The Origins of Disney Movies
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The Lion King was the first Disney animated feature to be an original story, rather than being based on an already-existing story. The filmmakers have said that the story of The Lion King was inspired by the Joseph and Moses stories from the Bible and William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Certain elements of the film, however, bear a resemblance to a famous 1960s Japanese anime television show, Kimba the White Lion. One similarity is the protagonists' names: Kimba and Simba, although the word "simba" means "lion" in Swahili. Many characters in Kimba have an analogue in The Lion King and various individual scenes are nearly identical in composition and camera angle. Matthew Broderick, the voice of Simba, believed initially that he was in fact working on a remake of Kimba, since he was familiar with the Japanese original. Early production artwork on the film's Platinum Edition DVD even includes a white lion. Disney's official stance is that the similarities are all coincidental.
Yoshihiro Shimizu, of Tezuka Productions, which created Kimba the White Lion, has refuted rumours that the studio was paid hush money by Disney but explains that they rejected urges from within the industry to sue because, 'we're a small, weak company. It wouldn't be worth it anyway... Disney's lawyers are among the top twenty in the world!'
Christopher Vogler, in his book The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, described Disney's request that he suggest how to improve the plot of The Lion King by incorporating ideas from Hamlet. It has also been noted that the plot bears some resemblance to the West African Epic of Sundiata.
In the Disney version, Cinderella eventually gets to marry the prince despite her evil step-sisters and step-mother. Everyone, except for the step family, gets to live happily ever after. In the original tale of Cinderella which was a fairy tale penned by The Brothers Grimm, said she and the prince do get married and live happily ever after, but the two step-sisters do not have as much luck. In an attempt to fool the prince, they actually cut off pieces of their feet to fit the glass slipper. The prince is notified of this by two pigeons, who peck out the eyes of the two-step sisters. While Cinderella lives a happy life, they are left to live on the street in poverty as blind beggars.
Cinderella (Aschenputtel) by The Brothers Grimm
The Chinese legend of Hua Mulan centers on a young woman who disguises herself as a man to take the place of her elderly father in the army. The story can be traced back to The Ballad of Mulan. The earliest accounts of the legend state that she lived during the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534). However another version reports that Mulan was requested as a concubine by Emperor Yang of Sui China (reigned 604–617). The film may take place even later, as it prominently features landmarks such as the Forbidden City which was not constructed until the 15th Century. On the other hand, at the time of Northern Wei, the Xiongnu (Huns) had been already absorbed into Chinese culture. However, according to the style of dress (traditional Han clothing), the film takes place sometime in the 15th century or before. The fireworks featured in the movie indicate that the movie is set during the Sui dynasty. Although Mulan is set in north China, where the dominant language is Mandarin, the Disney film uses the Cantonese pronunciation, "Fa", of her family name. In Mandarin her name is pronounced "Hua".
Disney's Mulan casts the title character in much the same way as the original legend, a tomboy daughter of a respected veteran, somewhat troubled by being the "sophisticated lady" her society expects her to be after failing the matchmaker's training, dishonoring Mulan's family. In the original Mulan legend, Mulan uses her father's name Li and not the name "Ping" and she was never discovered as a girl, unlike the film. Also in the original legend, Mulan went to war for her father, because her father was getting too old to fight, and had no sons to take his place. However, in the film, it was added that her father's leg was injured.
There are many different variations of Goldilocks and the Three Bears even today. The one thing that these variations have in common is the basic plot and a happy ending. In the original tale, Goldilocks sneaks into the bears' house, eats, their porridge, and falls asleep, but when she is found by the bears, she doesn't have as much luck. When the bears find her, they shred her to pieces and eat her.
Sleeping Beauty, along with Cinderella, is a big favorite among little girls. In this Disney movie, the princess falls asleep for a hundred years because of a curse. She is awakened by the kiss of a prince, who she marries. They go on to live happily ever after. The original version of this tale is not one you would tell to your children. In the original version, the princess falls asleep, as with the movie. While she is sleeping, she is raped by her father, the King, and becomes pregnant with twins. She gives birth to the twins (still sleeping) and awakens when one of the babies removes something from her finger that was keeping her from awaking.
The Brothers Grimm also have penned a Sleeping Beauty fairy tale though with different outcomes
Sleeping Beauty by The Brothers Grimm
In the Disney version, the Little Mermaid is turned into a human so that she can marry the prince and they can live happily ever after. In the original version of the Little Mermaid, she does not get to marry the prince. The prince actually marries another princess, and the Little Mermaid witnesses the wedding and breaks down. Someone offers her a knife so that she can murder the prince, but she decides against it. Rather, she jumps back into the sea and turns into foam and dies.
The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen
Little Red Riding Hood (1997)
In the version that is most commonly told today, Little Red Riding Hood comes very close to being killed by the big bad wolf, but is rescued by the woodsman. The original version is actually very similar, except in the ending. In an attempt to teach children a lesson, the story actually ends in Little Red Riding Hood being eaten by the wolf.
Differences from the Source Material
* Snow White's biological mother appears in the beginning of the story
* Snow White is only seven years old when she is declared "the fairest one of all" and the Queen sends the huntsman to kill her. Because of the marketing to children Disney increased her age to fourteen to soften the story.
* The Queen is more malice than in the film. In the original story after the huntsman brings back the heart, liver and lungs of a boar, the Queen, thinking them be Snow White's own organs, has them made into a stew which she eats with canibalistic relish.
* Snow White does not have any animal friends.
* The dwarfs are much more gruff to Snow White at first but they grow to love her and they let her into their home.
* The Queen does not transform into a peddler woman, but merely paints her face.
* In between the huntsman and the poisoned apple, the Queen first tries to kill Snow White by lacing her up so tight that she couldn't breath. After that fails she tries to drug her with a poisoned hair comb. When that fails she finally 'kills' the little girl with the apple.
* Snow White sleeps in the glass coffin for many years and she grows up into a young woman while in her death-like slumber.
* The prince buys the coffin from the dwarfs and they help him carry it back to his castle. But one of them trips and Snow White having dislodged the bit of the poisoned apple from her throat sits up alive and well
* The Queen attends the wedding of the prince and she sees that the bride is Snow White. Her feet are then forcibly placed into iron slippers that had been sitting on red hot coals and she dances and dances until she drops down dead.
The story was penned by The Brothers Grimm
Snow White by The Brothers Grimm
While Disney movies are known for their happy endings some of the movies don't have a happy origin story
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