Rachel Bloom’s cartoon points out being a Disney princess and finding a prince would be a lot less cool if it were historically-accurate.
Lyrics (after the jump): Read more
When I saw Disney was making a movie about Walt Disney convincing P. L. Travers to sign over the rights to Mary Poppins, I was expecting to come away at least slightly annoyed. As much as I adore Emma Thompson, who plays Travers, I thought this was going to be a story about a stubborn artist who’s convinced by the magic of Disney to stop being so up-tight.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t quite that simple and I found a lot to like about the movie, Saving Mr. Banks.
First off, both Disney and Travers are portrayed as complicated and imperfect human beings, though obviously she’s got more serious issues to resolve here than he does. The film moves back and forth between her trip to Los Angeles to see Disney, having been pushed into it by financial need; and her childhood in Australia struggling with an alcoholic, big-dreaming father (Colin Farrell).
And the film pokes fun at the whole candy-coated Disney empire, mostly through Thompson as a delightfully bitter, acerbic, stiff Travers, who’s appalled at the mountains of cakes and donuts brought in for lunch and the way her hotel room is crammed full of stuffed Disney cartoon characters.
Second, the supporting actors, particularly the women, are outstanding. Ruth Wilson plays Travers’ mother in her flashbacks and every single facial expression and word out of her mouth shows her internal conflict and struggle to get by taking care of three children and worrying about her husband. Disney’s female staffers – Kathy Wilson as Tommie and Melanie Paxson as Dolly – also make a lot out of their relatively small roles.
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Third, while I wouldn’t call it a feminist film on the whole (there’s not a single person of colour to be found, and ultimately it’s still about a woman whose life is defined by men) there are some feminist scenes. In one, Disney asks his staffer Tommie to help him decipher what’s really going on with Mrs. Travers. Read more
Comediva writer and producer Erika Cervantes, who brought us BAMF Girls Club, has put together this musical clip introducing Disney Princess Leia. Will she fit in with the other Disney princesses, or would she rather be off in a blaster fight?
by Jessica Mason McFadden
Brave, Disney-Pixar’s newly released fantasy adventure film, features two female protagonists struggling within the strictures and dynamics of 10th century life in the Scottish highlands. Before seeing the film, I was told it was about a kick-ass princess.
After seeing the film, I read feminist and other reviews that essentially made similar claims: that the film succeeded at, failed at or partially succeeded at portraying a kick-ass princess. But Brave, while possessing its kick-ass princess moments, is not simply about a princess. It’s about relationships, the central one being a mother-daughter relationship. I did not take away a linear or single-character focus from this film; what I took away was a lesson on communication – an in depth exploration, with sociological and psychological underpinnings, of the ways we relate to ourselves and each other.
Bravery is not something over which feminists, warriors, feminist warriors or any other single group has ownership; bravery ethereally belongs to humanity as a sort of magical force that propels us toward action and progress. The film was complex, confusing and off-track at times because of it, but necessarily complex because that is the nature of relating. Since the film was not just about the journey of ONE character, but about the journey of relating, a spectral approach was essential.
One of the major feminist feats of this film was its (at times chaotic) inclusivity. One cannot, or at least it seems so to me, consider the state of one of the protagonists without also considering the state of the other.
Pixar’s mostly-man team did do something different with this film – they took the heteronormative institution of marriage and used it as the vehicle through which personhood and belonging could be explored. While marriage and tradition are the surface issue with which Queen Elinor and Princess Merida struggle, their struggles and their bond with one another are much deeper than that. Read more