Jan / Feb 2014
#1: Cruella deVille
(101 Dalmatians) Wants to kill puppies. For a fur coat. Smokes a lot.
#2: Lady Tremaine
(Cinderella) Treats her stepdaughter like dirt. Breaks glass slippers. Probably murdered her husband for his money.
(The Hunchback of Notre Dame) Wants to commit genocide. Tries to drown a baby. Canâ€˜t deal with getting the hots for a girl and burns Paris down.
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Mulan Cinderella The Hunchback of Notre Dame Treasure Planet The Lion King The Sword in the Stone Atlantis
(Aladdin) Schemes to take over the throne, while indulging in obvious lust for the kingâ€˜s only daughter. Eww.
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The Little Mermaid Beauty & the Beast Tinker Bell Pocahontas Tangled
Fiction by our writers: A.G. Porter: The Shadow Charity Bishop: Watching The Lord of the Rings With God; Thornewicke ; I, Claudia
(The Lion King) Schemes to kill his brother and gets him trampled to death, then convinces his nephew that it‘s all his fault. How sick is that?!
(The Little Mermaid) Seizes control of the sea by cheating and manipulating a foolish mermaid to get at her daddy‘s throne. Plus, she turns King Triton into seaweed.
(Hercules) Intends to kill his nephew. In his crib. As a baby. (Well, why wait until he‘s older and a real pain in the butt?) But… he does it with style.
(Sleeping Beauty) Doesn‘t get invited to a party. Decides to make everyone miserable.
(Beauty & the Beast) Can‘t take ―no‖ for an answer. Stuck up. Dumb as a rock. Likes to kill things.
#2: The Queen
(Snow White) Wants her stepdaughter‘s heart in a box, coz she‘s prettier. That‘s cold.
By A. G. Porter
ou can’t do it because you’re not strong enough, brave enough, or man enough.‖ Women from all walks of life have heard numerous reasons why they can‘t do something. For many years (and sadly, it‘s still true in some countries) if you were born a woman, you were of a lower class. You were expected to fulfill your duties to a man and keep your mouth closed.
tells Mulan her new husband and his family will expect her to be obedient and silent. Afterward, ashamed, embarrassed and at a crossroads of who she is, Mulan has an opportunity to redeem her family‘s honor and save her father from being drafted into the army when the Huns invade China. The emphasis on the importance of being a man is evident. She is told not to speak in the presence
what his girl looks like but only cares what she cooks like. Being a female during this era, a woman was treated like property. They were married for financial gain most of the time. They were women and did nothing that a man should do. Once Mulan is discovered to be female, the Emperor‘s Counselor demands her life to be taken because posing as a man is consider treason. Shang, being a man of
In 1998, Disney did a retelling of a Chinese legend about a young girl who became more than a woman and more than a man; she became a hero. This is the story of Mulan and how she was pivotal in saving all of China from the Huns. The story begins with Mulan being prepared for married life. Here mother and grandmother are dolling her up to meet the Matchmaker. She is washed, painted, tucked and pulled, something clearly Mulan is not interested in or ready for. This is proven when Mulan has a terrible and hilarious interview with the Matchmaker. One thing that I noticed and actually enjoyed was the fact that even after she has had her makeover, one tiny strand of hair kept falling out of place. This opening sequence serves to show us that in that time and culture, the only way for a female to bring their family honor is to be a good wife. The Matchmaker scrutinizes Mulan‘s physical appearance even before she lets Mulan speak. In fact, the Matchmaker
of a man by the Emperor‘s Counselor. During Shang‘s I’ll Make a Man Out of You song a lyric asks, ―Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons?‖ as if to say the new army recruits are too ―womanly‖ to fight or to be good enough. In A Girl Worth Fighting For where the guys are dreaming up the perfect girl, Mulan offers the trait of ―a girl whose got a brain and always speaks her mind.‖ The guys respond with a ―Nah!‖ which is probably exactly what men of that era were looking for. One man says he doesn‘t care
honor himself, spares her life because he can clearly see her for who she is and that isn‘t just a silly girl. Mulan is such a different product from most Disney films for its time, and its heroine is often said to be Disney‘s first feminist. That isn‘t easy to debate seeing as how her story begins with sparing her father‘s return to a war that would surely kill him. She also saves the life of Shang and nearly loses hers in the process. Let‘s not forget that she saves all of China! Mulan does find love along the way, but she finds herself first. ♥
By Eleanor Knight
very story has a core, and the core of Cinderella's tale lies in people and their relationships, both good and bad. These strong bonds, or lack thereof, drive and shape the story from opposite sides of a kingdom. The first relationship we remember is the last one forged: the bond between Cinderella and Prince Charming. Ironically, their chemistry gets very little screen time. The story focuses more on other relationships, which spur the events leading up to the heroine and hero meeting, falling in love, and living happily ever after. The first relationship shown is Cinderella and her father, though it is easy to miss. She lives in luxury and his world revolves around her. Then her widower father remarries and dies and Lady Tremaine turns Cinderella's world into a nightmare.
Lady Tremaineâ€˜s relationship with Cinderella is infamous. She can't abide a threat to her daughters' prospects, thus she does everything to crush Cinderella's gentle but enduring spirit so she won't outshine them all. She even uses up what should have been Cinderella's inheritance. As if that isn't enough, she reduces Cinderella to acting as the only servant in the mansion.
relationship with some Ideal higher than herself to keep clean in that toxic environment. Cinderella even sets an example for her little friends, mostly mice and birds, who return her care with favors. Her relationship with them is strong, to the point that they renovate an old dress for her to wear at the ball.
The stepsisters are a little easier on Cinderella than their mother, if only because they share her flaws and none of her strengths. They blame and insult Cinderella but she often gets a break because they are too busy blaming and insulting each other. Despite years of abuse and neglect, Cinderella maintains an angelic mood to match her looks without any apparent mentor to follow. Maybe she tries to be a good person because her father would be pleased? Maybe she hopes all good things come to those who wait? Maybe she harbors faith in Jesus, who also served and suffered? This is an aspect of the story that begs more development. She must have had a good
An often overlooked relationship is that of the king and Prince Charming. As Charming grows, so does the generation gap between he and his father (not to mention the paintings of Charming the king hangs on his wall). No reason for this rift is shown, so we can only assume Charming isn't exactly charmed by his father's temper tantrums. The king longs for grandchildren to keep him company in his old age. A loyal duke patiently listens to all his rantings and ravings, often punctuated at
sword point. The king orders the duke to organize a ball with mandatory attendance for all eligible maidens in the hope that the kingdom will yield a girl that will turn Charming's head. After the malice festering in Lady Tremaine reaches a fever pitch and the sisters tear apart Cinderella's dreams by ruining her makeshift ball gown, the fairy godmother takes charge. Her relationship with Cinderella begins the second she shows up to fix everything. She takes humble, everyday things and makes them elevated and splendid, like turning a pumpkin into a gilded carriage or rags into a splendid ball gown. The film's climax revolves around the triumph of good relationships over bad. Charming's devotion to Cinderella and the duke's loyalty to the crown brings the duke to the mansion, where Cinderella's animal friends free her from imprisonment. The fairy godmother's gift of the second slipper frustrates Lady Tremaineâ€˜s attempt to sabotage Cinderella and at last, Cinderella shines in her finest hour and her dreams become reality as she is, once again, beloved. â™Ľ
By Hannah Price
here are many things to love about the powerful, redemptive messages in Disney‘s version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The story is a classic tale with a truly evil villain, a beautiful heroine and a hero with a heart of gold. There are chases, escapes, romance, musical numbers, a sweeping visual spectacle of the city, and breaks of hilarity in between the drama. However, it is easy to get lost in the fiery excitement of this story and forget what truly makes it a unique piece in the Disney classic film canon. Usually their stories follow a handsome hero or beautiful heroine as they save the
day, but the hero and title character of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is in fact, a hunchback. He is not physically attractive or roguishly charming, full of wit, fun and laughter like so many Disney heroes before him. Despite this, Quasimodo is still a hero and it‘s beautiful to witness. His true beauty is found within; it shines outwardly through his acts of courage, perseverance, forgiveness, sincerity, sacrificial love, and earnest desire to help others. Even though Quasimodo isn‘t a traditional hero, he still manages to act like one, saving the damsel in distress,
vanquishing the villain, rallying the townsfolk to a good cause and ultimately saving the day. The first song in the film asks ―who is the monster and who is the man?‖ in regards to Judge Claude Frollo and Quasimodo. It references Quasimodo‘s name meaning ―half-formed,‖ and asks if appearances are really what they seem. The audience quickly discovers there is no monster in Quasimodo; rather, the true monster is the cruel and merciless Frollo. This leads me to one of my favorite aspects of Quasimodo‘s character. Even with the toughest of guardians and teachers in Frollo, he still
of potential and prospect. ―Out there among the millers and the weavers and their wives, through the roofs and gables I can see them. Every day they shout and scold and go about their lives, heedless of the gift it is to be them. If I was in their skin, I'd treasure every instant,‖ Quasimodo says, looking down upon the people who take so much for granted.
manages to grow into a kind and merciful human being. Frollo constantly reminds Quasimodo throughout his life of his lowly and unattractive state (―you are deformed and you are ugly‖) to humble and ―tame‖ him. Yet Quasimodo‘s spirit never breaks and he never gives up hope of someday going out into the world and finding welcoming arms. True, his first experience with the citizens of Paris is heartbreaking and nearly puts him off leaving the bell tower ever again, but the kindred spirits he finds in the gypsy Esmeralda (a fellow outcast) and later the soldier Phoebus, give him the push he needs to give the outside world another chance. My other favorite aspect of Quasimodo‘s character is the one that helps me identify with him the most. He has a capacity for seeing the beauty in things that no one else in the story does. Living alone above the city in the drafty old cathedral bell tower might make a cynic out of anyone, but not Quasimodo. He
names each bell and knows their individualities by heart, cares for the birds who nest in the gargoyles, and spends his quiet hours carving the likeness of the city folk he observes in tiny statues. The stark contrast between his life and that of the townsfolk below him, as well as the stark contrast in physical appearance, helps him to truly appreciate the beauty in the ordinary. The life of the baker, blacksmith or tailor might seem mundane or common to them, but to Quasimodo it is a life full
Truth be told, we are like the millers and weavers of Paris. Do we treasure the gift of life itself, the freedom we have to speak our minds, the ability to love and be loved, to move about freely in the world and pursue our dreams? What if we became more like Quasimodo, aware of the gift it is to have what we have, to love whom we love, to experience the blessings we do? I wonder if we could treasure every instant and realize the gift it is to be who God made us. ♥
By Faith White
hen this came out I never expected it to join my favorite Disney movies. I was thirteen when I saw the trailer and honestly wasn‘t impressed. It didn‘t look like Jim or Silver were anything like previous adaptations. With zero expectations, my siblings and I decided to rent the movie. And we loved it. I‘ve always liked the idea of Treasure Island. What‘s cooler than one-legged buccaneers, pirate mutinies and buried treasure? I‘ve read the book and watched a couple adaptations during my life, but I think Disney captured the spirit and heart of the tale best in this animated movie. Most of us know the classic story: Jim Hawkins, a decent, poor boy, is entrusted with a
treasure map and befriends a one-legged cook, Long John Silver. Only Jim finds out that Silver is a pirate! Throughout it all, Jim keeps his honor and refuses the temptation of working with Silver. In Treasure Planet, Jim is rewritten as a troubled teen. Disney teen rebellion movies usually annoy me, but that‘s where this movie differs; Jim isn‘t here to be ―understood.‖ He‘s here to learn, to change, to become a man of character and value like he is in the book. And he does so, alongside lovable supporting characters including Dr. Doppler, the crazy robot B.E.N. and the sassy Captain Amelia (voiced flawlessly by Emma Thompson, I might add). The most dynamic relationship in this coming-of
-age story is Jim Hawkins and Silver. It‘s my favorite aspect of the movie! After his father abandoned him as a kid, Jim grew up with a chip on his shoulder, resenting authority. But something happens when Silver and Hawkins are thrown together on the RLS Legacy: an unlikely friendship begins to blossom. Jim has never had the approval of a father and Silver becomes that much needed figure in his life. Imagine the devastation when Jim overhears Silver talking with the other sailors about mutiny! Jim wrestles with his feelings of betrayal and fights to protect the treasure and his friends. Long John Silver is a man unable to let go of his obsession with Flint‘s treasure. He‘s given up too much in his pursuit of it, even a limb. When he realizes
he cares about Jim, Silver fears the retribution of his crew if they believe him to be anything less than the hardened pirate he is. So he chooses selfishly and goes after the treasure. It takes a choice between keeping Flint‘s gold or saving Jim‘s life to awaken the heart of Silver again. In the end, Jim has finally left behind the defiant attitude of a boy and become a young man. Though Silver offers him a chance to run away and seek out adventure, he turns him down. Jim knows he‘s got a future he can build for himself now. He doesn‘t need to break rules or escape responsibility anymore. He has hope. ♥
By Ella G.
ome movies stick with you forever. You can see them in your sleep. The songs come back with barely a second thought. Take for instance one of my personal favorite Disney classics, The Lion King—I can‘t go to the zoo without calling every lion I see Mufasa, Simba, or Nala. Warthogs are Pumba and meerkats… oh they are all Timon, just sayin‘. All it takes is for the intro of Circle of Life to fill the air before I start singing the words. (It‘s also at that point where I fantasize about holding my baby one day like they hold Simba on Pride Rock. Come on, you know what I‘m talking about.) Can You Feel the Love Tonight is one of my all-time favorite songs. Hearing voices like Whoopie Goldberg and Jonathan Taylor Thomas takes me back and reminds me that I was a ‗90‘s kid.
Disney movies are like comfort food. Recently, I was sick with the flu and all I wanted to do was watch these films. I think I have a refined palate, but on this day, only Disney animated movies would do. I believe that is the beauty of the animation, the songs and beloved characters. You never outgrow them. They take you to a happy place; they help you forget your worries for the rest of your days... As we get older, things jump out at us. Elements we have known forever take on a different significance. Suddenly, we relate to a
character, situation, or song lyric. This happened to me with a line Rafaki utters to Simba. Rafaki isn‘t a main character and usually gets ignored, but I found myself dwelling on the bit of wisdom aimed at Simba, and it took me on a detour. We all know the story well. Simba runs away from his past and inevitably winds up talking to Rafiki. The ―crazy monkey‖ hits Simba
with a stick. Simba gets mad. He asks what that was for, and Rafaki says it doesn‘t matter; it‘s in the past. Simba says it still hurts, to which Rafaki replies, ―Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.‖ Simba makes the decision to leave the past in the past. Which caused me to ponder: “what do I do?” The innocence of youth vanishes at far too speedy a rate. No longer are we the children watching these films for the first time. Instead, we are now jaded by life. Life throws us curveballs and is messy. A lot of the time it hurts us. We bear our own scars. I know I do. I know who has hurt me and when. Sometimes, it can feel as if these memories are tattooed on my body. Whatever they are, it makes me scared to go back; to embrace my past and the people who have injured me; or
to open myself up to potentially the same hurt again. Yet, Christ, in His goodness, reminds me that I need to have ―no worries.‖ He has redeemed the past. So there it is. Hakuna matata. To quote Timon and Pumba, ―it means no worries for the rest of your days. It’s our problem free philosophy.” God doesn‘t call me to perfection. I will make the same mistakes again and again. But He doesn‘t want me worried about it. I‘ll miss out on my full potential if I don‘t let myself try again, or if I don‘t face the past. Even if I don‘t seek to do it over, if I never face it, how can I successfully move on? Think how The Lion King would be if Simba decided not to go back to Pride Rock. He certainly wouldn‘t wind up with Nala. Scar would continue to ravage the land. The hyenas would get even more out of hand. Zasu would probably end up being eaten. And there certainly wouldn‘t be a sequel (which I don‘t love, but that‘s beside the point). Simba would regret his
choice. There would always been a piece of him asking ―what if?‖ and that is a phrase we never want to say. But this is a Disney movie we‘re talking about: Simba does go back. He defeats Scar and the truth wins out. And we watch Simba, in a cleansing rain, take cautiously optimistic steps up Pride Rock. I now view that rain as symbolic. It‘s like Christ‘s blood washing away our stains so that we may get our second chance. So that we can be in a state of hakuna matata. No worries whatsoever. The pain of the past can be left at the base of Pride Rock… or the foot of the Cross. We must learn and try to never do the sin again, but we don‘t have to be defined by it anymore. Simba learned that and I was reminded of that truth yet again. It just came in the form of an animated lion, a smelly warthog, the voice of Jeremy Irons, and a purple butted primate. ♥
By Gina Dalfonzo
‘m a bit of a girly girl, and have always loved fairy tales, so you might expect that my favorite Disney animated classic would be a princess movie. And it‘s true that for a long time I was all about the princesses. I saw Cinderella three times as a child (trust me, before DVD players, that was a big deal). Beauty and the Beast didn‘t come out till I was in high school, but I fell hard for it anyway. But my all-time favorite animated Disney classic doesn‘t have a princess in it; it‘s about a poor but plucky young boy, and instead of a fairy godmother, it has a wonderfully wacky wizard.
The Sword in the Stone came out in 1963, years before I was born. It was based on T. H. White‘s novel of the same name, the first part of his famous Arthurian trilogy The Once and Future King. (This trilogy was fertile ground for adapters; Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe later made it the basis for the Broadway musical Camelot.) Like many other Disney films, The Sword in the Stone was later re-released in theaters. This is how I saw it for the first time. I was spellbound by the tale of young King Arthur before he was King Arthur—when he was, in fact, an orphaned servant boy
known as ―Wart.‖ A chance meeting (or is it?) between Wart and the wizard Merlin leads to Merlin becoming his tutor. Merlin‘s idea of teaching is to turn Wart into different animals—a bird, a squirrel, and a fish—so he can experience a variety of different perspectives, and learn some hands-on (pawson?) lessons about life. These experiences can be amusing, as when a lady squirrel decides Wart looks like the perfect mate, or scary, as when a giant fish decides he looks like a good meal. But they‘re always absorbing and fascinating. And they test and develop the
The story is cleverly told in such a way that the climactic moment involves not just Wart grasping a sword and becoming King Arthur, but also a crisis in his friendship with Merlin. It‘s the resolution of that crisis, the promise that Wart‘s tutor will be there to help him with his new and overwhelming responsibilities, that makes the film‘s ending truly satisfying.
character of the young Wart, preparing him for the big moment that‘s coming. This movie is widely considered one of the minor Disney animated features, but in my eyes, it has this advantage over the princess movies: it makes me laugh. Not that the princess movies don‘t have their lighter and funnier moments as well— but not like The Sword in the Stone. Screenwriter Bill Peet did a beautiful job of incorporating White‘s sly humor while at the same time punching up the antics for the screen. The result is lively, funny, and completely delightful. I can remember nearly going into hysterics near the beginning of the movie, when Merlin‘s beard got caught in the door, and again near the end, when he showed up in Bermuda shorts. (It makes sense when you see it, honest!) With all its goofy characters and its wild and crazy musical numbers, the movie still makes me guffaw, not just at the beginning and end but so
many times in between. At the same time, though, it is a simple and touching coming-ofage story. We get not just comic types, but fully fleshed-out characters. Wart is an easy hero to like, constantly putting others‘ needs ahead of his own, and fearlessly standing up for his friends even when the cost is steep. And though Merlin is a laugh a minute, he‘s also a wise and affectionate tutor. The two of them, along with Merlin‘s grumpy talking owl, Archimedes, make a great team.
I‘ve been told I should read the rest of T. H. White‘s Once and Future King trilogy, since I liked the first novel and its film adaptation so much. It‘s said to be a brilliant work, and I can believe it. But I‘ve purposely held off, because I understand the trilogy grows darker and sadder as it goes. It loses the sunny, optimistic feel that I treasure in The Sword in the Stone, when all of life is still before a brave and noble young boy who‘s just made friends with a deceptively dotty old wizard. And I wouldn‘t lose that for anything. ♥
By Caitlin Horton
"...in a single day and night of misfortune, the island of Atlantis disappeared into the depths of the sea." —Plato, 360 B.C
e all remember the one Disney animated movie we saw and were summarily distressed by. For me, it was a tie between Pinocchio and Dumbo. Both were what I consider ―experiment films‖ of Walt Disney‘s: there was odd, almost clunky animation with stereotypical characters and lots of drinking, smoking, and misbehaving going on. Yet, for some reason or other, a lot of people remember them with fondness and love. Well, that‘s how I remember Atlantis: the Lost Empire and Treasure Planet. They were ―experiment films,‖ a blending of traditional animation at its highest quality
with CGI elements that made the worlds alive and vibrant. Some things haven‘t changed: characters still drink, smoke, and misbehave, but the clunky style and stereotypes are gone, replaced with unique and funny characters that touch the heart. In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, cartographer Milo Thatch is what every history major hopes will never happen to them in regards to academic career. The year is 1914 and he is relegated to a University‘s basement to take care of the boiler, never taken seriously about his dream project, and an ignored expert in ancient Atlantean gibberish! Yet
Milo soldiers on, certain that his deceased grandfather, Thadeous, was on to something with his lead for finding the lost city of Atlantis. The lead is the Shepherd‘s Journal; it contains detailed instructions on getting to Atlantis, which Milo is convinced is in Iceland. But the University won‘t even allow him to present his theory let alone his expedition hopes, and Milo trudges home in the rain. There he finds mysterious Helga Sinclair, who takes him to a mansion owned by eccentric millionaire Preston B. Whitmore, a former friend of his grandfather. He gives Milo the last gift from Thadeous: the
Shepherd‘s Journal. And before Milo can even blink, everything is in place for an expedition: underwater ships, crew, money, journal, with his place cemented as the expert in gibberish. So begins the journey of a lifetime! The story might get a little boring and predictable from here on out, if it weren‘t for a few things. 1. The steampunk influence is strong and makes the 1914 style machines, subs, and weapons equipped with a steam twist seem plausible. 2. The secondary characters read more like main ones: Doctor Joshua Strongbear Sweet (who is African American and Native American), Vincenzo "Vinny" Santorini (an Italian American demolitions expert and floral shopkeeper), Audrey Rocio Ramirez (a teenager mechanic of Puerto Rican heritage), Wilhelmina Bertha Packard (the elderly chain-smoking radio operator), Jebidiah Allerdyce "Cookie" Farnsworth (Old West chuckwagon chef), and Gaëtan "Mole" Molière (French geologist obsessed with dirt). Seldom have so many characters ever been rounded out to a level where you know their history and everyone is memorable for all the right
reasons. And then there‘s the usual brawn/brain leader: Commander Lyle Tiberius Rourke, his subordinate and gorgeous Lieutenant Helga Katrina Sinclair, and...well, a striking, mysterious woman named Kida.
Planet have much in common, but with a lot more steampunk in the latter. Yet these two movies are all too often overlooked by adults and children alike, perhaps because they‘re ―too‖ experimental. There is no Disney princess breaking into song with cute animals surrounding her… in fact, there is no one breaking into song. Oh, there are songs, but they play a part in the score and reveal the character‘s inner thoughts without the character needing to sing them. It‘s also gritty, with WWI turmoil invading Atlantis, replete with gas masks, modernization of warfare, and callous behavior towards human lives.
The 3rd thing is what makes the story worth the watch: you will never (hopefully) get tired of it. Seriously, I finish it and want to start all over again. It‘s the combination of a funny script, powerful storyline, ah-mazing animation and backgrounds, and heartfelt moments between characters that always brings me back to Atlantis. I won‘t spoil the film for you, but Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure
Yet these aren‘t flaws of the stories; they aid in telling them and elevate the stories out of ―something for the kiddies to watch on Saturday morning‖ to ―I can understand what this character is going through.‖ Atlantis is entertaining, yes, but there‘s so much more than that to it and it‘s my hope that you‘ll be able to find a copy and see what you think of Disney‘s early 2000‘s ―experiment.‖ ♥
By Rachel Sexton
The Changes of The Little Mermaid
rom it‘s early beginnings with short films about a mouse named Mickey to it‘s latest threedimensional features with the Pixar company, Disney is known for it‘s animated work. This monopoly on cartoons has made the name Disney synonymous with family entertainment. Even the liveaction films the studio has produced over the years have had little to no objectionable material. This tradition has led many moviegoers to feel the Disney output can be dismissed as bland with no risk-taking at all. However, one classic Disney animated film is an example of how a story can be changed to adhere to the Disney trademark characteristics and still be a worthwhile viewing experience. The Little Mermaid features quite a few changes from the original fairytale which cast it firmly in the Disney mold but also serve as part of an excellent film.
After pioneering feature-length animation with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, an early successful period for Disney animated films was followed by various degrees of commercial and critical success until a drop in the early and mid-1980‘s. Oliver and Company and The Great Mouse Detective set the stage for a resurgence that began with a return to the fairytale origins of the studio‘s earliest productions. The Little Mermaid was released in 1989, a hit at the box office and with critics, and went on to win Academy Awards for Best Song (for Under the Sea) and Best Score. Among Disney‘s two-dimensional animated films, it truly ranks among the best of the best. It is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale of the same name published in 1837. With a princess on a quest for a prince and pivotal dramatic transformations, it has the typical elements of the fairytale, but deviates from the source material. From the beginning, Disney liked to give it‘s heroines and heroes funny little sidekicks, usually animals. These don‘t appear in Andersen‘s story, but Ariel has a fish best friend called Flounder, and a seagull friend named Scuttle. She is looked after by her father‘s court composer, crab Sebastian. When characters like these are particularly well done and memorable, it bodes well for
the rest of the film, and these three are some of the best examples of sidekicks Disney ever created. Flounder has a younger brother feel, Sebastian has a distinct Jamaican influence and acts as a sort-of second father figure, and Scuttle serves the function of jester, providing plenty of laughs. Sebastian even gets lead vocals on a couple of the songs. The songs are another element not found in the fairytale source material, and an example of true excellence. Even the brief sea shanty-inspired Fathoms Below at the beginning is memorable and the songs just get more classic from there. Part of Your World is a poignant Princess ballad, and it exerts a melodic influence on the rest of the score. Poor Unfortunate Souls is the most dramatic Disney villain song ever, and Kiss the Girl the sweetest romantic ode. And the Oscar-winning Under the Sea is a reggae-influenced pop of fun that celebrates enjoying what you have. The classic beats of all of these songs ensure that one viewing will leave you humming one of them. The most significant change The Little Mermaid makes from Andersen‘s fairytale is his story ends tragically, with the Little Mermaid dying and ascending to a purgatory-like place where she learns from the ―Daughters of the Air‖ that she can attain a human soul—which she wanted all along
in addition to the Prince—if she does good deeds. The Prince she rescues and loves from afar never really considers marrying her and instead weds a neighboring Princess. Obviously, this isn‘t the kind of ending expected in a Disney fairytale—not only is it not a happy one, it has a religious tone that children won‘t quite be able to grasp. For the film, changes had to be made so audiences get to see a villain defeated, Ariel become a human permanently thanks to her father‘s magic, and a royal wedding. Disney usually didn‘t have to change the story to get a happy ending but the fact that they did isn‘t a slight on the studio—the whole of Hollywood is overwhelmingly dedicated to happy endings. Think about it— who really wants to see the bad guy win? Despite changes being made from the original fairytale to conform it to Disney traditions, The Little Mermaid is a classic. The high quality begun here stayed with Disney through an extremely successful period that included Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. Those of us who were actually in the target demographic of these films on their initial release got to experience Disney animation at it‘s peak, especially for twodimensional animation, and they are a timeless addition to our childhood. ♥
By Veronica Leigh
eauty is in the eye of the beholder. It can also be skin deep. It is a tale as old as time: a beautiful girl sees through the outer shell of a hideous man and through true love, transforms his life. For years, Disney worked to create an animated version of the classic tale Beauty and the Beast. It was shelved twice but then after the extraordinary success of The Little Mermaid, the Disney crew was inspired once again. The third time was the charm. Gone were the days when all a heroine had to do was be a damsel in distress and wait for a dashing prince to rescue her. This version of the story featured a young woman who could take care of herself and in the end save the prince too. Also, it is possibly the only Disney movie that doesn‘t have the hero and heroine fall in love at first sight. For them, love comes gradually. Once upon a time in a faraway land lived a young prince. When an old beggar visited one day to sell roses, he only saw her ugliness, but she was really an enchantress; as penance for his harshness she transformed him into a beast. He was to remain in a cursed state until his twentyfirst birthday, when unless someone fell in love with him, he would be forever stay a beast. The rose she offered him served
as a timetable; when it lost its petals, his chance to break the curse would end. Belle lives in a village not too far away. A dreamer of adventures and lover of books, the last thing she wants to do is marry Gaston. He pursues her relentlessly and she rebuffs his attentions. While he is handsome, Belle can see through him and knows the outer shell is all he has; he has no depth. As the story continues, the audience sees what Belle first understands: the true beast in the story is Gaston, a man of merciless determination to have what he wants, who will hurt anyone to get it. He cares no more for Belle‘s heart than he does the animals he shoots and hangs on his walls. He has all the outer appearance of goodness, from his handsome face to his easy charm. By contrast, the Beast has the outward appearance of a monster. He even acts like one, with a brutal temper and a tendency to blame everyone else for his problems… but as Belle comes to know him as a person, she learns that he is a good and kind prince who has made bad mistakes. Unlike Gaston, the Beast is willing to let go of what he wants for another to find happiness. Theirs is a romance fraught with complications. It is unthinkable to the Beast that someone as beautiful as Belle could fall in love with someone
as ugly as he is. In spite of all the time that has passed, for him, beauty still is only skin deep… until he starts spending time with Belle. They go on walks, look at his books, and have snowball fights. Perhaps the Beast was attracted to her outer beauty at first, but as he gets to know her, he sees her intellect, generosity and goodness. In turn, Belle sees a side of him she hadn‘t noticed before. Despite his appearance, he is not a monster, and their budding trust lets him open his fragile heart and let her in. Gaston tries to kill the Beast, who offers him mercy in return. Through malicious and violent behavior, Gaston‘s hatred leads to his downfall. As in life, evil triumphs to an extent before it destroys itself. Yet, he has still harmed the Beast. As he lays dying, Belle professes her love for him. Her words are enough. As he is resurrected, the darkness is shed, along with the animal-like appearance and he is restored to his former glory. According to Disney trivia, the Beast‘s real name is Adam. This brings to mind the Biblical Adam, who fell prey to sin and as punishment was cursed. It takes the love of Christ to remove that curse from us, as his descendants. In accepting Christ‘s sacrifice, we die to our old selves and allow his perfect love to transform us. ♥
By Carissa Horton
hen a new baby laughs for the first time a new fairy is born, and as there are always new babies there are always new fairies.‖ – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan There is only one character apart from Mickey Mouse that is synonymous with Walt Disney Animation; the character of Tinker Bell. For years, at the beginning of every Disney movie, Tinker Bell would flick her wand over Sleeping Beauty‘s Castle, a shimmer of fairy dust would appear, and the movie begin. It was always a magical moment of anticipation, like she was lending some special power to the film. As every Disney fans knows, Tinker Bell belongs in Peter Pan‘s universe. The story of Peter Pan, from its first inception by J. M. Barrie to the hands of Walt Disney, the great magic maker himself, always included the fairy whose voice tinkled like bells. In Walt‘s case, he finally had the opportunity to give Tinker Bell a form, a shape, turning her into more than just a flickering white light. Thanks to the 1953 film, Tinker Bell now has a face that glows red when she‘s angry, tiny white pompoms stuck onto her pristine green shoes, and wings so fine that she spins and preens
over them whenever she steps in front of a mirror. She can only hold a single thought in her head at a time, making her very selfish and very vain. Yet, Tink remains one of the most beloved characters in Disney animation. Perhaps she was in danger of dying out. After all, 1953 was a long time ago, and not everyone watches old movies anymore. Or perhaps the Disney animators finally stumbled across an idea that most fans knew all along would be a success, stories about just Tinker Bell. For whatever reason, the Disney Fairies movies debuted in 2008, starring the world‘s favorite fairy in her element. The films are a rousing success. Tinker Bell is born from a child‘s first laugh in the very first film and where Walt Disney had given her a form, now his writers have given her a voice. Tinker Bell‘s attitude is lively and vivacious, occasionally careless, and she never stops talking. Humans hear her as the tinkle of a bell, but to other fairies, she has a real voice. The change is… magical! Tinker Bell is transformed from a character almost inconceivably selfish into someone audiences relate to and understand. She is softened by her fairy friends of Pixie Hollow and made complete by them in a way
that Peter Pan was never able to portray. Tinker Bell was always forgotten and ignored by Peter, and her rage and mischievous behavior stemmed from jealousy and hurt because of Wendy. It‘s a relief to see Tinker Bell happy and fulfilled through her adventures in Pixie Hollow. Her friends offer her support and compassion, and never forget her or cast her aside as was Peter‘s habit. In fact, he is hardly missed at all. Oh, perhaps in the first film the audience might ponder the whereabouts of Peter Pan, but this is her story, not his. And because it is her story, the audience gets to know her. Yes, she gets angry sometimes and even makes foolish mistakes. Of course she does, she‘s Tinker Bell! Mistakes are part of her genetic design. But she is now more than just that voiceless fairy who flicked a wand before a Disney film. She has her own hopes and dreams that aren‘t defined by Peter Pan or Captain Hook or anyone other than herself. In her first film, Tinker Bell, she discovers how much she loves tinkering and her place in Pixie Hollow. In Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, she nearly goofs up a major project entrusted to her, and realizes she can trust her friends in a time of crisis. She is captured by humans in Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue after befriending a little girl, and she discovers that disobeying orders has dire consequences in Secret of the Wings. Next on the agenda for
Pixie Hollow is The Pirate Fairy to be released this spring where Tink will encounter a very young James Hook (voiced by Tom Hiddleston). Each film adds new layers to Tinker Bell‘s personality and her story. The best part of all, though, is the care that the writers and designers have taken in making the Disney Fairies films into high quality entertainment that pleases both children and adults. The Tinker Bell of Peter Pan is mostly onedimensional. This new and improved Tink exists outside of Peter Pan, with her own friends and her own life. Silvermist, the water fairy, is always a little on the ditzy side, but with a good heart. Rosetta, the garden fairy, offers sarcastic commentary couched in a southern accent. Fawn, the animal fairy, is the playful extrovert who loves and nurtures animals. Iridessa, the light fairy, supports her friends even when she doesn‘t always agree with them. Terence, the dust-keeper fairy, could be Tink‘s love interest if he ever worked up nerve enough to ask her. And Vidia, the fast-flying fairy, starts out villainous and must be redeemed. The fairies are unique, just as Tink is unique. These movies have taken a single character, sprinkled her with pixie dust, and let her fly. ♥
By Charity Bishop
ike many others, I grew up on Disney. I figured out which films I liked and watched them over and over, until maturity took me into more ―grown up‖ forms of entertainment. Yet, as I look back, Disney in many ways, shaped me into the person I am today, and still holds valuable lessons for those willing to look past the obvious to the true heart of each of its stories. My favorite films in Disney cannon are The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Lion King, but I think Pocahontas has the most important lesson for modern audiences. On the surface, it looks like an exploration of spirituality and independence, or perhaps a manipulation of history into a love story, but in truth, it is about division and prejudice. Underneath the stunning animation and music is a tale centered around two races unable to find common ground due to their strong traditions, prejudices, and miscommunications. Even the hero, John Smith, enters the tale believing the Indians are ―savages,‖ and boasting that he has killed some in his time. He sees the ―new world‖ as a place to be exploited until Pocahontas teaches him to experience and value nature in its purest form.
The film‘s vital moment comes when Pocahontas‘ fiancé attacks Smith and is shot by a settler. It‘s seen as an act of aggression by the tribe and a justification for war by Governor Radcliffe, whose motivation is to wipe the Indians out and claim their gold. This inspires the song ―Savages,‖ with both groups claiming that the other side are savages and deserve to die. They justify their mutual desire for blood by concluding ―they’re different from us, so they must be evil!‖ It is a profound reminder that we are all human, we all deserve life, and we must learn to see past our own prejudices to truly ascribe to God‘s desire for us to ―love one another as yourself.‖ Bigotry is insidious because it creeps into every aspect of our life, making us judge people not on their actions but because they are part of a ―group‖ we don‘t agree with. Individuality is vital to our society; the ability to see past religion, sexuality, politics, and skin color, and to deal with
one another as people, rather than part of a collective group. If you lump people into a group, it is much easier to dehumanize them and justify cruelty toward them. Dehumanization led to the worst atrocities in history; it cursed humanity through years of slavery, and ended the lives of millions in the Holocaust. If we want to ―better‖ our ancestors, we must learn not to make the same mistakes they did. In Pocahontas, the tribe values life in ―every rock and tree and creature‖ but not in the settlers. This reminds us that even those who value life are still capable of hatred. It‘s hard to stop seeing groups and focus on individuals but if we can do that, we‘ll find that our initial preconceptions about our ―enemies‖ are often untrue. No one should be hated for their political party, personal beliefs, or religious affiliation. Disney‘s Pocahontas is heavily fictionalized history, but it still has much to teach us. ♥
By Lianne Milan Bernardo
aven‘t any of you ever had a dream?‖ Rapunzel asks a group of thugs hanging out in a tavern. In Disney‘s Tangled the power, importance, and the fulfillment of dreams play an important role in Rapunzel and Flynn‘s stories. She dreams of visiting the source of the floating lights she sees every year from her window. When Flynn Rider ends up at her tower, on the run from the king‘s guards, she decides to take matters into her own hands and enlists him to help her achieve her dreams. Seeing the floating lanterns up close is the one thing she wants the most. She even risks the irritation of her supposed mother, Gothel, to ask if they can go see it for her eighteenth
birthday. Since childhood, Gothel has told Rapunzel stories about the ―evil world‖ outside her tower and the people who would use her magical hair for selfish reasons. Rapunzel grows up not only sheltered but also frightened of the outside world. At the same time, she‘s curious about this world and is more than prepared to set out beyond the confines of the stone tower. Her determination to realise her dream helps her overcome these challenges and feelings of uncertainty about the unknown and about herself. Flynn is a drifter and a rogue when he meets Rapunzel. He‘s quite a charmer, with
plenty of clever one-liners but he‘s also rather cynical and jaded; he doesn‘t sing, he doesn‘t like talking about his past, and he doesn‘t trust Rapunzel‘s sincerity or her word. Early in their adventure he tries to persuade her out of their agreement of taking her to see the floating lanterns in exchange for the satchel containing a tiara he and his companions stole from the castle. But when the façade drops, Flynn is revealed as a daydreaming orphan longing to escape his circumstances. Unfortunately, this desire led him to a life of thievery. His time with Rapunzel helps him look beyond what he knows and has experienced towards the possibilities that exist around him.
In setting out to actualize her dreams, Rapunzel and Flynn grow and change as individuals. By venturing out of the tower, Rapunzel not only meets a variety of different people (many of whom have dreams of their own and bear no ill-will towards her) and experiences new things but also learns the truth about her parents and reunites with them. Her experiences out in the world make her stronger as a person, more self-assured. When she confronts Gothel about her lies, she‘s no longer timid and easily persuaded; Rapunzel knows her own mind and is now capable of deciding what she wants. Flynn also changes thanks to Rapunzel‘s company. Not only does he begin to view life and the world around him from her wondrous perspective, he also begins to act more considerately towards others. He starts to truly dream again for himself by envisioning his redemption and a future with Rapunzel—to put an end to all ―those years living in a blur.‖ He even opens up about himself and his past and sheds his fake name in preference for
his real name, Eugene Fitzherbert. Along the way, Rapunzel ponders an important question about the pursuit of dreams: once the dream is fulfilled, what then? Is life effectively over, the peak of it being the actualization of that dream? The prospect is just as terrifying as starting that journey towards making her dreams a reality. Flynn‘s answer to this question is both poignant and true: ―Well, that‘s the good part, I guess. You get to go find a new dream.‖ Tangled is not only a fun actionadventure, a sweet romance and an interesting take on the Rapunzel fairytale, it‘s also an introspective look at the power of dreams and how important they are in shaping our lives. It doesn‘t matter what you do for a living, where you are in your life or what you‘ve gone through, dreams enable us to focus, aspire towards endless greater possibilities, better our lives and live them to the fullest. Rapunzel and Flynn‘s story shows that not only can dreams come true, but that we have the capacity to fulfill them so long as we believe in them and in ourselves. ♥
A Nation at War Civil War divides any nation, turning families and friends against one another, and forcing people to make difficult choices. Join us as we explore one of the most devastating times in American history. We have 14 Open Spots! Please contribute! firstname.lastname@example.org
CLAIMED: Need an idea? Let these spark your creativity! Topics: The Clothes of the Period (1860â€˜s); Abraham Lincoln; John Wilkes Booth; A History of Slavery; Famous Authors; Historical Figures; Events in Other Parts of the World. Movies: 3:10 to Yuma, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, The Conspirator, Dances With Wolves, The Gangs of New York, Gettysburg, Glory, Gods & Generals, Hatfields & McCoys, Little Women, The Lone Ranger, The North and the South, Ride With the Devil, Sommersby, True Women.
Gone With the Wind, The Civil War Trilogy by Lynn Austin, Louisa May Alcottâ€˜s War Efforts, Cold Mountain, Raoul Wallenberg.