First let me begin by saying how much I love WFRR. I think it is a classic and is such because of what it is, changing and toning down some of its more adult oriented material would change the film.
WFRR was produced by 3 different Production Companies, not just the fairly young Touchstone Pictures. Amblin Entertainment as well as Silver Screen Partners III all produced the film. Buena Vista Pictures released the film in the US and it was released onto DVD by Touchstone Home Video. In an itneresting note the film was distributed by Warner Bros. in the UK.
It is rated PG as opposed to almost all of Disney's own classic films which on a general basis receive a G rating. When played on the Disney channel in the early 90s the film came with a parental warning before the movie saying some material might not be suitable for all children.
The greatest formula for a Disney film has been the classic Good VS Evil tales. All of the original classics have truly evil characters that are attempting to achieve glory through some truly dark practices. Whether that be killing puppies to make fur coats, or killing princesses to become the fairest in the land.
Disney is cliched not so much for the innocence, because some of these films have some evil in them but more for the constant triumph of good over these evil characters, that everything ends happily ever after. As long as the films maintain that notion the evil is simply a necessary part of the film in order to make the good characters appear in some cases without flaws, or diminishes their negative aspects.
Like the 'Wizard of Oz' or 'ET' these films have some dramatic elements that may be somewhat dark in them, but that is what creates drama, the conflict, and that is what makes for interesting stories.
The darker, the better. Next time you're strapped down and forced to watch it, let me know.
WFRR is a great movie. Every time I watch it I see something new. Last time, it was that everything Roger does, Every Thing, he does it to make people laugh. That's his lot in life, says so himself. So, watch him closely to see the things he says and does. Some of it is quite prescient.
And, folks, you're missing the classic line: "I would have been here sooner, but I had to shake the weasels."
"Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."