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‘Little Mermaid’ Director: Disney Shouldn’t Try To Have A ‘Message’

He thinks creating engaging characters and interesting stories is more important.

John Musker shared his thoughts on Disney’s recent movies.

Musker directed Disney’s famous ‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘Aladdin,’ ‘Hercules,’ ‘Moana,’ and ‘The Princess and the Frog.’ As per El País, he thinks Disney should focus less on political messages and more on telling good stories with interesting characters.

Musker told the Spanish outlet that classic Disney films didn’t start out trying to send a message. He explained that while it’s okay to include agendas, it’s more important to first create characters who are sympathetic:

“I think they need to do a course correction a bit in terms of putting the message secondary, behind entertainment and compelling story and engaging characters. The classic Disney films didn’t start out trying to have a message. They wanted you to get involved in the characters and the story and the world, and I think that’s still the heart of it. You don’t have to exclude agendas, but you have to first create characters who you sympathize with and who are compelling.”

Musker Thinks Disney Isn’t Trying To Be ‘Woke’

Musker faced criticism before for the 2009 film ‘The Princess and the Frog,’ as it featured Disney’s first Black princess, Tiana. Some accused the film of being ‘woke,’ but Musker thinks they’re not:

“We weren’t trying to be woke, although I understand the criticism.”

He also shared his thoughts on Disney’s recent strategy of remaking their classic animated movies into live-action films:

“Companies are always like, ‘How do we reduce our risk? They like this, right? We’ll just do it again and sell it to them in a different form.’ Or they think, ‘Well, we could make it better.'”

Musker criticized the 2023 live-action remake of ‘The Little Mermaid’ for not focusing enough on the father-daughter relationship. He believes that was the heart of the original story. He also felt that the animated animals in the remake lacked expression.

Disney still plans to continue this live-action remake trend, though. Dwayne Johnson recently announced that the live-action remake of ‘Moana’ will start shooting in the fall, following the release of the animated sequel, ‘Moana 2,’ in November 2024. You can watch ‘The Rock’ sing a song for the movie here.

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