Hello everybody! Felt that writing bug back in me, and the one article I've noticed I haven’t done yet is the Disney Princess movies of course! And with our latest addition Moana. Hope you all enjoy, after all these are just my opinions.
I don’t know why, but I’ve never really liked this movie. I’m not very knowledgeable on Scottish mythos or culture, so I was excited to see it, but it turns out that there just wasn’t enough magic in charm in it for me. I really liked that it was a classical story about a witch, a princess, and a spell, but going to the movie really didn’t n’ live up to my expectations. The animation is spectacular of course! Pixar has a nack for absolutely stunning imagery and attention to detail. But overall the movie was very dark and grey, and I felt didn’t utilize its potential fully. A big part of the Disney princess fanshise AND, to my knowledge, Celtic culture is the dresses, and the patterns, yet Merida is put in these boring outfits, even as the anti-girly-girl, she could still have the beautiful artwork of the Scotts in there. I didn’t see a point to her blue-black underdress, it makes her blend into the background, while every other Disney Princess gets to stand out in her movie.
The plot is ok, I really don’t mind it, it’s very charming and I like the message at the end. I think that the narrative flows well, and all of the characters are understandable, if not all likable. Everything makes sense, and I like the “Legend of Mor’du” aspect. Overall it’s just kind of mediorce and somewhat forgettable, unlike all the other princess that I think tend to be more iconic. It’s not a bad movie in the slightest, it’s just not to my taste. In fact I probably have more strong views on the movies I placed higher than this one than Brave itself. There’s something here, it’s just not executed in a way that I can comment on and dissect which is half of the fun when watching a movie. I’m not invested in it, so I can’t really love it or hate it. It just kind of sits on my shelf collecting dust.
I feel like I’m really going against the grain with this one. Everybody loves Mulan, and I love Mulan as a character, but I don’t really find much interest when it comes to the plot. I like nearly everything about the movie though. All the characters are very vibrant and fleshed out. I love the costume design, they stayed true with Chinese culture, traditions, and customs. I especially love the matchmaker scene. It was hilarious and gave us a lot of insight into Mulan as a person and the society she lives in.
I think the part I like the most about Mulan is the societal elements and the conflict Mulan has with fitting in. Her working off her parents and standards in her community is the highlight of the movie, and probably why I become I bit bored when it comes to the war stuff. Obviously that’s the plot of Mulan, she goes to war, and how much she dispointed everyone in her society, she earns their immense gratitude and praise later on. It’s a good message and has the right amount of weight of challenge in her convictions. To me, though, the plot drags as soon as it gets to the war camp grounds. It’s her trying to fit it and failing all over again. I understand that she has the grow and develope, but it begs the question why she couldn’t try hard and excel in her role back home. Why is this different? I guess she does put more effort into it because it’s her father reputation on the line, but if she just went home when she was sent home she would’ve still saved her father from having to enter war. I suppose that’s more of a plot device than any legitimate critics though.
I understand that it takes time to excel in something like combat, but the war was fairly boring to me, the villain was one-dimensional and while the movie told us that the villain was a real threat, it wasn’t really shown. There wasn’t anything dynamic enough to have interest in and wonder whether they’d win or lose. With Jafar, I’m invested because we see his role in the palace, his intelligence and how he poses and legitimate threat to Aladdin and the kingdom in general. The audience knows how dangerous he is, and how there’s a chance that he could win, but Shan Yu is just some big hulking scary guy that we are supposed to assumed can and will take over China. There just isn’t any real depth to him, and because we spent such little time getting to know the characters in China, we don’t have much gravity to why we should care about the final fight. I feel like all these iconic things happen in the first 15 minutes, like the matchmaker, the hair getting cut, the announcement of the draft, and the introduction of Mushu, then from then on it’s just like ‘difficult situation’ 5 minutes later ‘mulan fixes it’ even the climax feels that way to me.
I love all it’s elements except for the plot. It’s really interesting stuff and material it just need slightly better execution. Which is why while I don’t necessarily approve of the Disney live-action remakes, I’m curious to see the new ways they do the Mulan story, especially since it has many variants, just like Cinderella. I have some strong feelings about it, but I do think in general and over all it’s a good movie.
Speak of the devil! Another story with a lot of variations. I’m sure almost everybody reading this article can think of their favorite Cinderella movie. After all there’s been so many, from Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s, Cinderella Man, Cinder-Fella, Another Cinderella Story, Ella Enchanted. The list goes on, and they just keep making more of this story! As many different adaptations of this story, I feel like Disney animated one is by far the most well-liked and widely know. It has this classic charm to it, that audiences everywhere really latched onto. The only problem with the movie, I feel is there’s just not a lot going on. It’s very slow paced, and a lot of its entertainment is derived from the mice, rather than the subject of the movie herself, Cinderella. It’s mostly mouse shenanigan filler that takes place during the story of Cinderella. That being said, it’s very charming, as well as being a Disney pop-culture classic. I remember watching it on repeat as a child. I can’t bring myself to put it any lower because it’s such a sweet and simple film.
Tangled is what I’d like to call a new-age classic. Everyone fell in love with it at first sight. I can’t hardly blame them, because it was a really unique and subversive movie for the time, especially to come out of Disney Animation studios. The plot as well, was a unique story of the classic Rapunzel fairytale, that I think was executed in a way that actually makes more sense that the original. There’s nothing but positive things to say about Tangled. Not only is the heroine a perfect role-model, but the art and plot are solid. It really was a great thing to see in theatres, and I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like it. I think the only problems I in particular have about it, is the music. I’m not a big fan of it, I could do without it, or I could do with a different genre. But other than that complaint, there isn’t much else to say. Rapunzel is a good movie, but for some reason I doesn’t tend to be my favorite.
I think it’s rooted in that I don’t necessarily like the protagonist, her as a character is in a similar placement on my Disney Princess list as well. Something about her and her story seem too perfect to me. I like the movie, I probably will watch it many more times in the future, but nothing about it grabs me or caters specifically to my interest, which I be,wife I why I have it at this placement, despite it being a wonderful film.
8. Sleeping Beauty
This film is purely magical. I’ve always like it, for more of the darker elements, the art style, and the epic plot and villain. The climax is one of the best out of the classic Disney era that has a theme of avoiding grand big climax scenes for some reason. I think sometimes people discredit it for being fairly cookie-cutter plot, and follows the basic progression of a movie without giving their characters much depth. But for the time, it was one of Walt Disney’s most dynamic and theatrical movies. It felt very traditional, but ultimately very heart-warming, and what it lacks in character building it makes up everywhere else. The plot is wonderful, the music is gorgeous, and I adore the art style. It’s fairly standard, but I don’t see much wrong with that especially with is really intense and dramatic villain. Maleficent is by far one of the best parts of the entire film. And for that, I can commend it!
7. The Little Mermaid
It’s a Disney classic, much like others such as Cinderella. It was a complete game changer for the company and a delight to watch over and over again as a kid. This isn’t to say that it isn’t without flaws, but it’s the staple for Disney, I feel. It’s one of their best sellers for good reason. The plot really gets you invested, there’s never a dull moment where it seems too predictable. I feel like it’s one of those movies that everyone has in their video collection. The music is outstandin, Alan Menken is truly talented, along with the voice actors and actresses just putting on a fantastic performance. The villain is how you should really do a villain, with a clear motive, and persuasion that begets conflict.
I’m not a big fan of much of the other characters, but they are functional and believable as characters, all of them are charming, endearing or redeemable in their own right, and everybody gets a happy ending. It’s a feel good film, and I can’t help but really like it. I have a lot of problems with the protagonist Ariel, she happens to be my least favorite princess, but looking solely at the movie she fits right end, and there’s a satisfying and magical ending for everybody. A true Disney classic.
This is most definitely a personal favorite. Growing up, Moana had not yet come out and there weren’t many princesses of color I could see myself in. Pocahontas really filled that role for me, and I ADORED her hair. Now that I’m older, while I can see and acknowledge its flaws, I tend to forgive or look over them. I think Pocahontas as a movie has a very strong narrative and some dynamic and beautiful elements to it. I will forever be in love with the soundtrack, Judy Kuhn’s voice is to die for. The animations is slightly more realistic than most, but absolutely beautiful for it. I can also really appreciate that while the production of such a glorified story itself is egregious, I like that it took the time to add a lot of core elements to Native American culture, customs, and language.
I like the portrayal of Pocahontas and her role as the strong and noble leader. I like the turmoil and conflict her character has to go through, and I like the conclusion in the end. As bitter sweet as it is, I like that she takes the path less travel as always, for the sake of her people, and that there is still some mysticism in the world around her. The visuals themselves are great at portraying that as well, the thematic approach to color in this movie is one of my all-time favorites. During the ‘Savages’ bit my heart can’t help but race, and I feel a great surge of emotional investment in the conclusion no matter how many times I watch it. It’s truly a poetic film, whether done poorly or not. It will always be one of my favorites, even if it does cater to the fanatism of great romantic classics rather than reality.
5. Beauty and the Beast
Is there anyone on planet earth that doesn’t view this movie as truly the tale as old as time? It’ gorgeous movie with a lot of mood and gravity to the decisions and actions in it. The music as well is also fantastic and very broadway classic, it’s not wonderit was almost instantly made into a production in New York. As one of the only animated movies to winx a best picture Oscar, I think this placement is appropriate. That’s all I really have to say about it, it’s very much so a seemless and irreplaceable movie in Disney’s atrociously large legacy.
4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
It’s boring, it’s down right dull and predictable. The animation isn’t much to look at either. And the characters are completely one-dimensions with Snow White probably being the definition of a Mary-Sue. So why do I absolutely love it so much? I honestly couldn’t tell you, it’s not as if it’s anymore iconic than the others, and being Disney first feature production it has a lot of clear and obvious flaws. Much after the main conflict begins, e.i. the evil queen, Snow White meeting the prince, magic mirror, and huntsman trying to kill Snow White, after all of this happens there’s a lot of sitting around and being cute. Some animal antics, some cute songs, some funny situations, albeit at least focusing on the main character, but there isn’t much going on. In my Disney Princess article, I don’t really have much reason for liking her as a character either. As a joke I put “she hates apples too,” as a reason for having her so high in my DP list article. It doesn’t even come from a childhood fondness, because growing up my favorites were Jasmine and Aurora.
I have no idea why I simply like Snow White, or her movie. I find the movie, simply charming? It may contain a lot of nonsensical plot, but it never feels like a drag, we’re always aware of the evil queen and her intentions, and we’re always invested in the outcome of Snow White’s plite and conflict. Despite there being nothing really of value unless it’s the beginning or the ending, I like it! Maybe because of the aesthetics, or maybe because of the music. Whichever it is, I’m more than happy to watch this with the next generation. This will never get old for me.
3. Princess and the Frog
This movie is outstanding! I found it just as Disney-esque as any of the undeniable classics, like Little Mermaid
or Beauty and the Beast
. Admittedly, though I prefer stories that are “long ago and a land far far away” a bit more fairytale-like. And that’s what I had hoped for this movie when I found out Disney was doing an adaptation. I was actually quite disappointed when I found out it’d take place in America, and New Orleans at that. But when I saw it in theatres, I really came around to it. The characters were interesting, dynamic, and I was involved in the story like, the voodoo aspect was especially creative and unique and I could appreciate the stylization and liberties taken throughout the movie. The only part where it fell flat more me was probably more of the bayou scenes, where we meet a cliche “zany and funny” character along the way in our adventure.
I didn’t like how Tiana was a frog most of the movie either, it really ruined the representation being made. Even though, I think this, I also think that Tiana is wonderfully well-done character. She’s very strong willed and introverted, she has a one-track mind, and I think that’s why it’s so interesting to see her be thrown in to this adventure, because it’s so conflicting with her personality. What she wanted to be a simple solution gives her more problems and growth than any job she ever had did. I think there’s something to be admired there, a work-aholic princess, who’s princes brings out the best and her, and they both realize the compromise between having goals as purpose and having fun. The message is beautiful, while also being authentic to the time period, and really a great African-American example and mixing what it was like in the 20s, with a little fairytale magic. I just love this movie, I could go on about the characters, the plot, the animation, and so on, but I think it’s already been said. It wasn’t a block-buster hit, but anyone who has seen it has nothing but good things to say. I love this movie, it’s one of my all-time favorites.
Speaking of all-time favorites. I’ve also made allusions to this movie when discussion other movies, it’s hard not to compare them to this one, when this movie does a lot of things so much better than most. It really is a great example of an epic Disney film. From the animation, to the songs, to the characters, all of the are unforgettable. It’s right up there with all the other great adventure movies, if not the best one. I love the magic, the genie, the plot, everything is a 10/10. The creators at Disney made a high-quality classic, and while at times it can date itself with (shivers) pop-culture jokes of the past, it still holds up as an act by act movie. With development and fully-fleshed out characters and ideas. What could top it I wonder?
I feel like such a betrayer of classic animation for having this one up as my number one! But in my eyes, it simply can’t be beat. It took all of the tropes that are done well in other Disney movies and flipped them completely upside down and on its head. I obviously love the Polynesian culture, as it is my own. And I like the myths they chose to incoperate in this story. I couldn’t help but cry at the tremendous effort of the Disney company to portray this story in the most unique and inclusive way possible. Moana as a character is not the most unique character in the world, but the rest of her movie is.
I love the design, as well as the artistic shifts. I can really appreciate that the setting is almost exclusively on the ocean. Having the ocean literally be alive, was new and adding some sort of character dynamic between the elements and Moana herself. Maui, was a secondary focus, and I really like that, as most movies tend to make the gods themselves the main characters. I liked that she had a longing and she had a mission and she made them both, her primary goal. I really like that’s is the ‘Hero’s journey’ classic literary trope as well. Movies that follow that line of action, tend to be the most emersive for me, as I’m going along with the protagonist along their epic quest to save their home. Unlike the stereotypical hero’s trope though, Moana actually in the end is the first self-chosen “chosen one.” The ocean chose her, but then when the ocean takes it back, she goes at it again not letting herself be pressured into going through with it, and actually considering backing out of it, if she thinks she’s not worthy. Which is what she has always debated this whole time, is she really doing the right thing? She takes the initiative, which is common to see in Disney Princesses after Ariel paved the way, but it’s still very well-executed here as well.
I love that they go to La Lo Tai, they face the Kakamora, and they have two epic face-offs with Te Ka. Another thing that I love is the villain! Surprise! It’s not even a villain, which I absolutely adore because it feel like in every movies there’s a bad guy and a good guy, but in this movie, there’s simple, a girl, and Demi-god, and a goddess, that are all misunderstood and can be taken as either a positive or negative force depending on what time in the movie you’re in. Te Ka being the misunderstood goddess was the cherry on the ice cream sundae for me. Growing up I always wondered why there was a ‘bad person’ in movies, when in real life it’s not so simple. I feel like these are messages that could’ve been used in movie tropes always. The animation is gorgeous and the songs are perfect for every different moment of the movie. The only complaint I have is the character design for Maui, and that they just had to make Moana eat pork in front of poor Pua. I love it! Subverting expectations left and right, and leaving a bold and diverse new addition to the Disney Princess lineup afterwards!
In celebration of Moana becoming the newest princess, I thought it was only fair, to make a list that I knew she’d excel in! I’m really excited about the coronation, what do you guys think? I’m super worried if you just completely disagree with my entire list and especially not liking Moana or that she’s being added to the lineup, sorry if that Moana gushing part was hard for you to get through, lol. I was surprised too when I really sat down and thought about my placements. Forgive my Moana title image as well! I’m not the best at editing those types of things. I hope you at least had some sort of fun or interest when reading this and it didn’t just sound like me rambling on and on about these movies. Thanks for reading! I appreciate any feedback!