No Magic: The Wonder of Modern Disney

We’ve been wanting to write a longform piece about Disney films’ changing attitudes towards dreaming, believing, and proaction. Maybe we still will one day, but for now it’s entirely unnecessary because this amazing post does it all and more.

Check out this examination of how modern Disney films challenge and twist the messages of older Disney. And also, we need to rewatch Meet the Robinsons. And watch Tomorrowland for the first time.

Kids Riding Bicycles

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“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” said Arthur C Clarke in a famous quote that captures the world-shifting potential of science and discovery. Without wishing to trivilise the quote, it also comes to my mind when I think about Disney’s current era of film. (Yes, I’m being serious.) From 2011’s Tangled to this year’s Zootopia, Disney has earned critical and commercial plaudits for a series of films that have pushed the boundaries in both animation technology and thematic complexity. They’ve adapted their core offering, evolving the magic and wonder we’ve come to expect from them into something both new and old, something distinctly familiar yet undeniably fresh. And it revolves about Clarke’s binary between magic and technology.

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To understand what Disney has become, it’s important to first look back at what it was. Throughout Walt Disney’s life and well beyond his death, Disney films were all about…

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