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Warning! Spoiler: The irony of the Disney world view
on July 15, 2004
Disney does it again! They manage to turn two beautiful, compelling books into a story of squabbling American adolescents. I find it supremely ironic that Disney felt it necessary to turn a murderous troop of Marxist guerrillas into a murderous, greedy mining agent - this from one of the most devouring, money-hungry corporations in the history of capitalism! Did they perhaps believe that depicting a troop of black soldiers ruthlessly slaughtering the boy's family wouldn't be as politically correct (or as comprehensible to a pre-teen or early teen audience) as showing a greedy white mining agent ruthlessly slaughtering the boy's family? Of course, Francois Joubert simply has to be transformed into the obnoxious Harry Winslow (to make the movie more appealing to an American audience). And must every story involving young people of opposite sexes be turned into a "Girls are stupid! - Boys are stupider! - I love you! - I love you too!" tale of teenage battle of the sexes turned to love? It's been many years since I read the novels, but I don't remember that particular twist to the story, perhaps because Van der Post wasn't necessarily writing for the 11-14-year-old American market. If you're at all disenchanted with the world as Mickey sees (and sanitizes) it, skip the movie and read the books ("A Story Like the Wind" and "A Far Off Place").