WRECK-IT RALPH 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay quick little thing because I’m excited as all hell but WRECK IT RALPH 2 IS OFFICIAL AND IT HAS A RELEASE DATE!

https://www.facebook.com/Disney/?ref=nf (I have no idea how Facebook works but you can see the first two things that appear are news on it.)

As you can tell I am beyond ecstatic. Wreck-It Ralph is one of my all time fave movies and they kept talking about a sequel but news would be few and far between and rather vague about it so it was hard to keep hope up. But now, Disney officially announced it AND THERE’S AN ACTUAL RELEASE DATE (March 9, 2018).

And what makes me especially happy is that Disney’s making a pretty big deal out of this. Yesterday they posted “Tune in Thursday June 30 at 9 PST For some BREAKING NEWS from Disney Animation” on all their social media accounts, posted it LIVE, and then made a separate video on how Ralph returns. This shows me that Disney still cares about the original movie and considers it a hit (since after the movie came out all the merch for it practically disappeared and no one talked about it).

Ooh I am so ready to be able to see some of my fave characters soon. Wreck-It Ralph is one of Disney’s best movies and I’m so happy to see it revived soon. Be sure to see the sequel and support the franchise! I know I will!

Five Reasons Wreck-It Ralph is More Feminist Than Frozen

Wreck-It Ralph is one of my fave movies ever, but since it came a year before Frozen, it kind of got forgotten amidst all the hype. When Frozen came out, so many people praised it as being the most feminist/progressive Disney film ever. After awhile, a lot of people emerged saying it was the opposite, and I’m one of them. While I do like the character of Elsa, I don’t like how she was handled, and I don’t like how the rest of t he movie was handled either. And while I won’t harp on people who find some empowerment in the film, I want to implore people to give Wreck-It Ralph the credit it deserves, because…

1) There’s actual gender equality—and a little gender subversion

Despite Wreck-It Ralph being about and named after the male lead, the female leads are just as memorable, well-developed, and dynamic. There are four main protagonists, two male (Wreck-It Ralph and Fix-It Felix Jr.) and two female (Vanellope Von Schweetz and Sgt. Calhoun), plus the male antagonist. Each character is important to the story, and there are some additional female characters (including Moppet Girl and Taffyta Muttonfudge) that help play a pivotal role in the plot as well. The female characters aren’t just there for fanservice or tokenism, they all actively serve a role. Vanellope’s role is just as large or even larger than Ralph’s.

What’s more, each of the four protagonists don’t fit neatly into a gender binary. Felix is a successful handyman but is polite, petite, soft-spoken, innocent, emotional, and not aggressive in any way and even vulnerable. Yet he is never shown as ‘inferior’ or a joke. Calhoun is very tough, militaristic, dominant, and has a lot of traits associated with a man (mainly the tragic backstory) but can still be feminine when she wants to. Ralph looks like a manly man but is actually not. He’s very expressive and emotional, as well as very caring and loving towards Vanellope. And Vanellope herself is a tomboy who doesn’t like femininity but doesn’t actively put it down either, and is very sharp-tongued.

By contrast, the characters in Frozen are kind of stuck in the gender binary. Anna and Elsa are both very girly and often need to be rescued (no, the movie does NOT teach that girls don’t need a man to save them, as Anna depends on men throughout the whole movie and only saves herself at the very end, and Elsa is constantly in danger), and Kristoff is very manly and gruff. His caring attitude is kind of rushed and comes out of nowhere.

Onto a related point…

NUMBER TWO: The female characters are all distinct and expressive

In regards to Frozen’s character designs, there was (and still is) a lot of controversy of how the designs of Anna and Elsa are Rapunzel knockoffs and their facial expressions are very stiff. This has been talked about endlessly by people who are way more versed on this type of topic than me, so I won’t go into too much detail. One thing I will say, though, is that what really bothers me is that BOTH girls look like clones of their MOTHER. Apparently the father’s gene didn’t factor in at all. In addition to having similar facial features, Anna and Elsa are all thin, white, youthful (Elsa looks a touch too young for Idina Menzel’s voice) and conventionally pretty. Whereas in the background, you get to see women of all different shapes, sizes, and colours. This arises all sorts of questions about our main heroines’ designs. Why couldn’t they have made Anna and Elsa biracial? Why couldn’t they have made one of the sisters a little wider around the midsection? Why not make Elsa more gaunt-looking in order to symbolize that she is a woman who is cold, restrained, and depressed? Why not make Anna more muscular (the movie demonstrates that she has amazing physical strength, after all)? The possibilities are endless, and instead they look very, well, safe. The women of Wreck-It Ralph, on the other hand, took a look at those requirements of what makes a female character appealing and went “fuck that shit”. Calhoun, while still attractive, is clearly a WOMAN. Her features are more mature and better defined. We see her look proud, determined, distraught, horrified, displeased, angry, and happy throughout the film. She’s actually allowed to snarl and look harsh. Anna and Elsa are more limited to happy, tearful, and awkward expressions, at least for the most part. Elsa looks restrained even when her sister is frozen solid. The female Sugar Rush racers (including Vanellope), while they do have a similar ‘chibi’ (large heads on tiny bodies) mould, all have distinct features (they all have different faces, in addition to different skin tones and eye shapes) save for the recolors (which are INTENTIONALLY made to look alike). Nobody is mistaking Vanellope and Taffyta for twins. And whereas Elsa gets to express joy in her “Let It Go” sequence, we see complete, utter, unabashed enthusiasm and ecstasy whenever Vanellope is close to achieving her dreams, and all her other emotions (from sassy to snarky to angry to determined to miserable) all look and feel real. Plus, we have Moppet Girl, who looks like an actual Average Jane (complete with glasses and imperfect teeth) and even the female Nicelanders, in all their roundness, have distinct looks to them that tell them apart. Obviously there are still some problems with the main heroines being, well, white-passing and thin, but there is definitely a vast difference between how expressive and distinguished they’re allowed to be versus how Anna and Elsa have to look.

Now let’s get to the female characters as actual characters…

NUMBER THREE: Vanellope is disabled, and damn proud of it

Elsa and Vanellope are both coded to have a form of disability (Elsa is meant to have anxiety and depression, according to writer and co-director Jennifer Lee, and Vanellope is often read by viewers as having autism and/or a form of physical disability) and face shit for it. You can look at my “Your Fave is Autistic” category for more of my thoughtson these characters, but while neither representation is perfect, I would argue that Vanellope’s disability is done in a more tasteful manner. You see, one thing that really pisses me off about Frozen is how, whenever Elsa gets a chance to truly express herself and be relieved of her mental woes, she’s constantly held back. After the “Let It Go” sequence, the rest of the movie is basically how the entire world brings her down. Elsa is harshly reminded everywhere she goes that she has done something wrong, but nobody tries to help her calm down and deal with the situation properly. Like she has to believe everything is her fault, but there’s no form of relieve or reassurance offered to her. Her boundaries are very often violated, even by her own sister.  Elsa is left in a state of utter depression and doesn’t get a chance to redeem herself until the very end of the movie, AFTER Anna sacrifices herself and we’re suddenly shown that “love will thaw”. After that, Elsa’s powers are best put to use…making an ice rink and rebuilding the castle (in other words, she has to express herself in a way that’s socially acceptable). Maybe it’s just me, but I constantly got the message that Elsa’s powers (and by extension her disability) were something to be ashamed of and carefully controlled. This is why I can say that, whereas Elsa’s representation left me feeling empty and wanting more, I felt really and truly empowered (yes, empowered) by Vanellope’s representation. Rather than have her conform to society in order to be accepted, society has to learn how to accept HER for who she is. Ultimately, SHE’S the one who takes control of her glitching—while at first she is lead to believe that she HAS to stop glitching altogether, she soon realizes, on her own, that she can use them for awesome purposes—using them to their full potential in a way that makes her powerful without causing the amount of destruction everyone believed she would cause. In fact, it’s her glitching that helps save the day in the end! Throughout the entire movie, Vanellope knows exactly who she is, what she wants, and who she wants to be—she KNOWS she is capable of greatness despite what people tell her, and is determined to prove that she’s more than just a glitch, and won’t let her oppressors bring her down. Whenever someone gives her grief because of her disability, they are proven very wrong indeed. In the end, Vanellope fully embraces her glitching, becomes fully comfortable with herself, and is beloved by all because of who she is, and there is absolutely NOTHING holding her back. She keeps her glitching in the end because there is nothing wrong with her being a glitch. Ultimately, whereas Vanellope’s glitching is at first seen as something purely destructive and she’s not entirely proud or confident about it, throughout the entire movie Vanellope learns to embrace her powers, and herself, to their full potentials. Elsa’s powers, on the other hand, are constantly reinforced as beautiful but dangerous and she can only use them for the most benign things. While it would have been fine if it was part of her recovery process of starting slow and simple, the problem is that she’s supposed all better at the end. Which leads to…

NUMBER FOUR: The recovery process is natural

At the end of the movie, Ralph didn’t get EXACTLY what he wanted, but it’s not all that bad. He says that he’s going to start taking life “one game at a time”. We see that his position in life is gradually getting better (the fact that he’s finally acknowledged as integral and important to his world is the biggest thing), but we, the audience, can infer that, if things make a turn for the worst, he has places to go and people to turn to in order to cope. While it’s not perfect (as many might argue it’s better for Ralph to just leave the Nicelanders entirely if the situation allowed it), the point is things will improve with time. This is a realistic message. Frozen, on the other hand, implies that love is the be-all, end-all, instant cure for all your troubles. The minute Anna is thawed, Elsa is instantly better and quick to unfreeze the kingdom and we soon see that everything is fine and dandy in the kingdom. There’s no point where Anna and Elsa have a conversation, even a short one, where they say that everything will be okay, and that they’ll start rebuilding their relationship and make things better bit by bit. The movie just sort of ends with everything being okay, no questions asked. Since Elsa is supposed to have anxiety and depression, this is not a really good message; dealing with these two ailments are a long (almost lifelong) battle, and recovery processes need to be taken slowly and with care. I should know. Love will help, but it takes more than that in order to properly heal.

Finally, and most important of all…

NUMBER FIVE: The relationships are genuinely HEALTHY (and genuine)

Oh yes. I will actually fight you over this, but I stand by my beliefs: the relationships in Wreck-It Ralph are much better handled than in Frozen. Kristoff and Anna spend so much time bickering and arguing and Kristoff makes it clear that he thinks Anna is annoying…but then suddenly when they’re chased out of the ice palace, they’re attracted to one another? And he really cares about her? And they fall in love? What? What’s worse is Anna and Elsa’s relationship. For a movie praised for being about sisters, those said sisters barely interact with each other, and when they do, it’s not happy or healthy. Elsa is either constantly shutting Anna out, or Anna is forcing herself upon Elsa. Worse still, when Elsa kicks Anna out of the ice palace, Elsa doesn’t bother looking for Anna even though it’s pretty clear she knew she froze Anna’s heart, and Anna pretty much leaves Elsa behind. But then, at the climax, oh wait! They do love each other more than anything! And love will thaw all! No, I’m sorry, that does not work. You can not have these two sisters estranged throughout the whole movie and then suddenly have them hold hands and be all loving with each other at the end.

But with Wreck-It Ralph, even though Ralph and Vanellope know each other for about a day, their friendship feels very real. They are both misfits who want a better life, and decide to help each other out with it. They routinely save each other’s lives and while they do tease each other, it’s not serious, and you can see how as the movie progresses their bond gets stronger. They ultimately helped each other, and will continue to see each other whenever they can. Felix and Calhoun have a better romantic relationship because Felix genuinely adores Calhoun and she realizes he isn’t so bad, and when she asks him to leave, he respects her wishes. I could’ve had a little more development, but it’s pretty clear that they both respect each other and that Felix is helping Calhoun move on from her dead would-be-husband and they make each other happy, and that in itself is great.

Overall, Wreck-It Ralph is one of Disney’s most progressive films and it’s a shame it’s not getting the recognition it deserves. It’s a good film for children of all genders to be empowered with and teach them good messages, and I would certainly recommend it over Frozen any day.

 

A New Franchise For Disney?

So I was on Tumblr (as I always am) and I came across this picture:

disneymoviesanywhere:
“You too can save the day with these heroic Disney movies, now available at a special price.
”

For a split second, I thought it was fan made, but then I saw that it was part of an official post from the official Tumblr page of disneymovieseverywhere, with the following caption: “You too can save the day with these heroic Disney movies, now available at a special price.

If you click the link in the quote, you can see it lead to a webpage that is indeed dedicated to “Disney Heroes”. So far, the movies listed in this new category are Mulan (and it’s sequel for some reason), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (and it’s sequel, again, for some reason), The Sword in the Stone, Robin Hood, Big Hero 6, Wreck-It Ralph, and Hercules. All of these movies have their followings (well, except for the sequels), and a lot of them are considered underrated (in other words, not universally hated).

When I saw this, I was pleasantly surprised (especially over the fact that Mulan is actually shown in her blue dress and as a hero, not a princess), but also very confused. For a company that’s mostly about Disney Princesses, Frozen, Star Wars, and Marvel right now, it’s really interesting to see them make a special page and offer dedicated to movies they barely acknowledge anymore. Why is that now, all of a sudden, we’re seeing a Disney Heroes collection? Is it going to feature a wider arrange of films (mainly Tarzan and Aladdin, movies which practically beg to be called “Disney Hero” films)? And, most of all, is this going to become a potential marketing franchise, like the Disney Princesses?

To be honest, I hope it does. Mainly because, I think children deserve a broader range of Disney-related products to play with and read. It would also give older fans a chance to buy products related to their new and old faves/not be swamped with the same merch from the same movies all the time.

I think they did have a previous Disney Heroes lineup a long time ago, focused on male hero leads, but died out due to the overwhelming popularity of the Disney Princess lineup. I could have sworn I saw a toy with a blue Disney Heroes label and mentions of it online but I can’t find any official info (if you have any, please let me know). So I wonder if this means they’re reviving it.I hope it becomes more successful at any rate.

I’m totally curious to see what they’re going to do with it. I think the best thing to do is to buy the movies offered to show Disney that people love them and would like to see more of them, and maybe Disney will do something from there. I really hope this leads to something, especially for Mulan (I don’t want her to be pigeonholed into just wearing glittery dresses and looking pretty and demure), Big Hero 6 (which is practically begging for a franchise; I just hope with its upcoming TV series we’ll see something more out of it) and Wreck-It Ralph (which has been almost completely forgotten, which is a shame given how good it is). I just hope it doesn’t mean that these are movies that Disney doesn’t care about and is lumping them together to sell them cheap for a limited time.

Your Fave is Autistic Part 4: Vanellope Von Schweetz and Wreck-It Ralph

http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/disney/images/2/2e/Wreck-it-ralph-disneyscreencaps.com-10766.jpg.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20131030172850

Wreck-It Ralph is one of my all-time favourite movies. It is extremely well-written, beautifully animated, has great and memorable characters and relationships, a fantastic villain, a compelling story, and lots of heart. It is, in my opinion, the greatest Disney film in a long time, as well as it’s most progressive (I’ll talk about why in another post). But one of the reasons why I love this movie so much is because the two main characters, Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz, resonate with me very deeply and personally. I see myself a lot in Vanellope, and I felt so much for Ralph. These are both characters who go through a lot of discrimination and hardship, and I think a good chunk of it is because I see them being coded to be autistic.

Now, it’s pretty obvious that Vanellope is coded to be disabled in at least one way due to being a glitch. Her actually glitching can be seen as a metaphor for a lot of disabilities and disorders (for me personally, I see it as stimming/flapping). Her story arc involves her being bullied, ostracized, and seen as a burden at best, dangerous at worst. She is seen as a ‘mistake’ that wasn’t supposed to exist. She is often told that certain bad things done to her are ‘for her own good’. Sounds pretty similar to ableist rhetoric, doesn’t it?

It goes without saying that a lot of people with disabilities and mental disorders IMMEDIATELY picked up how Vanellope was almost certainly disabled herself. I think it’s possible that she’s meant to represent (and empower) people of ALL different disabilities, though it’s entirely likely to read her as autistic in addition to having a physical disability (she is fascinated with racing and go karts, loving making her own karts, is very sharp and doesn’t pull punches, and is seen chewing and fiddling with the strings of her sweater). Her role as being a representation/metaphor has been hotly debated (though I personally think she is actually disabled, since she’s seen keeping her glitching even after she’s no longer a ‘glitch’), and while people could argue she’s less meant to represent autism as much as people with physical disabilities, I can say that Ralph is definitely coded to be autistic.

Despite having lived with giant hands for 30 years, he still has a lot of trouble with motor skills. He is very expressive and gets frustrated and emotional very easily, sometimes leading to overreacting and minor meltdowns. He has a lot of trouble with personal hygiene, resulting in spiky hair and bad breath, and he doesn’t have very good social or empathy skills (though he gets better with the latter by the end of the movie). He is fixated on getting a medal to get a better life (realizing that companionship and taking things slowly is better) and is extremely loyal to the people he loves. He has trouble wearing shoes (to the point where he goes barefoot at his friends’s wedding), isn’t very good at lying, and gets completely overwhelmed with the sensory nightmare that is Hero’s Duty. But what I find most interesting is how he is treated, and it goes a bit beyond him just being a bad guy.

You see, he is the only known bad guy that gets routinely stopped by the surge protector. ‘Special’ treatment? He is shown to be poor and stuck in a bad job position (a common problem for many autistic people). But most of all, he is told and realizes he can’t change who he is, and has to learn to come to grips with it, as long as he is accepted, has friends who understand and love him for who he is, and gets the help he needs.

Some people have pointed out that, if this movie was seen as a metaphor for class struggle, it kind of delivers a bad message about not being able to move out of your position and have to accept it. But if you read it as someone with autism, and where both he and everyone else realizes that’s who he is and he can’t change or cure it, and they give him the proper accommodations and he is able to take his struggles ‘one game at a time’, it becomes an infinitely more positive message. It also ties in with Vanellope’s story of being empowered and accepted, glitches and all.

It’s easy to see why this movie matters so much to me, and I hope it will continue to matter to a lot of people for a long time.

My Top 10 Fave Disney Animated Movies

Like many people, I’m a huge fan of Disney. It was a huge part of my life growing up, and today it still manages to make films that really resonate with me. So, I figured, now’s a good time to list my fave of the bunch. I’m not going to do live action films because I’m not as well versed in them (the faves I can list off the top of my head are Mary Poppins, Saving Mr. Banks, Enchanted, George of the Jungle,  Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Jungle Book with Jason Scott Lee, though the 2016 remake is probably going to be high on my list of faves; I’m not the biggest fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean films). Here are the list of all the different Disney animated films (including Pixar, but not including foreign films financed and distributed by Disney) that I’ve seen that are my absolute faves. Here we go!

UPDATED JUNE 2017: The list is now limited to Disney Animated Canon films and a special film that apparently was going to be in the canon, but got left out (I made a separate list for Pixar films).

Continue reading “My Top 10 Fave Disney Animated Movies”