando for the sake of boycotting a world-gobbling machine such as Disney. Christians always have this grim look on their face when I tell them what a monster the Disney Conglomerate has become. As if we are overboard in not wanting to support a company that unapologetically sponsors infanticide. The look always has a ‘consciousless’ frown to it, as if to say, “Please don’t spoil my fun! It’s more important I entertain my kids than help end the demise of other pre-born children!”
Disney’s plan for Star Wars is to produce a film every summer for an extended period. I believe they will eventually destroy the novelty found in the adventures in “… a galaxy far, far away.” By that time, who knows what else the monster digests, and in order to slow Disney down people would actually have to think of someone other than themselves which means taking the time to step back and look at the big spiritual picture.
The sad reality is, most of the church hasn’t even got this one down (Luke 6:31).
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.