Love and Death with The Book of Life and Big Hero 6

If you’ve been following me, you know that my fave movie is Big Hero 6. You may or may not also know that one of my fave animated movies is The Book of Life. While I have some problems with Maria’s design (the huge head, hair, and eyes on a really skinny body are really distracting) and I cringe at an Aztec-coded character routinely being called a savage, The Book of Life is still a beautiful film with amazing visuals (some of the best for a low budget animated film not made by Disney, Pixar, or DreamWorks), an exciting story, great songs, and I just admire how much love and pride the makers have in their country and culture.

What I find interesting is that both movies came out not too far apart from each other (BH6 was released on November 7, 2014; TBOL was released on October 17, 2014) and they both have one similar, recurring theme: they both deal with death.

I recommend you watch both movies before reading this post in order for you to fully understand this post, but basically, BH6 is about dealing with loss and grief after the death of a loved one, whilst TBOL revolves around Day of the Dead and touches on loss and grief a little bit, but mostly focuses on a man who has died but needs to come back to life in order to save his town. (It’s…not an easy plot for me to describe. Again, please go see the movie. It’s really good.)

What I find interesting is that TBOL offers a rather religious/spiritual view of dealing with death, but BH6 offers an atheistic view of such.

In TBOL, there’s no question. Those who are dead are not gone at all; their spirits are very real. Their presence is felt very strongly on Day of the Dead. Those who are remembered live in a lush, wonderful, festive land, while those who are forgotten are stuck in a frozen, barren wasteland. They even show up in the world of the living for a single day! The movie is deeply rooted in Mexican culture and spirituality, with its own version of heaven, hell, and resurrection. BH6 takes a different approach. We never see Tadashi’s ghost, or where he is in death, or any talk of how his spirit is watching over them or if his presence can be felt. What’s more, in TBOL remembering dead loved ones is very important, but in BH6, simply remembering Tadashi isn’t enough.

What I find interesting is that both main characters (Hiro and Manolo) don’t fully know how to deal with the death of their loved ones initially and move past it in their own way.

For Hiro, he becomes depressed and withdrawn, and later vengeful. But with the help and love of his friends, he learns violence is not the answer, that Tadashi will always be in his heart, and he will do good things in his name. For Manolo, we don’t see him get as upset, and he is able to deal with the deaths of his family members very well, but is unable to handle the supposed death of his love interest, Maria (who was just in a trance). Wracked with guilt, he decides to commit suicide in order to be with her, but realizes that it was in vain. On his quest to go back to the living, he learns the value of life, and when it looks like he’s going to die for real, he also learns the value of remembering loved ones and tells Maria to do the same. He survives, and lives happily ever after.

Both movies offer their own idea on how to deal with death. BH6 tells the audience to reach out to people, to seek help and comfort, and to do what the loved one would have wanted along with your own pursuits and that they’ll always be with them, even if you don’t know what happened to their spirit in death. As an atheist, that resonates with me pretty strongly. TBOL, with the help of Mexican spirituality, tells the audience to remember and cherish your loved ones, but to also live life to the fullest while you can (in other words, don’t kill yourself in order to be with your loved ones before your time), which is something I can still admire and appreciate. Both movies, ultimately, tell the audience that those who are gone aren’t really gone, and how precious life is.

I just find it nice how, after so many animated movies that sort of brush aside the death of loved ones, having the main character get over it quickly or not truly deal with it properly, or even have a “oh you thought they were dead well THEY’RE NOT” moment, it’s nice to see not one but two animated movies to come out in such a short amount of time that actually take the subject matter seriously and respectfully. I also like how it gives people who are dealing with the passings of their own loved ones different ways of processing the grief.

In short, BH6 and TBOL are both wonderful movies that will reinvigorate your lust for life and bring you closer to your friends and those you love, living or dead.

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Beauty and the Beast Teaser Thoughts

Disney live action remakes tend to be either really great or really, well, not great, so I’m a little nervous how they’re going to handle the remake for one of my all time fave movies. With the teaser trailer we get a sneak peek of what’s to come, but we probably won’t get more info until either later this year or next year.

What do I think of what we’ve got so far?

Well, I love he music. I love how it’s almost the same from the original. It gives me the impression that this movie is going to be (mostly) loyal to it. The music also adds a nice atmosphere to the trailer.

I’m not sure how I feel about the casting. I like Ian McKellan as Cogsworth, but I’m not sure how I like Ewan McGregor as Lumiere. I feel like they should have cast Patrick Stewart, since he and McKellan do have a history of acting brilliantly alongside each other and could pull off Lumiere and Cogsworth’s relationship. Ewan seems too young to be Lumiere, and his French accent is terrible, sorry. As for Emma Watson, I’m sure she can convey Belle’s personality, but I don’t think she really LOOKS the part of Belle? I’ll have to see before I pass a major judgement on that though.

I know I might get flack for this, but I REALLY don’t like the colour scheme. With the exception of the rose, everything is this bland blue and orange palette used in every trailer nowadays and I’m worried that’s the final look they’re going for. The original movie had deep, lush purples and golds and reds and blues and was overall a visual feast but this movie doesn’t have that. And the set pieces we’re shown so far aren’t given a lot of character either.

I guess basically my ears are liking it (except for Lumiere’s new voice), but my eyes are not. I just hope the CGI used on the Beast and other characters (because let’s face it there’s probably not going to be a lot of makeup and prosthetics) will fit in seamlessly (like in The Jungle Book) and not stand out.

I think it goes without saying that I REALLY hope that it’s going to be completely faithful to the first movie. Please be more like The Jungle Book and less like Alice in Wonderland.

Overall, am I excited? Not yet. But hopefully that will change soon enough.

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.

 

Why I Love Deadpool

In an age of (live action) superhero movies taking themselves too seriously, along comes the very refreshing Deadpool. It was highly profane, extremely violent, very sexual, and totally awesome. It was a movie that totally didn’t give a crap, and I admire it for that. Here are some other reasons why I love this movie (and by extension, the titular character).

It’s The Perfect Length

For some ungodly reason, a lot of superhero movies feel the need to be over two hours long! This movie is only just over an hour and a half. Just enough time to tell a story with some action and comedy without padding it out with pointless scenes.

It Perfectly Balances Comedy and Drama

It knows exactly when to be serious and gritty and when to be funny and totally not serious. The movie gives you enough drama without being totally overwhelming. We don’t need the entire movie to be all about Deadpool’s pain and suffering and angst. We just need one major scene to explain why he is and that’s it. For the most part it doesn’t take itself serious (which is pretty refreshing), but when it does have to be serious, it knows for how long.

There’s No Political Bullshit

I’m starting to hate it when superheroes bring in politics because a lot of the time it doesn’t work. It either gets brushed aside and/or takes up all the fun. With this movie we aren’t bogged down with Deadpool having to be held accountable or having to obey the law or any of that shit. He does what he wants and takes us along for the ride. (And I know you’re probably thinking ‘but he’s not a superhero!’ well we’re meant to root for him in the movie that was marketed as a superhero movie so yeah, I’m counting this as a superhero movie.)

The Women Are Awesome

I am utterly in love with Vanessa. She’s sexual without being demonized for it, she doesn’t take anyone’s crap, and even manages to save herself. But she also manages to be kind and caring, too. I like how even though she’s brought up as this tough woman you see her honestly concerned for Wade’s health and would do anything for him. Negasonic Teenage Warhead was a very believable teenage girl, not made into being overly childish/infantilized or overly mature (and is just overall really cool) and I like how Angel Dust is given super strength (a power you don’t often associate with women) and was allowed to go toe-to-toe with a man. In short, the women were all genuinely INTERESTING. I need to see more of that.

And, this is the most important reason why I love Deadpool (both the movie and character)…

It’s One of the Better Portrayals of Mental Illness

What I absolutely love about Deadpool is that he’s gone through so much and is no longer mentally well or sane but is ALLOWED to be a funny, likable, and even sympathetic and compelling character. While the movie doesn’t go into detail about all his mental disorders due to budget and time constrictions, it’s still really clear that Deadpool doesn’t exactly have a sound mind, and is, well, insane. In any other movie, Deadpool would either be the oh so ‘scary psychopath/sociopath’ with no feelings or nothing but tragic. Deadpool is a unique and even uplifting portrayal of someone with mental health problems. While I do think Deadpool (both the movie and comic book versions) should get help (which is probably not going to happen, unfortunately), I like how Deadpool is such an enjoyable character who’s difficulties and disabilities don’t completely define him.

There are other reasons, but those are my top five. I love Deadpool so much now I want him to appear in all superhero properties (which WON’T happen, but it would be such a riot if it did). In short, Deadpool is one of the better and more enjoyable superhero movies to come out recently, and I hope the sequel maintains that.

Why the Anime Industry Is In Trouble

Revised on 2017/11/07 to reflect on new learning and to be less glib. Thank you to the people who commented on this post for giving me a better understanding of the situation.

So if you’re an aficionado of Japanese media, you probably know that the anime industry is in danger of dying. The manga industry is not faring so well either. You can look up ‘anime industry dying’ or ‘why good anime is hard to make’ or ‘manga industry dying’ to get more info, but basically, while anime and manga for niche markets (mainly the otaku fandom) is doing fine, anime and manga for a broader audience is not.

To be honest, I think there are a lot of reasons for this.

The major reason I feel that it’s not doing very well overseas is because anime, manga, and related merchandise is ungodly expensive. A lot of anime fans are college students and teenagers; in other words, people who aren’t exactly rolling around in money. Because of shipping costs a lot of products cost a lot more than a similarly boxed DVD set for a western cartoon. I also feel that anime is not properly released in DVD and Blu Ray format. I once saw a Blu Ray box set for the first half of Attack on Titan season one that cost almost $100, and a DVD set for the first few episodes of Kill La Kill that cost almost $90. Yes, really. You can see why not a lot of people are flocking to buy physical copies of anime like that.

A lot of anime (and manga) can be extremely long, which would deter a lot of more casual fans from watching or buying the whole thing. Sometimes people can’t get the entire series if the English language distributor loses the rights or goes bankrupt. (And, again, it’s expensive if a series go on for so long.)

The biggest reason why anime has trouble is the lack of audience appeal. Clash of culture and values, outlandish stories and visuals, and growing amount of anime fetishistic images and stories is contributing to a lack of worldwide interest. Anime is growing a negative reputation for its sexualized and bordering on pedophilic depictions of women and girls, a very serious problem that is affecting the industry. Aside from that, anime is seen more as a novelty, not as widely commercialized like Marvel or DC, so you usually end up with either the fetish anime or something that was based on a hit manga series.

There’s also the factor of creators and animators working in awful conditions. I know the Japanese manga industry is extremely cutthroat; creators are under strict deadlines and have to rush out a manga chapter once a week, and their stories can live or die depending on sales and editors. I can only imagine what it would be like for anime.

My main point of the original version of this post was that anime and manga needs to be more AFFORDABLE, ACCESSIBLE, and widely AVAILABLE. I would not be surprised if the future of anime ends up being solely online. But, as some of my commentators have pointed out to me (and I thank them for that), there also needs to be some serious reforms on how anime is commercialized, marketed, and made.

And with that, I think I sufficiently corrected this post. I originally wrote it out of frustration and confusion (I want to support good anime but can’t financially do so all the time), but after learning more about the problem and from some important comments, I had to rewrite this post because it was getting too many views.

As for how anime (and manga) can be saved? Well, I would say go out and find good quality anime (and completely boycott crappy fanservice anime) and support it however you can. Show the creators that we want to see (and support) anime that values quality and artistic freedom over anime that shows panty shots of girls or has a plot on a boy having the hots for his sister.

The Creepiest Disney Knockoff Ever

Hey, remember Anastasia? That Don Bluth film that was widely mistaken for a Disney film when it really wasn’t? That’s probably because it was actually good. The music was great, the visuals were great, the story was fairly understandable, and you sympathized with Anastasia herself, who was a great character who did no harm but took no shit. There’s an utterly fantastic and beautiful scene of her trying to reconnect with her past, and imagines that she is reunited with her true family, but at the same time, isn’t entirely sure. It’s well animated and well sung. It’s one of the few Disney knockoffs with actual class.

So imagine a Disney knockoff with none of those qualities. Imagine a Disney Knockoff with bland songs, bland visuals, bland (or asinine) characters, and a scene that tries to imitate Anastasia‘s beauty  but fails spectacularly. Add in some extra fucked-up themes and you have got yourselves The Princess and the Pea.

A curious little film that came out in 2002 (even though at that time no major animation studio was making Disney Knockoffs and Disney itself had put Princess films on hold), this is a movie that isn’t necessarily TERRIBLE (I’ve seen worse films), but is still quite puzzling and at times cringe-worthy.

For starters, there are plenty of animals in this film who are somehow able to live more than 18 years and only one of which is sentient. That would be Sebastian, the creepy-looking raven at the focal point of the above poster who is the keeper of the kingdom’s knowledge or something. Who is this raven? Why is he so important? Why the hell is he able to talk to humans like it’s no big deal but the titular princess gets accused of being a witch for hanging out with pigs? No one knows, and quite frankly, I’m not sure if I want to know the answer.

But don’t worry, there are plenty of human characters too, and you can clearly distinguish the the good ones from the bad ones by how they look. The good characters are all beautiful and Aryan-like in appearance while the bad characters are all ugly, have darker colourings, and even look vaguely antisemitic (hooked noses, a fascination for all things golden). Despite this, the movie somehow pulls off a plot where the rightful princess, the redheaded, green-eyed, and beautiful Daria was switched as a baby with the dark haired, violet-eyed, Hildegard. That might be because the King is too desperate to project his dead wife onto his ‘daughter’.

Daria is the typical Cinderella, raised by an abusive stepfamily, is a friend to all of nature’s animals, has to do all the work, and dreams of something more, and eventually marries a prince, but unlike the Disney Cinderella, who is graceful and elegant and makes subtle but awesome jabs at her abusers, Daria is just boring. She’s kind of a doormat, never once shows any emotion besides “oh, how awful”, and generally has nothing going for her other than that she’s ‘nice’. Yet she somehow attracts the attention of Prince Rollo (‘Rollo’? Really? also he looks like a Prince Eric knockoff), who falls immediately in love with her because she’s…pretty. Oh and she has a special kingdom of the heart, apparently. With the aforementioned ripoff of Anastasia:

You can tell from the thumbnail that this is going to hurt.

Yet Prince Rollo ditches Daria to marry a princess, and we learn a very important lesson: all princesses are shrill, vain, haughty, rude, have bad senses of humour, are not ‘noble’, and are definitely not wife material. Apparently Daria is the only good princess because she’s nice and making her live a terrible life for so long has made her sensitive to people’s needs and pain. Insert witty comment here.

The villain, Laird, decides to get Daria out of the way not by quietly killing her himself, but by raising a mob to kill her (it doesn’t). Then getting Rollo to marry his own daughter that he switched with the king’s. And a bunch of other convoluted plot contrivances.

Daria and Rollo get together (apparently they make a great team), she is reunited with her birth father who immediately comments on how she looks like her mother, the villains are presumably thrown in jail (they didn’t really do anything to warrant a worse sentence), and they all lived happily ever after. Even though I would have much rather have let the villains win (they were slightly more interesting and Helsa, Laird’s wife, speaks to me on a personal level, in that we both don’t want to hurt children and we both love food).

I understand that this movie isn’t the only one to have such problems, but what makes them stick out is how underwhelming the rest of the movie is. Disney movies have serious problems, but they distract and entertain and enrich you with good stories, good characters, and good music and visuals. The Princess and the Pea has none of that, so you’re left with looking at all the flaws. You can watch a better breakdown of all its flaws below:

So yeah. If you’ve seen the film and you don’t mind or even like it, more power to you. If you haven’t, just stick with Disney or even Anastasia. It has much more to offer and isn’t nearly as creepy or harmful in its messages.

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.