Having watched Wreck it Ralph on Sunday, (Yeah we in the UK only got it now) I came to a realization that Disney is now an accepted part of geek culture much in the same way as Sci-Fi epics, Video Games, Anime & Comics are, but why is a company often associated with being a corporate dictator is suddenly the darling of the geek world? Well here's my opinion.
The first reason is like a good portion of the people on this website I was born in the 80s while the other portion was born in the 90s, two significant decades for pop culture as this is where the Disney renaissance took place when Little Mermaid & Beauty & the Beast started an onslaught of quality Disney films right up to the new millennium when Pixar finally took control of the Animation race. During these decades VHS & DVD made it possible to continuously watch & re-watch films and shows that we'd other wise had to wait for TV to display and the possibilities were endless, so when Disney switched back to traditional storytelling and animation with Tangled & Princess & the Frog respectively, they were bigger hits with the alternative geek crowd than they were with their intended audience.
The second reason is to do with Kingdom Hearts, the popular crossover of Final Fantasy style characters with popular Disney Characters. Although I hate this game with a passion, (Sorry I wasn't a Playstation kid) it was stupidly popular as it connected with all aspects of both franchises. Final Fantasy's ummm designs, (God I hate Sora) and Disney's iconic characters were a match made in heaven, which created infinite possibilities.
The third reason is this guy.
Yes it's the Nostalgia Critic. Normally known for less than friendly reviews of old films, he actually did a big feature called Disneycember in which he reviewed every Disney Animated Film available and thought really highly of most of them, and who watches this stuff? Geeks!
The fourth reason is mainly anime related. Any Western Anime fan likely got into Anime because like me they loved cartoons, and we grew up with all of them and the younger you are the more likely you had anime among the standard cartoon lineup.
The fifth reason is obviously Wreck it Ralph, a film that can only be appreciated by those who play Video Games but has enough content to create new fans as well. If you guessed every reference in this film then guarantee that you loved every minute of this film.
The final reason will become obvious later on, it's of course the fact that Disney now owns Star Wars, the biggest Sci-Fi franchise of them all. Whether we like the future films or not, it will make the next few generations interesting.
So those are my theories behind Disney's acceptance into Geek Culture, but I think Disney are still not yet fully aware of this audience. You see fans in geek culture can easily point out things they don't like and will likely comment on such things, case in point is the recent change to Cinderella's design which sparked fury among the fanbase angry that this is a permanent change to such an iconic character, which looks less like Cinderella and more like someone cosplaying her. It also affected the game series Epic Mickey as a promised game of the darker elements of Disney were scrapped in favor of saving the world with a paintbrush and Mickey keeping his stupid grin. It even tried a largely unheard of anime but that's for another story.
So there you have it, like them or not Disney are here to stay.