Hey Everyone! Dan here and today isn't going to be a typical review style post I normally do, rather more of addressing something I found a little...interesting to say the least.
a couple days ago, Disney Plus released the Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers (2022) film which is meant to be a bit of a origin/continuation of the original Rescue Rangers animated series? I'm not sure what this was meant to be, a meta-joke in the form of a film? anyways, I watched it and I thought it was an okay movie, a nice little homage to animation of all types as well as a nostalgia trip and fourth wall breaking style movie like Deadpool or The Bad Guys.
Also it brought back the original Sonic movie design as a joke but instead of a minor cameo, he actually played a somewhat important role in the film as an actual side character which I thought was cool they repurposed the old design, gave him self awareness along with an upbeat personality and made him an actual likeable character. Now I can say I like every version of sonic lol.
Now that I got the good stuff out of the way, lets get into the real dirt, shall we? So this movie is a bit of a crime solver type movie as well. With every crime solver movie there needs to be a main villain, an antagonist to face our main protagonists. Now the main villain in this movie is named "Sweet Pete" and I thought to myself "ah they must be using Petey from the Mickey Mouse cartoons as the villain here" and I was wrong but I was right about Petey being in this movie, but he just makes a brief cameo towards the end. Sweet Pete is actually.....
Peter Pan...but older and greasier. Okay? Sure, why not? Well in this film, everyone is basically a former child actor or former actor including Chip 'N Dale, that's the plot of the movie and is very Meta. So being an actor, Peter would obviously age just like everyone else therefore could no longer work as a child actor because he's not a child anymore. Now I thought that was a lame idea but I digress, but then they start to show how he was starting to spiral into loneliness, depression and made him a somewhat sympathetic villain honestly. If anyone knows the entertainment industry, it's cut throat, even Chip mentions "This business can be so tough" to which Peter responds "Ugh, you said it". So obviously the movie is self-aware of the entertainment industry, Self-aware how child actors are normally cut loose once they get too old for their roles and I find it Ironic how Disney of all companies are making a film that's self-aware of this fact considering they don't have a good track record when it comes to their own child actors.
Now I found this strange in the film but I didn't mind it too much and finished the film. It wasn't until the next day I watched clips from the movie and saw the Sweet Pete clip and I read the comment section which was talking about how this movie's peter was loosely based on the real life Peter Pan. I thought that was strange and I looked more into it and saw the name Bobby Driscoll.
Bobby Driscoll was the first Peter Pan who played the character in the original animated 1953 film. I knew about the name, it was familiar to me. What I didn't know is what happened to him after Disney. It pains me to say it, but he was the original "Disney" Child star. He was the templet for how your typical Disney child actor who be perceived and how child actors as a whole would be typically seen by the public. He actually did work on numerous films with Disney since he was the first child actor to be under Disney's contract. He was their go to child star since the mid-40's. He starred in films such as Song of the South, So Dear to My Heart, and Treasure Island. But his most notable and biggest role in his career was the boy who never grew up, Peter Pan. Now you'd think such an iconic film such as this would elevate his career to new heights right? Well, no. In fact, it was all downhill after Peter Pan released.
The Peter Pan film is a classic Disney film and classic animated film, Bobby Driscoll should have been given deals left and right because of his stellar performance on something this iconic but that was not the case. Shortly after the film was theatrically released, Disney fired Driscoll due to him getting too old for the child actor roles. Which sucks because why fire him for something outside his control? I'm sure they could have casted him for teen roles or some type of young adult role. Even Walt Disney himself said he could have been a school yard bully since he was getting older and was riddled with acne (which he was developing and used heavy makeup on). He was the first child Disney star and they threw him out like he was nothing, just like Sweet Pete in the film? hmm, coincidence?
I can only imagine this was the same look of worry that Bobby Driscoll had once he realized he was getting too old for a child actor gig. Besides this being goofy since Peter never grows up, It's a grim reminder to any young child actors that it's only a matter of time before their run as a child actor is done and they're out of a job. As I said before, child actors can't stay children forever so once that role is up, they try to move on to bigger and better things. Most of them want to peruse an actual career in acting but people always have that perception that child actors are nothing more than just that. They don't have confidence that a former child actor can take on serious roles in major blockbuster films so the former child actors are never given a real chance most of the time. It's because to that stigma that they can't grow further in the industry and their careers suffer because of this.
Going back to Bobby Driscoll, he couldn't get any real work after Peter Pan and Disney, he was taken out of Hollywood and placed in a public high school where he's was alienated by his fellow peers, kids his age saw him as a washed up has been. It's similar to the Jake Lloyd situation where people picked on him for playing young Anakin Skywalker in Phantom Menace and he was alienated by his peers as well. Bobby Driscoll soon fell into drug use and he would soon clean up his act, get married briefly and have three kids but he fell back into the drug use again. He would get into hot water where he assaulted a heckler with a deadly weapon and would go to prison for possession of drugs. He would try again to revive his career in Broadway but that didn't work so he ended up being an artist. on March 30th, 1968, he would be found dead due to a heart attack from his years of drug use along with excessive drinking.
It sad that this is still a common thing nearly a century later, Disney treats their child actors like cash cows and would willingly exploit them for everything they're worth. People always wonder why these famous child actors like Lindsey Lohan, Orlando Brown, and Adam Hicks fall off so hard like this and it's honestly because Disney along with the rest of the entertainment industry just doesn't care about them, they only care about how much money they can make the company. Once these kids fall out of favor, they just cut them loose just like that. Now I'm sure people can argue "Oh but these kids do terrible things that get them fired in the first place" to which is true, but it's only when it becomes public knowledge that Disney or Nickelodeon cares. As long as these behaviors are out of the public eye, Disney could care less. It's only when it becomes public knowledge that Disney has to cut them off since it would affect their family friendly image and revenue stream.
Now going back to the Chip 'N Dale movie, Sweet Pete's life was very much Meta humor towards child actors, there's no disputing that. But was in based loosely off of Bobby Driscoll's actual career with Disney? Well that's a little harder to verify. I'm not sure if it was intentional, but Sweet Pete's backstory definitely has similar connections to Bobby Driscoll's acting career with Disney and how both careers ended. I don't know if they just chose Peter Pan because he's the boy who never grew up or if they did research into their archives and thought "lets use this child actors tragic career as inspiration for our villain!". I don't know, I feel this was more coincidence but I definitely see this as a bit of a blunder on Disney's end.
Now the movie itself, I liked it. But I can't ignore this detail of the movie. This could have been avoided all together if they didn't try to make everything Self-Aware and did shit that was in the Disney fictional world, but instead you're poking fun at your own industry and the terrible shit you and the rest of the industry have done for over a century. I just feel that this was just one of those blunders that happen because you lacked the hindsight to see poking fun at yourselves for doing child actors dirty may not be as much as a funny joke but rather you guys calling yourselves out for being a soulless money hungry corporation who doesn't care about their employees or actors.
To me this didn't change how I felt about Disney, I already dislike them as a company and this just reminded me why I still do. I feel bad for any child actors currently signed with Disney or any other entertainment company and I wish them all success in their lives.
That's all I have to say, see ya.