‘Disney Unhappily Ever After‘ is a series of images created by New York-based animation artist Jeff Hong, that explores the life of some of the most beloved Disney characters from a real world perspective, with very grim results.
While Hong’s intention was initially to portray beloved Disney characters in environments where they wouldn’t normally be seen, as the concept began to take shape in his mind, the opportunity to put the spotlight on different social issues affecting the world today started to become more apparent. The clever real life photos and Disney characters mashup illustrate the major discrepancies that exist between the idealized Disney world and the real world.
The successful yet controversial photos from the ‘Disney Unhappily Ever After’ series puts a strong emphasis on potential ecological disasters.
Mulan is portrayed wearing a mask to protect herself from pollution. Ariel from the ‘The Little Mermaid’ isn’t trying to find love in Jeff Hong’s series. Instead, she’s desperately trying to save her life after an oil spill, being forced to leave her home behind. Winnie The Pooh is also portrayed losing his home, as a result of deforestation.
Cruelty towards animals is another theme portrayed in the photo series. The theme is best reflected using Dumbo, who is forced to suffer repeated abuse from trainers. Bambi is portrayed as hunting trophy while Remy from ‘Rataouille’ becomes a victim of animal testing. The 101 Dalmatians don’t have a much better fate: they are kept separated, in small cages.
Drug abuse, violence towards women, and plastic surgery are other themes explored in the photo series. In the ‘Disney Unhappily Ever After’ alternate scenario, Alice of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ goes on a very different adventure, with predictable sadder results. Cinderella is portrayed on a dirty alley, being the victim of an assault, while Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is desperately trying to maintain her youthful appearance and turns to plastic surgery in an effort to avoid losing her confidence in her appearance.
While Jeff Hong is not the first one to put a dark spin on some of the most beloved Disney fairytale, the clever underlying message hidden in each of the images makes the series incredibly thought provoking, placing a completely different and very memorable spin on the notion of “happily ever after”.