Disney Movies

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  SNeaker on Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:50 pm

I've always been of the mind that people think too hard on this stuff. I grew up on Disney musicals, loved them all, and am probably the least romantic person I know.

I come from a religious community, and I know a lot of people who ban The Little Mermaid because they think it will encourage intermarriage. I'm like, "you're idiots, the lot of you." To me the real message is lost on these people. The point is that Ariel doesn't want to be sheltered -- she wants to know things, see things, and experience things, but her overprotective father refuses to allow it on any level, and this leads her to make some foolish choices. The message is that children need to be free to grow up and choose their own paths and parents trying to hold them back will have the opposite effect. That's what I got out of it anyway.

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  Crowbridge on Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:50 pm

I don't understand the criticism Ariel and Belle get. The way I see it, they are both independent, strong-willed, and intelligent.

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  Kiran on Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:54 pm

I also think that while Eric doesn't give in to a curse, he does risk his life to save Ariel from Ursula. So the one sided relationship stuff I don't understand either.
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Re: Disney Movies

Post  queenofdenile on Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:11 pm

Yes, exactly. They saved each other. That kind of thing always makes me happy.

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  Kiran on Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:26 pm

I think Disney Princesses get the same kinda rap Barbies do. Is there stuff to critique? Sure. But some of it is also projection. Like I had a lot of Barbies and yes some of them were fashion model Barbie, but I also remember loving Indian Princess Barbie because she looked like me and no other doll with, and owning President Barbie and Doctor Barbie.

I think its the same with Disney Princesses. Are their iffy things about them? Of course. But there is a lot of positives too.
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Re: Disney Movies

Post  Poubelle on Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:11 am

Yeah, I agree--there's both iffy things and positive ones, and as has been mentioned, kids can take away entirely different and sometimes strange messages. What I learned from Belle is that reading books all the time is awesome. So is rereading one you love over and over. (I'm not kidding--I'd only been able to read for a little while when the movie first came out and that's when I got really excited about books.) There are worse messages for kids to learn.

I'd also put up with a lot of crap from any guy who decided to gift me with an entire library, but I don't think I can blame Disney for that one.
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Re: Disney Movies

Post  Algae on Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:54 am

Do you know the best thing about being given the Kindle as a gift from my husband? It's the closest thing we have to someone just giving you a library.
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Re: Disney Movies

Post  queenofdenile on Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:19 am

At the same time, I do think that there's something to be said for the negative effects of all the aggressive Disney Princess marketing, which just plain didn't exist when most of us were kids or teens. When I was a wee lass, boys and girls were equally excited about the newest Disney movies and it was the "thing" that everyone talked about in the lunchroom. You could buy toys based on the individual movies.

Now, walk into a toy store that isn't a Disney-specific store, and good luck finding a Sebastian the Crab backpack or Flounder lunch box. In fact, good luck finding an Ariel product, period. I walk into stores and I don't see merchandising that has to do with the individual movies or characters anymore. They're ALL about the Disney Princesses. I know little girls who have Disney Princess merchandising without even having seen the movies. The characters aren't characters anymore; they're just part of a fashion or brand statement. And I do find that a little disturbing.
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Re: Disney Movies

Post  blixie on Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:57 am

Yes I think the nadir of this is that gender-coded gummy-candy VITAMINS that Disney is selling. OMG they are not even kidding with this shit. I have an apoplexy every time the commercial comes on tv.

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  mandalaya on Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:54 pm

Thanks to everyone who replied to my question, very interesting to read, and all good points. For me, I think fairy tales and Disney movies introduced love and romance as a topic when I wasn't really thinking about such things, and put it on the table as something my heroines were into, so I started seeing the world through that lens earlier than I would have without such stories. But I still love watching them!

I'm glad I missed the whole Disney Princesses scene, that's just weird.
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Re: Disney Movies

Post  inversed on Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:04 pm

I'm glad I missed it too, because I was so anti anything girly when I was little that I would've probably boycotted all the movies on principle and really missed out. It is really sad how much advertising and media messaging young girls are exposed to these days. The "princesses" are about a lot more than their dresses!!

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  Sincerity on Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:07 am

queenofdenile wrote:At the same time, I do think that there's something to be said for the negative effects of all the aggressive Disney Princess marketing, which just plain didn't exist when most of us were kids or teens. When I was a wee lass, boys and girls were equally excited about the newest Disney movies and it was the "thing" that everyone talked about in the lunchroom. You could buy toys based on the individual movies.

Now, walk into a toy store that isn't a Disney-specific store, and good luck finding a Sebastian the Crab backpack or Flounder lunch box. In fact, good luck finding an Ariel product, period. I walk into stores and I don't see merchandising that has to do with the individual movies or characters anymore. They're ALL about the Disney Princesses. I know little girls who have Disney Princess merchandising without even having seen the movies. The characters aren't characters anymore; they're just part of a fashion or brand statement. And I do find that a little disturbing.

I have to comment on this because of something my dad got me for Christmas this year. When I was a little girl, I had a stuffed animal Flounder that went everywhere with me. Seriously, I LOVED that thing. Somehow, in the many years since (I was four years old when The Little Mermaid came out), it got lost. Thrown out, just lost, whatever, I don't have it anymore. This past Christmas, my dad got me one. I seriously cried buckets when I opened the box and saw it. Then he told me how much of a pain it was to get it. "First I figured I'd just go to the Disney Store, but all I saw was Princess stuff and you've always hated princess stuff. They had a few stuffed animals of the newer movies, but nothing old. So then finally I searched on eBay for the past three years and managed to find it."

It took my dad three years to find a stuffed animal version of a beloved character from a Disney movie (granted, an old Disney movie, but still). Even now, I'm grossed out going to the Disney store because it's almost ALL princess stuff. Either princesses or Mickey. What about, like, Mushu? Or a more recent example, Rapunzel's chameleon friend?

Like I said, I was four when The Little Mermaid came out, so I was the perfect age for the Disney Renaissance. I learned that reading was cool, singing was awesome, and animal friends were the best friends you'd ever have. Looking back, I probably internalized some romance stuff, but I was way more interested in the animal friends than whether or not Belle was in an abusive relationship.

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  whatthedeuce on Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:08 am

Awww, one of my younger sisters hd a stuff Flounder, too, and thinking of it makes me so nostalgic. I wonder where that thing went and whether I'd bawl if I ever saw it again...

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  laddical on Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:13 pm

Brave turned out much better than the movie the marketing actually sold. For once, the marketing could have stood to spoil a little more of the plot. Everything you see story-wise in the trailer is pretty much just the first act of the movie. So there's a lot more meat to the plot than the ads let on.

The only thing I can think is that someone at Disney was afraid that public perception of the actual story would be, "Wait... didn't they already make this movie? Wasn't it called
Spoiler:
Brother Bear
?" I suppose that's a valid concern, but I personally could have used a little more plot in the advertising. If I didn't have two little girls chomping at the bit simply because the movie exists, I might have skipped it like I did Cars. And this movie is so much better than Cars.
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Re: Disney Movies

Post  big chicken on Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:51 pm

For once, the marketing could have stood to spoil a little more of the plot.

I had no interest in this movie until I read some more and found out that there was an actual plot. Basically, girl accidentally curses mom and then has two days to reverse the curse or else it becomes permanent. Would have been nice if some of that had made it to the trailer other than wacky hijinks with bows and arrows.

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  whatthedeuce on Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:28 pm

I saw Brave today and really enjoyed it. I loved the plot, the characters, the scenery, everything! There were a few times (especially in scenes featuring a river) where it truly didn't look like animation to me. It could have fooled me into believing it was a live shot of a nature scene. The triplet brothers were adorable as hell, and man, did I love hearing those Scottish accents. It was such a lively, vibrant film!

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  big chicken on Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:38 am

I liked it a lot, too. The river animation (if it was indeed animation) was excellent. This movie has a fairy tale quality to it which is more Disney-esque than other Pixar movies. I also thought the animated short, La Luna, was wonderful. They both had similar themes.

One word of warning though. I had to sit though this trailer for these things called Oogieloves. I'm going to have nightmares about them.

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  laddical on Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:47 am

I thankfully didn't have it in front of Brave, but I think I caught that in front of Madagascar 3. Thankfully, my daughters are no longer targets and would rather go see The Avengers then... whatever those things are. Like 50 Shades of Grey, I'd never heard of them before and suddenly they're selling themselves as this Next Big Thing.
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Re: Disney Movies

Post  rivki8699 on Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:56 am

I hate to be a downer, but I just saw Brave and I really didn't like it (neither did the two friends who saw it with me). It was beautiful to watch, but as a whole it just felt like a big fuck you to people who complained that Pixar never made movies about women. It was all, here's a movie about a woman, and she is, of course, a princess, and she causes problems because she doesn't want to be proper and get married like she's told, and in order to fix the shit she fucked up she has to
Spoiler:
sew and beg her mom's foregiviness for daring to disobey
. Oh, and
Spoiler:
her mom will have to loosen up a little, cause that's a revolutionary notion
.

Various things that pissed me off:
Spoiler:
The weird focus on the nurse's breasts - I just found it squicky.

The sequence at the beginning of the movie where Eleanor is listing all the things Merida is supposed to do and not do, ending with the expectation of perfection, and then stuffing Merida into a dress that was too small and covering her hair, could have been a really interesting commentary about how girls are expected to achieve the unachievable, both behaviorally and as beauty objects, and how restrictions on women are so often policed by women, but they never actually got there. As it was it just kinda made me hate Eleanor.

The whole plot where Merida had to get married, apparently with no preparation, just didn't make sense. It felt like it was supposed to tie back to the four brothers, like this type of marriage was how the clans had made peace after that war. But if that was true, wouldn't Merida have known about it - and wouldn't she have been raised to expect such a marriage (as opposed to it apparently taking her completely by surprise)? And if that was true, how is it that Merida explains that the current alliance was created by her father when the clans were attacked by outsiders? In which case it felt like the marriage was just her mom's idea, for no reason.

And as cute as Eleanor was as a bear, I would really have liked it much better if she and Merida could have talked out their issues. Having her mute for the crisis was very frustrating.

In the end, I just couldn't believe that when they finally told a tale about a woman, that this was the story Pixar chose to tell.

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  Matinee on Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:10 pm

I just want a girl heroine wherein her femaleness isn't seen as an impediment to her being a heroine or an issue. Like, where it's accepted at the start of the movie that she can be a hero rather than that specific battle being her hero's journey. Or including a subplot about marriage. It's fucking 2012.

As I think we discussed earlier, I can only think of How To Tame Your Dragon as an example of a mainstream animated film where it's taken as a given that suitability as a fighter is not gender-based.

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  Menshevixen on Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:23 am

I really, really enjoyed Brave. I suppose part of it is that I'm not a giant Pixar fan to begin with, so I have no bar for what their movies "should" be, but I also like movies about mother-daughter relationships, archers, funny horses, and wild little girls with lots of red hair (Merida reminded me of my youngest cousin). I liked the way the movie dealt with Merida's choices and how she and her mother reconciled.
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Re: Disney Movies

Post  Coneycat on Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:03 pm

Menshevixen wrote:I really, really enjoyed Brave. I suppose part of it is that I'm not a giant Pixar fan to begin with, so I have no bar for what their movies "should" be, but I also like movies about mother-daughter relationships, archers, funny horses, and wild little girls with lots of red hair (Merida reminded me of my youngest cousin). I liked the way the movie dealt with Merida's choices and how she and her mother reconciled.

Same here. Maybe part of it was the fact the theatre was PACKED with little girls and their mothers, so there was a constant adorable hum of appreciation in the background, but I just loved it. Also, Angus the horse looks just like one of the horses at the barn where I keep my girl. And I loved that the main relationship was between the "tomboy" daughter and her mother, instead of her dad.

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  Shalamar on Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:57 pm

I agree this wasn't Pixar's best, but I loved the fact that Merida had TWO PARENTS, both of whom loved her and loved each other. That's not a common thing in the Disney/Pixar universe.
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Re: Disney Movies

Post  Luthien on Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:53 pm

I'm just back from seeing Brave, and I wish I could say I truly liked it. There were parts I enjoyed, and I don't feel I wasted my money, but the movie is very disjointed. I had a hard time figuring out the tone they were going for: there was a lot of slapstick humour that felt like they were going for a straight comedy, but then there was the seriousness of Merida and Elinor's predicament that played like a straight drama.

Spoiler:
The scene with the witch's "voice mail" was straight out of a Shrek movie! I found it really out of tone even with the slapstick humour of other scenes. Did anyone else catch the blink-and-you'll-miss-it wicker man reference in that scene? The witch scene should not have been played for comedy. It was a great opportunity to reinforce more about the legend of the four princes, and set up a slightly sinister tone. In other Disney movies, witches aren't typically played for outright laughs, there's usually a more sinister edge to them even under the funny. I'm thinking like Ursula or the Shadow Man. I had practically forgotten about the four princes legend by the time it became truly important to the plot.

The sequence at the beginning of the movie where Eleanor is listing all the things Merida is supposed to do and not do, ending with the expectation of perfection, and then stuffing Merida into a dress that was too small and covering her hair, could have been a really interesting commentary about how girls are expected to achieve the unachievable, both behaviorally and as beauty objects, and how restrictions on women are so often policed by women, but they never actually got there.

I was expecting a lot more hair symbolism to that effect. It was there subtly: Elinor has her hair down at the end of the movie, but I would have liked to see them do a little more with it.

I think a lot of my issues with the movie were that as a grown woman, I've seen the rebellious daughter story a thousand times, and rebellious princesses have been done to death. Heck, Brave even comments on this with that hilarious bit where Billy Connolly impersonates Merida. But for little girls seeing this at a young age, that's still new to them. I kept thinking, "Princess Jasmine had these problems twenty years ago."

We have legends about will-o-the-wisps where I live, and I kept wanting to hiss like Gollum at the screen: "Don't follow the lights!"

My mother and I saw it together and talked it over in the car on the way home. She pointed out that we were being quite harsh on the movie because it's really meant for a much younger crowd, and I think she's right. This is definitely aimed at young kids only, unlike many of Pixar's previous efforts. Starting sometime around Cars, they seem to have started to differentiate their movies: these ones for kids (Cars, Cars 2, Brave), and these ones for everyone (Up, Wall-E, Toy Story 3). Kids'll see the pretty red hair and horse riding and archery and be in heaven: I would have been when I was 8. So my verdict: Merida is great for the young ones, but I'll stick with Astrid from How to Train Your Dragon for a fighting medieval-ish heroine. I've been rather unfairly comparing these two movies in my mind, but HTTYD is meant for an older crowd, I think.

The 3D was wretched at my theatre. It was outright blurry in some of the panning shots. So disappointing. I don't know why Disney can't do good 3D, but they really can't, live-action or animated. Walt would be at the forefront of this technology if he was alive. But when I could see properly, it was beautiful. I loved Elinor's dress, the way it moved and sparkled. And the water!

Wasn't the "La Luna" short adorable? I loved it. The credits for the short even had "production bambini" listed! I watched the end credits of Brave itself (there's a stinger at the end that was funny), and was so disappointed that it didn't say "production bairns" at the end! It just said "babies" like always. Perfect opportunity wasted.

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Re: Disney Movies

Post  Instant Monkeys on Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:40 pm

Aww, I missed "production bambini"! I ALWAYS have to stay for the production babies.

I saw it this weekend as well. I did like it, a lot. But I also understand/agree with a lot of the criticism, and I did not think it was one of Pixar's best (with of course the disclaimer that "not Pixar's best" is still pretty darn good). I'll post here what I said on Facebook:

1. I would bet money that Pixar was asked to do a princess movie. And I think within that framework they decided to have the mother be alive/be a big part of the story unlike most of the rest of Disney, and not have it end with a romance (obviously also unlike most of the rest of Disney). I've heard complaints that it was a bit cliched with the whole "girls can also be warriors! they don't have to just be ladies!" thing. And I must say I agree with that. You get a little tired after a while with revisiting that over and over, and for me at least, of the dichotomy between "prissy lady" and "fighter." There ARE other ways to be. I don't want to overreach by comparing it to virgin/whore, but...yeah, kinda, a little bit. (This goes back for me all the way to reading the Little House books when I was a little girl. Mary was obviously a pain in the ass, but Laura being all loud and rambunctious and action-oriented etc. was not me either.) But Disney has already done the "bookish princess" movie, Beauty and the Beast. It's sort of like the article about whether Merida is a lesbian -- it's like, there's this pile of girl characteristics that there is a need to have decided before any other kind of personality can emerge -- cliched traits that you either have to embrace, rail against, or post-feminist-ly embrace again -- which you don't find as much in boy characters. None of this bothered me terribly while watching the movie, but in thinking about that criticism I did find that I could see that point.

2. The other reason, and the main reason really, that I didn't think it was one of the best was I just didn't think the writing was QUITE as sharp as it usually is. With most Pixar movies I'm just bowled over again and again by the cleverness and how everything fits together. With this one there were small bits that I thought were a tiny bit clunky (again, we're still talking about Pixar here), or where things could have gone further/have been taken in a slightly more original direction. I'm talking both things like dialogue and also just the visual stuff where I just sometimes felt it wasn't as genius-ly executed as it usually is. That's a hell of a bar to have to come up to though. Brad Bird and Andrew Stanton (ESPECIALLY ANDREW STANTON, heh) need to quit making "real" movies and come back to Pixar. Career development schmameer schmamelopment. :)

Good point, too [in the FB post I was responding to], about the boys and how they didn't seem thrilled with the betrothal situation either. I did think they addressed that somewhat at the end with (trying to avoid spoilers through vagueness) Merida's speech and their reactions. I admit I thought a few times of the Atalanta cartoon from Free to Be You and Me, which should practically have a story credit. :) (again though: that was the '70s. It's 40 years later, y'all.)

And Luthien, the part that you mentioned as being reminiscent of a Shrek movie, I kinda agree. There were a few situations that just seemed very predictable and jokey to me. However, overall, I was very happy with the story and its focus, with the character of Merida, with the parents' relationship to each other and to her, and with many other things. Pixar can't reinvent cinema every time they make a movie. And make no mistake, I still cried like 90 times, starting with the opening shot and the music.

I loooooooved the short. It is based on a short story by Italo Calvino -- the beginning is at least -- that I could not possibly love more. I got emotional the instant I realized what it was (and I suspected the minute I saw a rowboat at night with "La Luna" on it).
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