Even More has written 4 reviews for films during 2021.
The Little Mermaid 1989
Ariel, a teenage mermaid princess and hoarder with land-walker envy, ignored common sense and gave up the ability to communicate for the chance to meet a complete stranger. Also ignored her father King Triton’s concerns about humans, given their destructive attitudes towards marine life and the fact that they literally eat his citizens. At least she showed more agency than her Disney Princess predecessors.
The great musical numbers were almost enough to forgive the ridiculously contrived romantic plot. Ursula was right; Disney princes chase any pretty woman, even if she never says a word and they know absolutely nothing about her.
Sleeping Beauty 1959
Iconic villain Maleficent reigns supreme in the otherwise snore-inducing ‘Sleeping Beauty’, where the titular character contributes little to the plot besides her looks and a song-and-dance routine with a total stranger in a forest - because she had seen him in a dream. Cute. The story somehow seeks to rise above its foundational fatalistic narrative (from prophecies to arranged marriages) while still relaxing comfortably into them to serve the grander agenda of Disney's romanticisations. The Judeo-Christian symbolisms, heavily-assisted hero who somehow was supposed to 'do it himself', and fairy wands as blowtorches gave us a good chuckle
‘Cinderella’ put more agency into the rodents than its titular star, whose worldview seemed to revolve around holding on to dreams and hoping the universe would fulfil them - which it did with a bit of fairy magic that was merely a well-timed dues-ex-machina. The classic Disney trope of promoting the halo effect by pairing beauty and morality with aesthetics shone through the plot, as did the idea that a woman's fulfilment somehow rests in matrimony.
Also, the attempt to…
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937
‘Snow White’ established a pretty problematic model for Princesses (and Princes) to come, centering on a character with limited agency and valorising beauty and "fairness" as a feminine aspiration and some sort of golden ticket to happiness. Also includes what is technically sexual assault by an enamoured prince who had zero conversation with the protagonist, which we are expected to view as romantic. Absolutely not.
Good animation, though.