Revisiting ‘The Reluctant Dragon’, Disney’s Often-Forgotten and Uniquely Controversial Blend of Animation and Live-Action
Posted on Wednesday, November 27th, 2019 by Josh Spiegel
(Welcome to Out of the Disney Vault, where we explore the unsung gems and forgotten disasters currently streaming on Disney+.)
One of the new titles offered on Disney+ is the six-part documentary The Imagineering Story, directed by Leslie Iwerks. The overall documentary is meant to capture the heft and sweep of decades’ worth of creative pioneering courtesy of the men and women who design the Disney theme parks. Largely, it’s a worthy show to watch (and if you’re less aware of the history of the theme parks, you might learn a good deal while being entertained), but one of its earliest moments is both unsurprising and a little vexing.
When narrator Angela Bassett discusses how Walt Disney shifted his priorities from animation to the parks, she offhandedly mentions that he was “tired of fighting with labor unions”. It’s an interesting way to elide very serious troubles Disney experienced, serious troubles that are important to acknowledge here in relation to this week’s Out of the Vault pick: The Reluctant Dragon.