The dust had barely settled after the release of Disney’s most recent smash-hit, Frozen, but fans were already looking forward to their next Disney princess fix. With a release date of Nov. 23, 2016, the Polynesian fantasy musical Moana has already managed to inspire its own very lively fandom.
The animated musical will tell the story of a young Polynesian sea-voyager and navigator, Moana Waialiki, and will be directed by the creators of The Princess and the Frog, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid. It apparently includes Moana going on an epic journey and meeting demi-gods from what the Disney wiki somewhat oxymoronically describes as “real mythology.”
Not much else is known about the film, but the fact that Moana will be Disney’s first Polynesian sea-voyaging princess is enough for many people to be majorly psyched already.
Only one piece of Moana concept art has been seen online so far, but it was quickly pulled by Disney on the grounds that it wasn’t an official release.
(Disney released more information and showed off some art at its D23 event in August 2015.)
Still, that was all fans needed to inspire their own Moana fanworks. Tumblr is already alive with people drawing their own interpretations of the Polynesian princess, from cute, ukulele-playing girly-girl to tough, muscular sailor.
The evolution of the Disney Princess brand has received a lot of attention in recent years, partly thanks to the addition of characters like Merida, the tomboyish heroine of Disney/Pixar’s Brave. The Princesses are one of the biggest media franchises aimed specifically at young girls, so many parents were glad to see more forward-thinking characters being introduced, to balance out the passivity of the more traditional princesses like Cinderella and Snow White. When Merida was given a more feminine makeover as part of her official induction into the Disney princess pantheon, there was actual public outcry for her to be returned to her original state.
With its combination of chase sequences, cute ballroom scenes and a focus on the relationship between two sisters, Frozen seemed to strike the perfect balance. Its princesses had agency and power in their own right, but still wore sparkly tiaras that 6-year-olds could then buy from the Disney store.
Of course, the relative feminism of recent Disney princess movies is not the only thing that modern viewers are concerned about. There’s also the issue of racial representation in the princess movies—or rather, the glaringly white nature of most of Disney’s animated output.
The Disney Princesses come under a lot more scrutiny than other cartoons because they’re directly marketed to be role models for young girls. And because the last four princesses were all white, many fans and parents of young girls began to accuse Disney of failing to represent people of color.
As some critics pointed out when The Princess and the Frog was released in 2009, Tiana may have been Disney’s first black princess, but she spent much of the story as a frog, and the movie also contained some pretty unflattering racial stereotypes. Then when Frozen was announced, many fans were disappointed once again because the movie included aspects of indigenous Scandinavian culture such as Sami music and clothing, but no actual Sami characters. Online, the result was a fanart meme where people re-drew Frozen’s characters as people of color, sometimes recasting the entire movie with Inuit or Sami characters.
Following Brave and Tangled, Frozen was the third Disney Princess movie in a row to feature an all-white cast, with some fans pointing out the close visual similarities between the blonde lead characters in Frozen, and Tangled’s Rapunzel. The controversy only got worse after Frozen’s head of animation made some pretty bizarre comments about female characters being “really, really difficult” to animate because they supposedly had a wider range of emotions than men. As explanations go, it was not the best reasoning for why Disney has been producing slim, caucasian princesses with tiny noses and big eyes for the past 60 years.
It’s no surprise then, that Moana had already caught the hearts of the type of adult Disney enthusiasts who engage through fanart and discussion on sites like Tumblr and Reddit. Criticism from a small minority of online fans is unlikely to have made much of a difference to Disney’s decision when choosing new movie concepts, particularly when Frozen was such a runaway success, but the announcement of another non-white princess is a sign that they are at least aware of their current track record.
With a year to go until Moana is released, some of its target audience may not even been born yet, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t already bringing happiness to the hearts of Disney fans. As one teenage girl wrote on her Tumblr blog:
“As a person of polynesian descent, i got extremely excited when Disney’s “Moana” was announced and didn’t really know why and then i realised THIS is what representation feels like.”
Vanellope Von Sweetz
These same sex Disney couples make the film storylines we NEED to see: Why hasn’t this actually happened?
It’s sad but true: Disney love interests are almost universally boring. Other than “Charming,” can you actually name all the princes that Disney princesses end up with? It’s harder than you think.
Tumblr user Dopey Beauty decided it was time to end these fillers and let the princesses find love with one another. She told BuzzFeed she was inspired by an episode of Hercules: The Animated Series when Hercules meets Aladdin. They didn’t hook up then, but she decided to make it happen herself — and pair up some iconic princesses along the way, too. Take a look at the three she’s made so far, but grab some Kleenex first.
1. Aurora and Pocahontas overcome adversity and find love in each other’s arms.
3. And Aladdin and Hercules turn a childhood crush into everlasting love.
Dopey Beauty calls these mashups “movies no one asked for,” but we’ll have to beg to differ.
1. Why did Cinderella wear that tacky ’90s choker with her ball gown?
You’d think she’d be like, “Hey, Fairy Godmother, I really appreciate this, but I was thinking something more like, a diamond holly wreath? It’s just more my taste. Thanks sooo much, sweetheart.”
2. They wear the same thing every day, assumedly without access to deodorant.
The cut convo between Grumpy and Doc from Snow White: “Should we tell her? This is epic B.O. I don’t know what else to do.” “Ugh, that’s awkward. Let’s just keep giving her flowers and maybe she’ll get the message.”
3. We’re supposed to think it’s romantic when Prince Eric falls in love with a woman who cannot speak or communicate in any other way.
Sure, as Ursula points out in the Little Mermaid, there’s body language, but it is terrifying to think that a handsome, stand-up guy like Eric would be willing to marry a woman whose most expressive ability is a high-five, just because she’s super hot.
4. Jasmine had to be married off at 16 or whatever and couldn’t just be a queen in her own right.
No wonder she spent all of Aladdin throwing so much side-eye.
5. It was weirder for Mulan to be a woman in the army than to have a fucking talking dragon spirit.
You’re a woman and are good at swordfighting? NO LOGIC. You have a mystical “spirit guide” with Eddie Murphy’s voice? Totes normal.
6. They never have frizz.
And let’s face it, the enchanted rainforest is very humid.
7. Disney princesses’ makeup always remains perfect no matter what kind of scrapes they get into.
Who was reapplying Snow White’s tinted moisturizer while she was sleeping in the glass coffin? Was it the Prince? It’s odd that he would be a professional makeup artist.
8. This is not how makeup removal works:
9. The over-the-top super Top-40 version of the main ballad that always runs at the end of the movie.
We guess this makes sense, but it’s just silly.
10. The entire plot of Sleeping Beauty could have been avoided just by inviting Maleficent to Aurora’s baby shower.
Seriously! That’s what made her evil. Being snubbed by her sister and brother-in-law. We all have relatives we don’t like. But just invite them. You’ll get one more present. It’ll be fine.
11. Ariel is really cool, like sociopathically cool, with seeing seafood being eaten on land.
Yeah, she saves Sebastian from being a Maryland crab cake, but what about all the other dead fish and sea creatures that Ariel sees becoming lunch in the castle? She’s just, like, Down With That? Talk about a think-for-yourselfer.
12. They are all called princesses even though many of them are not actual princesses.
Mulan? Tiana? Belle? Not princesses. Although “Female Disney Protagonists With Perfect Bone Structure Who End Up Happy And In Love After a Series of Misadventures” does not have quite the same ring to it, we know.
13. Honestly, it was completely shocking that Belle a) liked to read b) could even read at all.
Considering this is theoretically a small French province in 1756. Actually, she probably would have died of some kind of old-school pox before she was like 15, just like everybody else.
14. They all have Broadway-level singing voices.
And, under duress, use song to express emotion.
15. How do mermaids have sex? With other mermaids?
My co-worker just looked up dolphin vaginas for this purpose, so now I know what that looks like, and so do you. You’re welcome.
The Little Mermaid is one of the most beloved films in the Disney canon. It’s so beloved, in fact, that despite millions of rewatchings, it seems like everyone just ignored a pretty glaring plot hole in the film, one which was brought to light by Facebook user Mary Falls.
In an eye-opening post, Mary posed a pretty obvious question: if Ariel’s whole problem in the film was that she couldn’t speak to Eric, why didn’t she just write down what she wanted to say?
“Ariel could have saved herself a lot of trouble if she had just learned to read and write,” Mary wrote in the post. “She could just scrawl out an explanation of her situation for Prince Eric like, ‘Hey Blue Eyes, I saved your life and then you fell in love with my voice, which I could probably get back if you just used your love to try to suck it out of my throat through my mouth here,’ but like nicer and in princess language. Then they could go ahead and seal the deal.”
Were we to assume then, that Ariel was actually illiterate? But wait! — she definitely couldn’t be a illiterate because there’s that scene where she reads Ursula’s contract and signs her name on it.
“But then I figured, if she was the daughter of a king, she probably could read and write,” Mary continued. “She probably had the finest underwater education available, especially since she was the star of the under sea orchestral extravaganza, which had absolutely no room for scrubs. Then it occurred to me, duh — they can’t write underwater without those special pens, and they’d have to be able to walk to The Sharper Image to get those. But I’ll be damned, she signed that contract with Ursula. So, Ariel is completely flipping literate and, in point of fact, has excellent penmanship!”
Mary tries to then give her the benefit of the doubt by proposing that she was just trying to play it cool and “take her game to the next level,” but then there’s no skirting around the fact that no independent, intelligent girl would choose to run around, as Mary put it, “miming like an adorable lunatic” instead of just eloquently writing out her thoughts.
So, unfortunately, there’s only one conclusion to draw, which is that the option of writing to Eric simply didn’t occur to her.
“Crushingly, Ariel absolutely could’ve closed from moment one and happens to be a moron,” Mary concluded.
This crazy Snow White fan theory will change the way you see Prince Charming: That ending doesn’t look so happy anymore.
Gah. What is this trend for overanalysing Disney movies until we’ve officially sucked the enjoyment out of them? First there was the major Little Mermaid plothole that made you question the whole movie, and now internet-people are raining on Snow White’s parade. DAMN YOU, INTERNET.
So. In case you need a li’l refresher (SPOILER alert for anyone that somehow hasn’t seen it, BTW) – Snow White is the story of a young, beautiful princess that takes refuge in a forest whilst hiding from her jels stepmother, the Evil Queen, before being poisoned and “killed” by a magic apple.
But was this really the happy ending our child-minds believed it was? One Reddit user, Scherazade, reckons NOT.
According to Scherazade, Prince Charming isn’t her savior – he’s Death. Say whaaaaat?
“Always present, always looming, but never intervening until it’s too late. Seen as an escape, but always risky, and she shies away from it when it first tries to embrace her. [Eventually] the Prince as Death saved Snow White, but only after she had fallen irreparably into his embrace through the apple.”
I have delved a little deeper into this theory that the Prince isn’t that charming and is instead just a really fit grim reaper.
They point out that Snow White’s initial meeting with the prince comes just after she’s been hanging over the wishing well. She seems afraid when she first sees him, and runs away. Coyness, or is it because he represents a brush with death by drowning in the well?
And that lovely end scene, where he kisses her and they trot off on a horse to supposedly live happily ever after?
The Prince’s kiss could actually represent him rousing Snow White from the grave to escort her into the afterlife, hence the strange imagery in the sky and the white horse used to lead his princess into the distance.
The white horse has a symbolic relationship with death in the bible (referred to as a ‘pale horse’ in Revelations) and this might also explain why Snow White is seen saying goodbye to the dwarfs like she is never going to see them again.
Sadly this does seem quite legit. We get that Prince Charming doesn’t exist in real life, but now we can’t even believe in Disney princes? What gives?!