Review: Disney+ Prop Culture (2020)

Review: Disney+ Prop Culture (2020)

The Disney+ series looks back at their most iconic films and how the props shaped and created their most magical moments.

Prop Culture is a show I’ve long been looking forward to ever since the first trailer dropped online. Admittedly it’s not for everyone, but as a film nerd, this was right up my street.

The show is hosted by prop collector Dan Lanigan and in every episode a classic Disney film is discussed through the actors and film-makers that worked on that production.

This isn’t a studio based discussion show, Dan travels the country in search of relics from these productions and it’s amazing to discover what has survived after all this time.

In some cases the props haven’t survived very well at all, in the case of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, all that remains of a large animatronic ant is just a bare shell of its head. But this doesn’t detract from the viewing experience.

Prop Culture doesn’t just investigate where these props now reside, a large portion of them are from the Disney Archives, and Dan takes them to the artists who created them or the actors who used them.

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This obviously invokes emotional reactions and stirs up memories from the past which are a joy to listen to. For me, one of the highlights from the series was when three actors, who were just children at the time, are reunited with their costumes from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

One of the episodes I was really looking forward to was possible the weakest of the show though this was no fault of its own.

Dan Lanigan and the Star of Tron (1982) Bruce Boxleitner, examine of piece of film history.

The second episode covers 1982’s Tron. Whilst this was a live action film, there were not many props in use as the visuals are heavily enhanced and propagated with animation. However, the final few minutes redeem the episode when director Steven Lisberger unearths what he still has in storage at home.

And that’s one of the shows admittedly very few disappointments. I personally would love to see an extended version with more interviews. Sometimes, a large group of artists is brought together and it only lasts a few minutes. There must’ve been quite a few stories that they shared.

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Each episode runs for approximately half an hour, this is streaming television, no need for fixed run times. I can only guess is that this amount of time strikes a balance between what the die hard film fans would like to see and the casual viewer.

During its first season run of eight episodes, Prop Culture covers Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Mary Poppins, The Muppet Movie, Tron, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Overall, as a self professed film nerd, I found this show to be very entertaining and informative with several surprises along the way. Highly recommended.

John Abbitt

About the author | John Abbitt

@UKFilmNerd | John loves film, and he used to write for his own website, The Tydirium Hangar Bay, in the late 1990s. Whilst that website became lost in the passages of time, John's love of film did not. He's back, writing for The Unheard Nerd.