May 18th Update: Disney XD is airing a marathon of the series today and tomorrow in the proper aspect ratio. It’s TRULY ONLY Disney+ using the wrong copies.
When Disney+ launched in November 2019, it brought plenty of nostalgic favorites back to Disney fans worldwide. Unfortunately, 3 classic cartoons: Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers, Goof Troop, and The Little Mermaid, were butchered by poor decisions made somewhere at Disney Streaming. While these shows were originally animated and intended to be viewed in the classic 4:3 square aspect ratio, a decision-maker with no respect for art decided to crop the image and zoom in to fill out more modern wide-screen (16:9) monitors. These changes were often made years ago by uninformed execs who worried people wouldn’t like “black space” on their “new” widescreen TV sets. This practice has fallen VERY out of favor as society is now aware that older shows were not widescreen and that cutting up finished art is not okay.
Zooming in the images leaves many characters’ heads chopped off. You can’t take someone’s art, zoom in to the center, and expect not to lose things along the edges. The scenes weren’t framed that way. Since launch fans have been complaining about the way their favorite series are “unwatchable,” but Disney has done nothing to rectify this situation.
Not The First Time
If this aspect ratio conundrum sounds familiar, it’s perhaps because The Simpsons earlier seasons were also victim to this at launch. Fans complained that certain jokes were completely destroyed by removing the edges of the image to zoom in and they were correct. The difference is that Disney showed respect to fans and the creators by fixing The Simpsons. They have made it clear through inaction over 2.5 years into the service that they have no intention of fixing the 3 classic Disney Television Animation studios series they ruined.
In One Ear Out The Other
We have filed numerous reports on this along with many other issues, including an e-mailed report directly to the EVP Business Operations at Disney Streaming over a year ago, who has acknowledged receipt multiple times. We urged them to fix Rescue Rangers before last summer’s release of Chip n Dale: Park Life as we suggested the new cartoon would lead people to the original. Yet nothing has changed. Now, a brand new film premieres in just 5 days, but the episodes of the original series remain butchered. May 18th Update: We reached out again today after learning that Disney XD is now airing the episodes in proper aspect ratio. It’s solely Disney+ doing this.
This is something that makes us and many others rightfully mad. We didn’t give Disney our money to present us with improper versions of classics. Censorship is one thing, it’s another thing altogether to intentionally disregard the viewing experience.
Original Version Is Not Lost
There is no excuse for this problem continuing. It’s not like they lost the copies of the original aspect ratio. Since long before launch, the proper cuts of these series have been available to buy or rent via Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, and other TVOD services.
Not only that, but they literally JUST released Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers on Blu-ray for the first time, and guess what? The aspect ratio is correct. We’re living in a world where Disney will sell the proper version of a show everywhere but insists on maintaining an unwatchable, zoomed-in version on their flagship streaming service.
Wanda Maximoff has exclusively shared her feelings about this with DejaView:
How You Can Help
We urge you to head to help.disneyplus.com and submit feedback. We ask you to use their live chat and phone options as well. Let them know you are not happy that they have cropped Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers, despite having access to the proper cuts. Don’t just do it once. Do it once a week. They do not seem to listen unless you’re loud.
Drew Ryan is a film, TV, and Disney geek. He has degrees in English, Student Personnel Administration, and Library & Information Science from Lawrence University, Concordia University-Wisconsin, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Interested in the minutia and licensing of streaming service content, he is always publishing lists, suggestions, and advocating for Disney’s missing library to be added to Disney+. Drew subscribes to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Paramount+. You can find him waxing nostalgic over classic Disney Channel or geeking out over Marvel, CW shows, & Disney on Twitter.