General Disney Princess Discussion:

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The Disney Princess subject has always been a bit of a mixed bag of opinions for older Disney fans. As someone who has a really big love-hate relationship with the line and what it represents, I thought I'd start a thread to hear what other tropers think, or maybe just talk about their favorite princesses and movies.

edited 18th Sep '12 3:05:06 PM by JenKunoichi351

Don't mind me. I'm just a creepy little lurker.
2 Karalora18th Sep 2012 03:54:22 PM from San Fernando Valley, CA , Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
I too have a love-hate relationship with the Disney Princess franchise. On the one hand, it's great that Disney says to girls "Here's a bunch of characters for you to identify with; which one do you like best?" But on the other...

  • I hate that the individual Princesses have their canon personalities flattened out and the details of their movies obscured so that they are nothing more than vehicles for selling dolls, costumes, and other generic merchandise. I call this the Ballgown Borg Collective phenomenon.
  • I hate that any hint of Crossover is avoided like the plague. It's actually one of the rules in the Disney Marketing Department: the Princesses must never appear to interact with or acknowledge each other in merchandise or packaging. I can't fathom the reason for this rule—surely the best thing about a franchise that partakes of multiple movies would be the Crossover potential. Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a movie (yes, even a DTV one), animated series, book, or video game where the Princesses had a joint adventure? It would raise questions about clashing time periods and so forth, but a clever enough setup could explain them. And it would go a long way toward alleviating my first point above, since they could hardly feature all the Princesses together without differentiating their characters.
  • I hate the semi-arbitrary criteria for which heroines can be included in the line and which can't. It's not so bad that not all the Princesses are literal princesses by blood or marriage, but it is a shame that some admirable characters are left out of the franchise simply because they don't fit this nebulous "Princess image"...which seems to have more to do with frilly dresses and box-office numbers than the actual stories.

What it boils down to is that I feel the franchise fails to live up to its potential. Disney came up with this great idea based on finding common ground between several of their most well-made movies...and then left it hanging.

edited 18th Sep '12 3:54:33 PM by Karalora

3 Mort0818th Sep 2012 04:26:47 PM from Oklahoma , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Pirate AND writer!
I once attempted to liveblog all the Disney Princess movies. Unfortunately, I only got about halfway through Snow White before my tight schedule forced me to stop. In that short time, however, she'd actually grown on me. So I like Snow, as well as Rapunzel.

As for the others? Well, there's not a whole lot to say. I haven't seen Cinderella, Mulan and Pocahontas in a while. I have yet to see Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty And The Beast. I'm neutral on Tiana because I'm neutral on her movie, and I don't like Merida one bit.

Second banana
Then you have yet to see some of the best Disney movies!
"Doorknobs: not actually that long a period of historical significance."
5 Mort0818th Sep 2012 05:09:48 PM from Oklahoma , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Pirate AND writer!
I know. And I plan to start catching up soon.
I like the line since I'm an avid toy collector and the line churns out much better stuff than I can say for other brands. What I hate is most other peoples' reasons about how unfaithful to the source material the dolls are. I mean, why exactly are we putting nature girl Pochahontas and Action Girl Mulan into ball gowns? And don't get me started on what they're doing to Merida. A huge chunk of her merch has her in the dress she was suffocating in. And those dolls are flying off the shelf where I live too!

And Cinderella used to be my favorite as a kid. Looking back, I'd like to give past me a stern stare down. tongue
Don't mind me. I'm just a creepy little lurker.
[up] To be fair, the Disney store version of Merida is much more faithful, and some of it I believe actually does include her weapons (bow, arrows, and sword).
8 PippingFool18th Sep 2012 07:57:12 PM from A BEAUTIFUL DUWANG , Relationship Status: I get a feeling so complicated...
My biggest beef with the Disney Princess line is the stupid join-up criteria. Which is less of "This person is royalty (By blood or marriage)" or "This female herione is in a mild box office sucess or higher".

Regardless of what you think of the movie's quality. Yes, Eloniwy and Kida SHOULD be Disney Princesses. No, Mulan and Pocahontas (Pocahontas I can understand a little because she's The Chief's Daughter and can be argued that she's the Native American equivilant of a Princess, but Mulan marries a general. NOT the Emporer's son. Ergo, is NOT a princess no matter how you dice it.) should not be princesses. If they want to make a separate "Heroines" franchise for those who don't fit the mould like Alice, Wendy and Megara and be able to merchanise them seperatly.

As for movies. I own Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Princess and the Frog and Tangled on BLU RAY and Mulan and Pocahontas (+Black Cauldron & Atlantis if I'm so inclined) and I can't wait to nab Aladdin, Little Mermaid and Brave in the future.

edited 18th Sep '12 8:00:56 PM by PippingFool

When I find your terror's tells, my 「Enigma」 can strike perfectly!
9 Demetrios18th Sep 2012 08:03:12 PM from Mount Prospect, Illinois
I like the franchise. It's a guilty pleasure I don't feel very guilty about. :)

I'd have to agree with you, Karalora. Why aren't there any videos/what-have-you of the Princesses hanging out together? Like this here picture demonstrates.
Ramiel is a big blue trapezoid
[up] I think the closest we'll get is fan works, like the fantastic Pocket Princesses
[up][up][up]Makes me wonder how people will react when Vanellope ends up getting the same treatment as Kida and Eilonwy. Though in Disney's defense, it'd be hard to make her fit in anyway.

[up]Psh'aaw, Disney Women is better. tongue

edited 19th Sep '12 11:47:37 AM by JenKunoichi351

Don't mind me. I'm just a creepy little lurker.
12 Karalora19th Sep 2012 01:16:23 PM from San Fernando Valley, CA , Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
The Pocket Princesses are indeed fantastic. The artist works for Disney, so that makes them...semi-canon? Potentially canon (since she could pitch it to the higher-ups and there's a non-zero chance they might greenlight an official project)? Anyway...

I figure I might as well give my opinions of the individual Princesses. Keep in mind that I am going only by the original films, and not any sequels or other supplementary products.

Snow White: I don't have much of an opinion of her one way or the other. She's hard to get a handle on, but I can forgive Disney if she comes off flat because the movie was basically an experiment. I'm a little surprised that they've never tried to develop her further, though.

Cinderella: I do not like her. At all. Of all the Princesses, she demonstrates the least initiative and personality—at least Snow made the move to approach the Dwarfs' cottage and basically installed herself as the head of the their household. Cindy does nothing to drive her own story. The mice do basically all of it for her. Worse, the marketing seems to favor her the most. The castle at Walt Disney World is named after her, she has her own line of fantasy wedding stuff, and her story is supposed to be the archetypal fairytale romance. *headdesk* The worst part is that one of the writers for the film wanted to make her a stronger character, but was overruled in favor of Incorruptible Pure Pureness.

Aurora: While she's hardly any more active than Cinderella, at least she evinces a bit of personality and humor in the few scenes where she has any speaking lines. Or rather, Briar Rose does, because if you go back over the movie you'll notice that once she puts on the princess gown and becomes Aurora, she doesn't. Say. A word for the rest of the film. Still, I have a soft spot for her because Sleeping Beauty is one of the Disney movies I watched the most as a child and for a long time, Aurora was "beauty" to me. But the marketing really needs to stop depicting her in a pink dress. It was blue for most of its screentime!

Ariel: She's a twit. A likeable enough twit, but still a twit. A teenager, in other words. She's very sympathetic, but I still want to reach into the screen and throttle her sometimes. I see her as a necessary growing pain for the Renaissance-era Disney heroines.

Belle: She is, for lack of a better term, my "personal Princess"—the one I always identified with the most as a fellow bookworm and outcast intellectual. I still consider her one of the best of the lot—the first Disney heroine to demonstrate real courage, self-determination, and responsibility.

Jasmine: A step back from Belle in some ways, but then again she wasn't really the star of the movie. Like Cinderella, she had one writer pushing for a stronger characterization that was overruled. What endears her to me is the line "If I do marry, I want it to be for love." The second half is what everyone remembers, but think about how revolutionary the first half is! A fairytale princess treating the entire question of marriage as a maybe, and 20 years before Merida, no less!

Pocahontas: The whole movie is a mess, and its leads are frankly boring, flattened out under the huge weight of sociopolitical commentary that they are expected to provide. Pocahontas is so busy being a Magical Native American that she has no time left to be an actual character. We learn plenty about what she doesn't want—she doesn't want to marry the grouchy brave her father picked out for her, she doesn't want a predictable life—but it seems like there's nothing she does want until Smith makes the scene.

Mulan: Another of my favorites, and not just because she kicks so much ass. Actually, one of her most endearing traits is her awkwardness at the start of the movie, both when she tries to fulfill the feminine expectations placed on her and when she attempts a masculine presentation. Mulan is the first—and perhaps so far only—Princess whom we see primarily through her own eyes, and not someone else's. We get to see the male lead through her eyes too, making her the only Princess to date with a confirmed libido.

Tiana: She seems to be the only Princess to have actually made plans for her own life rather than simply waiting for things to happen to her or living in the moment. Unfortunately, I think the writers went a bit too far in the other direction—she's so focused on her goals, so dedicated to hard work, and so sure that she has life figured out, that there isn't much room for her to develop. Loosening up over the course of the movie makes her happier, but it feels like it really happens in order to make her more likeable to other people.

Rapunzel: Boy oh boy, where to start? Punzie is like a brilliant medley of those who have gone before her. Her basic personality is very similar to Ariel's, though her sensibility approaches Belle's. Like Aurora, she was raised in ignorance of her royal heritage. Like Jasmine, she marries a smooth-talking, larcenous commoner. Like Mulan, she's an Action Girl who undergoes an Important Haircut. Like Pocahontas, she prefers to go barefoot. (Glen Keane, the leader animator for both of them and Ariel, seems to have a thing for feet. And long, swooshy hair.) Like Snow White and Cinderella, she is victimized by her surrogate mother. Like Tiana, she actually knows what she wants in life. And on top of all that, she has true power of her own instead of borrowing the power of a magical benefactor. No wonder she's such a popular character.

Merida: I am assuming here that Merida will eventually join the lineup. She was designed with the aim in mind of making her an "anti-Princess"—a heroine who eschews romance and frilly clothes entirely and whose most important relationship is with her (natural) mother—and it shows. She's not a bad character, but it's a little too obvious what Pixar was doing with her. On top of that, if you're familiar with Mulan she's not that unprecedented. Still, I like her. It warms my heart to see little girls walking around with toy archery sets. And I like that she's not really pretty—adorable, yes, but in a gawkish, childlike way.

EDIT: Apparently I dislike Cinderella so much that I subconsciously forgot to capitalize her name.

edited 21st Nov '12 7:01:08 PM by Karalora

Responsible adult
I've decided to stop pretending that Tiana isn't my favorite princess. I tried vainly to cling to Mulan for a while, but damn you, you adorably quirky, overworked chef you, you have stolen my heart with your fantastic Cajun cookery and that workaholic dreamer thing I completely identify with. Plus, of all the Princess, I like the relationships Tiana has with other people the best. Tiana is really the only princess who has a human best friend. Other Princesses have their quirky animal sidekicks, but Tiana is the only one who has someone who she regularly interacts with who is actually on her level and they're the most adorable besties ever. Lord, I am being overwhelemed with the squee just thinking about it!

Speaking of squee, I would like you share this lovely image with you all:

Adora-vibes incoming!
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
14 Karalora19th Sep 2012 03:03:09 PM from San Fernando Valley, CA , Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
Tiana is really the only princess who has a human best friend.

This is true. She's also the only one with a paid job (two jobs, in fact). She actually participates in society!
She's definitely the most relatable of the princesses, that's for sure.
Don't mind me. I'm just a creepy little lurker.
16 Karalora19th Sep 2012 03:32:37 PM from San Fernando Valley, CA , Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
Depends on what you mean by "relatable." Her world is the most immediately familiar to viewers, since it has cars and radios and such, but I think she might be too adult for most little girls to really wrap their heads around. She doesn't seem to have achieved the same instant fandom as the others.
Mr. Dr.
Merida is not going to join the Disney Pricess line.

No love interest.
You are displaying abnormally high compulsions to over-analyze works of fiction and media. Diagnosis: TV Tropes Addiction.
18 Demetrios19th Sep 2012 03:55:18 PM from Mount Prospect, Illinois
I just remembered. Would Kingdom Hearts count as them hanging out together?
Ramiel is a big blue trapezoid
19 Karalora19th Sep 2012 03:57:09 PM from San Fernando Valley, CA , Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
[up][up] They've already made a little girl doll of her.

[up] Not in my book, any more than it counts when they're depicted in a single image on a toy package. They don't do anything and they don't actually interact with each other.
20 Demetrios19th Sep 2012 03:58:01 PM from Mount Prospect, Illinois
So much for that idea.
Ramiel is a big blue trapezoid
21 Sijo19th Sep 2012 05:18:26 PM from Puerto Rico
Yeah, the princesses were just MaCGuffin Girls in Kingdom Hearts, not real characters.

Though I can swear I once heard Disney was going to make a direct to DVD movie crossover- or maybe a comic book? I just don't recall.

It isn't like one would be that hard to make. Just have Jasmine invite all the others to a party via a certain time-traveling genie. Then throw in some appropriate complication. wink

As for my favorite Princess, I like Mulan best, for pretty much the same reasons: her awkwardness AND her competence.

edited 19th Sep '12 5:19:23 PM by Sijo

Responsible adult
There's a Magical Girl manga where girls invoke the princesses to gain powers.

Speaking of the dolls, does anyone else find it... troubling that the Baby Ariel doll has... human legs? Seriously, it freaks me out every time I see it!
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
I personally don't like any of the baby dolls. It just feels...really bizarre to me.

edited 19th Sep '12 6:45:54 PM by JenKunoichi351

Don't mind me. I'm just a creepy little lurker.
24 PippingFool19th Sep 2012 06:58:29 PM from A BEAUTIFUL DUWANG , Relationship Status: I get a feeling so complicated...
The baby dolls are Uncanny Valley for me.
When I find your terror's tells, my 「Enigma」 can strike perfectly!
25 Demetrios19th Sep 2012 07:09:52 PM from Mount Prospect, Illinois
I'd have to agree.
Ramiel is a big blue trapezoid

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