Monday, December 6, 2010

Tangled 3D / The Fate of Princess Movies

I recently saw Tangled 3D at my theater the other day. I missed the first 8 minutes because I somehow managed to mix up the times, despite BEING EMPLOYED BY THE THEATER, so I can't speak for the intro or the opening credits, but I can tell you that the entire rest of the movie is 100% awesome. Sky thinks its as good as The Little Mermaid, with which I agree. In fact, I think it's as good as Pocahontas, but when I told this to Sky she become outraged and called me blasphemous. Apparently you can't just go around saying a movie is as good as Pocahontas, there are procedures and field studies and years of research that are required for such bold a statement. (But I stand by it.)

"Tangled" is a Disney movie that was originally titled "Rapunzel" which is in fact about the fairy tale Rapunzel. They changed the title after the lackluster success of "Princess and the Frog" last year, which fell way below expectations and still didn't even make back the budget last time I checked. So Disney got this idea that "princess movies" are no longer marketable, because they marginalize the film into a female demographic, which means that families with more than one child will more likely see a movie that's agreeable to both sexes instead. Because the title "Rapunzel" is immediately recognized as a "princess movie," they changed it to "Tangled," which gives no indicator as to the subject matter.

First of all, I have some things to say about the concept of a princess movie. I think a lot of Disney movies are categorized as being princess, when they actually have nothing to do with royalty or kingship. Any movie with a female lead is immediately labeled "princess." For instance, Belle from Beauty in the Beast is a peasant until the last 5 minutes of the movie, and she's considered a Disney Princess. So is Mulan, and she's a princess for literally none of the movie. Pocahontas is almost technically a princess, but she doesn't live in a castle, go to evening balls, or do anything featured in the original princess movies. Jasmine from Aladdin is a legit princess, but she's a supporting character at best. The only true princess movies are Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White.

I agree with Disney that its risky to put out a princess movie these days, but I disagree that it's because it alienates families with boys. I think Princess and the Frog didn't work because princess movies themselves don't work. Princess and the Frog features an African American princess, because for a long time people made the argument that Disney doesn't have any African American princess movies. While that's true, what people failed to mention is that Disney hasn't made a princess movie since 1959. Snow White came out in 1937 for fuck's sake. I think they should have titled Princess and the Frog something else, because really it's not about a princess either, it's about a poor girl. They should have made the emphasis that it was a movie with a black lead, not that it was a movie with a black princess. People don't like the princess movies as much because they really aren't that good. I haven't watched Snow White since I was 7, but I watch Mulan at least once a year, and I have the Pocahontas soundtrack on my iPod. The only reason people loved Snow White so much is because it was 1937 and there were like 6 movies in theaters and the fact that pictures could move and talk was already half the entertainment. Aurora of Sleeping Beauty isn't even in her movie! She's the sleeping beauty, and she's on screen less than Jasmine from Aladdin. And with a release date of 1959, Aurora is easily the freshest of the princesses. Why would kids want to go see a princess sleep for 70 minutes and then get married at 16 when they could watch a merry band of hilarious toys go on an adventure and learn about friendship? I know which one I would (and did) pick.

Stop making them & stick to a story that's actually dynamic. Interesting characters/dialogue are also a plus.

Quality 5/5 It's awesome. Would definitely see again.
Hottie Quotient 3/5 Zachary Levi is actually pretty attractive in real life
Worthiness to Previous Disney Classics 4/5 It's not as good as the Lion King, but it's definitely as good as the other Renaissance movies


  1. OK, I know the last cartoon review had a hottie rating of 0/5, but I am disappointed that this one neglected such a rating. Somehow, I have felt that both Simba and Robin Hood were semi-hot Disney characters and they are not even my species. Thus, I would think that the "Tangled" "prince" deserves at least a 3, and perhaps even a 5 as he is really the ideal man.

  2. that's true!! I forgot about the rating system