This fall, Disney will take us to the beautiful lands of the Pacific Islands in Moana.
Afterwards, however, it seems they’re going back to fantasyland Europe with Gigantic (with a Spanish influence) and Frozen 2.
I got to be honest: I’m extremely done with white princess movies and movies set in the same vaguely European world of yore. Disney has done that to death, and it’s not giving people of other countries, cultures, and ethnicities a chance to see themselves onscreen.
So, here are some suggestions of the many, many places Disney could set their films instead (I’m not going to get plot specific):
Well, okay, I guess we already kind of did get a Disney film set in Canada with Brother Bear, but since that movie didn’t do so well, we could always go for another one.
Maybe I’m biased because I am Canadian myself, but I think Disney could make a really awesome film set in Canada. I think a really great period to set it would be in 19th century Canada, with all the different ethnic groups (First Nations, Metis, black people, the Chinese, French-Canadiens and the British) struggling to survive amidst harsh weather and fight for territory. You could also add in some spirituality as well.
2: SOUTHEAST ASIA
Southeast Asia is so gorgeous. With awesome architecture and culture, lush jungles and beaches, Buddhist spirituality and animal life (tigers and elephants being huge), you could make a truly beautiful film in this part of the world. I don’t know too much about the individual countries (something that I hope to rectify) but I can imagine you can make a movie about a Thai princess or a young Buddhist monk.
This continent really gets a bad rep in media. It’s homogenized, demonized, and seen as ‘backwards’ and ‘primitive’ and while it is true the different countries have their struggles (most of them are still reeling from colonization and the slave trade) it’s not fair that the whole continent is painted as wasteland and whenever films ARE set there, they focus on animals, on white people, or how horrible and savage the actual Africans are. So I think Disney could have a huge impact by making a movie (or several) set in Africa with a more positive depiction of African people and culture.
(Image via Wikipedia)
There are a lot of regions and cultures to choose from, as seen above. North Africa has a lot of Mediterranean and Muslim influence, which might not be a bad thing, but West Africa was the area ravaged most by the slave trade and a lot of the other areas suffered from colonialism so it would probably be best to set it before European contact and focus on the empires. At any rate, with proper research and respect, you could make something beautiful.
4: ANCIENT EGYPT
Related to the above point, but Ancient Egypt is considered to be its own entity. At any rate, I think you could make an awesome film set there, with all the gods/goddesses, the pyramids, the Nile River, and you could probably have an Egyptian Princess from it.
5: PRE-CONTACT AUSTRALIA
Australia has been brutalized by racism and colonialism, so you could probably do some good by making a film about the Aboriginals during their prime. With the cave paintings, the Dreamland, and the Bunyip, you could make a dreamlike film about the life and legends of the people who braved this land.
There are many more places (plus you could always make more films set in Latin America, the Middle East, India, East Asia, and non-white parts of the US) but those are my top five pics. I think they could also adapt different classic stories from around the world as well. But at any rate, there’s a whole world beyond Europe that Disney can draw influence from, and they should get down to it sooner than later.