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Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Princess Movies, TNG: Disney's Continuation of Its Princess Franchise (Girlcember Part 2)

Hello hello!

Well, let's continue with Girlcember. Now, you might want to refer to this post if you're not sure why I'm mentioning really old Disney Princess movies, but in order to explain why Frozen is a significant achievement, I felt the need to go through the past. So, here's a quick rundown of other recent princess movies! Do note, for those of you who are sticklers, that this list has a proper count of which movies are 'official' princess movies and which ones 'don't count'. So, if you haven't watched some of these, be aware of


Now, with that out of the way, let's do a really fast run-down! Then, finally, on Sunday, we'll get to Frozen. 

Precursors, Part 3: Not Brave Enough

Oh, Brave. My Celtic heritage--Scottish, Irish, and French blood are all in my lineage--is something I'm proud of. I was pretty excited about a bow-wielding Scots princess. What I got was a box of tropes. While her relationship with her mother is excellent and well done, and Merida herself is pretty charming, the rebellious princess cliche kept slapping the audience in the face. It was handled well, including the beauty standards issues and the humanity of her parents, but that awkward ending where we're reassured that Merida will marry when she's ready kind of spoiled the whole thing for me. I loved her father's character, and her little brothers were actually done really well, but enh. 

I guess it comes down to that tropes thing and the lack of courage thing. Merida has her bow, sure, but basically it's love that saves the day. I don't even think she hurt the bear with her bow. Add in a Tarzan-level lackluster sound-track, and you have an awkward step down in quality from Pixar's usual faire. I know Merida is beloved on the internets, and I do like her, but there was so much more they could have done with this movie. 

Source. And that's even BEFORE we get to that damn Merida prettification fiasco.

Precursors, Part 4: Tangled--a bit too smooth, actually

I'm probably going to get hell for this one, too, but Tangled was another near miss. It's like Disney got drunk at the Xmas party and did its best Dreamworks impression. I mean, really. They had a strong Anastasia dynamic with Flynn--come on, tell me you can't see some Dmitri in there, and yes I know Anastasia is from Fox--and he comes off as the inferior male-pregnancy fanfic lovechild of Miguel and Tulio from Road to El Dorado (which is a much smarter movie than people think). I liked Rapunzel, especially when her hair was cut, but she's still...enh. She invented astronomy in her spare time and named her chameleon after a famous scientist and philosopher. Her superpower is hair parkour and wielding a frying pan as it was not meant to be...weld? I think it might be a sneaky reference to The Frying-Pan of Doom by Patricia Wrede. It's literally in TV Tropes, but I'm okay with the frying pan. Anyway--movie completely ignored that Rapunzel is a natural-born scientist. She got the crown and started experimenting with its purpose. She figured out that it could be used to heal and produce light. Someone get this woman a lab! But, of course, along comes a decidedly annoying dude and her dream becomes...him. 

And let's not talk about the embarassment of Mother Goethel. Shame on you, Disney, you can do better with villains, and you came so close. The music was wedged in, there were references to Shrek and The Little Mermaid shoehorned in (the boat scene), and over all...it was okay, even good in some places, but it felt forced. Like Hercules and other parody-toned movies, Disney is just no good at satirizing itself in a cynical way, and that really comes across here.

Fortunately, on Sunday we'll learn how Disney managed to learn from these mistakes for Frozen. And oh, thank goodness it did. We finally have an heir to the 90s Disney renaissance, and I'm pretty sure that Frozen might be able to bring a new one in. Why? You'll have to find out this weekend!


Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. More interviews and witty commentaries are coming. Keep checking back to see those surprise posts, too. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

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