For millions of families, it’s a simple fact of life that we’re putting our kids in front of screens more than we’d like. The pandemic has made the TV into a babysitter, which means the amount of stressful and chaotic material coming out of those screens and into our homes has increased a thousandfold. Let’s be real, even the best Disney movie is not exactly relaxing. Whether it’s chatty snowmen or characters bursting into freaky songs at unexpected moments, nearly every parent can agree that Disney movies, very often, need to chill out.
And now, Disney+ has done exactly that. In a brand-new short-form series called Zenimations, Disney has remixed scenes from the large vault of its movies and turned them into calming short videos that lack all the stuff that will make you jumpy. In the first video, just called “Water,” we are treated to the beautiful animation from Moana, The Little Mermaid, and yes, Frozen, but without any dialogue, music, or goofy sound effects. The only sounds accompanying the familiar (and lovely) images are the sounds of nature. With “Water,” it’s ocean sounds. In the video called “Night,” it’s just all cozy nighttime stuff — like a white noise machine and crickets chirping while cool scenes play from Tangled or whatever.
For kids, the images will be just as fantastic as they are in any of the films. To be clear, it’s not like there is new footage here, at least nothing we’ve noticed right off the bat. But for parents, who sometimes put on a Disney movie, and then go to the kitchen to take a breather, the sounds that will now be coming from that room are instantly calming. Zenimations is like putting on one of those relaxing nature videos, but with Disney stuff instead of film footage of waves or flowers.
The concept, and execution is brilliant. If you do sit and watch these little shorts with your kids, you’ll actually be able to take a second and notice how good the animation is in some of these movies. Without Olaf cracking jokes all the time, or everyone constantly singing, the immersive worlds of these various Disney movies doesn’t feel cloying or over-the-top. If watching a normal Disney movie is like being in the spinning teacups at Disneyland, then these videos are like getting a massage or taking a long warm bath. Nice thinking, Disney.
You can stream Zenimations on Disney+ right here.
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