When I went to see “The Muppets” I was so excited for my favorite puppet troop’s long-awaited big screen revival that I didn’t notice something interesting. In fact, I didn’t even realize that this something had happened until December, when all of a sudden a ton of news stories broke about it (perhaps I wasn’t the only one who didn’t notice right away).
Disney’s changed its famous pre-film logo again. This time, instead of giving it another animated overhaul, they’ve changed the name. Rather than saying “Walt Disney Pictures,” it just reads “Disney.”
The funny thing is, even when I first read this story I mostly ignored it. I take Disney to task for all sorts of things, but for whatever reason, this change doesn’t bother me. Perhaps I’m just already that cynical about the current Disney Company’s overall lack of commitment to Walt’s vision that this gesture, however important in its symbolism, feels meaningless. If Disney execs are going to have ultimate goals that have more to do with real estate and merchandising than movies, then it’s just as well they not associate themselves as much with Walt.
Of course, that’s not the official reason for the change at all. The given reason for the change is so that the logo will be easier to read on mobile devices. You know, so if you’re settling in to watch an entire movie on your cell phone, you’ll know exactly which company made that movie. Because if you’re about to watch a whole film on a phone, you’re not likely to know who made that movie otherwise, or something.
I shouldn’t kid. I might not have a cell phone even capable of surfing the internet, let alone streaming whole movies, but my home phone actually works over the internet and one of the five computers in my house is hooked up to the television, and that’s usually how I watch shows and other stuff on Netflix. So I’m not exactly resistant to new technology here.
As bitter as I may have sounded above, I’m still not really fussed by the name change. A lot of people on the internet are complaining about how Disney’s ruining their childhood nostalgia, how the old plain hand-drawn blue and white Disney logo would look better on a small mobile device screen anyway, so maybe Disney execs should bring that back.
Nope, still don’t care. One could make a decent argument that just calling the company “Disney” would be more accurate. After all, Disney’s brother Roy O. was a huge influence in the company, almost as, if not just as, important as his more famous sibling. If one’s going to put so much thought into the secret meaning of a logo, then one could just pretend that the shorter name “Disney” is a quiet way of finally giving Roy O., and his also influential to the company son Roy E., more of the acknowledgement they deserve.
Above I insinuated that Disney’s lost sight of Walt’s vision, but now I’m not even sure that’s true. Within Walt’s lifetime he shifted his focus away from films to television and amusement parks, so in some ways the company’s just following one of his own paths.
It doesn’t matter to me what Disney’s going to call its company. As long as their movies are true to Walt’s spirit (and in my opinion “Tangled” definitely was), then they can do whatever they like to their logo. Especially if they keep the new, much more steeped in Disney history, logo they run before their feature-length animated films, the one with a clip of Mickey from “Steamboat Willie.”