Questioning Everything Disney Little To Much

Archive for August, 2017

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Fan Art Tuesday

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Death in Disney Movies: Making The Most of Teachable Disney Moments

death in disney movie

I must caution you this post contains minor spoilers, as if the given of ‘happily ever after’ weren’t spoiler enough.     

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If you have children, especially of the little girl variety, you’ve probably seen Disney’s princess flick Frozen.  In my household, we’ve seen it too many times to count.  I generally dislike sitting through the same movie more than once, but I must admit this one is kind of delightful. Short enough, good soundtrack, decent humor, gorgeous animation – what the heck, give me a tub of buttery popcorn and I’m in!

As we all know, Disney fairy tales tend to follow a certain recipe and Frozen is no different – one handsome prince; a doe eyed princess (x2 this time around); a pinch of too-adult-for-the-kids humor; a dab of peril; simmer until you achieve happily ever after; and voila you have movie magic.

About 15 minutes into the movie we see that ‘Frozen’ also calls for another common theme (spoiler: death) when the princesses’ father and mother are killed in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment  wrapped up in the later 1 minute and 30 seconds of what starts out as one of the film’s sweetest songs.  First we see a boat carrying the King and Queen of Arendelle get sucked into a stormy sea then flash to an image of servants covering their portrait, flash to an image of their daughter Anna standing at what appears to be a funeral, and flash to Anna and her and her sister sad and alone.  The most overt reference to what happened was when Anna says to her sister Elsa, ‘we only have each other’.  That’s it.

As an adult it took ME about 30 seconds to realize what happened and then another 30 seconds to contemplate how to quickly explain their death to my nieces, who were now looking at me all like, “why are the pretty girls sad?”.  Leaving only about 30 seconds to whisper, “THEIR MOMMY AND DADDY DIED”, before the movie flashes forward a few years (I think?) to a much happier and non-griefy time.  I was left thinking, “Gee I hope their death wasn’t an integral part of the plot because there’s no way my kids understand what just happened.”

Turns out it was semi-relevant to the plot, but the girls didn’t seem phased.  I think kids are just used to the inexplicable absence of adult supervision in television and movies. Honestly, vague references to death are kind of common practice with children’s movies, so if my nieces don’t get too hung up on it I often just let it go. I probably could have glossed over this instance, but after our first encounter with Frozen I knew our relationship was nowhere near over so I figured I might as well gauge their understanding of what happened.

The concept of death is not new to my children so when I told them in the theater that the parents ‘died’ they vaguely understood the implications.  The part they found most confusing is the ‘how’.  The movie didn’t make their cause of death obvious (to a child at least) and it would never have occurred to my nieces that people die in ships at sea leaving their young adult children all alone.  In subsequent viewings of this scene, the girls have watched with greater understanding and asked additional questions about the funeral and why the parent’s portrait was being covered, thus building on their understanding of what happens after someone dies.

I’m not sure I would go so far as to say this was definitively a ‘teachable moment’.  In this instance Disney kind of leaves it up to you and honestly, depending on the child’s age and awareness, you may not feel the need to talk about it.  If you do, you may want to keep the following tips in mind.  In fact it may not hurt to keep these tips in your back pocket when watching any movie with a child. Not every movie warrants a conversation, but most children’s movies have a conflict and a moral lesson in there somewhere.

  1. Observe how the child responds to what they’re watching.
  2. Ask questions about their understanding of what happened.
  3. Fill in the blanks about what happened with clear and honest responses, even if that means giving them a little more information than they ask or introducing new words or concepts.  Don’t lie or skirt the truth, this often leads to more confusion(For example: It would have been easy for me to avoid the dreaded ‘D’ word by telling the girls that the King and Queen went on a trip and never came back.  But then the message they are then left with is that sometimes parents go away on trips and never return to their children.  That’s not much better!)
  4. Discuss how they think the characters are probably feeling.  Discuss times they have felt this way.
  5. If necessary, discuss the events of the movie in the context of their life.  For example, if something hits particularly close to home, address how it is and is not the same.

The instances of death in Disney movies are abundant, but only in a select few is it so integral to the plot that a parent/child discussion is absolutely warranted.  Here are the three we’ve recently discussed in my household:  (Feel free to share any additional examples – Disney or non-Disney – in the comments below)

Bambi: The death of Bambi’s mother:

Ugh…this scene gives me a pit in my stomach.  Most of us have seen it, when Bambi and his mom hear hunters near by they make a run for the thicket but when they get there Bambi finds himself alone.  He walks through the snowy woods calling for his mother until a buck arrives and tells him “Your mother can’t be with you anymore”.  It’s brutal.

Things you may want to discuss with your child:  

  • Gauge whether they understand what happened to Bambi’s mother.  
  • Ask, why can’t his mother be with him anymore?  
  • Discuss how Bambi might be feeling.  
  • Discuss who might be able to take care of Bambi now.  
  • Discuss adults in their own lives who sometimes help take care of them.  

Lion King:  The death of Mufasa (Simba’s dad)

Mufasa is killed by his evil brother Scar while trying to save his son Simba.  When Simba can’t wake his father he first cries for help and then, finding they are all alone, tearfully climbs into his father’s lifeless arms. There’s really no way around this scene, it’s extremely integral to the movie.

Things you might want to discuss with your child:

  • Gauge their understanding of what happened to Mufasa.  
  • Discuss why Simba was not able to wake him.  
  • Explain how death is different from sleeping and that when someone dies they can not wake up.   
  • Discuss how they think Simba feels.  

After this scene Simba, thinking he’s responsible for his father’s death, runs away and never returns out of shame and guilt. Children, especially young children around the age of 4, often think they are responsible for negative events in their life like death and divorce.  

  • Ask the child why think they Simba runs away.
  • Help to clarify why Simba is not responsible for the death of his father.

Up:  Carl and Ellie’s Story

I defy you to watch Ellie and Carl’s love story and not cry.  I was so not prepared for this scene the first time I watched it.  My eldest niece was still young at the time and I remember her being perplexed by my emotional state.  All I could say was, “It’s just so sad!”.  Anyway, a lot of ground is covered in this 4 and a half minutes (a lifetime in fact).  We see both Ellie’s grief after her baby dies in utero and towards the end we see Carl’s grief after Ellie dies from terminal illness.

Things you might want to discuss with your child:

  • Ask them if they have any questions about what happened to Ellie or Carl.  
  • Depending on their age, they may not have picked up on the death of the baby.  If they are curious but can’t make sense of why Ellie and Carl were preparing for a baby that never came, be honest and explain what happened.
  • Discuss Ellie’s illness.  If they seem concerned, reassure them about the differences between illness like the flu and terminal illness.  
  • Discuss how Carl probably feels.  
  • Discuss why they think Ellie made the scrap book for Carl.  
  • Discuss why they think Carl finally takes the trip that he and Ellie had been saving for.

 

Sometimes we sit at the kids table and sometimes we sit with the grownups.  There’s something for everyone so don’t forget to subscribe.  


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Fan Art Tuesday


20 Most Underrated Disney Animated Films

Underrated Animated Disney Movies

The Walt Disney company ranked number three in Forbes’ 2012 list The World’s 25 Most Reputable Companies. It seems that everyone – young and old – knows the name of Walt Disney and his 52 “Walt Disney Animated Classics” as of January 2013. Disney has made a lot of good animated movies, but some of them aren’t as well known and even less well-appreciated. What is the first thing that comes to mind if someone were to ask you to name your favorite Disney feature film. Most answers wouldn’t be Atlantis: The Lost Empire, The Great Mouse Detective, or The Black Cauldron.

So many Disney films don’t get the chance or promotion that the “more famous” ones get. It seems as if a Disney movie that isn’t in the Disney Princess Franchise then the movie gets pushed to the back burner of the movie world. The merchandise, the commercials, and the discussions seem to be reserved for the most popular Disney animated movies like The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, and Snow White. This is a list of twenty of the most underrated and under appreciated Disney animated movies. If you agree or disagree I welcome your comments. These are my personal favorite of the underrated Disney animated feature films.

20. Disney’s Pocahontas

 

On June 16, 1995 Walt Disney Pictures created their thirty-third animated feature film named Pocahontas. Pocahontas is the epic tale of a Native American princess named Pocahontas who just wants to find her own path. She eventually meets an English explorer – John Smith – who goes out to explore the surrounding areas.

The movie’s song, “Colors of the Wind”, went on to win a Golden Globe Award, an Academy Award, and a Grammy Award. As a single, “Colors of the Wind” also reached #4 on the U.S. pop charts in 1995. The soundtrack also won The Academy Award for Best Musical or Comedy Score.

Pocahontas has a great story line with great musical scores.

19. Mulan

Disney’s Mulan is the story of a young, Chinese woman coming of age in a land where women are treated as inferior to men. Wanting to prove her worth to her family, country, and to herself she masquerades as a male soldier in the Chinese army sent to defeat the invading Huns. Along with Mushu – her guardian dragon – and Crikee – her good luck cricket – Fa Mulan infiltrates the army and proves that indeed females are just as good as males.

The beautiful and talented Ming-Na Wen voices Fa Mulan while Eddie Murphy lends his voice acting skills to Mushu, Mulan’s guardian dragon. Disney’s Mulan is definitely in the running for top Disney underrated animated feature films.

Full of comedy, action, and life lessons, Disney’s Mulan brings a fresh air to the helpless women that Disney portrays in most of their animated movies. Even though Mulan has a sequel, it received much less promotion than some of the more famous Disney movies. With catchy and unforgettable musical scores, riveting action, hilarious comedy relief, and a wonderful story line, Mulan is a wonderful Disney classic to remember.

18. Home on the Range

Home on the Range (named after the famous country song) is an animated musical western feature film produced by Walt Disney Pictures in 2004. Even when Home on the Range was first released, the lackluster promotion of the Disney animated movie was astounding.

Originally entitled Sweatin’ Bullets, the story-line is set around a trio of dairy cows who become bounty hunters to save their farm from foreclosure. The touching tale was the last Disney animated film to be released on VHS.

Disney’s Home on the Range seemed to be destined to flop by Disney. Not only did Disney under-promote the animated movie at the time of its release but since then has also failed to include it as part of the larger Disney world. Unfortunately, this is a Disney jewel that has fallen into the underrated and unexposed Disney classics.

17. The Three Caballeros

The Three Caballeros is the seventh animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. It centers around Donald Duck and his two friends, José Carioca and Saludos Amigos. The film consists of several segments, which are connected by a common theme. Released in America in 1945 and again in 1977, The Three Caballeros is all-but-forgotten by Disney.

 

16. Fantasia

Upon its release in 1940 release, Fantasia surpassed ever previous animated film in terms of the high quality of its animation. Fantasia is the third feature film in the Disney animated features canon. The film consists of eight animated segments, each set to different classical scores. Due to Mickey Mouse’s decreasing popularity at the time, Fantasia was designed as a comeback role for Mickey. Disney had also always wanted to create abstract animation.

Disney had also always wanted to create abstract animation. As the movie jumps from a scene of dancing flowers scene to one with dinosaurs, the audience must have thought Walt Disney was off his rocker. No one scene appeared related to any other. Though it’s a very unorthodox animated movie, Fantasia is a great movie to watch – if nothing more than to see Walt Disney’s mind at work. And although Fantasia has a sort of sequel – Fantasia 2000 – it isn’t talked about much by Disney, despite being the third animated film Disney ever produced.

15. Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is the 34th animated feature in the Disney Animated Classics series and was released in 1996. The animated movie is set in 1502 and centers around a disfigured man named Quasimodo. Ensnared by the Judge, Claude Frollo, Quasimodo is forced to live in a bell tower isolated from anyone and anything except his friends the gargoyles.

Judge Frollo pretends to be Quasimodo’s friend and savior and uses this leverage to keep Quasimodo enslaved, despite the fact that twenty years earlier, Judge Frollo killed Quasimodo’s mother as she tried to sneak into Paris. Quasimodo meets a gypsy named Esmeralda who he befriends and becomes intrigued with. With an impressive animation and even more impressive great story line, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a classic to be remembered and loved. The heartfelt story line will pull at your heartstrings and make you want to watch it time and time again.

14. Oliver and Company

In 1988, Walt Disney released its twenty-seventh full-length animated feature film, Oliver and Company. The movie is set in the 1980s and centers around a homeless kitten who is looking for a home in the vast city of New York. Oliver and Company was inspired by the Charles Dickens’ novel, Oliver Twist. The orphaned kitten joins a band of vagabond dogs led by a kindhearted homeless man named Fagin.

Fagin has taught his dogs how to steal, cheat, and con to survive. When one of his schemes goes awry, the little kitten gets taken in by a little girl named Jenny who names the kitten Oliver. Jenny already has a pampered pooch named Georgette at home who is jealous of the attention Jenny gives to Oliver. Georgette tries to get rid of Oliver so she can reclaim her spot as head pet.

It is such a touching and moving story line about the power of friendship and finding a home. This movie works with these themes better than any other one. With such a great story line, it’s a wonder that Oliver and Company isn’t more famous. A definite must-see.

13. The Rescuers Down Under

The Rescuers Down Under is the 29th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics. It is the sequel (a first for an animated feature) to Disney’s The Rescuers. Both The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under were based on the novels by Margery Sharp. The story line centers around two mice – the very classy Miss Bianca and the jittery janitor, Bernard.

Bianca and Bernard are part of a secret organization called ‘Rescue Aid Society’ that helps children in need. The action starts when a boy named Cody is kidnapped by Percival C. McLeach – a notorious poacher who is in search of Marahute – a rare golden eagle. Throughout the story, we switch between Miss Bianca and Bernard’s adventures and how Cody is fairing with McLeach and her lackeys.

The Rescuers Down Under is a Disney classic movie that certainly is very under appreciated. With stellar animation, directing, and story, this movie is a pleasure to watch.

12. The Black Cauldron

The Black Cauldron was released in 1985. It’s an American animated fantasy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation. The Black Cauldron is Disney’s attempt at a dark tale, and they executed it perfectly. The Black Cauldron was based on The Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander, which is based on Welsh mythology.

The movie is about the evil Horned King who is searching for the magical Black Cauldron, which will help him rule the world. A little farm boy named Taran, along with his magic pig, who can see where the Black Cauldron is located, is captured by The Horned King. While in the dungeon Taran and his magic pig encounters Princess Eilonwy – a tomboy-ish princess trying to escape the dungeon. The dark quality of the movie makes the animation in it seem more dramatic.

It seems as if Disney’s The Black Cauldron went under the radar, even when it first came out. Right before the film was released in theaters the Diseny chairman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, decided to cut a lot of the movie due to its graphic nature and its length. In 2012 The Black Cauldron soundtrack was re-released to the public.

11. The Rescuers

The Rescuers was produced by Walt Disney in 1977 and is the 23rd film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. The movie is about an international mouse organization – the Rescue Aid Society – which is headquartered in New York. The Rescue Aid Society is dedicated to helping abducted children around the world.

Two mice from the Rescue Aid Society, Bianca and Bernard, are on a mission to rescue an orphaned little girl named Penny who is being held prisoner by treasure hunters. We follow Bianca and Bernard on their adventure to rescue Penny from the treasure hunters who are trying to make Penny help them find the treasure they’re seeking.

Despite the fact that The Rescuers was quite successful upon its original theatrical release, earning over $48 million in the box office, making it Disney’s most successful film to that date, Disney hardly ever mentions it. It’s a shame that for such a great adventure story to be shunted to the way-side.

10. Brother Bear

Produced in 2003 by Walt Disney studios, Brother Bear is an animated feature film about three Inuit brothers who return to their tribe so that one of the brothers – Kenai – can receive his sacred totem. Kenai’s totem is the bear of love, much to his disappointment because, “bears are thieves.” When Kenai’s oldest brother gets killed by a bear, Kenai goes after the bear and kills it. Once he kills the bear, its spirit punishes Kenai by turning him into a bear.

We follow Kenai as he searches for a way to turn back into a human, only to meet a bear cub named Koda who is adamant about tagging along with Kenai the bear. Kenai and Koda become friends after a while. To the dismay of Kenai, he learns that the bear he killed was Koda’s mother, a revelation that devastates Koda.

The second Disney animation about Native Americans, this movie is an homage to the Inuit tribe. Brother Bear pulls you in and tugs at your heart strings, while also including enough comedy relief to keep it Disney. A great movie to watch with your whole family.

9. The Great Mouse Detective

Released in 1986, The Great Mouse Detective is Disney’s 26th full-length, animated feature film. The Great Mouse Detective adapts the Basil of Baker Street series by Eve Titus. The lead protagonist and detective, Basil, is based on Sherlock Holmes.

When a toy maker is kidnapped, his daughter enlists Basil to help find her father. The movie’s villain, Ratigan, kidnapped the little girl’s father to force him into making a robot replica of the mouse queen in order to control the mouse community. This is quite a dark story, but it is a great movie to watch with the family.

8. Meet the Robinsons

Meet the Robinsons is a computer-animated feature film produced by the Walt Disney company. It is the 47th animated feature in Disney’s Animated Classics collection. It is loosely based off of A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce. Meet the Robinsons is about an orphaned boy named Lewis who has a precocious talent for science and invention. Unable to remember his birth mother, Lewis tries to invent a machine that will help him remember what his mother looked like.

Lewis’ memory scanner is sabotaged by a guy in a bowler hat, which subsequently makes Lewis give up on science and invention. When Lewis goes to the top of his orphanage to sulk, he finds a boy named Wilbur, who claims to be from the future. Lewis goes with Wilbur to the future where Lewis finds that Wilbur’s family is quite unorthodox, but the love he feels is astounding. Lewis doesn’t want to leave because he feels as if he’s finally found his home, but when Wilbur drops the bomb to his family that Lewis is from the past, Wilbur’s family decides that they no longer want to adopt him. We also learn that the guy in the bowler hat was the future version of Lewis’ roommate in the orphanage, who went back into the past seeking revenge on Lewis, whose loud scientific experiments kept the roommate up at night.

Meet the Robinsons is a great story about family, love, finding your way, and believing in yourself. With great animation, story line, and characters, Meet the Robinsons is a great movie to watch with or without your family. It’s a comedy, but the moral is clear: always believe in yourself.

7. Tarzan

Disney’s 1999 hit, Tarzan, was a breath of fresh air from the overdone princess/prince movies that Disney released in the 1990s, like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. Tarzan is about an orphaned boy that is adopted by apes and grows up in the jungle.

Growing up with apes, Tarzan has never known about other humans like himself until a group of primatologists comes to the jungle in search of apes to study. Tarzan is smitten by the female primatologist, Jane.

Tarzan was the first Disney animated feature film to open at #1 in the box office since Pocahontas. Tarzan was the last major box office success of the Disney Renaissance. Though Disney’s Tarzan did get a television series, a Broadway show, and a sequel, the animated film sadly isn’t front and center in the Disney world – as it should be. The scenery is extravagant and the animation was perfectly executed.

6. Robin Hood

Disney’s 1973 Robin Hood is the studio’s 23rd animated feature film. Disney used anthropomorphic animals instead of people to relay their version of the famous Robin Hood tale. Robin Hood is an outlaw of sorts that steals from the rich and gives his plunder to the poor. Robin’s love, Maid Marian, joins Robin Hood’s band and he tries to overthrow King John who had taken over his brother’s, King Richard, throne.

Robin Hood was a wonderfully executed Disney feature film. A great story line and masterful animators brought the characters of Robin Hood to life and actually makes you feel for the characters in the story. Robin Hood is a story of overcoming the odds and also a great love story. It’s a great film to watch with your family and/or friends.

5. Hercules

Disney’s Hercules was released in 1997 and is the animation giant’s 37th full-length animated feature film in their Walt Disney Animated Classics series. The son of Zeus – the king of the Gods – Hercules is kidnapped when just a baby by his uncle, Hades. Because Hades’ minions couldn’t completely finish turning Hercules into a mortal to kill him, Hercules became a demigod. Growing up as a demigod, Hercules was ridiculed by other “normal” children his age for being clumsy and having abnormally powerful strength.

Once Hercules discovers that he is the son of a God, he goes on a quest to become a hero so that he too can become a fully fledged God again. On his journey he meets a hero trainer named Phil that trains him into becoming a hero to help him realize Hercules’ dream of becoming a God. As Phil trains Hercules, they run into a maiden by the name of Megara who is secretly working for Hades to get rid of Hercules.

Disney’s Hercules is hands-down one of my definite favorite Disney animated feature films. Romance, action, mythology, comedy, wonderful animation, and the infamous Disney spark make this film a delight.

4. The Brave Little Toaster

In 1987, Disney released their animated film, The Brave Little Toaster. It’s based on the Thomas Disch novel of the same name. The adventurous story focuses on five appliances – a toaster, a blanket, a desk lamp, a vacuum cleaner, and a tube radio – who go on a quest to find their owner who hasn’t come back to get them.

Braving the outside world, the five appliances endure rain, mountains, a band of jealous new appliances, a junkyard magnet bent on crushing them, and more. This story centers around the concept that friendships are important. This is a great adventure story to share with the whole family.

3. Peter Pan

Produced by Walt Disney and released in 1953, Peter Pan is Walt Disney’s 14th animated feature film. The story is about Wendy Darling and her two brothers – John and Michael – as they go on an adventure with Peter Pan. Peter Pan is a fairy tale character – a boy from an enchanted land who never ages.

As Peter Pan, Wendy, and her two brothers reach the enchanted land of Never Land, they face the antagonist of the story, the notorious Captain Hook. Peter, the lost boys, Wendy, and her two brothers fight against Captain Hook.

Peter Pan is one of my least favorite Disney movies, but it is a great story nonetheless with very good animation. Though I’m not a big fan of the storyline, there’s no doubt something about this animated feature film that makes it worth watching.

It seems as if Disney agrees with me because out of all the characters they could have chosen to highlight, only Tinkerbell has her own following and merchandise. Even though Tinkerbell has her own franchise, Disney’s Peter Pan has seemed to have fallen by the wayside.

2. Treasure Planet

Treasure Planet is Disney’s 43rd full-length feature film. It uses a then-revolutionary animation technique at that time of using 2D animation on top of 3D computer animation. The film is Disney’s science fiction adaptation of the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

A teenage boy named Jim Hawkins receives a map of the legendary booty of Captain Nathaniel Flint from a dying pirate.The plot centers around Jim as he goes on a fantastic adventure across the universe as a cabin boy aboard a flying space boat. Befriending the ship’s cyborg cook, John Silver, Jim grows under his guidance and learns how to be a good shipmate while also fighting black holes, supernovas, and enduring space storms. Jim soon discovers that John Silver is really a scheming pirate who is plotting a mutiny.

A movie with such an awesome story line and such stellar animation certainly belongs on this list. Though it is based on the novel, Treasure Island, Disney has really outdone itself adding a celestial touch to it. Even though Treasure Planet was a major flop at the box office, it is a great animated movie nonetheless. Its poor box office was likely due to the fact that Disney didn’t actively and properly promote Treasure Planet.

1. Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Topping the list for Disney’s most underrated animated feature films is Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Atlantis is Disney’s 41st animated feature film. Atlantis is set around Milo Thatch, a linguist and cartographer at the Smithsonian Institution, who believes that he has found The Shepard’s Journal, an ancient manuscript that reveals the location of the long-lost island of Atlantis. Milo meets a millionaire named Preston B. Whitmore who is bent on finding Atlantis. Mr. Whitmore recruits Milo to lead an expedition to find Atlantis with a group of skillful misfits.

Once Milo and his expedition crew finds Atlantis, Milo’s crew turns on him to try to strike it rich by selling artifacts from Atlantis and kidnapping Atlantis’ princess. Milo tries to save the Atlantian princess and eventually regains the loyalty of his crew. Milo’s crew does become rich, but Milo decides to stay in Atlantis with the princess of Atlantis, Kida.

I must say, I am quite surprised that Disney really doesn’t talk about their first science fiction animated feature film. The execution of Atlantis: The Lost Empire makes it the best known underrated Disney animated feature film to date. The story was very well animated and executed. Its a hilarious science fiction adventure that deserves more publicity than it’s gotten. A definite must see for anyone, young and old.

Conclusion

There are so many animations that Disney have just thrown to the wayside to promote their Disney Princess and Disney Fairies franchise. The Disney movies mentioned above are just a few examples of Disney’s greatness that somehow haven’t become as popular as some of the other movies. Do you have more to add? Don’t agree with some of the movies’ spot on the list? Let me know in the comments.


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Disney Confession #101: Final Confession

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Fan Art Tuesday


Historically Accurate Disney Part II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Disney Confession #100


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Fan Art Tuesday


The Meanings Behind Elsa

***WARNING: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED Frozen. Though I don’t know how you haven’t seen it yet. SPOILERS AHEAD. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK***

Frozen is my absolute favorite Disney movie of all time currently after Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. So, obviously, I’m going to be talking about the movie’s main(ish) character Elsa and some of the hidden meanings behind her terribly well developed character (millions of points for you Disney, you go Disney).

Now one thing that I noticed about Elsa was the fact that she was dressed in very dark colors in the beginning of the movie; black, purple, and a dark/navy blue. Some people think that her attire is such because she is a royal and the queen. Well yes, purple was indeed a colour associated with royalty, for example, among the Ancient Greeks and also they don’t call it royal blue for no reason. But the main reason that Elsa is dressed in such dark colours is because it reflects the emotions she holds internally due to the roller coaster of a life she has lived.

Elsa is a character that has faced many hardships throughout her years of being a princess:

  1. she nearly killed her little sister Anna with her powers unintentionally
  2. she ceased her relationship with Anna because of the incident
  3. as she grew older, her powers only became stronger and scared her
  4. she didn’t know how to control her powers (which is why she was scared)
  5. she had to hide herself from the world because of her powers and the fear of people thinking that she is a monster as well as hurting them unintentionally
  6. her parents died and she had no one to comfort her/ mourn with (mostly because she isolated herself because of the reasons above)
  7. she suddenly faced the stress of becoming queen and having to hide her powers from her entire kingdom even more than ever before

This is where we get into the absolute depth that Disney created within Elsa (you geniuses, God bless y’all at Disney). They combined all of the stress, heartache, remorse, anguish, loneliness and fear into a simple girl and managed to create a character that is the embodiment of anxiety and depression. After doing a little bit of research on types of depression and their symptoms, I’ve concluded (though I might be wrong, just saying) Elsa may have suffered from Dysthymia (a.k.a Chronic Depression).

Here are some parallels between the symptoms and Elsa:

  • Sadness or depressed mood most of the day or almost every day –> Elsa is seen in her room all the time without a smile on her face and hardly makes any attempts to try and have any sort of fun.
  • Loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable –> Elsa’s powers used to make her feel happy because they provided her and Anna with fun but now all she does is fear them because, as previously stated, she has no idea how to control them and the only choice she has is to hide them from the world before she does something by accident and ends up harming someone at a greater scale than what happened to Anna years prior.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness or excessive guilt almost every day –> After the incident with Anna when they were young, Elsa regrets her powers and feels the remorse of almost killing her sister. Not only that, but Elsa (in the beginning) knows that she has no idea how to control her powers, giving her a sense of defeat because of her lack of stability and I personally believe that as a royal, one should be able to know themselves and be able to adapt to certain situations based on that due to many of the experiences that royalty face when compared to the average citizen. Elsa couldn’t do that. She wasn’t able to learn adapt to anything because she couldn’t even learn to adapt to herself. Finally, because of the fact that she can be a harm to society and possibly be an outcast because of her differences, Elsa knows that she will never truly be accepted into her kingdom, therefore making her, in a sense, a worthless member of society.

Elsa, even though she is a member of the Disney community, is a perfect example for a person being impacted by the effects of depression and anxiety. From personal experience, I know that both of these mental issues are terribly serious pertaining to my personal generation, impacting teenagers and young adults in ways that they never used to in the past. With the creation of Elsa, I feel that Disney has done absolute wonders by incorporating these characteristics into a princess that overcomes her problems and becomes the queen she truly is.