An opening title positions Pixar’s Lightyear as a movie, not within a movie, but within a movie world: the world of the Toy Story movies. The conceit is that we’re watching young Andy’s “favorite movie” from 1995: the movie behind the Buzz Lightyear merch. First-time feature director Angus MacLane calls Lightyear “Andy’s Star Wars.” He also calls it “Pixar’s first sci-fi action adventure movie,” which takes some nerve coming from a dude whose first credit is the Wall-E spin-off short Burn-E.
It pains me to say this: If Lightyear is Andy’s Star Wars, what an impoverished childhood Andy had. In our world, children in 1995 had two certified childhood masterpieces, Toy Story and Babe, not to mention Pocahontas, The Indian in the Cupboard, and the Jason Scott Lee Jungle Book, among others. And Andy, whose young imagination was fired with melodramatic sci-fi/Western-style standoffs between noble heroes and dastardly villains—what did he get?
I know what he should have gotten. A word-balloon blurb on Buzz’s spaceship box in Toy Story breathlessly declares that, as “a member of the elite Universe Protection Unit of the Space Ranger Corps, I protect the galaxy from the threat of invasion from the Evil Emperor Zurg, sworn enemy of the Galactic Alliance.” Toy Story featured a Buzz Lightyear TV commercial with copy like “Buzz Lightyear, planet Earth needs your help!” and “Buzz Lightyear: the world’s greatest superhero, now the world’s greatest toy!” We also saw a Buzz Lightyear video game in Toy Story 2 depicting Buzz blowing up armies of robots and dodging deathtraps to confront Zurg in his lair.
There are glimpses of the movie Lightyear should have been. Alas, this movie’s Buzz (voiced by Chris “Captain America” Evans, replacing Tim Allen because reasons) is never called upon to help planet Earth or to protect the galaxy, let alone the universe. There may be a Galactic Alliance, but we never see it, or anyone else except one ship of explorers and their descendants. There’s an antagonist named Zurg (Josh Brolin), but he’s neither the sworn enemy nor the emperor of anything—he’s more misguided than malevolent—and neither he nor anyone else threatens to invade anything.
There’s no galactic struggle of heroes versus villains. No all-important mission on which the fate of Earth or the Galactic Alliance depends. Lightyear evokes the world of space opera only to debunk it; it’s an anti–space opera for an era in which heroism is viewed with skepticism at best.
Lightyear opens in uncharted regions of space, with Buzz and Commander Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba), a fellow Space Ranger, helming a vessel Buzz calls the Turnip, an exploration ship containing a thousand scientists and engineers in hypersleep. The first thing that happens—in a certain sense, the only thing that happens for most of the movie, at least in on a big-picture scale—is that Buzz makes a fateful mistake and sets down the Turnip on a treacherous planet that somehow has a name, T’Kani Prime, from which it turns out there is no easy escape.
After that establishing crisis, the action largely consists of generally unsuccessful video-game efforts to level up: to do or to get whatever will enable our heroes and the now-awakened crew to return to Earth, or at least to overcome specific threats to the colony that grows up around the Turnip over the decades. That’s right: This is a movie about a thousand humans marooned on an uncharted planet for decades, and Buzz’s unsuccessful efforts to get them back underway to Earth.
Buzz’s efforts depend on the ship’s pointy heads successfully recreating a hyperspeed fuel crystal from the rich resources on T’Kani Prime. Is there any chance of sending a message back to Earth? How about a distress beacon? Will there be any Space Ranger search-and-rescue missions looking for a thousand humans, including some of their own, lost in uncharted space? At least some unmanned probes? Moving on!
Somehow the pointy heads fail for decades to get the exact balance of ingredients necessary for hyperspeed fuel crystals—something you would think would be standard knowledge among pointy heads, especially on an exploration mission in uncharted space. Of course, they are pretty busy with the business of developing the colony, despite the neighborhood being hostile enough that the colony is eventually defended by a laser-shield perimeter.
Where does the time go? For Buzz, the years are literally lost to the relativistic time-dilation effects of brief test flights at near lightspeed. Specifically, each time he tests a new hyperspeed fuel crystal—a space flight lasting only four minutes—four years pass on T’Kani Prime. (Such extreme time dilation means Buzz is traveling much faster than 99.999% lightspeed, but it’s not fast enough.)
While Buzz’s test flights fail again and again and again, Commander Hawthorne falls in love with another woman (“Who is she?” Buzz asks on hearing that Hawthorne is engaged). This is by far Disney/Pixar animation’s most explicit treatment so far of gay animated characters: an unambiguous Black lesbian couple who share a kiss and raise a son. (Strikingly, this comes a week after Jurassic World Dominion’s coy treatment of DeWanda Wise’s allegedly bisexual character.) Clearly 1995 was a very different time in Andy’s world than in ours.
Before long—from his point of view—Buzz finds himself teaming up with Hawthorne’s granddaughter, Izzy Hawthorne (Keke Palmer), among others, to take on a mysterious threat to the colony. Buzz’s real challenges, though, are internal and attitudinal, from his Lego Batman–style self-reliance and his distrust of rookies and autopilots to the gnawing guilt he feels for marooning the Turnip on T’Kani Prime and ending Commander Hawthorne’s career as a Space Ranger.
The first theme feels like yet another commentary on Pixar’s old guard turning over the reins to a younger generation of collaborators. (Unsurprisingly, Izzy feels the pressure of living up to her grandmother’s legend and worries that she isn’t good enough.) The second theme packs a bit more heft. Granted that more energy and thought could have been put into bringing the crew of the Turnip home, there’s something to be said for embracing the value of an ordinary life that might not be the life one expected or planned for. Even if Buzz could go back to the beginning and undo his mistake landing on T’Kani Prime, this would mean erasing Izzy and her father, for starters—an objection not without an element of incipiently pro-life feeling. (A similar difficulty weighed on Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame: He wanted to bring back everyone Thanos wiped out, but without resetting the timeline and erasing his young daughter’s existence, among the many others born in the interim.)
Lightyear has other bright spots. Sox (Peter Sohn), a robotic cat initially assigned to Buzz for emotional support, turns out to be more valuable than he seems, both strategically and narratively. Sox gets one of the movie’s biggest laughs—twice—and Izzy’s team members (Taika Waititi and Dale Soules) are good for a few laughs as well.
For the most part, though, what’s meant to be a pioneering adventure in uncharted space feels awfully shopworn, from the mechanical video-game plotting (Do the thing! Get the thing! Sorry, you failed again!) to the rote emotional beats. There’s nothing here like the nostalgic affection for genre conventions in Toy Story 2’s thrilling quasi-Western finale, or the wonder and awe in Wall-E at the arrival of Eve or the terrifying blastoff into outer space.
There are kids today ready to discover their generation’s Star Wars, their Toy Story. They’ll have to keep waiting.
If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!
Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.
Looks like CWR was hard up for an article again and had to put this piece in for filler. I just read that eleven countries have banned the movie due to its lesbian characters. Why not just say it is a terrible movie, contributing to the moral decay of our children, and skip the “artistic” review.
Crusader: The article was well written. Keep the “too cool for school/Debbie Downer” comments to yourself.
“I just read that eleven countries have banned the movie due to its lesbian characters.”
Yet you could not read this review that had no mentions of something so meaningless? In the animation world, a kiss should have some sort of meaning or implication, not just used for some generic 2 minute moment. Especially since Disney literally uses kisses as a panacea, the cliched deus ex machina smooch.
The “banned in 11 countries” wasn’t mentioned in the review, but the kiss was. And frankly it’s the reason we’re not taking any of ours to see this thing.
Sometimes reviewers take creepy grooming movies from Disney way too seriously. It’s just another attempt by Disney to lure children in with a supposedly child friendly movie, then corrupt them and destroy their values. May Disney rot in hell. For a Catholic reviewer to say almost nothing of the moral perversion in this movie is a scandal.
To tell you the truth, I don’t watch anything from Monopoly Mouse anymore. There are a lot of reasons, but the last straw was when they argued with a straight face that they had acquired the intellectual property assets to Star Wars, but not the obligation to pay royalties to authors. And they’ve only gotten worse since then.
It seems like most times they release a new Marvel or Star Wars or even Pixar movie, it just cements that I’m not missing out on anything important. There are some exceptions (Turning Red sounds nice), but it doesn’t look like this is one of them.
I wonder if there’s any way to get Buzz Lighyear of Star Command. (Far be it from me to recommend anyone pay for Disney+ but if people are going to do it anyway, they may as well use it for something actually good.) It wasn’t high art, but it was fun enough. It had some wit. Zurg was an actual evil emperor AND comic relief. Defunctland has a DefunctTV video about it.
Anyway, my deepest condolences in advance for your having to sit through the live-action Pinocchio remake.
Hear hear, say no to the Monopoly Mouse!
Turning Red actually sounds terrible, both plot-wise and perversion-wise. Lots of crude and somewhat sexual content and jokes, and even closes with a reference to a famous (but disturbing) “my choice” slogan. You will not miss out by never seeing it (and further, won’t have to bleach your brain to remove the stains of its eye-searingly bad art style).
It was horribly lacking plot-wise, with no consequences for anything the protagonist (who often acts like a spoiled child) did. The Literature Devil will probably get around to reviewing it sometime and that will be worth seeing.
I saw the Defunctland video and second your comments. It looked like it was actually good (silly perhaps, but enjoyable and reasonably respectful to the characters).
Oh, this one definitely hurts. I’m hoping to disagree with you after I see it, or at least like it a bit more than you do, but your words seem to have the ring of truth to them. Don’t listen to anyone sneering at your thoughtful, typically incisive analysis. Your work has been (and will no doubt continue to be) invaluable to me and so many others.
I must agree. Why an in-depth review of a movie so anti-Catholic/Christian? It is a terrible movie arising out of a terrible culture skidding for the guardrail over an abyss.
That it is, at heart, a terrible movie from end to end, should not be the point.
Of course, I never understand Catholic media obsessed with pop culture and movies in the first place. Maybe folk should be spending more time with God rather than frittering away lives in empty man-made entertainments. Oh, but I forget the meaning of life is all about having a good time….it is NOT loving God above ALL things with all my heart, mind and strength, without ceasing.
And folk wonder why society and the modern Church are imploding.
Because many Catholics will be interested in seeing it? Because Pop Culture and movies exist? Because rather than spending time with God, you are frittering your life away in an empty critique of movie reviews?
Wow, what a strange response to a perfectly valid criticism. No one can defend this morality free review from a supposedly Catholic reviewer. Except with cheap shots.
Where do you find the time, then, for being preachy and shaming people for watching movies in the comment section of a Catholic website? Maybe some people would say you’re the one frittering away your life? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Maybe because more people need to be saying this? I KNEW on a media website named “Catholic”, that me urging more prayer and less pop culture would garner pretty much insulting replies. You might try reading older examinations of conscience, back when Catholicism and spiritual life and families were strong, where you would find the exact same things as I said. And no, I do not equate wasting my time glued to entertainment on a screen anywhere near that of urging on Catholic website that there needs to be less entertainment and more prayer. I guess if your priest said this, you folk would complain to the bishop? Like I said, where God is ignored, both the world and the Church fall into ruin. At death, watching movies will not count for much, and neither will going to Mass every Sunday while ignoring God the rest of the time.
But, we have freedom to choose, yes, we do.
PS- I do not go after other posters, but will certainly reply to those who go after my own personal post.
Here you go, Bob: “Prayer and Mortification: Liturgical Abnegation is Freedom”.
“My views must be 100% correct”, but “I’m always attacked”.
Your own words. “Of course, I never understand” “Oh, but I forget the meaning of life is all about having a good time….it is NOT loving God above ALL things with all my heart, mind and strength, without ceasing. And folk wonder why society and the modern Church are imploding.”
“Maybe because more people need to be saying this?
“Like I said” “those who go after my own personal post”
Yet your preaching and logic comes with the same division you want to speak against. You cannot pass judgment on others and expect others to not judge you. That’s not how the world has ever worked. Words are a reflection of who you are. This reflection is often unseen by one’s self. You equate yourself to God through your own implications.
Far be it from me to defend Deacon Greydanus (I’m not even Catholic), but this attitude is precisely why people like you lost the culture. You take immense pride in cutting yourself off from film, television, music, and video games because you believe that exposing yourself to popular art will turn you into a degenerate. Now, I have next to zero interest in seeing “Lightyear.” Pixar hasn’t made a masterpiece since “Inside Out” seven years ago. And Disney’s inability to tell a good story seems to track with its growing subservience to the politics of wokethink, diversity, inclusion, equity, and the like. But as somebody who isn’t psychotic or easily influenced by popular media, I have no problem watching, say, “A Clockwork Orange” or “Blue Velvet” or “There Will Be Blood” or “Under the Skin” without abandoning my faith in God, my belief that abortion should be illegal, or my ability to recognize that the entertainment industry is rife with dogmatic lunatics.
TLDR: If you don’t care about movies, then don’t comment on a movie review.
Another ridiculous snotty comment trying to demean another commenter for noticing that the review was almost entirely devoid of any consideration of Catholic morality. This reminds me of the old leftist trope that if you did not want to watch television with dirty themes and immoral themes, there was something wrong with YOU, and you should just not watch the show. So no one should ever attempt to uphold morality anymore, we should all just give in to whatever filth the culture tries to feed us, and you better not comment on the filth! What a bizarre way of thinking.
I am a longtime Disney super-fan. But their recent forays into “woke” country leave me ice cold. Thankfully my children are now adults, because I do not see the need to expose small children to sexuality of ANY kind, but most especially not sexual behavior that is outside the norm. In fact, I am certain that Disney will issue an action figure or toy of the “gay” figure in this movie, the better to “normalize” this situation to small children on a topic that cannot be normalized. I have gay friends.I do not agree with their choice, but it is their choice to make as adults, and I would not terminate my friendship with them based on this issue. That does not mean I want children propagandized on this topic. I hope that many parents will refuse to take their children/grandchildren to see this movie (I say this as a stockholder), and maybe let Disney know why. Meanwhile Disney should consider the possibility they would feel more at home moving their corporation to Germany, if this is the road they plan to take in the future. The German Synod would welcome them with open arms.
Just wondering: Why no letter grade for the movie on your website?
Good question, Michael! Some of the pieces I write are classified as “reviews,” and have ratings and other paraphernalia; others are classified as “articles” and don’t. Whether something is a “review” or an “article” is sometimes clear (e.g., if I’m writing about more than one movie, or if I’m writing analysis of an older movie, it’s probably an article), but sometimes, as in my recent “articles” on Father Stu and Petite Maman, it’s fuzzy. In some cases it might be as simple as really liking the article headline. Other times I rebel against the reductive implications of ratings, and prefer to focus on the actual argument for or against the movie.
For what it’s worth, if you look at Rotten Tomatoes, you’ll see that I assigned Lightyear a C- rating there.
Good grief. There is nothing “anti-Catholic/Christian” about Lightyear. Aren’t we the ones who have been saying that a difference of beliefs is not the same as being bigoted or “anti” someone?
I believe and affirm the Church’s teaching on sexual morality. I believe that sex is morally licit only in marriage, which is definitionally between a man and a woman. In the eyes of some, that makes me a “hater,” an “anti-gay” bigot, but I reject this: I am not “anti-gay.” By the same token, a positive depiction of a same-sex relationship does not remotely make a movie “anti-Catholic/Christian.”
The 2016 The Legend of Tarzan has some anti-Catholic elements. The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons are anti-Catholic. If we devalue language by calling everything with disagree with bigotry, we will have no words to call out actual bigotry or hateful content.
Nothing anti-Catholic/Christian? Just simple promoting lesbian marriage to children, but nothing anti-Catholic/Christian, certainly.
Some people are not only obstinately blind but also decisively uncharitable. No, Mr. palindrome, I do not refer to you. I agree 100% with you.
Note that word ‘bigotry’ tritely, stereotypically cliched, over-used. Some people seem to like the way it rolls off a tongue only loosely connected to brain or to Charity.
Anyone who wants to see real anti-Catholicism in action can look at some of the discourse around the confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, for example. And yes, anti-Catholicism is bigotry. Mocking the idea of bigotry, and watering down the meaning of “anti-Catholic” to refer to any moral worldview we disagree with, undermines the very concept of civil coexistence.
Shades of grey(danus)! Right on! We read:”By the same token, a positive depiction of a same-sex relationship does not remotely make a movie ‘anti-Catholic/Christian.’”
But wait! The kiss of Judas was also not really or remotely anti-Catholic/Christian, either. Judas was simply fulfilling a contractual obligation in the marketplace of transactions. Besides, there was even something religious about it–his thirty pieces of silver came from the temple bureaucracy. Moving now to the present, the the handful of coins are a mere pittance compared to the groundswell in ticket sales that depends upon the Greydanus and other movie reviews. Two thumbs up, somewhere…
Explain to the impressionable target audience your handwashing nuance–the dismissal of subliminal messaging.
I am honestly baffled by the bizarre idea (expressed my more than one commenter, unless they are sock puppets of one another) that everything that is morally wrong is reducible to “anti-Catholicism,” so that saying something is “not anti-Catholic” is construed as moral approval.
Lots of things in the world are morally bad that are not anti-Catholic! “Not anti-Catholic” does not mean “automatically good”! I’ve morally criticized hundreds of movies for things other than anti-Catholicism — including a number of kid movies with subliminal queer themes — yet, in the minds of some readers, because I reject the term “anti-Catholic,” I’m “dismissing” messaging?
There is nothing “subliminal” about the queer messaging in Lightyear. It’s right on the surface. I don’t agree with it. I point it out to parents. It’s among the reasons I don’t recommend the movie. It is not “anti-Catholic.”
Odd review for the CWR. Dcn. Gredanus found himself in a similar spot for his “Call Me by Your Name” review in another Catholic periodical several years ago. What he clearly is missing is that faithful Christian parents and grandparents are so ‘Pride’ fatigued from the constant (and I mean constant) targeting of their children for desensitization programming by the progressive gender/sex ideologues, that we could care less about the artistic merits or lack thereof of what amounts to a cartoon. Brings to mind the old saw “aside from THAT, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?
That it comes from an ordained Catholic cleric (again) is especially exhausting. Still glad I cancelled our Disney + and Netflix subscriptions.
It is a negative review (and recognized as such by Rotten Tomatoes). Surely the notice that the movie is also aesthetically bad will dissuade some who might otherwise be tempted to go see it.
I am not here to tell Catholic parents or grandparents or anyone else how to feel. Those who feel “Pride-fatigued” will presumably find here sufficient information to make an informed decision about the film. And so will others.
Morality free reviewing on a Catholic website is so refreshing! And so LGBTQIA friendly!
I think you’ve uncovered the core problem with writing film criticism for a religious audience. Most religious people are disinterested in cinephilia. They won’t engage with a film on an artistic level if it runs contrary to their religious values. Fair enough. Alas, secular audiences tend to be hostile towards religious writers. As a result, religious film critics often find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Religious readers aren’t interested in aesthetics if they’re used to advance values that contravene Catholic doctrine, and secular readers either hate religion on don’t find it compelling.
By the way, “Call Me By Your Name” is an excellent, excellent movie. Homosexuality is wrong. A person with a functioning brain and a mind that isn’t easily swayed by the broader culture can believe both those things. (I’m honestly not sure why Deacon Greydanus bothered to review it, though. I’d be surprised if more than ten of his viewers might’ve been interested in that film, and the ones who were probably weren’t going to base their decision to see it on a one-minute video review. Of course, one-minute reviews are inherently cursory.)
Honestly, this isn’t my experience at all. It’s certainly true that a significant percentage of people who consume and especially comment frequently in traditional religious media in the US are not big cinephiles, and not a few are downright hostile to movies and pop culture generally. But I find that lots of religious people, particularly Catholics, are definitely engaged in pop culture and movies in particular. I hear from them all the time. They just aren’t a big presence in comboxes.
P.S. I reviewed Call Me By Your Name simply because at Reel Faith we had a policy of reviewing all the Best Picture nominees. It wasn’t my policy or my decision.
>It’s certainly true that a significant percentage of people who consume and especially comment frequently in traditional religious media in the U.S. are not big cinephiles…
Those were the folks I was referring to.
The problem with film reviewers generally is that they take garbage, light entertainment, silliness and more garbage, and treat it as if it were the holiest of holies, a serious ARTISTIC endeavor, when many movies are simply garbage made by people of low moral value, trying to push that set of low moral values on kids. They treat a silly cartoon movie as if it were the latest work of Michelangelo. To do so is extremely funny and weird, and shows they know nothing about art.
Willing to bet that your knowledge of arthouse cinema is nonexistent.
“A positive depiction of a same sex relationship does not remotely make a movie anti-Catholic/Christian.”
Wow! I don’t know what to say.
Mr. Olson occasionally inserts his thoughts in the comment section. I wonder what his thoughts on this statement are.
I am confident that Mr. Olson is not confused by the distinction between something being contrary to our faith and something being “anti-Catholic.”
It’s quite a shocking and amazing admission, is it not? That sentence is everything you need to know about this reviewer.
So, Disney seems to have blown it with this one–but, ‘boycott Disney’? Bollocks. The positive contribution that Disney has made to American (and, by extension, world) culture is inestimable. And not just Golden Age films like Snow White and Cinderella, but the Marvel and Star Wars spinoffs produced for Disney+ (e.g. Moon Knight, Obi Wan Kenobi, Mandalorian, WandaVision) are superlative, with zero levels of anti-Catholic bigotry, real or imagined. I vote that we celebrate the good, and reject the bad. Don’t throw the Mouse out with the bathwater.
This is why you are losing the culture war.
Is THAT why? I just figured it was because Catholics now run in fear from culture, instead of jumping into the middle and creating, or something like that…but maybe you’re right. Maybe “reject everything that doesn’t have the word ‘Catholic’ in the title” should be our motto.
Disney has made nothing good in at least 20 years. It’s Star Wars stuff is stupid woke nonsense as well. I tried watching it last year, and found it was very substandard stuff. Face it, there is nothing good about Disney anymore. It is a rogue company that goes around seeking to pervert children.
Oi. As I suspected, but I wish it had turned out differently. Perhaps Lasseter’s new animation outfit will start producing masterpieces.
At this point, the most challenging (and most rewarding) animation comes to us in the form of anime. Miyazaki and his apprentices are masters of their craft, and even their “lesser” films are significantly better than Pixar’s weakest offerings. (“Ponyo,” for example, is still a great film. “Luca” isn’t even good.) And of course, there are a number of non-Miyazaki anime that are paragons of their craft: “Cowboy Bebop,” “Ghost in the Shell,” “Attack on Titan,” “Lupin III,” and “FLCL” all come to mind.
I’m afraid I agree with you about Luca, an overtly Miyazaki-esque Pixar effort that just couldn’t get out from under the Disney/Pixar formula requirements and story beats. I sighed out loud at the end when Giulia tells Alberto that next summer, instead of racing, they “could just have fun!” Miyazaki would have made the movie about that summer. For all their purported admiration of Miyazaki, Pixar just can’t seem to embrace his love of aimless, random storytelling.
The best recent American animated film, and it isn’t close, is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. That was the last animated film to get my whole family out to the theater. I’m not sure there will be another one before Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Part 1.
My older kids and I just finished Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Very strong world-building and storytelling.
It’s rather sad when adults talk about cartoons as the highest form of art. Maybe if you are a cartoonist, you can appreciate this stuff for some reason. But as movies, or as art, it is still a rather tiny set of people that fawn over anime. Something is deeply wrong in our culture when people take to worshipping cartoons.
While I would not call cartoons the highest form of art, they certainly can be art.
(People also forget that operas and comic operas were once popular forms of “low” art.)
The reason for some really liking anime is that it can be much deeper and more truthful than most Western media has been for a long time. One such example: https://wastelandandsky.blogspot.com/2014/08/trigun.html
(The “100 accessible anime list” on that website also has many interesting recommendations whether you’re looking for depth or just fun.)
And the writer of that blog is no pop culture worshipper; if anything, he goes to great lengths to show how bad the situation is: https://wastelandandsky.blogspot.com/2020/12/cultural-ground-zero.html
It’s rather sad that people like you, whose knowledge of art is virtually nonexistent, feel inclined to dismiss an entire art style without having any knowledge about it.
The Mouse is throwing itself out with the bathwater, see link below:
After a Political Storm, Gay Days Return to Disney – The New York Times
I understand that SDG is trying to be charitable. However, in my profession and in life I have learned that we can isolate and evaluate individual events and then make statements to the effect of “there was one instance of a kind depiction of a lesbian relationship” or otherwise engage in semantics about the meaning of “anti-Catholic”; or rather we can look at the collective whole to recognize the true character (and trends) of a person or within an organization. The new true character of Disney is in the article above, in the kind depiction of lesbians in the movie reviewed by SDG, in the legislation Disney put its considerable clout behind. This is Disney, Snow White and the rest of the classics be damned. Disney is relying on the classics of the past to establish good will amongst parents so that parents entrust Disney with their children – only to have that trust betrayed. This is called GROOMING, and it is a well known tactic of child molesters and other sex offenders. Ban all Disney – the end! Their policies and agenda have clearly been articulated. And this comes from someone who plays video games and watches movies. There are other avenues of wholesome family entertainment out there.
Lastly, to address the statement by someone else that “this is how you lost the culture”. You, and those who share your sentiment, are simply trying to shame and dismiss those who see the forest through the trees, by insinuating that we are prudish, legalistic or otherwise extreme. Orthodoxy simply means faithful – if that is somehow prudish etc. I’ll wear it as a badge of honor. But similar to my statements above the persons who malign us in such ways are again the persons who only look at the individual case and fail to see the broader trend (i.e. gameplan/endgame). When the faithful spoke up about no-fault divorce, then widespread contraception, then the legalization of abortion, then the legalization of supposed gay marriage, now the teaching of gender fluidity and various legislative pushes etc. we were met each time with “stop being prudish” “love is love” “let people be comfortable within their selves” … … Now look at this progression as a whole and I ask you what is the trend? what has resulted? Close to 100 million dead babies, millions and millions of broken homes, mothers who hate their motherhood, fathers who abandon their fatherhood, and broken children who grow up to be broken and choose disordered lifestyles to make their “selves” whole.
Now call me or those who espouse Christ’s views as prudish, extreme or say that we are taking things too seriously. We are meant to be lights on a lampstand, we are supposed to be salt that retains its flavor. But for you the Truth is to be scorned and dismissed. Well you sir (and those who share your views) have mistaken ignorance for charity. And likewise your use of anti-Catholic is mistaken. It is anti-Catholic to destroy families in the ways I have described above – the examples I have cited are direct attacks on the family (i.e. the Domestic Church). They are also attacks on children (by leading children directly and indirectly into sin). And failure to notice this and speak against it is anti-Catholic (see light on lightstand) and evidence of your lukewarmness.
In short, I say this out of love for everyone. Yes as an well-formed adult I can choose between x or y and way the pros and cons of “artistic value” versus unsavory content etc. and have done so many times (at times in favor of the “artistic”). Nonetheless, targeting children is another matter and that is what Disney is doing as a collective whole, and as such is must be spoken out against in clear terms. One can retain both their Catholic chops and their chops as a Film Critic . In this case SDG should have called out the ongoing Disney agenda (which includes the Marvel Movies etc.) that is underway abd highlighted very clearly that agenda – but he didn’t. Instead those of us who did were denigrated. That too us anti-Catholic.
Very well said.
How sad that a movie review in Catholic World Report would treat such obvious homosexual propaganda directed to children as if it were simply morally neutral, especially after the recent video released in which Disney executives proudly admitted that they were intentionally indoctrinating kids with gay propaganda. Disney executives https://youtu.be/Hln406Nhyh8
But this is not the first time Deacon Greydanus has done this. He faced an intense backlash after what I would call a glowing review of the homosexual grooming film “Call Me By Your Name”. https://gloria.tv/post/mbDjgcWHkrGw3bDweuFujqDfM#30 Apparently, he learned nothing from that experience.
Deacon Greydanus, in the comments, also defends the movie from the charge of being anti-Catholic or anti-Christian. While it may not be so per se, it is certainly opposed to Catholic/Christian morality, but he doesn’t even mention that.
The surrender to popular culture is almost complete when such blatant homosexual propaganda merits a mere neutral mention in a publication with such a reputation for Catholic orthodoxy!
“Call Me By Your Name” is an excellent movie. You should give it a watch. It even includes some female nudity.
Obviously, homosexuality is wrong.
I think I understand what is irritating the commenters calling out anti-Catholic values: the movie pushes things that are contrary to moral law, and it’s aimed at kids to get them to think it’s OK. Further, at this point, these and other woke agenda items are a serious pattern with Disney. Think of “The Last Jedi,” Gina Carano being fired from the Mandalorian over a mild tweet making fun of the woke agenda, and too many other things to list or count. Those are definitely harmful and contrary to natural law. Because natural law ultimately comes from God as does Catholicism, these things are “anti-Catholic” in a general sense as they try to replace truth with ideology. That is what commenters are referring to when they say this film is “anti-Catholic” and they have a valid point.
The author is probably correct that there is no *specifically* anti-Catholic content (it probably never even mentions Catholics/Catholicism at all), but being anti-natural-law is just as bad if not worse, and still deserves more mention than it gets. At least a link to somewhere explaining what marriage is really about or why homosexuality is disordered.
I also believe that there should be more incisive commentary in these reviews about the patterns in movies and evil agendas being pushed, and less of a neutral tone. I wish there had been far more commentary to back up the apt title blurb of “An anti-space opera for an anti-heroic age.” Instead, unless I missed it, that’s only in the title and only hinted at in the text for the most part–you have to be a discerning reader to pick that out.
The Literature Devil on YouTube, while possibly secular in beliefs, at least does a far better job dissecting the problems with works he reviews. And has no liking for the modern anti-heroic genre of stories. (In fact, he made one of my favorite pro-hero videos, on whether Superman is still relevant.) The Fourth Age on YouTube also does a good job of talking about heroism (and the lazy, author-weakness-indulging lack of it in modern Marvel etc. stories).
It’s not that these SDG reviews are exactly bad, but they seem to lack teeth, unlike some of the older reviews (One of my favorites was the review of DreamWorks’s Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, found on decentfilms.com). I have noticed a trend among many reviewers to desperately try to sift out some positives among the dreck that is most mainstream modern movies and literature. While I applaud the effort to find good in everything, the resulting reviews often fail to acknowledge that the average viewer will probably miss the nuances, be taken in, and come to more harm than good. (In fact, one could argue that the reviewer becoming acclimatized to the amount of anti-reality in stories such that it seems unremarkable is one harm that occurs: a distorted perspective. Now we seem to cheer when a story just isn’t bad.)
Bonus: for some good insights, this article from a Catholic psychologist has fascinating information on the anti-heroic trend in stories: https://adamlanesmith.com/2020/05/16/heroes-dark-heroes-and-antiheroes-how-audience-preferences-have-changed-through-the-generations-and-what-comes-next/
Request: There are many good Catholic and Christian authors and many good stories from honest authors out there. It would be great if they could get more reviews and exposure rather than just sub-mediocre pop culture. What does not get talked about is just as important if not more so than what does when it comes to sharing a story.
I always look forward to reading your reviews and articles. In this case, a great article, as always. Thank you!
However, I must confess I don’t agree with your view on the “positive depiction of a same-sex relationship.” While they may not be explicitly anti-Catholic (i.e., they’re not attacking the institution of the Catholic Church), promoting same-sex relationships, which are clearly same-sex sexual relationships, is clearly against the teachings of the Catholic Church and, until relatively recently, most protestant denominations, as well. So, while I think this article is very good, and I will continue to seek out your articles and reviews, I would have liked to have seen some more commentary about this particular scene, especially since it’s in a film targeting children.
FYI, more anti-heroism on display by Woke-Disney:
Disney Vows to Pay for Employee Travel Expenses for Abortions
The only heroism that is left n today’s society is to speak the truth about the anti-Life agenda of this organization. I don’t care how “artistic” a Disney film is in the future, unless they do a complete 180 (with a very public apology included) they should not receive another dollar from any responsible person (Catholic or non-Catholic). And any review of such an “artistic” film should say something like “wonderfully made film, but once again Disney’s anti-Life/sexual grooming is on full display with their depiction of x, y, z and thus, I cannot recommend this film to any of the children that Disney is targeting.”
Another “positive” depiction from Disney:
WATCH: Disney goes full throttle with LGBT representation in Baymax | Washington Examiner