Tag Archives: non-disney

Anastasia Isn’t Disney: Why Everyone Thinks It Is

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For some reason, Anastasia has this weird reputation of being mistaken for a Disney movie, but it’s not.

anastasia NOT DISNEY

Anastasia was actually done by Fox Animation Studios, and was distributed by 20th Century Fox. So why is Anastasia always mistaken for Disney? Well, there are quite a few reasons, actually!

First of all, Anastasia is a Princess movie. Thematically, it’s set up a lot like the Disney Princess movies: Anastasia wants something (belonging), Anastasia meets a cool guy on her quest to find that thing, and Anastasia accomplishes her goal (finding a place where she belongs/finding her home) and gets the guy as well.

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She also has a villain to deal with – Rasputin, who’s a total jerk and ups the ante on creepiness the way that villains like Jafar and Doctor Facilier have in Disney’s past. (We’re going to go more into specifics about that later, when we talk music.)

Secondly: at a glance, the animation styles are similar. Given that its directors (Don Bluth and Gary Goldman) were former Disney animators, this isn’t too surprising. In particular, Anastasia and Ariel look very similar to me design-wise.

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However, they’re not exactly the same. In movies like The Little Mermaid, Disney tends to exaggerate features (like Ariel’s big eyes and big lips), while Anastasia tries to stay on the more realistic size and downsizes features. Anastasia (and the rest of the cast) have smaller eyes, smaller mouths, and in general look more like people you would see in real life. I mean:

Ariel

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Anastasia

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You can see the difference in their expressions, personalities, how they hold themselves…so while some details are similar, at a second glance it’s easier to tell how they stand apart.

Anastasia shares a lot of other traits with Disney movies, such as….

Opening narration:

A lot of the older Disney movies (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella) opened with a sort of prologue, where the narrator would tell a story and lead the viewer up to the present day. Anastasia did something very similar by having her grandmother narrate in the beginning. (Fun fact: the score playing during this scene is actually called Prologue, and since the actual opening I had posted seems to have disappeared, I’ll post the score for you guys to enjoy instead.)

(Another fun thing in the opening scene: Rasputin’s entrance is reminiscent of Maleficent: all the drama, all the magic, all the creepiness. Who did it better, guys?)

Opening scenery shots:

There’s a shot in Rumor in St. Petersburg that’s very reminiscent of Bells of Notre Dame from Hunchback of Notre Dame:

anastasia st. petersburg (Rumor in St. Petersburg)

hunchback bells of notre dame (Bells of Notre Dame)

Not exact, but pretty similar. And yet again, some animation similarities appear in how the buildings are rendered.

The father/daughter relationship:

Disney has a thing about father/daughter relationships: Ariel/Triton, Belle/Maurice, Jasmine/The Sultan… When a parent survives, it’s usually the father, and even if he doesn’t, he’s usually shown in the narrative before his death (ex: Cinderella, Frozen). And much like the Disney girls, Anastasia’s father/her relationship him with is emphasized early on. While the main family relationship we deal with is Anastasia and her grandmother, her father is shown pretty prominently.

We get them dancing at the beginning:

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And we get a sad echo when Anya, still grasping at memories of the past, sees her father in he fantasy sequence during Once Upon a December:

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Yes, it’s not the main focus, but it’s a pretty important one. We don’t see that emphasis with Anastasia and her mom.

The animal sidekick:

Because apparently princesses can’t have real flesh and blood friends, Anya has an animal sidekick like most of the Disney princesses. Hers is the absolutely adorable Pooka.

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And much like Jafar, Rasputin has a sidekick in his weird albino bat, Bartok.

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The music:

This is a big one, guys. Some of the music in Anastasia very clearly follows tropes that Disney’s music movie scheme often focuses on. Three in particular stand out: the “I Want” song, the “Villain” song, and the “Love Song.” I’ll go through them in order and explain why.

Journey to the Past = “I Want Song”

Journey to the Past is Anya’s “I Want” song. What does Anya want? She wants to belong, and find the family that she knows has always been out there. And just like most Disney “I Want” songs, Journey to the Past spells out her intentions around the second half:

Somewhere down this road, I know someone’s waiting

Years of dreams just can’t be wrong

Arms will open wide, I’ll be safe and wanted

Finally home where I belong

This is shown through the family Anya sees on her journey to St. Petersburg. The longing in her face is painful to see, but you can also see her resolve strengthen. That’s what she wants, and she’s determined to keep going and find it, no matter how wary she feels stepping off-course.

And of course, just like other Disney characters do, Anya gets what she wants in the end: her family, a sense of belonging, and something she didn’t expect to find – love. It’s pretty cool how that works out for characters, isn’t it?

In the Dark of the Night = “Villain Song”

In the Dark of the Night is one of those songs that doesn’t quite fit into Disney standards, because even though Disney has some pretty dark villains, Rasputin surpasses them all. There’s a whole section of the movie where the narration talks about how he GAVE UP HIS SOUL so he could murder the Romanovs, and you can see his flesh stripped away as he’s left a skeleton. That’s pretty dark. Even Facilier didn’t go quite that far.

There are some similarities to Disney villains of the past though. Like Ursula and Yzma, Rasputin gives us his backstory via song in the second verse:

I was once the most mystical man in all Russia

When the royals betrayed me, they made a mistake

My curse made each of them pay

But one little girl got away

Little Anya, beware, Rasputin’s awake!

Like Facilier, Rasputin has some “friends on the other side” to help him out, which leads into the next scene, when they attack the train that Anya, Dimitri and Vladimir are on.

And like Scar, Rasputin is really freaking dramatic.

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I mean come on, look at this montage, this is ridiculously dramatic. Everything Rasputin does is ridiculously dramatic. As creepy as he is, it’s hard to take him seriously at times because of the sheer drama that surrounds him. (Plus, he failtastically dies TWICE, which is pretty bad.)

Learn to Do It (Waltz Reprise) = “Love Song”

I talked about this back when Mic and I wrote about Animated Love songs, so I won’t spend too much time dwelling on this, but I want to point out that this is another one of those Disney touches that slides into the movie. I mean, we have Vlad, who’s kind of our Timon stand-in, singing about these two crazy kids in love, and him realizing that 1) this was never something he’d planned for, thus, 2) it’s completely going to change their group dynamic.

Unlike Timon, who takes a while to warm up to Nala, we can see that Vlad’s already warmed up to Anya based on this one great line:

She’s radiant, and confident, and born to take this chance

We know that Dimitri is head over heels into his “mark” based on how he looks at her, but now we can see Vlad’s affection shining through. It’s not something we see often in movies, and it’s kind of nice to see Vladimir care for Anya in a platonic way – like a father in law, perhaps. 😉

We’re more in Disney territory toward the end:

I taught her well, I planned it all, I just forgot…romance!

Vlad, how could you do this?

How will we get through this?

I never should have let them dance

Poor Vlad; he’s got some woes here. And like Timon, he’s not entirely happy about this change in course.

Another important thing in this scene is the dance. We get this a lot in Disney movies, where characters share a dance, and it shows the emotional growth between the two characters. Here, we see stubborn Anya allowing Dimitri to lead her. The fact that she trusts him enough to lead shows that she’s starting to care for him, and open up to him. Similarly, we see Dimitri being less reserve around Anya now. It’s really sweet all around.

Conclusion

While Anastasia is not Disney, its creators were likely influenced by their time working at Disney. However, Anastasia stands on its own as a firmly non-Disney film. So next time someone in your life says Anastasia is Disney, just remember what Anastasia herself says:

anastasia NOT DISNEY

 

Do you think Anastasia is similar to Disney’s other films? Who had a better dramatic entry: Maleficent or Rasputin? What do you guys love most about Anastasia? Let us know in the comments!

Follow Animated Meta on Twitter and Tumblr. Have a smashing Saturday!

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Cheers,

M&M

 

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ATLA and How Ethos, Pathos, and Logos Represent Aang, Katara and Sokka

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Ethos, pathos and logos are three different types of appeals used to persuade an audience during a speech or argument. They also represent the three leads of Avatar: The Last Airbender: Aang, Katara, and Sokka. But how does each character’s representation of the modes of persuasion affect them, and how does this affect their group dynamic? Let’s find out.

WARNING: Spoilers for the entire series are spread throughout this post. 

Aang = Ethos

Ethos is an appeal to character and/or ethics. It’s about likability and morality, things Aang has in spades. First of all, Aang is adorable and lovable. I mean just look at that face:

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Secondly, as a pacifist, Aang has a very strong code of ethics, and uses it in everyday life. His morality plays a big role in the Gaang’s adventures, since his quest to stop the war and defeat the Fire Lord is the driving force behind the show. Because of who he is as a character, his ethics often come in direct conflict with the world around him. One great example is when he saves Zuko at the end of season 1, during Siege of the North: Part 2, because he knows it isn’t right to leave him out in the cold, even though he and Zuko are enemies, and Sokka doesn’t quite support his decision:

Aang: “Wait, we can’t just leave him here.”

Sokka: “Sure we can. Let’s go.”

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Aang: “No. If we leave him here, he’ll die.”

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Unfortunately, that same strong code of ethics causes him problems, because it makes him rigid and unwilling to compromise his beliefs. This often conflicts with other members of the Gaang, whose character and code of ethics  differs from his own. In war, tough decisions need to be mad, and Aang has trouble with those, especially the possibility of killing the fire lord (which is tackled in The Phoenix King):

Aang: “Fire Lord Ozai is a horrible person, and the world would probably be better off without him, but there’s got to be another way.”

and later:

Aang: “This goes against everything I learned from the monks. I can’t just go around wiping out people I don’t like.”

Aang feels uncomfortable compromising his pacifist nature and killing the fire lord, even if he is a menace that might need to be killed.

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While he ends up being able to take down the Fire Lord without killing him in the end, it took a lot of soul-searching and research in order to find a way. By the end of the series, Aang learns a lot about morality, and that even though he’s been able to work with his ethics beforehand, it’s not always going to work out that way. But he’ll certainly try.

Katara = Pathos

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Pathos is an emotional appeal to an audience. How does this apply to Katara?

Well, Katara is a very emotionally-driven character. She loves and cares deeply about other people, especially the ones she loves. The Hundred Year War had a huge impact on Katara’s life: the Fire Nation disseminated her culture, killed her mother, and inadvertently took away her father as well, since he fought in the war after losing their mother. Where this might have shattered some, it strengthens Katara and her resolve to help others that the war has affected. The Greek word pathos actually has a dual meaning: “experience” and “suffering,” which applies to Katara well. She’s suffered a lot because of the war, so she better than anyone knows how to rouse sympathy and impact an audience.

Where Aang uses character in his arguments, Katara uses emotion. She’s the one who gives hopeful speeches and empowers those who have been oppressed to stand up for themselves and fight back against the people who have held them down. A great example of this is her speech during Imprisoned (starts at 11:57, ends around 12:48):

Just look at all the emphasis on emotional appeal in this speech!:  “It is your courage they should truly fear! Because it runs deeper than any mine you’ve been forced to dig, any ocean that keeps you far from home! It is the strength of your hearts that make you who you are. Hearts that will remain unbroken when all rock and stone has eroded away.”

Katara appeals to the eartbenders with emotion in two ways: 1) by reminding them of their courage, and their inner strength, and 2) reminding them of what they should fight for: home, family, and their freedom.

While her speech initially doesn’t go over as well as she expects, it ends up having an effect later on, and allows the earthbenders to take back the power from their capturers and break free.

Of course, being driven by emotion isn’t always a good thing. For Katara, it means that when someone hurts her or betrays her, she can be unforgiving and unrelenting against them. She doesn’t forgive easily, and people who have left her – like her father – or hurt her – like Jet, and later Zuko, does – she finds it hard to forgive them and see past what they have done to her.

Example 1: Katara doesn’t believe in Zuko’s redemption arc, because he betrayed them in the past. For Katara, trust is a big thing, and she finds it hard to look past her emotions and realize that Zuko is making an effort to change.

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Example #2: Katara bottles up her feelings about her father leaving her and Sokka during the war, which leads to an explosive confrontation later on:

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It takes her time to move past the hurt she feels, and sometimes she lets it boil and simmer rather than facing her feelings and dealing with them. One of the most important parts of her character arc is learning to forgive, and learning not to hold onto anger and resentment. With her father, talking it out helps. With Zuko, it takes an adventure that teaches her they’re not so different after all, and that he really has changed into someone she – and the rest of the Gaang – can trust.

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Sokka = Logos

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Logos is a logical appeal. It means using facts, analogies and evidence to prove a claim to an audience. How does this apply to Sokka?

Sokka is a logic-driven character. He reasons through things. He’s the one who’s always telling Katara and Aang to think things through when they’re about to do something reckless. As he puts it, he is “the plan guy” of the group. While he’s a warrior, he is also brilliant and the group’s schemer. Whether intricate or on the spot, his ideas and instincts often help the Gaang accomplish things they wouldn’t otherwise. This is the guy who realizes that the best way to break the two groups trying to take them down in The Waterbending Scroll is to turn them against each other by offering Aang as incentive, then escaping in the ensuing fight over him. That’s a pretty clever on the spot plan to make.

One of Sokka’s best example of logos is when he reasons out a plan to protect the Northern Air Temple from Fire Nation troops. He commissions weapons to use in the attack, and since it’s an Air Temple, why not use gliders/balloons to dispense them. He also craftily solves how to control the hot air balloons:

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The answer? A literal lid. “A lid is actually the answer. If you control the hot air, you control the war balloon,” he reasons. Very savvy. He also has a great impulsive idea during the attack.

Earlier in the episode, he and another character – the Mechanist – discover an egg-like odor by the temple and realize it’s natural gas. That comes into play later, when they end up throwing their engine into the source of the gas to defend against attackers, as seen here:

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The main problem with Sokka being logic-driven is that sometimes, it backfires, because he often relies more on his own knowledge and instincts, rather than those of others. Example from Warriors of Kyoshi: Sokka doesn’t believe that the Kyoshi Warrior are efficient warriors, because he doesn’t believe women can fight as well as men can. He ends up underestimating them and being horribly wrong because of it.

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(As you can see, it ends badly.)

But when Sokka’s pride is wounded, he’s willing to admit his mistakes, and more importantly, learn from them to avoid them in the future, as evidenced by his apology to Suki:

Sokka: “I would be honored if you would teach me.”

Suki: “Even if I’m a girl?”

Sokka: “I’m sorry if I insulted you earlier. I was … wrong.”

He’s smart enough to admit he messed up and that he wants to learn from her. Intelligence is good, but respecting other people’s intelligence and input is important as well, and Sokka learns that there’s always more he can be learning as the show goes on.

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Do you think Aang, Katara and Sokka fit the ideals of ethos, pathos and logos? What another animated characters do you think display these traits? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Follow Animated Meta on Twitter and Tumblr. Screencaps came from AvatarSpirit.net. Have a wonderful Saturday!

Cheers,

M&M

Quest for Camelot: I Couldn’t Just Talk About One Thing

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I went into my re-watch of Quest for Camelot expecting to write about its portrayal of people (and dragons) with disabilities. What I found was a deeper element of the film that tied that into this message of togetherness. It makes total sense, too, when you consider that the story of King Arthur is about one man uniting a bunch of warring clans and tribes to make Camelot, the greatest city in the world. And so, lets consider this three metas in one! It is the holy trinity of metas.

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Quest for Camelot is no Disney classic, but it is a pretty great film (not made by Disney). Kayley is the protagonist, a girl hellbent on being a knight. She idolized her father from a young age, dreaming of being a knight just like him. When he’s killed by a greedy knight, Ruber, Kayley is determined more than ever to follow in his footstep. The only problem is, women are not knights. Trapped at home, Kayley’s moment finally comes when Ruber steals Excalibur and comes to collect her mother, Julianna, and have her lead his army into Camelot by tricking King Arthur. When news that Ruber’s pet gryffin lost the sword reaches her, Kayley rides off to the Forbidden Forest to retrieve it before he can. There she meets Garrett, a blind badass hermit, and a two-headed, fireless and flightless dragon, Devon and Cornwall. Predictably, Kayley and Garrett fall in love and they all save the day together. And voila, that’s all you need to know if you haven’t seen the film.

Family in Quest for Camelot

  • Kayley: On My Father’s Wings

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The first facet of Camelot’s theme of togetherness is Kayley’s relationship to her father. Since she was a little girl, Kayley has adored her father and the knights. She wants to hear the same story of King Arthur over and over again and go to Camelot.

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“I’m coming with you, daddy!” Little Kayley says when her dad has to go to Camelot for a meeting of the Round Table. When you’re older, her father says—famous last words. And off he goes and I cry buckets when little Kayley sees all the knights bringing her dad’s body back and is so excited her dad’s home and has no idea—

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Anyway.

So brings us to the song On My Father’s Wings, one of my favorites. When your dad sucks, it’s nice to imagine he’s a brave knight. Taking a play from Disney fashion, this is Kayley’s I Want song. She wants to be a knight, she wants to be guided by her father, she wants to do great things.

If you were with me now
I’d find myself in you

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I want to live my life
The way you said I would
With courage as my light
Fighting for what’s right
Like you made me believe I could

Kayley wants to be her father’s daughter: “One day, I’ll be a knight, like father.” With his death, there’s no one really that encourages her to go for her dreams. Her mother, Julianna, is amazing, but doesn’t encourage her to become a knight.

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Julianna: That’s a job for the knights.
Kayley: But I want to be a knight.

However, once Ruber attacks their home, Julianna is the one that tells Kayley to go and warn Arthur. Kayley is hesitant to leave her mother in Ruber’s clutches, but goes. When she hears that Ruber has lost the sword, she decides to get if before he can instead of riding to Camelot. Kayley finally gets her big adventure, her chance to achieve glory.

Kayley: How am I going to do great things if I’m stuck here? With these silly chickens?

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Don’t worry, Kayley. Your time has come! When Garrett suggests they make camp for the night, Kayley rebuffs this.

Garrett: No one travels through the Forbidden Forest at tonight.
Kayley: My father Sir Lionel would have.

The imprint her father left on her is Kayley’s driving force. She still grieves for him and she still aspires to be like him.

I will fly on my father’s wings
To places I have never been
There is so much I’ve never seen
And I can feel his heartbeat still
And I will do great things
On my father’s wings

And in poetic fashion, Kayley even echoes her father’s final lines, while staring down the same foe: I will not serve a false king.

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Even the villain gets it: You’re in the way, just like your father. Since you’re dying to be just like him, lets see if I can help you out.

But he can’t, because, um, duh, villains never win. Kayley and Garrett defeat Ruber and finally, the are both knighted—Kayley holding her father’s shield! I’ve heard lots of complaints or criticisms from people that animated movies feature a lot of death of parental figures and that it doesn’t affect the main character as much as it should. Quest for Camelot is not one of those. Kayley’s father has never been far from her mind and probably pushed her harder.

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Disability in Quest for Camelot

Representation is SO important. The world is not made up for fully able bodied peoples. Ableism is a real problem and Quest for Camelot is a movie that tackles that. Garrett is blind, but that does not stop him from being a total badass and helping Kayley save the day. Cornwall and Devon are a two-headed dragon that can’t fly, breath fire, and well, are physically different because they have TWO HEADS.

  • Garrett: I Stand Alone

Garrett’s motto is the title of his song I Stand Alone. He was blinded in a stable fire after he risked himself to save the horses and was knocked in the eyes by a spooked horse. His dream of being a knight slipped away from him, ridiculed by the people of Camelot. Towards the end of the film, when Kayley says she wishes he could see Camelot, Garrett says, “I have seen it and there was no place for me.”

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Garrett might be physically disabled, but that doesn’t stop him. He’s a great fighter and his walking stick doubles as a weapon. Emotionally, however, Garrett is all locked up. His character arc isn’t about learning to overcome his blindness, it’s about overcoming the emotional walls he put up. When he saves Kayley from Ruber’s mechanical army in the beginning, there’s no hesitation. His disability does not make him feel weak because he’s not weak. In fact, when Kayley tells him Excalibur is somewhere in the forest, he’s ready to go and find it himself. He’s not lacking in bravery and strength. His real problem is emotional.

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The one exception to Garrett’s standing alone-ness is Aiden, a falcon. Aiden is his eyes, in Garrett’s words, and caws every time danger is about to strike. Garrett relies on his other senses, especially the auditory and olfactory ones.

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His fighting strategy, inn his own terms is, “Take position, face your fear, and hold your ground till the last possible moment.” Aiden is frequently the voice of when it is the last possible moment. This mantra is how Kayley and Garrett defeat Ruber at the end of the film.

There are other examples of Garrett using his senses in the the film, such as smell and touch when they enter Dragon Country. Kayley is unaware they’ve crossed over even though she can see it with her own eyes. Later, when they hatch a plan to get Exalibur back from a giant, Garret needs Kayley to describe the layout to him and then he’s able to come up with a plan. His hearing is very important and the moment he can’t hear is when he gets injured, but he’s healed by the knowledge of the forest he passed onto Kayley, such as which plants are medicinal.

Despite everything, Garrett does not lose his sense of humor.

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When he saves Kayley, meeting her for the first time, she doesn’t realize he’s blind right away. But when she does, she says, “Oh, I didn’t realize you were…” Garrett takes the opportunity to throw out some adjectives, like rugged and handsome, but when she finally says blind, he quips, “You know I always forget that one.”

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Later, when Kayley sees Aiden, also known as Merlin’s bird Silver Wings, she says, “Hey your bird has silver wings.” And Garrett, ever the charmer: “Really? I’ll have to take your word for it.”

Garrett is such a great step towards representation. While blind, this feature is a mere facet of who he is. He has wants, he wants to become a knight, but fears he can’t. He wants to be with Kayley, but is afraid. He had a life before we met him; he was a stable boy in Camelot. He’s sarcastic, already shown above. He’s not just the “blind warrior,” as Ruber calls him.

He eventually overcomes his fears when Kayley’s been captured. He goes back to Camelot and joins the fight. When they confront Ruber and the bastard breaks his walking stick, Kayley comes up with a plan to trap Excalibur back in the stone. They take position, face their fears, and hold their ground until the last possible moment, tricking Ruber and using Garrett’s technique. The film does not devalue Garrett because he is blind. In fact, they validate the things he’s learned, most importantly at the end of the film when it is Garrett’s tactics that prevail.

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  • Devon and Cornwall: If I Didn’t Have You

If I Didn’t Have You was one of my FAVORITE songs ever as a kid. I loved this musical number. It shocked me now to come back to these characters and see them in an entirely new light. Devon and Cornwall are the reason “cousins shouldn’t marry” (hello incest joke!). They’re not classically handicapped and I don’t want to say they are a mutation, but they’re different from the norm. I think an argument can be made that they are a symbol of disability. Seriously, I do not want to offend anyone and I’m really nervous. I want to phrase this properly and respectfully. Devon and Cornwall also can’t breathe fire or fly, which are serious disabilities if you’re a dragon and Devon and Cornwall certainly are.

They are bullied by their fellow dragon-peers. Devon calls them “fire breathing bullies” and after they lead Kayley and Garrett underground to escape, they say they know every place to hide because they’ve been “dodging those bullies since we were two hundred years old.” Now, Devon and Cornwall aren’t disabled in the traditional sense like Garrett. Their problems fall on the fantastical side because of the nature of the film and the story being told, but I think the fact that they do look different and aren’t “normal” by conventional standards, does make them a symbol of disability.

Their song If I Didn’t Have You, while hilarious and witty, can be applied to anyone that wants to change something about themselves. It can be something as simple as, I wish I didn’t have a big nose, to something deeper like, I wish I wasn’t blind. Devon and Cornwall imagine all the possibilities their lives could go if they weren’t stuck with another head. Where Garrett’s arc is not about learning to cope with his disability, it is for the dragons. They’re not in the right headspace, constantly bickering with each other, and angsting. That changes as they gain confidence traveling with Kayley and Garrett.

The other part of the Devon/Cornwall conflict is that they can’t breath fire or fly. This is a more mental than physical problem, though they are unaware of this for the majority of the film. Once they stop bickering and putting each other down, once they are united because their friend Kayley is kidnapped, they can fly. When they notices they’re flying, they argue again, “I did it!” “You mean I did it!” Logical Garrett says: “Don’t you get it? The only reason you can’t fly is that you can’t agree on anything.” Obviously, no one’s disability is solved this easily but the message is that by loving yourself for who you are and embracing every part of you, you won’t be beholden to your disability.

Finally, at the end of the film, Devon and Cornwall DO get separated, but choose to be reattached. They love themselves the way they are.

Quest for Camelot: We’re all in this Together

  • United We Stand VS I Stand Alone VS Through Your Eyes

The music in Quest for Camelot really carries this theme of togetherness through till the very end. United We Stand is the opening song of the knights. It sets up the world and the values of the society.

United we stand
Now and forever
In truth, divided we fall

Hand upon hand
Brother to brother
No one shall be greater than all

From the start, this message of strength in numbers is told to us. Which, everyone knows the Knights of the Round Table are all about teamwork and crap like that. But then we meet Garrett and his song, I Stand Alone totally flips that.

Like every tree stands on its own
Reaching for the sky I stand alone
I share my world with no one else
All by myself I stand alone

As was already stated, Garrett’s arc is all about his overcoming that feeling. I mean, he lives in the FORBIDDEN Forest. He’s not about uniting and standing together. Garrett feels rejected by society, so he’s shut himself away. He tells Kayley flat out he’s a hermit and later, once he, Kayley, Devon, and Cornwall have made it out of dragon country in one piece, he says “Good news is, we’re out of dragon country, the better news is, this is where we say goodbye.” Garrett is not one for the whole team playing. Neither is Kayley, really, since after he finishes his song, she retorts, “I stand alone, too. I just need your help this once.” Kayley has always wanted to prove herself. She resents the gender roles that makes her a homemaker: “Taking care of the house… boring… where’s the glory in that?”

But, there’s Kayley, who he falls in love with. When he’s injured, Kayley can’t bear the thought of losing him. He’s not just her guide. She says, “Please don’t die, I can’t do this without you.” Kayley has always wanted to be a knight, but unlike Garrett, she never gave up on that dream. But she wanted to do great things on her own.

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Kayley, too, had to learn the power that comes from having a partner, from standing with someone (a la her “I stand alone, too” comment). After she heals him, they admit their feelings and the song Through Your Eyes plays. This song is all about two people becoming one, a unity.

Our two hearts are one
It’s out of our hands
We can’t stop what we have begun
And love just took me by surprise
Looking through your eyes

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Kayley and Garrett have learned that some things can’t be done alone. That together, by standing together, they are stronger. Well… they only learn it for a little while, since once they reach Camelot, Garrett tells Kayley to return the sword alone.

Kayley: But we’ll deliver the sword together.
Garrett: No, you deliver it. I don’t belong in that world. (Instrumental I Stand Alone plays)
Kayley: (as he walks away) (whispering) But you belong in mine.

*Feels*

  • Things Everyone Learned

By the time Kayley decides to go back for Garrett, it’s too late. Ruber has already caught up to her. And once Garrett hears this, he goes after her, no questions asked. No more fear. The only hitch is, he’ll never make it to Camelot in time… unless Devon and Cornwall fly!

Devon and Cornwall are united in their love for Kayley and want to save her. The moment they put their differences aside because they are equal in their resolve to save their friend, they are a team! They can fly! They even choose to remain one at the end, instead of separating. They even protect Aiden/Silver Wings from Ruber’s gryffin. It’s not about one person. It’s about everyone helping everyone

Just before Kayley and Garrett stop Ruber and the creep thinks he’s won, he says, “Two for the price of one.” Again, it reminds is Kayley and Garrett are a team. But Ruber, actually, in a rather odd turn of events, actually also falls into this message of togetherness. He interrupts United We Stand and visually appears out of the shadows the first time we meet him, a sign that he’s different from everyone else. His beliefs aren’t in line. But, when he gets Excalibur, finally, he attaches it to his arm.

Like Hook.

So morbidly, Ruber too enters a unity with the sword and becomes one with it. It’s really weird and I wonder if the creators were thinking this way when they were building the story.

Let’s switch gears a little—because that got weird fast—and look at King Arthur, Camelot, and his knights. Arthur also needs to be reminded of the importance of teamwork. He wants to go after Ruber and get Excalibur back, but he was wounded in Ruber’s attack and must heed Merlin’s advice: he must rely on the courage of his people. People! More than one. It’s not about valiant King Arthur riding in and saving the day. It’s about a collective force coming together.

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Visually, we’re also shown the three ringed symbol of Arthur’s rule: the one true king, the sword, and the lands he united. We also see subjects dancing in large group numbers. Everything is collective here. That message of united we stand isn’t lost in simple world building aspects like this.

  • Wrapping Up

If it wasn’t totally obvious, I completely recommend Quest for Camelot. It does fail in the people of color aspect, everyone is white. But it does show us grief, a mother/daughter relationship I didn’t get to touch on but is very strong and also important, and really, most importantly Garrett: a strong amazing blind character. Devon and Cornwall too are important in terms of disability, but they’re merely just symbols. Garrett is a human, is disabled, and kicks ass (literally and figuratively).

What do you think? Have you seen Quest for Camelot? What’s your favorite song?

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Cheers,
-M&M!