Monthly Archives: March 2015

You Need to Watch Star vs. the Forces of Evil RIGHT NOW

Standard

star vs. evil trying to use her wand

Star vs. the Forces of Evil had its official premiere on Disney X D last night, and even though I’m still squealing, I attempted to pull together and give you guys a cohesive review of the show, or rather, why you should be watching this show right now.

The Flawless Intro

star vs. evil star and marco 2

This show first won me over when the introduction was previewed months ago. It was shaky cam footage, but despite that, it conveyed exactly how amazing and adorable the show was. The theme song (which I’m embedding below for your viewing enjoyment) conveys what the show is about: it’s weird, it’s adorable, our main character (Star Butterfly) is a princess from another dimension (and uses a magic wand as a weapon), while our other main character (Marco Diaz) is a karate master. (Or rather, a green belt with one stripe.)

It also lets us know that the main characters have the ability to hop dimensions. We get to see a little bit of this in the first two episodes, and the various scenes we get to see during the intro hint at more dimensions to explore. Pirates! Caverns with light-up bugs! A cloud dance club! A demon’s house! Each world we’re shown is as quirky and fun as Star and Marco are, and gives the viewer something to look forward to in the future. It’ll be interesting seeing how the intro ties into the rest of the show.

 

The animation is wonderful.

star vs. evil dimension-hopping

The animation on this show is fluid and bright. The characters are animated very expressively, and their body movements and facial expressions tell us a lot about who they are as people. Each world also has its own little flair, from the darker world that Ludo the antagonist inhabits, to Star’s bright colored home, to Earth and how the creatures from other dimensions stand out against it when they interact with it. There’s a lot of pretty, dynamic animation. I couldn’t even take notes for this review because I was too glued to the screen for most of the two episodes to focus on my laptop. But I mean, so pretty! So bright! So quirky! See?

star vs. evil this adorable rainbow girl

star vs. evil dancing

star vs. evil shriek

 

I think it’s really important to mention that this show’s main characters are a female warrior princess and her not-white sidekick, and that the show has a female creator.

We don’t get enough cartoons created by awesome women, and the fact that Daron Nefcy is only the second animated show creator for Disney Television Animated (the first was Sue Rose, who created Pepper Ann, if you were wondering) is pretty sad.

star vs. evil sad face

I mean, it’s awesome that she created this show. But it’s sad that she’s only the second woman to do this. I think it’s really important to have more women in animation, and it’s also important to have more diversity. Star Butterfly and Marco Diaz add some uniqueness to the Disney animated landscape, especially because of how complex and wonderful the characters are (which is kind of the best part of the show).

 

Star Butterfly and Marco Diaz: Quirky, Badass and Adorable

star vs. evil marco and star

I’m going to admit now that I expected to come out of this show with Star as my favorite character, since she’s voiced by Eden Sher (who is amazing and whose voice acting gives so much life and quirkiness to Star). Also, she’s a princess with a wand that shoots rainbows and hearts out of it, which is awesome. But honestly, Marco really grew on me in the two episodes that premiered, so I have two favorite characters now. Clearly, they’re the best when they’re together though, which is evidenced by their adorable friendship.

Star Butterfly is a warrior princess who fights monsters, as evidenced by her introduction, when we see her attacking monsters before she rides a rogue unicorn into the castle. It’s always nice to get a female character that can be strong without sacrificing her femininity, and Star is exactly that. Her magical attacks usually involve typically “girly” things, like butterflies and hearts, and when she uses magic for non-battle uses, she enjoys conjuring up things like a room extension. And puppies!

star vs. evil lazer eye dogs 1star vs. evil lazer eye dogs 2

Of course, if Star had perfect control of her magic, the show would be less interesting, so it’s established at the start that she’s not exactly adept at controlling them, despite her reassurances to her parents.

star vs. evil i can handle it

star vs. evil i can't handle it

So it’s off to Earth, to figure out how her powers work. That’s where Marco comes into the picture.

Marco is a lot of fun as a character. He’s a self-proclaimed bad boy, but his actions say otherwise, like when he rants to Star about how he doesn’t understand why people think he always plays it safe, while steering Star out of danger in the hallways.

star vs. evil safe kid 1

star vs. evil safe kid 2

star vs. evil safe kid 3

But while Marco is cautious, that doesn’t stop him from stepping into a fight if he needs to. He uses his karate to fight against Ludo and his forces, while Star uses her magic.

star vs. evil marco

star vs. evil heart attack

They both have different strengths: Marco keeps her out of trouble and guides her in this strange new dimension she’s not accustomed to, while Star gives him the excitement he’s looking for and uses her magic to protect him and help him out when she can. It’s a nice symbiotic relationship, and these two are adorable together. Just look at them!

star vs. evil star and marco

The show also plays around with gender roles. Marco cooks. Star is a brutal fighter.

star vs. evil star and marco 1

star vs. evil warrior

It’s nice having a show with dual main characters where the characters aren’t fully feminine or masculine: they’re fully fleshed out people with varying traits and interests. In my opinion, the best characters come when gender stereotypes are challenged and interesting people like Star and Marco emerge on-screen.

 

Ludo and his interactions with Star are hilarious.

Ludo is initially set up as a tough, menacing antagonist. We’re introduced to him facing away from the audience, on a large chair, with his eyes glowing in the darkness. Then he turns around, and the illusion is ruined by the stack of pillows he’s sitting on, and how tiny he looks. Granted, he does look creepy, but he’s not exactly as tough as we imagined he’d be.

star vs. evil ludo

Like most cartoon antagonists and heroes, Ludo and Star share some great banter between them. There’s actually this great moment in the premiere when Ludo shows up to attack Star and she asks how he knew where she was:

star vs. evil ludo star banter 1

star vs. evil ludo star banter 2

star vs. evil ludo star banter 3

Like most cartoon villains, Ludo also has a really weak group of henchmen, which he often grumbles about. Watching them trudge away as Ludo berates them about they “even retreat like losers” made me chuckle quite a bit. And then there was this great moment:

star vs. evil star and villain 1star vs. evil star and villain 2

From how he’s been set up, Ludo seems like he’ll end up being a fun Chuckles-like antagonist and I can’t wait to see where the show goes with him.

 

One last thing before I wrap this up: one of the minor things I enjoyed was that way that the show poked fun at technology.

Even Star’s other dimensions have technology in some form, and the show takes great pleasure in poking fun at technological things in our pop culture. One great example is the game Marco plays against Pony Head is called Joust Joust Revolution, a play off Dance Dance Revolution.

star vs. evil lance lance revolution

The show also pokes fun at apps like Snapchat, and voice recognition when trying to call someone and your phone (or magic mirror, in Star’s case) just can’t get their name right. I await to see what else they’re going to tackle in the future.

 

Conclusion: You Should Go Watch This Show, Because It’s Adorable and Promising

While there were a few aspects I wasn’t quite as fond of (such as Marco’s friends), I think Star vs. the Forces of Evil had a strong promising premiere. Its strong characters, gorgeous animation and diversity give it an edge, and I’ll definitely be tuning in to see where this goes next.

Star vs. the Forces of Evil airs Monday nights at 8/7 central on Disney X D.

For those of you who’ve seen the show, what did you think? For those of you who haven’t, did my review inspire you to check it out? Let us know in the comments!

Follow Animated Meta on Twitter and Tumblr. Have a lovely Tuesday!

Cheers,

M&M

Animation’s Feminist Anthems: A List

Standard

Hi, I’m Michella and I AM A FEMINIST! Pleased to meet you. Below, find a list of animated songs and reasons why I think they are badass feminist anthems that celebrate women and their agency, challenge gender roles, and are inspirational. And please don’t be scared off by the term “feminist.” We don’t bite and we’re all about accepting everyone and not judging and just living in groovy harmony and respect. Doesn’t that sound fun?

Like Other Girls—Mulan 2

This song is all about Mei, Su, and Ting-Ting feeling trapped in their roles and responsibilities and wanting just a little bit of freedom, like other girls have. It was the first song that popped into my head when I thought of this list because of how much these ladies admire other women. They’re not jealous or bitter, they just long. And what are they longing for? To play and climb trees, slouch, eat cake, be free to make choices, dance, no tight shoes! Yes, they want love, and that gets a line, but the repeated mantra is “no hands folded perfectly,” “no pinchy shoes,” “just to be free like other girls get to be.” It’s such a sweet, beautiful song that also challenges gender roles.

Who usually gets to play outside, get dirty, “be crazy?” Well… boys. Boys are expected to play sports and be physically active (though the song equates it to being a girl’s activity, which is great!). Girls are usually delicate and taught manners. Mei, Su, and Ting-Ting have to be elegant, use their fans, and are escorted everywhere, like they aren’t strong enough to walk on their own. In my Victorian Lit class we talked about how writers like Dickens and Thackery never have female characters that “walk.” They “trip” or “glide/float.” Breaking that down, trip: immature, young, clumsy, incapable, needing protection. Glide/float: angelic, not real, unearthly, perfect, elegant. Women can never just be normal people that “walk.”

One other point about this song, I love how “Like Other Girls” is a GOOD thing. “You don’t want to be that girl,” is oftentimes an insult. Being compared to other women isn’t a good thing in our society. To stay on the subject of literature, many times we see dialogue that says, “You’re not like other women.” Meaning, you’re not clingy or needy or “insert stereotype here.” Women are pitted against each other! But no. This song takes that and spins it in a positive light.

Belle (reprise)—Beauty and the Beast

We all know this song. I love the fury in Belle’s voice when she begins the song and then it turns to a desire. So this song made my list for a couple reasons.

The first might be the simplest: Belle rejects marriage in favor of adventure. Now, marriage is definitely its own adventure. But Belle is, what? 18? Belle wants to live. We know she loves to read and her favorite book (the one she reads in the opening song) has “far off places, daring swordfights, magic spells” and a sweeping love story (“Here’s where she meets Prince Charming, but she won’t discover that it’s him till chapter three”). Belle is not against love. Her song explicitly states it would be nice “to have someone understand.” Whether that’s in the form of romance or friendship, who knows, but she wants it in the context of an adventure. Not Gaston, who prizes her for her looks and is shallow. They have nothing in common. They would never be happy together, especially living in that small-minded town.

The second is that Belle also rejects the expectations of her society. The song ends with, “I want so much more than they’ve got planned.” They is not just Gaston. They is everyone. They is the pressure, the expectation, the town. They is anyone that tells Belle she is supposed to be this kind of person. And sadly, the entire opening song established there are a lot of people that have their own ideas about who Belle should be. This is a great song because Belle sometimes internalizes. She’s always kind, she said hello to everyone while they gossiped about her, but here is really the first time we see her stand up for who she wants to be, even if it is just to herself. It is hard to admit what you want. It is scary when there are a lot of people that are going to try to talk you out of it. And I think Belle is a great amazing feminist for that.

For a Moment—The Little Mermaid 2

I was hesitant to include this song even though it jumped out at me. As I thought about it, I realized I wanted to include it because it’s basically the only mother/daughter song Disney has ever produced. I also just love Ariel, Eric, and Melody to bits and we’ve talked about Part of Your World so much.

Even though this is a mother/daughter duet, our babies are apart from each other. Sad face. It’s very angsty. Ariel is so desperate to make amends and Melody is finally so happy, but also sad she can’t share that with her mom. Their relationship is really the heart of the movie since Ariel keeps this secret about Melody’s heritage and this song is where we get to dig into all those complicated emotions. A lot of times mom/daughter relationships are portrayed by the media as super close or the opposite. There is no middle ground, and like what I brought up with Dickens and Thackery, women aren’t allowed to be human. They don’t get to go through a full range of emotions compared to their male characters. And frequently, they don’t have complex stories and conflicts with other women. Many times their plot revolves around a man. For a Moment is a song about how two women are feeling.

Here Ariel is remorseful for her mistake, but determined to find her daughter, and make things right. Right before the song, she makes the choice to leave Eric, to do this on her own (or, separate, since Eric is still looking, too). Melody is just Ms. Happiness with her new fins. She stumbles a bit, getting situated, but for the most part, she’s a natural (which makes sense since she’s half mermaid!). The only disappointing part is that she can’t share this with her mom. She doesn’t think her mom will understand (“wish my mother could hear it” meaning she doesn’t and never will). But to juxtapose that, Ariel and Melody both use “song of the sea”/”sea is my song” which shows you just how in synch they are. They’re mother and daughter, after all! They both love the sea. Ariel may have chosen land, but that scene where she dips her feet in the water and her face is filled with an ache to return just tells you all you need to know.

On a totally non-girl power point: The visuals also kill me because Melody is just exploring and Ariel is retracing all her steps, hitting all those nostalgia buttons as we see the grotto and the rock bench from Under the Sea with grownup Ariel.

I Won’t Say I’m in Love—Hercules

So, like the Belle (reprise) I’m not picking this song because Meg rejects marriage. Feminism is not about rejecting marriage or looking down on housewives. I chose this song because Meg is so hurt. Meg is guarded because of her past, Meg is wary, Meg is so so so scared. I love that Disney gave us Meg because she’s someone trapped in a bad situation because of her choices and past trauma from a relationship. Sadly, most of us are scarred. We’re damaged. We don’t come with bows on us, unharmed. Meg represents that.

Furthermore, Meg is given the opportunity to be affected by her trauma. A lot of times women are discouraged from talking about their pasts—such as coming forward with sexual abuse claims years later. Or women are “overemotional.” If you’re not “better” within someone else’s expected timeframe, then you’re making too big a deal out of it.

Not Meg. Meg is not okay from her past relationship. She’s given the chance to argue with herself, to want something, but be afraid she wants it. She’s not one dimensional precisely for this reason. There are layers to Meg. At first she appears like a flirt, but that’s just a mask. This song is where Meg tries to lie to herself, to keep the mask on, but in the end Meg realizes that’s not possible. Like Belle, she admits what she wants to herself, which is the first step to going after it in reality.

And who is encouraging her to take a chance? The muses! Coincidentally, all women. More women cheering women on and supporting each other. What is more feminist than that? (Hint: The answer is nothing.)

Almost There—Princess and the Frog

Ah, this song! Such a great anthem. Tiana is filled with such a drive. She has this amazing goal and isn’t going to let anything get in her way. Tiana definitely had some things to learn, like being single-minded isn’t the way to go about being happy. But, taking this song out of the context of the movie, it’s a song about achieving your dream, something that is self-fulfilling. It has nothing to do with another person. It’s something Tiana is doing for herself. This is what I love most about Almost There.

It might be the first animated song where women are encouraged to be savvy business ladies. It’s okay to want a career. It’s a self-esteem booster, it just makes you feel good when you’re doing something you love and you do it well. Many times women are expected to be “humble” and “modest” and confidence can be misconstrued as cockiness or arrogance. But why shouldn’t we take pleasure from doing a good job?

Like some of the other songs, Almost There mentions expectations (“people down here think I’m crazy, but I don’t care”), because those pesky buggers are everywhere, sadly.

Let it Go—Frozen

Okay, everyone has heralded Let it Go as an anthem since it came out. It’s Elsa finally being true to herself, being brave, and loving that person. Let’s zero in on a very specific lyric: Don’t let them in, don’t let them see, be the good girl you always have to be, conceal don’t feel, don’t let them know. Wow, that’s a lot!

First, women are supposed to put on a mask in public. Like Meg hides from her trauma with a flirty persona, women should put on a good face. Smile. Be cordial. Be demure.  This goes right into “be the good girl” while boys will be boys. This is every gender role the previous songs have battled with. Su, Mei, and Ting-Ting want to climb trees and scrape their knees, but that’s for boys (even though the song presents it as something women can do, which is great!). Belle is expected to marry Gaston. Elsa shouldn’t be overemotional, she should keep her mouth shut and smile. Whereas boys can be hyperactive and do whatever they want because they’re boys and boys just have all these impulses that can’t be controlled. This way of thinking continues into adolescent and adulthood and is what makes rape culture so rife.

Next, we have “conceal, don’t feel,” which is actually really interesting and twisty. So we have this stereotype that girls want to talk about their feelings all the time, that girls cry, and so on. But, women are ridiculed when they do just that. “Cry like a girl” is an insult. I hate to keep using the “overemotional” card or the “needy, clingy” label, but that’s just the way it is. Women are expected to do these things, but if they do, they are scorned for it (because: good!). And maybe they don’t even do it in excess, but there’s such a low tolerance for women expressing themselves at all.

On the flip side, to keep talking about gender roles, boys are definitely taught the same thing. Boys aren’t supposed to have a soft side. They’re masculine! Strong! Testosterone! And boys are also made fun of if they don’t conform to this expectation. Many times, men also aren’t allowed to go through the full spectrum of emotions. This is wrong. This is just as wrong as the insane stereotypes surrounding women, even though we do not talk about this as much.

Let it Go has an important message and for obvious reasons, definitely is a feminist anthem.

I Whistle A Happy Tune–The King and I

I think this one is a lesser-known animated movie and I actually had forgotten about it till recently myself. I want to end on this note because this song is all about overcoming fear and that’s a great message to end on.

I think it also, sadly, feeds on the “conceal don’t feel” aspect of Let it Go and gender roles because some of the lyrics are: I strike a careless pose and whistle a happy tune and no one ever knows I’m afraid. At first glance it’s all about putting on that mask, of women not being able to express their feelings. But, as the song goes on, the meaning is that if you trick yourself into feeling brave, you may be as brave as you make believe you are.

So: things are scary. People get scared. But we are in control of how that fear affects us. Anna’s method, as she teaches her son in this song, is to whistle a happy tune “and the happiness in the tune convinces [him] that [he’s] not afraid.” Maybe she should teach him that it’s okay to be afraid and talk about his feelings, but it’s also important that we don’t let fear paralyze us. But, Anna doesn’t tell her son NOT to be afraid. She doesn’t tell him men are brave, that men don’t get scared. Instead of pushing that fear aside or pretending it doesn’t exist, she encourages him to feel it, and then essentially, fake it till he makes it.

Anna puts us in control of our fear. And isn’t that what fear is? We’re not in control in fearful situations. So whistling is a way of taking back the power.

I also wanted to end with this song since it puts a woman in a position of authority. She’s the leader, people are listening to what she has to say. And I can’t think of many animated songs where a woman is the head of a group. Women frequently have solos, but many times a male leads a group number. Look at: I’ll Make a Man Out of You (Shang), Be Our Guest (Lumiere), Kiss the Girl (Sebastian), and Topsy Turvy (Clopin). I do think He’s a Tramp from Lady and the Tramp and Dig a Little Deeper from Princess and the Frog are good examples of female led group numbers in addition to this, though even He’s a Tramp isn’t very groupish, but I’ll count it.

Conclusion

I just wanted to make a list of songs that celebrated girl power and wax poetically about them. Ta!

What’s your feminist anthem? How do you feel about these songs? GIVE ME ALL YOUR OPINIONS.

Follow Animated on Twitter and Tumblr.

Cheers,

M&M

Examining Fixer-Upper’s Flaws

Standard

Frozen has always been a mixed bag for me. There are some parts of the movie that I really love and others that are problematic and needed some work. The one that bothers me the most is the trolls, and their song, “Fixer-Upper.”

“Fixer-Upper” is a song that tries to come off as being about love and acceptance, but instead introduces some really uncomfortable messages that didn’t jive with me: 1) the way that the song ignores the agency of both Anna and Kristoff, and 2) the message that love can fix people.

Ignoring Anna and Kristoff’s Agency

The problem with the trolls is the way that they ignore the agency of characters, and this is clearest in “Fixer-Upper” when we see the way they entirely dismiss Anna’s feelings. I mean, look at the opening lines of the song:

What’s the issue, dear?

Why are you holding back from such a man?

The language here is just…ugh. First of all, the dear comes off as patronizing in this context. Second, there’s this very uncomfortable sense of shaming. “Why are you” is combative; it suggests that fault lies with Anna, and that she’s wrong for not being with Kristoff. The way that the trolls shame her for that is so rude and disrespectful that I can’t even deal.

tumblr_ni3arpouiX1tqptlzo1_500

(I’m Misty in this gif basically.)

The trend of ignoring Anna’s agency continues when Kristoff tells the trolls that Anna is engaged.

So she’s a bit of a fixer-upper

That’s a minor thing

Her quote ‘engagement’ is a flex arrangement

And by the way, I don’t see no ring

The term “fixer-upper” used for Anna suggests that her engagement with Hans is something that can easily be fixed. They disregard the validity of the relationship with excuses (“her quote ‘engagement’ is a flex arrangement” and “I don’t see no ring”) and in doing so, completely disregard Anna’s choices and agency. They’re basically saying: Anna’s decision holds no merit, because we say it doesn’t. They’re taking away from the merit of her decision and writing it off. We live in a society where women and their choices are written off so often that seeing this happen in context of the movie was super uncomfortable in a bad way.

And then this happens:

So she’s a bit of a fixer-upper,

Her brain’s a bit betwixt

Get the fiancé out of the way

And the whole thing will be fixed!

frozen wait what

Side note for those of you who went “huh” at the word betwixt, like I did: betwixt means “between” so the trolls are likely referencing the love triangle between Hans, Anna and Kristoff (and Anna’s feelings for both guys) here.

This is a lot like the above stanza, where the trolls are disregarding the feelings of all three members of the love triangle. They’re dismissing Anna’s feelings. Calling her “betwixt” is like calling her “confused” which is super insulting in my opinion, because they’re saying she can’t trust her own feelings, so they should make a decision for her. Again, that disregard for Anna’s agency.

They’re disregarding Hans entirely: they’re willing to kill him or at the very least, get him “out of the way” in order to make Kristoff/Anna happen. Now keep in mind, the viewer doesn’t know that Hans is evil at this point. Neither do the trolls. For all we know, the trolls are going to take out some innocent guy just to make their shipping dreams a reality. That’s totally messed up.

And they’re also disregarding Kristoff’s feelings as well. Kristoff is clearly uncomfortable during the song, and the trolls repeatedly ignore that.

frozen kristoff side-eyeing the trollsfrozen kristoff is like whattt

When the trolls first try and set Kristoff and Anna up, Kristoff interrupts and says:

“Can we please just stop talking about this? We’ve got a real, actual problem here.”

Kristoff is worried about Anna’s condition, obviously, but I think he’s also uncomfortable with his family trying to set him up with Anna when Anna is engaged to someone else. Kristoff’s regard for Anna’s feelings is in direct contrast to the trolls. While they don’t care what Anna wants, Kristoff cares greatly about what Anna wants and how Anna feels. He may have scoffed at Anna’s engagement at first, but it’s clear as the movie goes on that he cares greatly about how Anna feels and respects her feelings. Does he like her? Yes. But Kristoff is a great representation of how someone should handle a person they like having feelings for someone else: instead of whining or trying to get Anna to pick him, Kristoff respects Anna’s feelings and her relationship with Hans. He stands firm when the trolls keep pushing:

“Enough! She’s engaged to someone else, okay?”

Even with his feelings for Anna, he respects her relationship enough to defend it to his family when they keep pushing and harassing them. And later, he takes Anna back to the castle to Hans when she needs her act of true love, because he wants her to be happy. He respects her. I know I’ve said this word a lot, guys, but respect is really important. And the trolls completely disrespect Kristoff as well as Anna by ignoring their feelings about the matter.

frozen ropes

There’s also the fact that they keep headlining Kristoff’s flaws, which while I understood they were trying to be upfront about him and mortifying in the way that family sometimes is, rubbed me the wrong way, because they treat his flaws as something to be fixed.

And that’s the ultimate problem with this song. “Fixer-Upper” promotes an incredibly unhealthy message: fixing people’s flaws with love.

Love Can Fix People? False.

Repeatedly, the trolls tell us that love can be used to fix a person. They reference it in terms of Kristoff’s flaws (“you can fix this fix-upper up with a little bit of love”) and they reference it again in terms of love in general (“the only fixer-upper that can fix a fixer-upper is true love”). This aggravates me.

Sending a message that love can fix people is horribly irresponsible. Think of how many people stay in bad relationships because they think that they can fix the other person. How often does that logic fail? A lot. Not everyone can be fixed with love, and it shouldn’t be someone’s responsibility to stay with someone else in order to fix them. Saying that love = fixing is putting the responsibility of fixing a person on someone else, when the only person who can fix you is you.

I’ve seen it suggested that the stanza about how “people make bad choices if they’re mad or stressed or scared” is about Elsa, and relates to Anna’s solution to helping Elsa, but this bothers me as well. It’s not Anna’s responsibility to “fix” Elsa. Only Elsa can control her powers and overcome her anxiety, and that weight shouldn’t be put on Anna. Neither should Anna “fix” Kristoff. 1) Kristoff doesn’t really need to be fixed (because he’s awesome). 2) Even if he did, that’s not Anna’s responsibility. Anna is with Hans at this point of the movie, and she loves him. She isn’t going to ditch him just because the trolls want her to date Kristoff and fix his flaws.

“But what about when the trolls say that people don’t really change, Mel? Doesn’t that mean that they don’t want Anna to change Kristoff in any way?”

Not exactly. Let’s take a look at the stanza, shall we?

We’re not saying you can change him,

‘Cause people don’t really change

We’re only saying that love’s a force

That’s powerful and strange

People make bad choices

If they’re mad or scared or stressed

This might be a good message if the trolls hadn’t spent the entirety of the song before this entirely contradicting it. The fact that the trolls spend stanzas before this criticizing Kristoff’s flaws and telling Anna that she can fix him up negates all of this. And yes, people make bad choices. That’s a good point, and points to Elsa and how a lot of her bad choices came from a place of fear. However, the two lines after this are entirely unforgivable.

Throw a little love their way

And you’ll bring out their best

frozen throw a little love their wayfrozen and you'll bring out their best

I can see what the movie’s trying to do here. The story is trying to tie in that “love > fear” theme. But instead, the movie sends the message that love will fix people, because it will bring out their best. Now, if this was true, do we really think that we would have had Hans leave Anna for dead? If love supposedly brings out the best in people, wouldn’t Anna loving Hans have been enough to overcome whatever evil tendencies he had?

Now, as a counter-argument, you could say that Anna and Hans weren’t in love (since they’d just met like a day ago so it’s probably a crush more than anything else), but what about Anna and Kristoff? They’ve only known each other for about the same time as Anna and Hans, so that doesn’t exactly make them in love either. And what about familial love? Elsa and Anna have known each other their whole lives, and Anna’s love for Elsa hasn’t really fixed Elsa at this point. Neither did the love Elsa’s parents had for her. So how does this love force work? Do two people have to be in love to fix each other? Does it have to be romantic in nature? Does it need to involve sacrifice, like Anna’s act of true love at the end of the movie?

The trolls say that “love’s a force that’s powerful and strange” but how is love supposed to fix someone? They repeatedly insist that Anna can use love to fix Kristoff’s flaws (and hint to the viewer that Anna’s love can fix Elsa) but never back this up with any concrete evidence, making it an unsubstantiated claim.

frozen strugglebus

Love doesn’t always change people, and love is not a fix-all. Throwing love someone’s way to bring out their best, or staying with someone to fix them, isn’t always going to do that. It’s irresponsible for Disney to suggest otherwise.

While “Fixer-Upper” had a positive motive, its underlying messages undermine it by being uncomfortable and unhealthy. It also leaves us with a question: is love really a fix-all? The reality is that no, it’s not.

What do you guys think of “Fixer-Upper” and its messages? Let us know in the comments!

Follow Animated Meta on Tumblr and Twitter. Have a happy Tuesday!

Cheers,

M&M

 

10 Animated Women That Inspire Us to Epicness: Mic Edition

Standard

To piggyback on the theme Mel started this week, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite animated women. I hope these picks bring back some feels from the past. Let’s go!

Anastasia—Anastasia
Oh, Anastasia, how do I list all the ways I love you? I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how to even describe Anya. I loved the way she carried herself. I loved her rundown clothes, but she was never rundown, no matter what happened. She left the orphanage determined to uncover the mystery of her past and when the chance arose to take a risk and follow a leap of faith, she did.

I loved how she and Dimitri could take turns being the hero. Anastasia is a beautiful film that I will never forget. She got to have flaws and be biased and then have to overcome them to see the real person. She could be afraid and cry and then also be a badass that took out Rasputin.

The Powerpuff Girls—The Powerpuff Girls
This cartoon was one of my favorites. How perfect was it? Three amazing girls kicking ass with sugar, spice, and everything nice. Girls could be physically strong and also be feminine. Girls could be anything they wanted. Blossom was my favorite since she was the leader and I was obsessed with being the leader as a kid (yes, I was called bossy).

tumblr_myg4boTxuZ1tnvfjxo1_500

tumblr_myg4boTxuZ1tnvfjxo2_250tumblr_myg4boTxuZ1tnvfjxo3_250

tumblr_myg4boTxuZ1tnvfjxo4_500

3 guesses and the first two don’t count 🙂

tumblr_motutkFviD1rcm80po1_250tumblr_motutkFviD1rcm80po2_250

tumblr_motutkFviD1rcm80po3_250tumblr_motutkFviD1rcm80po2_250

tumblr_motutkFviD1rcm80po5_250tumblr_motutkFviD1rcm80po6_250

tumblr_motutkFviD1rcm80po7_250tumblr_motutkFviD1rcm80po8_250

Everything that needs to be said about this show is right here.

Sabrina—Sabrina the Animated Series
I wanted to be Sabrina so much as a little girl. She had awesome hair, a great family, and magical powers! She was the coolest ever. Like the Powerpuff Girls, Sabrina was strong and also feminine, frequently sporting pink unabashedly.

tumblr_mwgdtdRYnX1rid30co1_400

Reggie—Rocket Power
We’re gonna stick with TV shows a tad longer. Reggie was also one of my personal heroes. She was the only girl in a squad of boys and just as awesome as them. Her purple hair was just amazing. She was the oldest and the smartest and in control and cool. “It’s not worth winning if you have to cheat,” she once said. Reggie was spouting wisdom and being awesome on a surf board or rollerblades or skateboard with her sunglasses and baggy pants like a boss.

tumblr_nk3tl5ZbsK1ro8ysbo1_540

tumblr_mq6cv0O6cw1rome1po1_500

Esmeralda—The Hunchback of Notre Dame
I feel like we’re following a trend of highlighting women that are both powerful, vulnerable, feminine, and flawed. Esmeralda, like the other women I’ve talked about, is brave and courageous and like Anya, initially lets her prejudice get the best of her. She also has to strip back the layers and look at people in new ways. But on the other hand, she also sees clearly that which others vilify.

hunchback injustice

She misjudged Phoebus, the handsome man most people probably flocked to, but not Quasi, the different looking and mistreated boy. Her song God Help the Outcasts just tells you everything you need to know about.

hunchback i ask for nothing

She cares for others above herself and she’s caught in a world that is supposed to be equal and claims it is, but isn’t. And she fights to make it a reality.

hunchback end

Mulan—Mulan
As a comment pointed out on Mel’s post, Mulan deserves to be on this list. We adore Mulan here at Animated Meta and once I knew Mel left her off her list, I knew she would be on mine. I’ve talked about Mulan before and I could talk about her for all eternity. Just… perfect movie. Mulan is fierce. Mulan shares many qualities with all the women we’ve talked about. I just love that symbolism at the end of the film when she fights the leader of the Huns as a woman, with the fan, uses both her brains and her fighting skills and wins.

mulan

Marina and Eris—Sinbad and the Legend of the Seven Seas
I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about the film Sinbad and the Legend of the Seven Seas. Now, Sinbad is very much about Sinbad and also his buddy Proteus. Proteus and Sinbad were friends, but their relationship suddenly ended when Marina arrived as Proteus’ betrothed. Sinbad took one look at her, fell in love, and fled to a life of piracy to avoid screwing anything up. Marina eventually ends up traveling with Sinbad to save Proteus’ life after Eris causes trouble. Everything make sense? I hope so.

So, Marina? Awesome.

tumblr_msk3t5LlB21qiq8aao1_250tumblr_msk3t5LlB21qiq8aao6_250tumblr_msk3t5LlB21qiq8aao9_250

She’s this princess that, like most of our well-known Disney ladies, wants way more. Before I get into that, I just want to talk about her physically. She’s got short hair and wears pants. How awesome is that? I think basically every princess except like Snow White and Cinderella have had long, luscious locks. And pants on a female character? Like, that’s sadly pretty rare. So right away, Marina’s design pawns all, I think.

She holds her own against a crew of pirates and saves their butts numerous times.

She also gets them into some sticky situations, but she’s not dead weight on this mission. She also acts as Sinbad’s conscience, generally just being smart and amazing and telling him he’s being a cowardly asshole.

tumblr_n2jrqb5eRy1t7i7fyo1_r2_500 tumblr_n2jrqb5eRy1t7i7fyo2_r2_500 tumblr_n2jrqb5eRy1t7i7fyo3_r1_500 tumblr_n2jrqb5eRy1t7i7fyo4_r4_500

tumblr_msk3t5LlB21qiq8aao2_250

On the flip side, we have Eris, the goddess of chaos and discord.

tumblr_mrs9ebtkXL1qiq8aao1_250

I was thinking about my favorite female villains and knew I wanted one on this list. My first thought was Maleficent and she and Eris actually do have some stuff in common. They’re both evil just for the pleasure of it. Eris loves causing trouble. She’s just so wicked and voiced by Michelle Pfeiffer, so yeah, chills.

tumblr_mrs9ebtkXL1qiq8aao4_250tumblr_myq8gbApIg1qbskx5o1_250

tumblr_myq8gbApIg1qbskx5o8_250tumblr_myq8gbApIg1qbskx5o3_250

tumblr_myq8gbApIg1qbskx5o9_250tumblr_mrs9ebtkXL1qiq8aao7_250

I loved her design as a kid, her sleek, dark long hair. I loved how she could grow really tall and then be human size and she was so twisted.

tumblr_mrs9ebtkXL1qiq8aao6_250 tumblr_mrs9ebtkXL1qiq8aao5_250

tumblr_ng0q63RMin1qdhps7o9_r1_250

Just look at her movements, I can’t get enough of it. She’s so creepy.

tumblr_myq8gbApIg1qbskx5o5_250tumblr_mrs9ebtkXL1qiq8aao9_250tumblr_mrs9ebtkXL1qiq8aao8_250

And really, I think the climax of Sinbad is like no other. Eris could not go down easy and she doesn’t. I don’t want to spoil because it’s just a great fun film and really should be seen by more people. Anyway, Sinbad loses, Eris wins and there’s actually a legit amount of time that passes where Sinbad tries to atone for what he’s done. What leads to Eris’ downfall is unexpected.

tumblr_mrs9ebtkXL1qiq8aao3_250

Did I sell this movie enough for you?

A shout out to Dreamworks for giving us Fiona, Astrid, Chel and the great crop of different female characters we’ve gotten. Really, great work.

tumblr_myq8gbApIg1qbskx5o4_250

Sarah—Liberty’s Kids

tumblr_naor6oYeF71sjnkaco3_1280
Liberty’s Kids was the bomb! Sarah was my favorite because she was really the only woman on the show and had awesome hair (and I had a thing for animated hair, clearly). She went through such a great journey on the show, going from a firm English loyalist to supporting the plight of the colonists. She was such an amazing character, a woman with a voice, and the freedom to explore the world and be shaped by it. She was a reporter and always spoke her mind and was amazing.

Misty—Pokemon
Pokemon! Ah, my favorite. Misty, following another trend, was pretty much the one woman among a group of men and was fabulous. Between the original trio, each had a specialization and Misty’s was water pokemon.

tumblr_nkl3rah3zQ1tqptlzo1_500

Like, she first saves Ash’s life and then follows him around demanding he fix her bike that his pokemon ruined. Misty is not here for your crap.

tumblr_nkv6xf8dja1ruyj56o4_250

And clearly she has a temper, as Mel put it to me, which may feed into the redhead stereotype if we want to look closely at that.

tumblr_nkl3zm0Pkp1tqptlzo1_500tumblr_njtqhmcxUB1tqptlzo1_500

Misty also suffered from a lack of confidence in regard to her older sisters and feeling left out but their synchronized swimming group. But the show also had a nice arc for her where we saw her overcome that she felt more secure in her relationships with Ash and Brock and bonds with her sisters. And who can forget the epic ear pulling whenever Brock whenever he got all OMG I LURVE YOU about girls. Best ever.

tumblr_n9t9vxvTJg1tvrv2to1_500

Spring Sprite—Fantasia 2000

tumblr_mzhqfeL4U31qaf3uxo1_r1_400

Perhaps an unconventional pick, but I could talk for hours about this film and the final selection, Firebird Suite, changed my life. I legit used to run around with a shawl as my wings to be the Spring Sprite and bring the forest back to life.

tumblr_nkgksnrAC51tiv24fo8_r1_250

I loved her because she was naive and vulnerable and became depressed when the volcano destroyed the forest,

tumblr_mgqe1hujn51rq6wj9o9_250

but then found the power to restore the beauty, to create life again. I loved her strength and her curiosity. She’s a bit like Ariel, now that I think about it. The way she goes to explore the volcano and awakens it.

tumblr_mgqe1hujn51rq6wj9o5_250

She shares that spirit, the excitement to discover something new. The Spring Sprite was so important to me on so many levels.

tumblr_nkgksnrAC51tiv24fo7_r1_250

Who are your favorite animated women? Do you agree with my list? Who would be on your list? What makes an animated woman “epic?” What qualities do you admire in a character?

Follow Animated Meta on Tumblr and Twitter.

Cheers,

M&M

10 Animated Women That Inspire Us to Epicness: Mel Edition

Standard

Since this month is Women’s History Month, I decided to take a trip through animated history and talk about some of the animated women who have inspired me over the years, and what it is that makes them truly amazing.

1. Kim Possible

kp12

A cheerleader who saves the world? Whoever thought of Kim deserves all of the awards, because she is awesome and super fleshed out. We don’t often get heroines with realistic life skills, but Kim’s cheerleading and gymnastics background is part of why she’s so adept at the world-saving business.

kp15

Selfless, bold and determined, Kim inspires us to take a stand and embrace what makes us unique. She also has an amazing sense of fashion, especially when it comes to saving the world, and having a heroine who doesn’t have to sacrifice her femininity to be perceived as tough is amazing.

2. Ginger Foutley

atbg gingeratbg journaling

I think Ginger Foutley is one of the most underrated ladies in animation. Ginger isn’t the typical protagonist: she’s an introvert and writer, which we don’t see too often, and uses her writing to both express herself and be creative. Two of the show’s best episodes (Hello Stranger, And She was Gone) hone in on Ginger’s writing, and how it ties into her personal life in a fantastic way.

Other reasons Ginger is awesome: she’s stubborn, endearing in how she handles the chaos life throws at her, and she cares deeply for her friends and family, even if they drive her crazy at times. Her growth throughout the series is fantastic, and she’s definitely a character I can go back to even now and still relate to, because she reminds me of a younger time in my life when I went through similar struggles. Basically, Ginger’s just awesome, and the grass really is greener for her, even if it takes her a while to realize that.

3. Katara

katara's water armskatara thinks his rules suck (1.18)

Katara is a force to be reckoned with. You can’t knock her down, no matter how hard you try. She’s so many things rolled into one awesome person. She’s a healer, a motherly figure, a fighter, a teacher, a friend, a sister… She’s not only physically strong, she’s also emotionally strong; she’s the rock of the Aang Gaang, who holds everyone together when the going gets tough. She’s the one who keeps hope, no matter how grim and dark the circumstances. She sees the best in others, even when they can’t see it in themselves, and she won’t give up on the people who need her most, even if it puts herself at risk. Her compassion, empathy and fighter’s spirit make her an inspiration, and someone many people could learn from.

4. Princess Jasmine

aladdin jasminealaddin done w your shit

Like I’ve said before, Jasmine is one of the most underrated Disney princesses ever. She’s politically savvy, has a strong sense of self, is snarky and refuses to settle for jerks who only want her for her money. She has a great sense of adventure, isn’t afraid to rebel in order to find the freedom and agency she desires.

She’s someone who will only accept someone who respects her and treats her as an equal for a future husband. Anyone who would dare treat her like a prize to be won is not worth her time. She shows us that agency and equality are two important things for women to strive for, and that settling for someone who doesn’t appreciate your worth is ridiculous. Her relationship with Aladdin shows us that honesty and respect are the two foremost foundations of what a relationship should be, and her determination to decide her own future despite the rules that oppress her is super admirable. Remind me again why she’s so underrated? Because she really shouldn’t be.

5. Belle

B&tb belle and books

A princess who reads, dreams big and refuses to conform to society’s standards for her because she knows that she is worth so much more and deserves so much more = one amazing Disney princess.

beauty and the beast belle

Belle is intelligent, kind-hearted, and doesn’t care what people think of her. No matter how many people in her small town scoff at her oddities, she really doesn’t care. She also refuses to let anyone harass her or push her around, as evidenced by her smoothness in evading Gaston’s advances, and her yelling at the Beast and calling him out on his jerky behavior. She’s just awesome, and I think if we were all a little more like Belle and followed our dreams, we’d certainly be happier. (Also a good thing to emulate from Belle: her book-buying habits. Or better yet, marry a prince and get your own personal library.)

6. Asami Sato

asami and her gf

lok asami kicking ass

Asami is a girly heiress who also happens to be a savvy businesswoman, a smart girl who loves flashy cars, and a fighter who’s handy with an electric glove against enemies. She is someone with integrity and lots of inner strength, who was strong enough to stand up against her father when his own integrity was lost, and who built up his company from the ground up after his imprisonment.

asami bitch I'm fabulous

She is also a rare representation of bisexuality in animation, which is really important. People of all orientations, races, genders, exc deserve to be shown, and Asami’s relationships with Mako and Korra are exactly that.

masamikorrasami

Kudos to the creators for letting someone as amazing as Asami get some spotlight, and giving us a character who doesn’t have to sacrifice her femininity to be strong, who can  take the world by storm, and is just generally an awesome influence.

7. Ariel

fabulous

I know, this is like my third Disney princess on the list, but hey, I was a Disney kid. I grew up on Disney movies, and the Disney Renaissance was in its prime when I was little, so I had some amazing influences because of that. One of these is Ariel, who is one of the most proactive Disney princesses ever.

tumblr_m3d01ygy671qmfifgo1_500we're out to discover

She needs cool knickknacks for the grotto? Easy: she’ll go explore that sunken ship and take down any sharks that get in the way. She wants to explore the shores up above, so she goes up there herself and later makes a deal with a sea witch to find a more permanent place on land. The prince she likes is in danger? Ariel dives down without any hesitation and saves him from drowning, and then later saves him (again) from being forced into a marriage with an evil sea witch. This girl is a total determinator: nothing gets in her way, not even losing her voice. She never gives up, never lets anyone break her spirit, and fights for what she wants, no matter how hard it is to achieve. If you want something, make like Ariel and be proactive. Fight to achieve your dreams.

8. Cinderella

cinderella's first dresscinderella no matter how your heart is grieving

Cinderella was my favorite princess when I was little, and inspired me a lot growing up. Her perseverance, strength, and strong sense of self-worth make her an amazing role model for young girls. She’s always putting other people before herself, so when she finally puts herself first, it’s such a wonderful thing to watch. She teaches us that while it’s good to be kind to others, we need to be kind and value ourselves as well. She also teaches us to never give up on our dreams, because if you believe and work hard, whatever you wish for will be.

9. The Totally Spies

totally spies gif

I can’t just pick one of them, so I’m doing all of them: the Totally Spies! I used to love this show so much, especially because it was nice to get three completely different girls who all kicked butt and saved the world on a daily basis. Plus, they used amazing girly gadgets, like laser lipsticks and weaponized hairdryers. A few examples:

totally spies alex

totally spies sam

totally spies clover

The best thing about the Totally Spies for me was that they all brought something different to the team, and always managed to save each other from trouble. Sam, Alex and Clover are all awesome in their own way, and each has their own strengths that make them an integral part of the team. Take one girl away, and something was lost from the team. How can you compete with that brand of awesome?

10. Jazz and Maddie Fenton

dp maddie fentondp jazz reading

Brilliant women are really underrated in fiction, and Jazz and Maddie Fenton are two super savvy, super smart ladies. Maddie is an inventor, whipping up amazing ghost-fighting tools every week, and Jazz is both book smart and a sneaky plotter, as evidenced by how she repeatedly tricks Vlad in Secret Weapons, and how long she manages to keep her knowledge of Danny’s secret a secret, even from him. Their brilliance results in lots of awesome moments in-series, and both inspire us to seek knowledge and put it to an epic use, such as ghost-hunting or plotting to take down evil antagonists.

Which animated girl inspires you the most and why? Let us know in the comments!

Follow Animated Meta on Twitter and Tumblr. Have an epic Tuesday! (And happy St. Patrick’s Day as well!)

Cheers,

M&M

A Wish List for Frozen 2 Based on the Shortcomings of Frozen

Standard

The news we were all expecting was just released a few days ago: Frozen 2 is go. We don’t know anything about the plot, but it’s been confirmed the creative team would be coming back together. In lieu of this, we decided to put together a list of things we hope to see in Frozen 2 based on what happened in the first film.

Can the trolls have a point?

It has been said numerous times that the trolls caused this whole thing and it has also been said it was her parents’ fault for doing the exact opposite of what the trolls warned them about. I don’t really care about that. What I care about is baby Kristoff and Sven having seen what happened between Anna, Elsa, their parents and the trolls. I was waiting for Kristoff to connect the dots the whole movie, to realize he had seen Anna before and bring the whole thing full circle, but that never happened.

frozen lil kristoff and svevn

I feel like Anna needed to learn what had happened to her, that her memory had been wiped, in order to finally understand why Elsa had locked herself away for all those years. Learning your sister has magic is one thing, but learning your sister’s magic almost killed you and she was so afraid of hurting you again that she isolated herself is just so much more emotional. It wouldn’t erase the pain Anna felt not knowing why she was suddenly shut out, but it could help her make sense of it now as a grown woman and move forward.

And that takes me to…

Anna and Elsa: A Stronger Bond

Everyone touts Frozen for having such an amazing sister bond (HELLO: Lilo and Stitch!!!), but really, their relationship is never addressed. Once Anna finds out Elsa has magic, all her hurt is erased and she’s all, “I NEED TO BRING ELSA BACK!” While that’s a great message to show that Anna accepts Elsa for who she is because she’s her sister, just moments ago she didn’t even know how to stand next to Elsa. There needed to be a reconciliation between them, an emotional payoff.

Anna and Elsa spend the majority of the movie apart, with Elsa angst-ing in her ice castle and Anna determined and ignorant of everything going on. In The First Time in Forever reprise she even says, “You don’t have to be afraid anymore” like it’s that simple. Elsa is heralded as a figure of anxiety and depression and Anna says to her one of the most unhelpful things someone can while one is in the midst of an attack, basically: “Smile,” “Don’t worry about it,” “Relax.” Anna has no idea what Elsa is feeling, what she has been feeling for so long. It is not something that can be switched off. Elsa’s self-loathing is something never really addressed once Anna sacrifices herself for her. And self-loathing can only be overcome from within. People can make the grandest gestures in the world, but it means nothing if the person struggling isn’t in the right state of mind. As a result, Elsa’s arc feels cheapened because it is erased once Anna saves both herself and Elsa with an act of true love.

I really want to see Anna understand Elsa’s emotional state and what Elsa gave up in the hope of keeping her sister safe. I want to see Anna reassure Elsa she’ll be there to help her along the way and Elsa actually find healthy coping mechanisms.

Romance

frozen IT'S TRUE LOVE

I find Anna and Kristoff adorable, but I don’t want to see anymore putting down of the “love at first sight,” “you’re gonna marry a man you just met” bashing aimed at past Disney films. The majority of previous Disney couples actually connected on a real level and did not just blindly fall head over heels with each other despite the short timeframes. Because guess what, Anna and Kristoff both fall in love over the course of about a day and the trolls try to throw a wedding for them. No other couple was TOLD to get married after a day. If they did, they did because they wanted to.

Villains

frozen hans

Hans was such a weak villain. Hans was underdeveloped and unneeded in this film. I understand that Anna was naïve and sheltered and lonely, so she went charging into the first relationship she found, but she does the same thing with Kristoff in getting him to take her up the mountain. She’s as nervous with him as she was with Hans during their first interaction. It’s not like her relationship with Hans solved all her problems. Anna would have approached the ice man with or without having met Hans. So if he doesn’t serve anything in helping open Anna out, he doesn’t do anything as a villain either. The real villain of this film was supposed to be the result of lack of communication (between Elsa and Anna, and also the parents) and Elsa’s anxiety. Hans and his MUAHAHA reveal at the end ends up being very one-dimensional, especially after the movie misled us about Hans’ feelings for Anna. (Ex: that scene when he’s on his own after he first meets Anna and gets that goofy smile on his face. That is not the face of an evil plotter.) Then we also have the Duke and his lackies. There’s just a lot of people in this film competing for time so nothing is fully fleshed out.

Anna and Blind Worship

Speaking of fleshing out, Anna is a character that is supposed to have the best intentions. She wants to help Elsa. She wants to bring her back. She believes wholeheartedly in Elsa so much that it isn’t realistic. It’s a great message to show you accept and love family for who they are, but family is hard and messy and people get angry. Anna should be angry for being shut out with seemingly no precursor. She should resent Elsa shutting her out. But she’s not. We all cried at Do You Want to Build a Snowman because Anna was brilliant. She wanted her sister back, she didn’t understand, she wanted answers. Later she wanted a playmate. Later she wanted someone to grieve with. And then she gave up. And then all of a sudden she’s just ready to believe again, which goes back to the aspect of the Anna/Elsa relationship I wanted to see be more nuanced and developed. People are allowed to be angry. Being angry at someone does not mean you cease to love them. Anna is stripped of her own emotional arc that began in Do You Want to Build a Snowman because of this. And speaking of arcs…

Stronger Character Arcs

Neither Anna nor Elsa has a fully fleshed out character arc in Frozen. Do You Want To Build a Snowman starts out Anna’s arc, but then it kind of falls apart when the story disregards Anna’s struggle with her sister later on. Anna finding out about Elsa’s magic should be a major catalyst that leads to something more, but instead ends up being anti-climactic when Anna barely reacts to the revelation. Any anger, hurt, resentment, etc. goes out the window entirely. A similar thing happens with Elsa. Elsa has this great conflict in dealing with her powers and the fallout of bottling up her emotions. But instead of Elsa fulfilling her arc by learning to control her powers, Anna’s true act of love makes her realize love is the answer and everything is fixed.

frozen wait what

This makes absolutely no sense. The movie gives us this fear = bad, love = good message, but the problem with that is that it’s inconstant. Elsa has a lot of fear, yes, but that fear comes from a place of love: she’s afraid of hurting her sister, who she loves. So shouldn’t that have helped her control her power in some kind of reverse psychology manner?

In Frozen 2, we hope to see the plot arcs of both sisters come full circle and be better resolved than the easy Band-Aid fix the first movie gave us. Those are some of our feelings about Frozen and some hopes we have for the second movie.

What do you hope to see in Frozen 2? Do you even want a sequel? Do you agree with our points? Disagree? Who was your favorite character in Frozen? What would you change about the film?

Follow Animated Meta on Tumblr and Twitter!

Cheers,

M&M!

 

 

Cinderella: Class vs Classy

Standard

Disney’s Cinderella is coming out in theatres March 13th, so I thought it would be nice to take a look at its animated counterpart, and see what we love so much about that. So here are all of the reasons why I think Disney’s Cinderella is awesome, from the utterly shallow to the deep and feelsy.

 

Cinderella’s two best qualities are her optimistic attitude, and the way that she never lets anyone tear her down or squash her dreams.

cinderella

Okay, so all of the Disney princesses have qualities that make them amazing. For Cinderella, that’s her kind heart and her optimism.

cinderella and the mice

Cinderella is just a sweetheart, okay? She makes clothes for the mice and feeds them. She puts basically everyone else in the world before herself, and when she finally does put herself first and goes to the ball, it’s such a great moment, because we get to see her being happy.

She’s also incredibly determined. No matter how awful her stepsisters and stepmother are to her, and no matter how bleak life seems, Cinderella tries her best to persevere. She breaks down sometimes, and that’s okay, because she always picks herself back up, stronger than ever. She won’t let other people stop her from following her dreams, and that determination is what leads to her ending up with the prince at the end.

cinderella fairy godmothercinderella always resiliannt

We talk a lot about strong women in the media, and while physically strong women tend to get the most focus, Cinderella is emotionally strong, which is incredibly important. Her strength lies in her compassion and empathy, in her optimism and ability to hold herself together. And I think that’s really important and often underrated. 🙂

 

The mice are adorable and awesome.

cinderella mouse

I love the mice. They have this awesome symbiotic relationship with Cinderella, where she helps them out and takes care of them, and in return, they are the most adorable, loyal friends a girl could ask for. When Cinderella doesn’t have time to step in and finish her dress, guess who does it for her? The mice. When Cinderella gets locked away by her wicked stepmother when the prince arrives, guess who steals back the key for her? If you said “the mice” you’re right!

cinderella micecinderella mouse girl

I find the way that they look out for Cinderella endearing, and it’s great seeing how much they care about her and all that she does for them. Unlike her stepfamily, who doesn’t appreciate her at all, the mice definitely do, and her respect and kindness toward them is part of why they’re so eager to help her whenever she needs them. It’s fabulous.

 

It tackles class and status in an interesting way.

I’ve talked about this before, but just like the Brothers Grimm version of the fairytale, Disney’s version of Cinderella tackles both class and status in a really cool way. Lady Tremaine is so consumed with status. She’s so determined for her daughters to marry up and rise above, and she’s equally determined to make sure Cinderella doesn’t do the same. But like Mic and I mentioned in our last meta, the villains that fight so hard for power and status always end up failing, and that’s exactly what happens to Lady Tremaine and her stepdaughters. Even though they’ve tried so hard to put Cinderella down, she still rises above them and elevates in status not through any trickery, but because she wins over the prince by being her wonderful flawless self. They can tear up her gown and lock her away, but she’ll just gain another one and break free, because Cinderella’s perseverance allows her to get what she desires: freedom from her situation.

We’re told that Lady Tremaine envies Cinderella’s appearance, but in a way I think she also envies her inner beauty: her grace and her determination and poise, how she doesn’t sink to anyone’s level but instead rises above it all. Cinderella teaches us that class isn’t always about social class: sometimes, it’s about being classy. It’s about treating people the way you would want to be treated, and not letting others tear you down. It’s about letting go of hatred and moving on from the toxic people in your life. The Grimm Brothers’ Cinderella lets birds peck out her stepsisters’ eyes. Disney’s Cinderella simply gets off into her carriage and rides away to her happily-ever-after.

There’s this great quote: “How beautiful it is to stay silent when someone expects you to be enraged.” And that sums up Cinderella so wonderfully, I think. She would rather stay silent and move on with her life, which is a much better diss than any reaction ever could be.

 

The fashion in this movie is so on point.

This is a shallow reason, but I love the clothes in this movie. Cinderella’s dresses, the cute little clothes the mice wear…even some of the things Lady Tremaine and her stepdaughters wear are pretty eye-catching. I mean, look at this stuff. Isn’t it neat?

cinderella transformation scene

cinderella's first dress

cinderella's mouse shirt

cinderella druzilla

 

So is the animation! That scenery is just…wow.

I have a lot of beef with the older Disney princess movies. But the animation in them is flawless, especially in Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. The detailing that goes into the backgrounds and scenery is phenomenal. Just…there aren’t even words.

cinderella that wallpaper

cinderella the castle

cinderella ballroom

 

Cinderella and the Prince have a surprising amount of chemistry, despite how little their relationship is developed.

cinderella and her princey dancing

In the older Disney Princess films, we don’t get as much focus on the relationships at hand. However, even with the lack of scenes Cinderella and Prince Charming share, they ooze with chemistry and almost make up for it in a way. One of my favorite scenes is that scene when they meet at the ball, and the steward narrates the two of them meeting, and says: “He looks up, for lo, there she stands, the girl of his dreams.”

cinderella and prince

And when we see that scene of them meeting, there’s a definite chemistry between them. “So This Is Love” oozes with it, as we watch Cinderella and Prince Charming waltz on the dance floor, both utterly blown away by one another. It may not be love right off the bat, but there’s definitely something between them that just meshes well together.

cinderella dance

cinderella otp

There’s a sense that they spend a portion of the night together, chatting and getting to know one another (considering the montage) which is a start, and then at the end we get the pretty wedding scene in the carriage.

cinderella happy ending

Granted, we don’t see what really happens between those two scenes, but one can assume that the prince and Cinderella spend time getting to know one another, since there’s a definite feeling of a time lapse when it goes from the slipper fitting to the wedding. Either way, even though it would’ve been nice to see more development, nothing takes away from that sizzling chemistry and those gorgeous scenes that tug at your heartstrings.

 

The music is amazing.

The music in this movie is awesome and underrated. There’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, which contains that gorgeous transformation scene we all adore.

cinderella's carriage

There’s So This Is Love, where the wonderful chemistry takes place between Cinderella and her Prince Charming, and we get to see happy Cinderella, which is always a nice thing.

And then there’s my favorite song in the entire move: A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes. It’s a song all about hope and dreams, and how if you want to accomplish your dreams, you can’t lose hope.

Have faith in your dreams and someday,

Your rainbow will come shining through

Cinderella’s strong faith in her dreams, and her determination to always look on the bright side, are exactly why her dreams end up coming true. And then there’s this beautiful part:

No matter how your heart is grieving,

If you keep on believing,

That dream that you wish will come true

In life, we undergo setbacks and hardships. Things don’t always go our way. But if we keep believing and fight for our dreams, our dreams will surely come true. That’s the most important thing Cinderella teaches us: never give up, never stop dreaming, and look on the bright side.

cinderella no matter how your heart is grieving

 

While Cinderella came out in the 50s and thus feels dated in some aspects, others are incredibly universal and easy to appreciate. With beautiful animation, an emotionally strong and endearing main character, and messages that remain universal even today, Cinderella was truly a Disney masterpiece. I eagerly await to see how it’s readapted over the years, and if anything can capture that same heart and warmth again.

What do you love most about Cinderella? Are you planning on seeing the live action adaptation? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow Animated Meta on Twitter and Tumblr. Have a beautiful Tuesday!

Cheers,

M&M