Tag Archives: ariel

Fear and Love at First Sight: An Examination of Disney Princesses and Their Princes

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Ariel and Eric are probably my Disney OTP (besides Esmeralda/Phoebus and Jane/Tarzan and Jasmine/Aladdin and Pocahontas/John Smith *cough*). I, and I’m sure many of you, have wanted to meet our Prince Charming with a perfect Love at First Sight moment we frequently associate with Disney. But I took a closer look at all the Princess/Prince meetings and um… well… I noticed a lot of trends that don’t really sit well with me. Let’s explore!

Pre-Renaissance Films
The Pre-Renaissance princess movies are Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. All three meetings are a very typical ‘love at first sight’  storybook scene. However, in the case of Snow White and Aurora, their prince appears out of nowhere, drawn by their voice and startling them. Snow White actually runs into her castle because she’s so scared, while Aurora pulls away. The meeting in Cinderella is less creepy since it happens at a party, where one would expect to meet new people.

Though Cinderella isn’t singing like the other two princesses are when they meet their princes, music is still an important element in their meeting. Cinderella is the first film where dancing is introduced as both an important storytelling and romantic element.

cinderella and her princey dancing

There is also a song, and though it is sung with the impression it is Cinderella and her prince, they’re not actually singing in the scene. Instead, their meeting has a narrator of sorts, the Duke. In contrast, Snow White and Aurora are both singing alone and then have a duet with the prince (Snow White’s doesn’t last very long though, since she runs off when the prince startles her).

Snow White and Sleeping Beauty have many elements of their meetings in common. Firstly, both princes are on horseback. Animals are involved in both, with Aurora dancing with her owl friend and her other critters watching. In Snow White, Snow is singing to the doves. While Cinderella has mice friends and they did take her to the ball, they’re not present in this scene.

The settings for all three meetings are also similar. Snow White and Cinderella both happen in a castle and while Sleeping Beauty happens in the woods, they both stare at the castle in the distance afterwards.

sleeping beauty cuddling

The audience knows that castle is Aurora’s home, where she should be. Where Philip will have to battle his way to her and free her from Maleficent so they can be reunited. Cinderella meets the prince in his castle, where she ultimately belongs because she’s so good. It’s her escape from her stepmother. And while Snow White runs from the prince into the castle, at the end she leaves with him.

Setting is a theme we’re going to see repeated as well as some other points I made above.

To recap the pre-Renaissance Love at First Sight moments: running away, music, instant attraction, and castles.

star wars uhh reaction

Renaissance Films
We skip ahead a bunch of years and come to The Little Mermaid. TLM is the first film where we have a sort of ‘two meetings’ thing happen (it’ll make sense as we go on).

The first difference, and my favorite, is what draws Ariel and Eric together. Where Prince Charming and Philip were drawn by the sound of a mysterious voice and that’s how they find their princess, Ariel goes to the surface simply because she wants to see the ship.

little mermaid we're out to discover Exactly, Scuttle.

Then, she notices the fireworks and her curiosity skyrockets. For the first time in Disney Princess History, neither of them were looking for/drawn to each other. However, the only piece of Ariel Eric has is her voice, thus the trend does live on. We’ll come back to this.

Music too is involved here, though neither of them is singing. Eric is playing a flute, while crewmembers dance and play instruments. Another common theme is the presence of animals: Max (Eric’s dog), and Scuttle. Scuttle also marks the first meeting where a princess has a friend present. Aurora is with her forest buddies, but they’re just passively watching everything happening. Scuttle is actively involved, talking with Ariel throughout. If only Ariel could have had another mermaid as a friend, or maybe even one of her sisters. (Princesses need friends, too!)

Ariel watches Eric, much like Philip and Charming watched Aurora and Snow. It’s love at first sight for her. However, I give her a pass because she actually sees Eric acting like a decent human being. She sees that he has the same lust for adventure she does (when Grimsby tries to tell him he needs to marry and he’s not having it), she sees that he’s humble (disgusted by the giant statue of himself), creative/artistic (the flute), AND is a total sweetheart when it comes to his dog. Please tell me who would not turn to mush at a real life Eric?

my body is ready reaction my body is ready hook reaction my body is ready copy reaction

Exactly. Boys and their dog get me every time. Philip and Charming just watched Aurora and Snow singing and talking to animals. Neither of those things seem very healthy.

But then, BOOM! Chaos. A storm! The ship EXPLODES! Ariel rescues Eric after witnessing him selflessly going back for his dog. Now she knows he’s courageous. When he wakes up on shore, Eric finally sees Ariel for the first time. She probably looked like an angel to him, with the sun hitting her the way it did and her perfect voice. Before they can talk, she’s startled by Max and Grimsby—just like the pre-Renaissance ladies running away.

little mermaid fuck mermaids reaction

The second time they meet is when Ariel has legs. They’re on the beach this time, with the castle in the distance. That is where Ariel is going to end up, visually illustrated as Eric offers her his support so she can walk with him. But the first time Ariel saw him, he was on a ship, perfectly straddling the line between their two worlds. They’re also on a beach, near the water, Ariel’s world, but firmly on land, Eric’s world. The castle visual remains in their first mutual meeting, while Ariel seeing him on a ship before is also significant.

The meeting is again facilitated by Max (animals shipping Disney couples since 1937!), who spooks Ariel onto the rock. Max is barking and unfamiliar and chasing her, so she’s rightfully a little scared.

And now here is the most important discovery I made: Every princess is scared during their so called “Love at First Sight” scenes. In Snow White a stranger pops out of nowhere and Snow literally runs away and barricades herself in her castle. This screams fear. Aurora is also scared, running and hiding behind a tree.In Cinderella, yes, it is definitely way less creepy and she does not present the same amount of fear. However, Charming approaches her from behind and she jumps when he touches her, hesitating before accepting. We can argue Cinderella is more shy and coy. If we had to pick one as the exception to the rule, I’d pick her.

cinderella and prince

Now Ariel is never fearful around Eric like Snow, Cinderella, and Aurora were. But when the ship begins to burn, she realizes there’s danger. And later, when Grimsby and Max arrive, she’s scared of them and also what would happen if they knew she was a mermaid. So far the princesses have either been scared of their suitors or there is an element of danger surrounding them. This theme is going to come up in every single movie.

this displeases me reaction

Their second meeting is kind of a twist on the “Love at First Sight” trope. Though Eric is clearly drawn to her, he’s disappointed when he thinks she’s not the girl that saved him and so he tries not to like her that way. Spoiler alert: he fails.

little mermaid prince-eric-laughing

Next we have Beauty and the Beast and I’m going to jump right into fear because um… Belle and the Beast do NOT have a love at first sight moment at all. Belle is terrified of the Beast. He’s holding her father captive, slithering around in the dark, and yelling and threatening her. He physically grabs her and throws her to the ground.

Like Ariel saving Eric during their meeting, Belle is also trying to save someone she loves: her father. A trend of heroism develops here and continues into the Renaissance era.

The setting here is also a castle and instead of animals, there are inanimate objects everywhere. Their gossip is an important aspect of the scene because they’re talking about needing Belle to save them as she’s trying to save her father. Ultimately, this castle needs her and she’s accepted in it in a way she never was in her small town. And then of course, it also becomes her home, too.

frozen me... feels reaction

This meeting is the first one when the prince isn’t immediately visible to the princess. Belle needs to tell the Beast to “come into the light.” This is something we’ll see repeated with Tangled. Also important to note, this is the first meeting with no music involved. The Beast isn’t drawn to Belle’s voice, nor is there a romantic song they sing together like in Snow White, Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty. Perhaps this is because Belle does not fall in love this version of the Beast. She only cares for him after he changes his attitude and stops acting like such a dickwad. That is when they have their duet.

All right, let’s head to our next film: Aladdin. Like our other princesses being scared, Jasmine is about to have her HAND CUT OFF. Yes, she’s terrified. Jasmine comes from a very clinical environment where all her needs are met. No one has ever raised a hand to her and here is this giant man with a knife and she has no idea why she’s in trouble. Cue: terror.

Also cue: ALADDIN!

I mentioned this theme of heroism in the Renaissance first meetings and here’s another one: Aladdin saving Jasmine. This first meeting builds on the one in TLM where Ariel sees Eric being a decent, normal dude. In Aladdin, he sees her giving an apple to a child (just like he did with bread!), so while he is clearly drawn by her looks (“Wow.”), there is something deeper there. The scene also establishes that he and Jasmine work well together to get out of a very bad situation. She questions him initially, but plays along right away. However, Aladdin saving Jasmine reverses the mini-trend of women saving men.

Like other meetings, animals are involved (Abu). There’s also a familiar shot of Aladdin watching Jasmine similar to Philip and Charming and yes, it’s cute, but it is also is a tad creepy.

aladdin watching jasmine

There is no song involved and here is where the trend of saving that big duet moment happens. Well, it technically started in Beauty and the Beast (Something There happens later), but it continues here, thus making it a trend. While the pre-Renaissance films where all “Love at First Sight” these later films added more obstacles to their love stories, so while there was instant attraction, they didn’t immediately act on it. The importance of voice dies out in Aladdin. While singing voices led men to women (Snow White, Aurora, Ariel) or there was singing during their meeting (Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty), that common thread is cut.

Aladdin and Jasmine meet in the marketplace. I like the symbolism here again as they’re between worlds. Like Eric was on a ship, a piece of land on water, in between, Jasmine and Aladdin are meeting in the middle, too. Jasmine has left the palace and is among common people, while Aladdin is in the “city” so to speak and later brings Jasmine to the outskirts, where he lives. And of course, they look at the palace, like Aurora and Philip. Aladdin longs to live there and with Jasmine at his side, not knowing she’s the princess, he will eventually.

aladdin

This leads to Pocahontas, where John Smith PULLS A GUN ON HER. Pocahontas is already wary (but curious) because John is a stranger and invader and now this. She doesn’t physically appear scared, she seems calm the entire time.

pocahontas in the mist

And even if she is not afraid of John Smith, neither were Ariel and Jasmine. They were scared because of what was happening around them and the element of danger. A gun pointed at you definitely qualifies as an element of danger present in a so called LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT meeting.

aladdin what

The mood changes quickly, though. After she runs off, like the pre-Renaissance princesses (and Ariel), a more traditional first meeting happens. The music and the flying leaves when their hands meet is more romantic and dreamy. That is the scene we see their attraction happen.

pocahontas holding hands

This meeting brings back a musical element since John was just singing Mine, Mine, Mine. There’s also animals present as Meeko and Flit watch. Pocahontas falls back on a lot of old tropes. However, in a move only Philip and Eric have made, John Smith asks for her name, which I am very proud of.

The setting here is the wilderness, something we haven’t seen since Sleeping Beauty. Pocahontas is not with her tribe or by Mother Willow, so she’s out on her own, kind of in her own space. And John Smith is new, so he has no place that’s familiar yet. In a way, they both meet in a strange land to signify the new world they’ll create together.

From there we move to Mulan. Like Beauty and the Beast and their decidedly not “Love at First Sight” meeting, the same applies here. And like Eric thinking the girl he met on the beach wasn’t his savior, Shang of course has no idea Mulan is about to blow his mind.

reaction giggling noise

There is a huge emphasis on names in this scene, something other meetings have lacked. Similar to how Jasmine and Ariel never feared Aladdin or Eric, Mulan isn’t afraid of Shang, but he is the authority figure and she’s clearly frazzled. However, the element of danger here is the fact that Mulan was just the target of a legit fight. The entire camp has been fighting with Mulan buried underneath them. Her meeting with Shang is also her first real test at being a man so she’s understandably nervous. Still, it fits an unnerving trend of princesses being afraid or under threat in their supposedly “Love at First Sight” moments.

Mushu is the animal present in the scene. Their setting is also out in nature, getting ready for war. I think this ties back into Mulan’s own personal story and I like that.

Modern Films
Now we hit the most recent princess films. Princess and the Frog obviously meets the animal trend since Naveen is a frog when they meet. Like TLM, though, they also have two meetings. There is a quick scene in the beginning when Naveen is playing music and trying to be charming, but Tiana is not having it. However, fear is back in their second meeting.

Tiana is startled because there’s a talking frog! And also, what was he doing on the balcony? He was just there, like the pre-Renaissance princes happened to be. In something we see continued in Tangled, Tiana physically assaults Naveen with books since she’s so scared. Naveen does apologize for scaring her, which is nice, but that’s probably because he needs her to kiss him.

Several new things continue to arise in this film. Tiana is concerned for her friend Lottie who is dancing with a fake prince Naveen. Of course, no other princess has needed to be concerned for their human friends since they never had one before (besides Pocahontas).

princess and the frog bestie hug

This is definitely not a “Love at First Sight” scene, but still, it’s the only one where they kiss as soon as they meet! Again, the plot hinges on Tiana kissing him so there’s a reason for it, but she did still kiss him. Like Ariel, Belle, and Aladdin, the thread of heroism returns since Tiana was trying to save Naveen. New and old elements combine in Princess and the Frog.

Our trip though Disney Princess History takes us to Tangled. I touched on it previously, but Rapunzel smacks Flynn with a frying pan since she’s so scared of the strange man that climbs into her room, a la Tiana. Flynn also shares some similarities with Naveen. Naveen is definitely more flirty (seriously go watch that scene over with this in mind), but Flynn tries to use his smolder.

tangled meeting

When it fails, he drops the act and just wants to get as far away from Rapunzel as possible.

Unlike any other scene, except maybe Mulan, their first meeting is more about Rapunzel proving herself to Gothel. After she hits him with the frying pan, cowers behind a mannequin, and checks him for sharp pointy teeth, she traps him in her closet to prove to Gothel she can take care of herself.

tangled pascal

In between she also tries on the tiara he stole and while it maybe seems familiar to her, it is quickly forgotten when Gothel returns. Later, after Flynn assures her he wants nothing to do with her hair, Rapunzel is confused. After all, Gothel swore her everyone would be out to get her. But like he also had normal teeth instead of terrifying ones, Flynn represents her freedom from Gothel. He guides her out of her isolation.

As discussed, like TLM there are two meetings. One where Rapunzel sees him (like Ariel watching the ship) and one where they actually talk for the first time. Tangled also draws other parallels to films like Beauty and the Beast. Rapunzel is first cloaked in darkness and steps into the light so Flynn can see her. While the Beast hid himself away because he believed himself hideous and unlovable, Rapunzel did it partly out of fear and suspicion.

As the pre-Renaissance films had an emphasis on music, a reprise of Rapunzel’s solo song follows their meeting and her subsequent leaving of the tower.

tangled now's when my life begins copy

And like the Renaissance films, their big duet comes later.

Their meeting is her tower because, as I said, Flynn represents the world and life Rapunzel can have. They leave together to see the lights.

reaction dead from the feels

Finally, this brings us to Frozen. Frozen has two meetings and while I considered if I had to include Anna meeting Hans since he’s not her true love, I rewatched the scene to see if it played with any tropes I’d already noticed or diverged from the usual meetings as a sign that Hans was not a good guy.

What I found was this:

-the Hans/Anna meeting plays out very cutesy and storybook-like (what you’d expect of a “Love at First Sight” scene)

frozen gorgeous wait what

-danger is present since she gets HIT BY A HORSE and falls onto a boat that nearly topples into a lake

-prince on horseback trope reappears (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty)

-no visible castle but Anna’s status is immediately told + mentions of the coronation

This takes us to Anna meeting Kristoff. Now, Frozen bothered me since it hated on previous Disney love stories. You’d expect then that this meeting would be very different from the others. However, Anna has the same fear as the other meetings discussed. Kristoff is covered in snow, not clearly visible like the Beast, and she backs away from him.

frozen awkward

Like Tiana, she expresses concern over her friend/sister since she has a person she can do that for! While Tiana wanted to know who Lottie was dancing with if he was with her, Anna wanted to know what Kristoff knew about Elsa.

This scene is a contrast to the perfect meeting she has with Hans. While Hans is perfect and charming, Kristoff is gruff. He doesn’t make a good first impression on her or Oaken since he gets tossed out of the store. Similarly, Mulan makes a horrid first impression as the center of a fight and unable to pick a name for herself. It’s not a traditional “Love at First Sight” scene but we’ve already seen several of those (Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, Princess and the Frog).

It even has an animal involved since Kristoff needs to buy carrots for Sven and Sven is waiting for him right outside the shop. Clearly, Frozen’s “you can’t marry someone you just met” love story doesn’t really hold up when compared to other princess meetings.

Conclusion
Wow! That was a lot of films! Okay, so the trends that carried through all were DANGER! FEAR! (which is great… not) and the presence of animals. We’ve also seen the importance of music and setting. All the eras also had their own particular features like heroism and the removal of a song while couples met. In the more recent films we saw a lot of physical humor added, even in Frozen, where Kristoff is thrown from the shop and hits his head on the sign. But the eras also weaved in and out of each other with similar aspects reappearing like women running away or light vs dark.

Some stand out meetings, I think, are Tangled, where there’s less focus on them as a couple and more focus on Rapunzel beginning to realize some of the things Gothel had told her were wrong. I also loved how Ariel saw Eric for the first time and it was a total surprise since she was just excited about the fireworks. Still, she got to see several sides of him (his adorableness with his dog, his disgust at a statue in his honor) that told her something about who he was instead of the three previous couples before her where there was no depth to why they fancied each other.

Fun Facts:

-Sleeping Beauty is the first film where Aurora is actually like, “What the hell you’re a stranger!!” (Not really, but kinda.) Points for that!

-Snow is the only princess that actively wishes for love and then POOF: Prince.

-Cinderella is the first film there’s an iconic dance.

-Prince Philip is the first prince to ask his love for her NAME upon meeting her (though it happens after Once Upon a Dream). Eric asks Ariel for her name during their second meeting. I think it’s hilarious while the Prince in Cinderella is begging her to stay he never once asks for her name.

-Belle and Anna both have two suitors, one being the villain of their film. While Anna and Hans have a first meeting scene, Belle and Gaston do not since they already know each other.

-Snow White and Tiana are both wishing, one by a wishing well and the other on a star, when they meet their prince.

-The setting in Princess and the Frog is a mansion, instead of a castle. There is also a party like in Cinderella.


Which is your favorite True Love Meeting? What do you think of all these common threads? What are some other fun facts you noticed?

Follow Animated Meta on Tumblr and Twitter. See you next week!

Cheers,

M&M

Disney Princess “I Want” Songs: Part 1

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Today, I’m talking about one of the fun aspects of the Disney Princess movies: the music. More specifically, I’m going to talk about each princess’s “I Want” song. That means that this post (and next Tuesday’s; I’ll explain in a moment) are going to be about what exactly an “I Want” song is, what the common trends are among them, and then I’m going to analyze those songs.

I’ve wanted to do this for a really, really long time, so I’m super excited to get started. But first, a few notes. I composed my Disney Princess list based on Disney’s considerations of what a Disney princess is, so that means Mulan, who technically isn’t royalty, makes it onto the list, while Eilonwy, Nala, Kiara, and others, who could be considered princesses in their own right, are not on the list. Maybe I’ll come back to them at some point later on.

Since there are 11 princesses with “I Want” songs, I’m going to be splitting this post right down the middle. Sorry guys; you’ll get the other half next Tuesday. I could do all 11 at once, but honestly, the word count would be really, really huge, and our eyes would all burn trying to read it, so it’s better to split it somewhere in the middle and save us both the pain. (Plus, it gives you something to anticipate! And isn’t that fun?)

I know that Merida counts as a Disney princess, but Merida is also a unique circumstance because she was created by Pixar, and does not have an “I Want” song in the tradition of the other princesses. She has an “I Want” speech, as my lovely blogging partner Mic pointed out, but that is not a song, so alas, she is not on the list. I also did not include Elsa on the list, because Elsa is a queen, and she’s also not a primary protagonist in the way that Anna is.

What On Earth is an “I Want” Song?
So what is an “I Want” song? If you’ve seen a Disney movie before, you’ve most likely heard one. According to TV Tropes, the purpose of the ‘I Want’ song is to “[establish] the character of the protagonist and their one burning desire that will motivate their actions from here on” (“I Want” Song). Basically, it tells you what on earth the character wants, and tells us a little something about the character as well. And since this is Disney and the majority of these movies end happily, the protagonist gets exactly what they wanted in the end.

A non-princess example: in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (which I just talked about recently), Quasimodo’s “I Want” song would be Out There. His want is to just have one day out in the open, just like everyone else. And what do you know? He gets that at the end of the movie, after some mishaps. 😉
So now that you know what the song is, you probably want to know why I chose this topic. Well, because 1) I love Disney music so much, and 2) because the last time I was on a Disney listening spree, I noticed patterns between all of the “I Want” songs.

The Top Three Wants
After a lot of listening, I’ve discovered a pattern…or rather, a few patterns. In general, there are three top wants that Disney characters tend to have:

1) Adventure
2) Acceptance
3) Love

Now, those all seem like pretty common wants, yes? That’s because they’re core human wants. Some of us long for adventure in the great wide somewhere, like Belle and Ariel. Some of us long for people to accept who we are deep down inside, like Mulan. And some of us have that deep-seated longing for love, like Snow White and Aurora.

Today, I’m only talking about five princesses to start with, which means we’ll get through the pre-Renaissance (the start of the princesses) and begin digging into the Disney Renaissance (which contains some of my absolute favorite Disney movies). And where better to start than the beginning of the princesses?

Pre-Renaissance Princesses
If you want to be technical, the pre-renaissance era at Disney is considered 1977-1988, which is way after all three of these movies were released. But I’ve always considered these pre-Renaissance because they take place before the Disney Renaissance, and thus are the beginning of Disney’s animated history. These all came out at least 50 years ago: Snow White came out in 1937, Cinderella came out more than a dozen years later in 1950, and Sleeping Beauty came out just before the 60s in 1959. Thus, these three often come off as the most dated to us, because they come from a very different time in history, with a very different set of values. However, I think the “I Want” songs still carry a lot of desires that we have today.

So let’s start with the original Disney Princess: the lovely Snow White.

Snow White: I’m Wishing

snow white i'm wishing
Snow White’s “I Want” song is the pretty (if slightly piercing) “I’m Wishing.” Snow’s song is sweet, simple, and to the point: she wants someone to love, and she wants him to love her too. She dreams of him complimenting her as well, which makes sense, since she and the Evil Queen obviously doesn’t see eye to eye. From what little we can infer, it’s obvious Snow doesn’t have much of a social life early on in the movie.

So does Snow get her wish? Well, the second her song ends, the prince shows up, with his own song to sing for her (“One Song”) and then it seems like our lovebirds are all set. However, it takes a little longer than that for Snow and him to find one another again, especially since Snow’s busy hiding from the Evil Queen for the majority of the movie. However, in the end, her prince wakes her with true love’s kiss, and together they ride off to the castle. So it looks like that wishing well did Snow White some good after all.

 

Cinderella: A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

cinderella no matter how your heart is grieving
Okay, I’ll admit it: as a little girl, Cinderella was my absolute favorite Disney princess, so nostalgia clouds me whenever I think about this glorious movie. Even without my nostalgia lens though, her song is probably the best Pre-Renaissance princess song. “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” is pretty and hopeful, and I love it so much.

While Cinderella’s song doesn’t specifically say what she wants, I think it’s pretty obvious that Cinderella’s major want is to get out of her situation, mainly. She does her work without complaint, but it’s clear she would really rather be elsewhere – and who wouldn’t want to be elsewhere if they were her? All she does all day is work. She barely has time for anything else. She cleans, cooks, takes care of the animals…the works, basically. She doesn’t even have time to make her own dress for the ball; the mice have to do it for her, because she’s drowning in chores. And when Cinderella gets that magical night out, she paves the way to getting exactly what she wants. She meets the prince, has a romantic night with him, the shoe fits when he finds her, and happily ever after ensues. Another princess want achieved.

cinderella happy ending

 

Aurora: I Wonder

sleeping beauty i wonder

Similar to Snow’s short song, Aurora has a tiny song of her own. It’s one I think we often forget about, since “Once Upon a Dream” is the more celebrated Sleeping Beauty song, but her “I Want” song, “I Wonder,” is very pretty and heartfelt. Just look at these pretty lyrics:

I wonder, I wonder
If my heart keeps singing
Will my song go winging
To someone who’ll find me
And bring back a love song to me?

Can’t you feel the longing? Like Snow, Aurora wants somebody to love. She wants someone to sing a love song to her, and viola, in the next scene, Prince Phillip appears, and they have that adorable romantic moment when they sing “Once Upon a Dream”.

sleeping beauty once upon a dream

In a twist of irony, Aurora is horrified when she later finds out she’s betrothed (not realizing it’s to Phillip, of course) and she’s sad, because she’s worried she’ll lose out on a chance at love with him.

sleeping beauty sad aurora

But despite the mishaps and problems along the way, at the end of the day, Prince Phillip’s the one to wake her with his kiss, and Aurora gets her wish: her prince to sing love songs with forevermore.
One more princess wish accomplished.

 

Disney Renaissance Princesses
Ah, the Disney Renaissance: a time of glory, gorgeous movies, and the best musical numbers in history (in my opinion, anyway). The Disney Renaissance Princesses are some of my absolute favorites, and I’m really excited to talk about them and their songs. For now though, I’ll be handling two of them: Ariel and Belle. You’ll have to come back for the rest next Tuesday. 😉

 

Ariel: Part of Your World

little mermaid 3
Okay, Part of Your World might actually be my favorite “I Want” song of them all. Ariel gets so much undeserving flack, which she shouldn’t, but you can’t deny that her song is amazing.

Ariel’s song is all about adventure; she’s the first adventurous princess, actually, and in “Part of Your World”, she talks about her desire to travel to the human world and explore. People tend to misconstrue Ariel’s desire to go on land as being about Eric, but if you look at the song, it’s really not. It’s about her wanting to experience the things others don’t, and get the freedom she feels she’s lacking under the sea.

The proof is in the lyrics:
Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wanderin’ free – wish I could be
Part of that world

What would I give if I could live out of these waters?
What would I pay to spend a day warm on the sand?

Ariel’s all about adventure and exploring. Love only factors into her deal to stay human, and what’s so awesome to me about Ariel’s tale is that she gets all three of the core wants I mentioned:
1) She gets the adventure she craves on Earth.
2) She gets love in the form of Eric.
3) She gains acceptance from her father, and they finally learn to understand each other a little more.
For that reason, Ariel is probably one of the luckier Disney princesses endings-wise. She gets everything she wanted and more. Pretty awesome, huh?

Finally (for now, anyway), let’s move onto the Disney Princess that is pretty much me: Belle.

 

Belle: Belle (Reprise)

beauty and the beast belle

Belle’s case is really interesting when it comes to her “I Want” song. Unlike most of the princesses, Belle’s “I Want” song is actually a reprise. When you look at the songs, you would think that “Belle” would be her song, considering that it’s her name and all. But in an interesting twist, “Belle,” while it is about our heroine, is actually about how everyone else views Belle and what they want. We get a little bit of Belle in the song, and we get a hint of her wants (“There must be more than this provincial life!”). However, we don’t really dig deep into that. “Belle” is mostly spent with the townspeople musing about Belle’s strangeness, and Gaston musing about how he wants to marry Belle.

beauty and the beast there must be more

And as we find out in the “Belle Reprise”, Belle is not too keen on Gaston’s plans for the future:
“Madame Gaston!”
Can’t you just see it?
“Madame Gaston!”
His “little wife”
No sir! Not me!
I guarantee it
I want much more than this provincial life

Here we bridge into the unique musical twist that Beauty and the Beast provides: Belle’s song is actually the “Belle Reprise.” That’s right, Belle’s “I Want” song is the reprise of the song all about her. Pretty cool twist, huh? And what does Belle want? Well, we find out, when she mentions that awesome line that defines pretty much every Disney Renaissance Princess:

I want adventure in the great wide somewhere,
I want much more than I can bear

beauty and the beast belle reprise

Belle wants adventure. She wants to see the world and get out of the tiny, judgmental little town she lives in. She wants much more than anyone in this town has planned for her, because she knows that she’s worth more. And although she doesn’t get it in the way she expected, Belle gets that adventure when she goes to find her father and meets the Beast. She also finds unexpected love with him.

Alas, unlike Ariel, Belle doesn’t get acceptance from the town, but honestly, she doesn’t really need it. Plus, she has it from the people who really matter: her father, the Beast, and her new friends. She’s also got a handsome prince, the adventure she wanted, and a pretty sweet library. I’d be cool with that deal too if I was her.

beauty and the beast belle's library

Sources:
“I Want” Song. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2014, from TV Tropes: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IWantSong
Disney Lyrics. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2014, from ST Lyrics: http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/d/disney6472.html

Alright, next week we’ll talk about the rest of the Renaissance Princesses and talk the Post-Renaissance Princesses as well! I’m curious to know: who is your favorite Disney princess, and what is your favorite “I Want” song? Let us know in the comments!

Have a happy Tuesday!

Cheers,
-M&M

25 Reasons The Little Mermaid Is Awesome and More Feminist Than You Thought

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Since today is the 25th Anniversary of The Little Mermaid, I thought it would be nice to talk about why this movie is so wonderful – and refute those claims that The Little Mermaid isn’t feminist.

It’s bothersome when people write off Ariel as “anti-feminist,” a “bad role model,” and complain about her giving up her voice for a man.

little mermaid bby ariel

So here are 25 reasons why The Little Mermaid is awesome and way more feminist than you thought:

1. Ariel is confident in herself. One of the things that I’ve always loved about the Disney Princesses is how so many of them are filled with self-confidence, and confidence in their own abilities. Ariel definitely fits the mold. Even without her voice, even in a world that is nothing like hers, Ariel doesn’t change who she is. She’s out of her element, but doesn’t try to blend in, or minimize her personality. Ariel is wholly herself, on both sea and land, and I think her self-confidence makes her a great role model for girls.

little mermaid fabulous

2. She has hobbies! This might seem like a weird addition, but if you really think about it, how many of the Disney Princesses have hobbies? Not many. Belle has her love for reading (but Belle came after Ariel), Cinderella designs clothes for the mice, and we don’t get to see much hobbies-wise for the other princesses. Ariel is the first princess we have with multiple hobbies. She’s an explorer, she collects human relics, and she even sings in the choir with her sisters. How’s that for a well-rounded list of extracurriculars?

3. She’s adventurous! When a princess starts a movie looking through a sunken ship and facing off against a shark, you know she’s an adventurous badass. Like Belle, Ariel wants adventure in the great wide somewhere, but her somewhere is above land, and she ends up getting exactly the adventure she wants in the end. Everything Ariel does is an adventure, whether it’s facing off against evil sea creatures or figuring out how utensils work on land.

little mermaid 4

little mermaid combing hair

Watch how she takes a simple carriage ride:

little mermaid find a new perspective

4. Contrary to popular belief, Ariel didn’t go on land for Eric; he was just the final push she needed. When people call The Little Mermaid anti-feministic, their reasoning is usually because she gave up her voice for Eric, and well, that’s not a very good value to teach girls, is it? But that reasoning is WRONG. Number #1: The movie makes it very clear early on that Ariel has been fascinated with going on land way before she even met Eric. She’s been exploring and collecting human relics for ages.

little mermaid ariel's grotto

Look at that nook of items. There are a lot of things there, which gives us the idea that she’s been doing this for quite a while. Number #2: Listen to “Part of Your World.”

What would I give if I could live
Out of these waters?
What would I pay to spend a day
Warm on the sand?’

little mermaid 3

And this amazing:

Betcha’ on land, they understand
Bet they don’t reprimand their daughters
Bright young women, sick of swimming
Ready to stand

It takes place before she even meets Eric, and you can already feel Ariel’s burning desire to experience life on land. The song makes no mention of finding love. The things she wants to experience aren’t related to Eric. True, it is meeting Eric that spurs Ariel to go on land. But he’s not the only reason.

5. She isn’t afraid to stand up for herself and her beliefs, even against her own father. 

little mermaid but if you would just listen

6. She makes mistakes, but more importantly, she owns her mistakes.

little mermaid signing the contract

When the deal fails with Ursula, she finds a way to defeat her and save her father. She also makes things right with her dad after their fight.

7. She has a really awesome group of friends. Granted, those friends are a pelican, a fish, and a crab, but if you think about it, so many Disney Princesses have animal friends. Pocahontas had Meeko and Flint, Cinderella had her mice, Aurora had her forest friends… Ariel’s friends are basically the best though. They’re supportive of her, but honest; if they’re wary of one of her decisions, they’re not afraid to help her. And they’re right by her side whenever she needs them.

little mermaid we're out to discover

little mermaid 1

little mermaid the human world is a mess

8. She has an amazing singing voice. Okay, maybe this isn’t a unique reason – pretty much every Disney princess can sing, and sings plenty of awesome songs – but Ariel is the first one for whom her singing voice relates to the plot. She sings in the choir with her sisters and Eric first falls in love with her voice when he hears her sing. Her voice is what Ariel has to give up so that she can go on land, and it’s also what Ursula uses to trick Eric and mess with Ariel’s deal.

9. Ursula is an awesome antagonist.

little mermaid ursula transform

She’s an unabashed female villain, which we don’t get very often in the media, and she’s underhanded, and devious without any shame or remorse. “Poor Unfortunate Souls” is such a great song because not only is it just an awesome villain song, but also because it shows how manipulative she is.

little mermaid pathetic copy

She never really lies during the song when she tells Ariel about the deals she makes, or the consequences: she just highlights the reward over the risk, much like a crafty saleswoman. She also knows exactly what she’s doing when she takes Ariel’s voice, because she knows that even if Ariel manages to catch Eric’s attention, she can use Ariel’s voice to distract him, because it’s what Eric originally fell for.

10. “Part of Your World.” It’s Ariel’s “I Want” song of the movie, and it’s amazing. It’s one of the most relatable “I want” songs because think about it: haven’t we had that feeling like we don’t quite belong? Or that we want something more out of life?

little mermaid part of your world flip

Ariel does, and she has the drive to follow through and pursue her dreams of stepping on land.

11. Triton and Ariel’s relationship is wonderfully realistic and heart-warming. A father and daughter who don’t see eye to eye? Story of pretty much every parent-child relationship. We all clash with our parents, and Ariel and Triton happen to clash over their opinions on the world above their own. Ariel wants to see more of it, Triton insists it’s dangerous. Both of them make a mess of things. Triton destroys her relics, basically throwing a temper tantrum, and Ariel runs out without so much as a word to him about where she’s going, which terrifies him. (Bonus: The Broadway version expands on this conflict a bit more on Triton’s side with the amazing song If Only. Listen here.)

But ultimately, the two of them make things right in the end. Triton even gives Ariel his blessing (and restores her legs) so that she can live on land. When she hugs him and says “I love you, daddy,” you know that all is right between these two, and it warms your heart.

little mermaid i love you, daddy

12. Eric is an amazing Disney Prince. He’s not my favorite (because no one can top the Disney Prince of my heart, Aladdin), but he’s a close second. Eric is kind, funny, sweet, charming… and most importantly, he loves all of Ariel. He initially falls in love with her voice when she saves him, and spends a lot of the movie wondering about the girl who saved him, but when Ariel turns up on land sans her voice, he starts slowly falling for her all over again. When he realizes the melodic singer that saved him and the voiceless girl who’s charmed him are one in the same, it’s such a great moment for us the viewer because he realizes what we knew all along: he’s fallen for all of Ariel.

little mermaid ariel, you're the one

And when Ursula is thwarted and Ariel is dragged back under the sea by her, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to take her down and save his beloved. He never asks Ariel to give up her place in the sea, and he never asks her to change; more reasons I love him.

13. Ariel saves Eric. A Disney princess saving her man, say it ain’t so! The Little Mermaid is the very first Disney movie to feature a princess doing the rescuing. In that moment a ship is sinking, she’s just seen fire for the first time and realizes it is dangerous, and a serious storm is brewing. She’s been separated from her friends. Yet, she saves Eric. She pulls him out of the water and brings him to safety. At the end of the film, Eric jabs his ship into Ursula, creating a balance between them. Ariel doesn’t always need to be the strong one because she has an equally strong man at her side. There is a give and take in their relationship. Having that equilibrium is healthy and important!

14. Sebastian. Let’s just talk about Sebastian’s character. You know that friend, the one who’s always like “I’m not sure this is a good idea,” or “maybe we should think this through?” The one who keeps the group from getting into chaos? That’s Sebastian. Other reasons Sebastian is awesome: he has a song all to himself (“Under the Sea”) and it is amazing, he’s the mediator who keeps the peace between Ariel and her dad, and despite his stern attitude, he really cares about Ariel. He also gives some hilarious dating advice.

little mermaid i hope you appreciate what i go through for you

15. We can’t talk about Sebastian without talking about Flounder. He’s an adorable sidekick, super loyal to Ariel and super sweet as well. He’s naturally skittish and shy, but he’s not afraid to stand up for Ariel and help her out however she needs him. These two have true friendship. ❤

little mermaid flounder shark

16. The Little Mermaid is one of the earliest examples of a princess with siblings who aren’t horrible to each other. (Cinderella’s step-sisters don’t count, at least not initially, because it takes a few movies for Cindy and Anastasia to bond.) We don’t get a ton about Ariel’s sisters, but her, her sisters and her father seem like a fairly close-knit family unit. Her and her sisters even sing together! That’s true family bonding. I thought their A-themed names were cute, and I think part of why Ariel doesn’t feel belonging is because she’s a part of a huge family unit, and she wants to be a part of something that’s hers alone.

17. During Ursula’s  “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” she brings up men’s views on women, which sadly we still deal with in this day and age:
The men up there don’t like a lot of blabber
They think a girl who gossips is a bore
Yes, on land it’s much preferred
For ladies not to say a word

little mermaid body language

little mermaid ursula jgs

I personally think it’s pretty brave of Disney to tackle societal issues like this, and it’s important for young girls and boys to realize that you should be who you want to be, not what society expects of you.

18. And do you know what else is awesome about The Little Mermaid? The movie subverts Ursula’s assumptions by having it not be true for Eric. Eric is the exact opposite of that. He falls in love with Ariel despite her lack of voice, but that’s because Ariel is so expressive that she still finds a way to showcase her voice to Eric without saying a word. I think voice or no voice, Eric still would’ve fallen in love with Ariel, and part of what Eric loves about Ariel is how expressive and enthusiastic about life she is. He loves her, with or without her voice, with legs or fins, in a dress or a conch shell bra.

19. Also, just as Eric subverts Ursula’s expectations of men, Ariel doesn’t bend to Ursula’s version of what women should be. Ursula tells her to be “withdrawn”, and that “it’s she who holds her tongue that gets the man”, but those things go against the very core of Ariel’s personality. So does Ariel follow her advice? Not a chance.

little mermaid 5

20. Ariel is resilient. Her father destroys all of her relics and tells her to never go to the surface? Well, she’s not giving up on her dreams, no matter what he says, and she finds another way to get there. She doesn’t have her voice to win over Eric? She uses her extroversion to win him over: she’s naturally a bubbly, expressive person, and she uses that to her advantage. Ironically, one of Ursula’s bits of advice proves to be helpful for Ariel: body language helps her communicate with Eric, despite her lack of a voice. Ursula messes with the people she loves? Ariel fights back to make things right. She’s someone who doesn’t give up easily, and all of her persistence and hard work pays off in the end when she finds her happy ending on land.

little mermaid take your dreams into your own hands

21. She proves that women don’t have to give up everything for a man. One of Ariel’s big worries is that she’ll lose her father and sisters if she goes up on land, but Ursula tells her that she’ll have her man, and that life is full of tough choices. Like much of what Ursula says, this turns out to be a lie, because in the end, Ariel learns that she doesn’t have to choose between both worlds. She can live on land with Eric and still keep close ties with her family. The Little Mermaid is all about worlds uniting, and how Ariel can still hold onto her home and family while embracing her place on land with Eric. She also doesn’t have to change who she is for Eric. Yes, she gives up her fins, but that doesn’t mean she has to give up on where she came from or who she is.

22. Ariel is not afraid to cry, but then she can get right back up and fix her problems. After Triton destroyed the grotto, she was emotional, but then she took a visit to Ursula and found a way to get what she wanted.

little mermaid crying

When “Vanessa” arrived and Eric was going to marry her, Ariel was heartbroken, but when she found out Eric was being tricked and the marriage wouldn’t make him happy, she jumped into the water and saved him (again!). There’s nothing wrong with crying when you need to! Crying is natural and it makes you stronger if you can let your emotions out. Ariel is a fully formed woman: she’s not a weepy do nothing, but she’s also not this impossibly strong person. That’s a great message for girls (and boys).

23. Ariel is our first non-human princess, or at least, she starts out that way. Her world is vast and filled with gorgeous scenery, and there’s also some interesting world-building there as well. It’s such a wonderfully thought out world, and I love the fact that so much of the movie is focused on the differences between both worlds, and how the human world is just as fascinating to Ariel as the world under the sea is to us.

little mermaid atlantica

24. There’s this super interesting hinted at backstory with Ursula and Triton, because Ursula mentions once living in the palace and being banished. So what exactly did she do to get herself banished? And if we consider the fact that the original plan was for Ursula to be Ariel’s aunt, how much more twisted and interesting does that make this movie? (I personally like to imagine this as canon that’s not mentioned, because it adds some really interesting depth to the plot.)

little mermaid ursula power

25. Finally, one of the things I love about this movie is that Ariel is 16, and it’s clear in her personality that she’s still growing and developing.

little mermaid ariel bed cute

She’s playful and sometimes naïve and stubborn and I think people get grated by her sometimes because of her immaturity, but think about when you were a teenager. Teenagers tend to have this “I know best” mentality, even if we don’t, and I think Ariel really personifies that. But she learns from her mistakes and matures greatly by the end of the movie without losing her sense of self or her sense of fun and adventure. She becomes the best version of herself, essentially, and isn’t that supposed to be what love is? Finding someone who brings out your best qualities, doesn’t try to change you and makes you want to be your very best self?


The next time anyone scoffs at Ariel you’ve got 25 awesome comebacks ready!

What do you think? Can you think of anymore reasons The Little Mermaid is an awesome feminist film? Leave them and your opinions below in the comments!

Cheers!
-M&M

Happy 25th Anniversary to one of the best Disney films.

little mermaid seahorse