Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Disney Dilemma

I recently got a comment on one of my earlier blogs about Disney movies, and it got me thinking about similarities between movies - in terms of theme, plot, etc. I was going to categorize them and make a chart out of them, but I got lazy, so instead I'll just list them out.

Mothers, Beware!

Moms get a bad rap in Disney films. They usually die off pretty quickly or are never in the film. If there are mothers, they are usually stepmothers, and they are usually evil, vain bitches who turn their stepdaughters into slaves.

Maybe what makes many Disney characters so endearing is that they manage to do OK in life even without a biological mother. Here is a list of the following characters who have lost their mothers. I'm only listing movies that I've recently seen, so I'm sure that there are more.

Snow White - Lives with her wicked, vain stepmother who dresses her in rags and who tries to have her killed twice (once by the huntsman, and once by eating a poisoned apple and then hoping the dwarfs would bury her). Side note: I'm convinced that the "slave in the mirror" knew that telling the Queen that Snow White was the most beautiful girl in the land would result in the Queen's death.

Cinderella - Lives with her wicked stepmother who dresses her in rags and tries to stop her from marrying the prince by excluding her from going to the ball, locking her in her room when the king's men came to try on glass slippers, and by tripping the king's helper who then breaks the glass slipper.

Belle - Her mother is never mentioned, as far as I know.

Nemo - Nemo's mom, Coral, gets eaten by a barracuda. She at least showed her maternal instincts by fighting to the death for her offspring.

Ariel - I don't remember Ariel's mom ever being mentioned in the Little Mermaid, but her mom, Athena, is crushed by a pirate ship in Little Mermaid III: Ariel's Beginning. Sorry to ruin the surprise for all of you who were about to rush out to rent that movie.

Jasmine - Her mom is never mentioned, as far as I know. But I like to picture her in the same kind of hot outfit that Jasmine wears, only with saggy ta-tas.

Bambi - Bambi's mom gets shot and killed by a hunter. She was probably later eaten, and was probably delicious.

Pinocchio - He doesn't have a mom, although I guess you could call his Fairy Godmother his mom. To me, he characterizes Adam, where Gepetto is God.

Tarzan's mom is found dead along with his dad.


Daddy Dearest?

So, Moms and Disney don't really see eye to eye. That's cool... I'm a dad, so that means that I'm taken care of, right? Not necessarily. Dad's don't really make out too well, either. Here we go again!

Snow White - Her father married the Queen, then died. He was probably killed by the Queen.

Cinderella's dad married a vain, wicked woman whose hair looks like a giant butt. Seriously, her hair looks eerily similar to that Dracula movie that came out in 2000 or so. He also died, and was probably also killed by his wife.

Tiana's dad dies. They show a picture of him in his military uniform, so I'm not sure if he died in battle.

Simba's dad, Mufasa, dies in a stampede.

Tarzan's dad is found dead along with his mom.


There But Not There

Then there are the parents who are alive and well, but are kept separate from their kids.

Sleeping Beauty lives away from her parents for 16 years in an effort to hide her, so that the evil witch's spell (of Aurora's death by spindle) won't come true. But seriously, if you were a witch and could kill someone with a spell, wouldn't you just use your "Level 3 Fire" or "Cholera" spell and end it right then and there?

In Tangled, Rapunzel is taken from her parents (who have no lines in the movie, but still show a lot of emotion - the power of CGI!) for 16 years. Rapunzel thinks that her wicked, vain woman who captures her and locks her away is really her mother.

Peter Pan opts to leave his parents at an early age, then encourages other kids - like Wendy and co - to leave theirs as well. If he's not able to lure kids away by telling them that they won't have to take orders from their parents anymore, he can just show off Tinkerbell in her hot little leaf-dress... I think most boys would be swayed with a little fairy tang.

Only Children

The main character in Disney films generally doesn't have brothers or sisters, unless they're step-siblings. I could name them, but this blog has gotten long enough already. But think about how much fun they could have with a character who is a middle child, like me, who sits around all day thinking of how Disney movies are similar in theme, plot, and characterization?

Who's to Blame?

Do I blame Disney for the lack of strong parental characters in their movies? Not really. Disney bases their movies on stories and fairy tales, and compared to those other stories, Disney movies are heavily sanitized. Instead, I blame the Brothers Grimm and other folk tale writers / historians, for writing down such memorable stories and sharing them with the world.

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