This week we got the first reviews for the test screenings Aladdin...and viewers weren't too impressed. Lucasfilm killed a joke about Kylo Ren in Ralph Wrecks the Internet because it struck a little too close to home. Plus, Disney is looking to reboot the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and Captain Jack probably won't be back. That and much much on episode 205 of The Disney Movie Review
Early reviews are in for Aladdin and it looks like test screeners weren't entirely impressed. The movie, which is slated to be released in 2019, is credited as being "Pretty Okay" by those in the know. Others have said it is "swell, but not super memorable."
Of course, this is all hearsay at the moment and the movie has several rounds of editing to go through before it gets to a mass audience. That said, there are two things that may stand in the way of the live-action Aladdin being a great film.
First, Disney isn't breaking new ground with Aladdin. We're likely to get a movie that is closer to Cinderella than to The Jungle Book. I doubt they will change the story significantly like they did for Maleficent and judging by the early trailer the special effects won't be a talking point. That doesn't leave a whole lot for audiences to get excited about.
Second, Disney has placed Aladdin in its "cursed" time period – Memorial Day Weekend. The last film to actually succeed in that time slot was Maleficent in 2014. That story that significantly changed the path of the title character and was one of the first live-action films in this new age of live-action. Unless Jafar ends up winning or Aladdin doesn't set the Genie free, this movie won't have that kind of shock value.
So right now it looks like Aladdin might be in a bit of trouble, but there's a long time left. We'll see if he can improvise his way out of this sticky situation.
Turns out that Kylo Ren is even more sensitive than we thought. So sensitive in fact that Lucasfilm killed off a joke about him in Ralph Wrecks the Internet.
“At one point we had a joke about Kylo Ren being kind of a spoiled child,” said Ralph Wrecks the Internet Co-Director Rich Moore in an interview with IGN. “We went to Lucasfilm and said, here’s what we’re doing. And they said, well, we’d prefer that you don’t show him as a spoiled child. You know, he is our villain, and we’d prefer you don’t do that. So we were respectful of that.”
In general, this is a little disheartening. Knowing that Disney is about to control roughly half of Hollywood's content, it is terrifying. Disney has always been very protective of its characters, but in recent years it has become more lighthearted in the way it references them in other movies. (I credit Marvel with that growth, but that's another story for another time.)
Now the central question becomes, what else is Disney willing to censor? Now that Disney owns Fox, there are going to be fewer places for audiences to view different ideas and fewer places for artists to express them. And now we now know Disney can't take a joke.
Disney is working on rebooting the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Disney will be working with the producer that started it all – Jerry Bruckheimer – to breathe new life into a franchise that some have tired of. Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick were tapped to write the script for the new franchise.
Here's the kicker, Captain Jack will not make a return in this one. Screenwriter Stuart Beattie confirmed that Johnny Depp will no longer be apart of the series. It seems odd that Disney would reboot the franchise without its most popular character, but Depp has become toxic after allegations or domestic abuse surfaced.
The Pirates series has been in rough waters since the second movie came out. Even though the second and third movie were profitable, domestic fans appeared to have abandoned the series after that. Meanwhile, Chinese fans became so enamored with the series that it warranted its own land in Shanghai Disneyland. With a new series, Disney might be able to get east and west back on the same page.
It's not unusual for Disney Princesses to catch the ire of those looking for an easy target, but this time the call is coming from inside the house. Kristen Bell, the voice of Princess Anna in Frozen, recently gave an interview to Parents Magazine where she discussed her feelings on Disney's first princess.
“Every time we close ‘Snow White,’ I look at my girls and ask, ‘Don’t you think it’s weird that Snow White didn’t ask the old witch why she needed to eat the apple? Or where she got that apple?’" Bell said during the interview. "I say, ‘I would never take food from a stranger, would you?’ And my kids are like, ‘No!’ And I’m like, ‘OK, I’m doing something right.'"
Bell went on to say that she also wants to make sure her kids know it is not okay to kiss sleeping people. So there's that.
On the one hand, it's hard to criticize Bell. She is using the story exactly the way it was intended. Most of the fairy tales that Disney movies are based on are designed to teach children something about life. As a parent, it is her job — not Disney's — to teach her kids lessons that she feels are appropriate. That's exactly what she is doing. She's also picking an easy target.
These fairy tales are hundreds of years old and, put simply, they haven't aged well in the age of #LeanIn. Still, many of the current movies have some of the exact same themes as the older ones. I highly doubt Bell pauses Frozen to ask her daughters if it's weird that Princess Anna gets engaged to Hans after one day.
A few years ago a BYU Study made a lot of noise by claiming that Disney Princess movies magnified stereotypes in girls. You probably don't need a study to see that, since fantasy movies tend to magnify everything about the lead characters. In addition, men and women are scientifically different, which affects the way they tend approach situations. The princess movies tend to amplify that, so they are easy targets in 2018. Bell's comments are just a little friendly fire.
One studio's controversy they refuse to touch is another one's treasure. Especially when that treasure is James Gunn and the studio getting him has struggled to create a popular cinematic universe to rival the MCU. Gunn could change all of that.
Warner Brothers just did not find Gunn as toxic as Disney did, after those old inappropriate tweets resurfaced in a political hit job. DC appears to have accepted Gunn's apology for his past behavior, while Disney was a little less understanding. That lack of understanding could come back to haunt them if Gunn becomes a linchpin in the DC Universe.
This week a new study shows that Russian Trolls were behind much of the negativity that hit The Last Jedi. Plus, it happens every year. Disney World changes its pricing and fans complain that Walt's Florida project is no longer affordable for the average family. That and much more on episode 203 of The Disney Movie Review.
This week Disney World introduced a new way to buy tickets that has some fans up in arms. Meanwhile, Disneyland is slowly getting rid of benches to make way for Star Wars land. On the media side, Disney agreed to sell its stake Sky to rival Comcast, which possibly makes the future of Hulu a little more clear. Plus, someone had the nerve to ask Terrence Howard if he would ever return to Marvel as War Machine. It's all on this week's podcast.