Friday, July 30, 2010

Disney Princess Round-Up

A run-down of the Disney girls, their characters, influence, and fabulousness (or lack thereof.)

Snow White

This is like shooting delicately boned fish with freakishly high speaking voices in a gilded barrel. This movie may have been a trailblazer in the art of animation, but the non-heroine is just a snore. Seriously. Hmmm, I'm too pretty to live amongst normal people so after my attempted murder I'll go live in the woods and play maid to a bunch of slovenly mini-men. Then I'll sing like I've been sampling helium balloons. I like how she's a princess who probably hasn't worked a day in her life but she gracefully steps into the role of caretaker to 7 other people like it's nothing. Because she's a princess. And that's what princesses do. 

Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)

Eh. I could go into the symbolism of the spinning wheel, a domestic tool, being her downfall, but that's a little too English class theme paper. Aurora doesn't do anything too stupid, but she doesn't do anything particularly smart either. It wasn't exactly her fault she got hypnotized and sucked into touching that spinning wheel. Perhaps her greatest fault - aside from not settling on the BLUE dress, damn it! - was surrounding herself with some pretty senseless and inattentive people. Those three fairies were supposed to be watching out for her and let's face it, they blew it multiple times over. Get a better entourage, girl.


All I know is that if I had birds and mice who could do housework and make me clothes, I'd have taken them on the road and busted out of that toxic household. Again, the chica who is the caretaker, the one with the domestic abilities, she wins in the end. Just sayin' girls! Pay attention in Home Ec. class! Oh that's right, that school budget line item got cut long ago. Well, better hope your Prince Charming - does Cindy's prince even get a name? - hope that he has the dough to hire Merry Maids.


First of all, what is up with Busty Barbie here? What, she played against a guy voiced by Mel Gibson so she has to be babelicious? As for the story: the other movies sort of mangled their fairy tale's original plots, so this time Disney decided to screw with history instead. FYI, Pocahontas was recorded to be about 11, E-LE-VEN years old, at the time that John Smith and his party got involved with her tribe. The throwing herself down so the braves couldn't chop off his head thing was actually believed to be a practiced part of an initiation ritual, welcoming the English boys into their tribe. Kind of smarts when you think about what his countrymen did to them and oh, let's say, the millions of other natives who already called the "New World" home. This movie actually ticks me off. Hokey-hontas, however, gets some points for her environmentalist ways and individualism throughout the film. Two stars.

She's ok. At least she was a forward-thinker enough to deny her father the right to auction her off to the cutest prince who showed up. Aladdin was pretty cute, too. At least she was willing to stand up and say a nice "Hell NO!" regarding her own life. She didn't add "because I want to finish my Ph. D. first!" but I'll settle for what I can get. (As I sit here in hypocritical domestic bliss with my puny B. A. and two kids. But I like to see other chicks who don't want that be able say the Hell No.) I also give her credit for jumping off balconies and riding that carpet, because me, I'm not much for heights. She's the most un-Arabic Arabic woman ever, too, but let's leave that alone. Oh, and how do these women get their waists thinner than their necks?
Ariel (The Little Mermaid)

Disney presented a particularly, uh, "altered" version of the fairy tale here. Hans Christian Anderson Spoiler alert: the prince marries somebody else and instead of killing him and his bride like she's supposed to, she drowns herself and turns into sea foam. The End! Even in the Disney version Triton was right, she should have stayed put. That said, at least she went and DID something about a situation that she was not particularly happy about. No waiting to be rescued for her. Some of the best music ever from Disney came from this movie, of course. Alan Menken is a genius. Oh, and without a doubt: Best. Hair. Ever.

Tinkerbell (Peter Pan, 2 straight-to-DVD computer animated things)

To be fair, I have only had the pleasure of seeing Peter Pan and the first DVD Tinkerbell movie (about a bazillion times), so I can't tell you where her snazzy Robin Hood threads come from. I like how she goes from Pan's jilted and jealous blond bombshell to this smartly dressed forest-y sprite who flies around all in green and - HEY! She wasn't in love with Peter, she wanted to BE Peter. Ok, gender confusion and wardrobe jokes aside, she may be nothing more than a new marketing ploy. (Or the subject of car decals for girls who want people to think they're childlike and fun, tee hee!) But at least Tink got a voice and a vocation. She tinkers. She has tools, she fixes things, she solves problems. Atta girl.

Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
This girl gets props for two things: she's a reader, i. e., she makes brains beautiful, and for some reason, she managed to keep the beast in his beastly form in like every picture, coloring page, figurine playset, etc. that I've come across since seeing the movie. Cause the Beast was way hotter than the prince he turns into, right? Who's with me?


I love her and I really wish they would let her play with the other princesses more. Funny how she and Pocahontas rarely get grouped in with the Euro-pretty princesses. I think Jasmine gets in their club sometimes because she could pass for Italian in a pinch - but they make her wear pants just to set her apart. This girl? SHE stole the pants, wore the pants, and rocked them the whole movie. I love that she stepped up to the plate and took some action as a problem solver. I loved that she practiced and learned some skills. I loved that she ran with the big boys. I loved her. She could probably kill me with her pinky, and that's just awesome. By the by, did you notice that, at least at the end of the feature film, she did NOT just up and marry the dude? I mean, the implication was there, but she didn't go, "And now I'll settle down and be your wifey, oh General." I mean, she could if she wanted to, but the option was at least hinted at being left wide open. From what I understand of the lovely DVD, Mulan II, she keeps her job. Love her.

Tianna (The Princess and the Frog)

Forgive me, I just saw this movie 4 days ago and I'm still getting over it. It feels like a golden age Disney movie, but without many of the previous mentioned character flaws. I may have a new favorite. Tianna is a hard worker with drive an ambition, and she actually has to be told to stop and let a little love in her life. One small allusion to race is allowed, which is impressive in light of the fact that it took Disney HOW many years to come up with a black princess? One could argue that her quest to make her daddy's dream of the restaurant, Tianna's Place, come true could just be a manifestation of her desire to win his posthumous approval, since she never got enough attention from him as a child, most likely because of his rigorous work schedule...oops, now I just started writing a sophomore year Psych paper. Sorry. The music in this movie is amazing - I was aurally spellbound and then saw in the credits that the composer was Randy Newman. So, duh. Other characters: The villain, hypnotic and charismatic, is the best freakin' Disney villain ever dreamed up and I have actually been freaked out in the kitchen alone at night by thoughts of this Voodoo dude. The cajun firefly guy - *sob* I can't even talk about it. Tianna is lovely and - spoiler! - does NOT have to give up her own agenda for love of the prince. He does. She has toiled away and uses her savings to get what she wants in the end, too. Niiiice. Of course, does my Miss M adore Miss Tianna, this fabulous royal role model? No. Phooey. I wondered aloud if she'd like to set her sights on a Tianna doll for her next Manners Chart Money purchase, and NO. She's obsessed with Lottie, the spoiled but good-hearted blondie friend of Tia's. Dang it. Oh well. If Disney keeps producing movies like this one then the next generation of princess lovers may have a chance.

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Moriah and Matt said...

I am definately with you on the beast looking hotter than the prince in Beauty and the Beast.

Vicki T. said...

Only you, Meggie, would take a careful look at all of the Disney princesses and write their character summaries, movie critiques and so forth on a blog. And very well-written, too. I knew you'd pick the little Mermaid and Mulan as your favorites--you are oh, so predicatable when it comes to princesses--however, I have not seen the new movie, so I can't say much about your new favorite. I cann't ever remember, when you were 4 and you sister was 6 months having time in the summer to write.
Oh--I guess I was still in summer school for the German Masters at that point-so 5 whole weeks of my summer was down the drain--no wonder I never wrote--but I also never thought about it. I say you are a born writer and should try your hand at a funny book on living, teaching, mothering in the new age. Or at least an article for a parent's magazine or something.

Kirsten said...

I LOVED this post. Perfectly written, hit the nail on the head. I have often been obsessed with princesses and the inner workings of their minds, and even had my own post regarding why Snow White is the most flat chested of all the princesses and another about why Disney insists on killing off the mother in 82% of their movies. I don't know why I didn't know you had a blog? I love it and will become a new dedicated reader. Who knows? It might even tempt me into writing on my blog again . . . maybe.

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