Merry meet my fairysouls! Here is my new video and it is all about magic in Sleeping Beauty. If you prefer to read scroll down to read the article. I filmed this on the New Year so you can see the sparkling Christmas tree behind me.
What it comes to the older classic Disney animations, Sleeping Beauty from 1959 is one of my personal favorites. Style of the animation is gorgeous and as an illustrator, I can only admire the delicate background art created by illustrator Eyvind Earle but my absolute favorite part in the film is the representation of magic.
Disney´s Sleeping Beauty is loosely based on Charles Perrault´s fairytale of the same name and Perrault´s fairytale (which you can read here) was based on a medieval ballad, which is the first literal version of Sleeping Beauty. Perrault was the first who included the magical elements to the story, like the spell in the spinning wheel. In the Disney animation fairies are the ones who hold the magical powers.
Aurora´s Fairy Godmothers
In the animation, Aurora´s three godmothers are called Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. Flora gives the baby princess the gift of beauty, Fauna gives her the gift of song and when Merryweather is about to give her gift, that is when Maleficent appears, so it is left to Merryweather to change Maleficent curse from death to 100 years of sleep.
Three fairies wear different colors and the color code is based on ancient fairylore where fairies are often associated with different colors.
Flora wears red which represents; life, sun, mother goddess and flowers.
Fauna wears green which represents forest, plants, and animals.
Merryweather wears blue which represents thoughts, thinking, and ideas.
These three fairies are all connected to different elements. Flora is connected to fire, Fauna is connected to the earth and Merryweather is the fairy of the air.
Here are a few interesting facts about these three fairies.
Originally script writers planned to have seven fairies for the animation but that ended up being too much. Three fairies went through many transformations. Flora and Fauna first had different names. Flora was called Tranquility (fairy of dreams) and Fauna was Fernadell (fairy of the forest). Merryweather was always called Merryweather.
These three Disney fairies have some awesome powers and I dare to say it, I like them so much more than Tinker Bell (no offense J.M.Barrie).
Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather have the following magical powers:
Telekinesis - ability to move objects with their minds/wands
Color manipulation - best example of this is Flora´s and Merryweather´s constant fight whether Aurora´s dress should be pink or blue (I´m on #teamblue).
Conjuration - ability to materialize objects from thin air.
Ability to turn invisible.
Talent to manipulate and transform light.
Pyrokinesis - ability to create fire and manipulate it.
Ability to transform objects and change their size.
Ability to fly.
Ability to change appearance, size and looks.
Wonderful World of Fairylore
Three fairies in Disney´s Sleeping Beauty are three fairy sisters and throughout history, this group of three fairies or three fairy godmothers has appeared in one form or another. We can find them from many cultures and mythologies.
Often the fairy godmothers appear in groups of three or four and these fairies are always guardian spirits.
In Welsh fairylore, three fairies originate from Benedith y Mamau which means the blessing of the mothers. Roots of Benedith y Mamau are in ancient goddess cult. Benedith y Mamau represented the triple goddess and the name originates from Latin matres meaning mother. These three goddesses were worshipped as the protectors of people. The matrons were widely worshipped in the 5th century in Gaul, Germania and Northern Italy.
Fairies that are connected to faith (like fairies in Disney´s Sleeping Beauty) often appear in the groups of three. In Norse mythology, the three Norns who are the weavers of destiny, appear in the group of three and so does the Morai, who are the three goddesses of faith in Greek mythology.
In ancient Finland, it was believed that each person had an invisible spirit who guarded them. This spirit was called haltija. Word haltija has many different meanings. It can mean an elf, a fairy or a spirit/nature spirit.
In Arabic folklore jinnie/jenyah (genie) before they were solely connected to wish making and magic lamps were guardian spirits of people and places in nature.
In Baltic countries, Latvia and Lithuania fairies were known as Laumes and they were the servants of the goddess Laima, who was the goddess of faith and protector of humans. Laumes were the guardian of children and protectors of mothers and pregnant women. It was believed that a fairy was present in each birth and that fairy became the child´s godmother and she protected them throughout their life.
Very often people criticise Sleeping Beauty that it is not a very empowering film for women. If we think about Aurora I agree that she is not a very active princess but I don´t think that is really that much of a character flaw but it has more to do with the story. We can´t expect that many heroic deeds from her since she spends most of the film sleeping.
the magic in Sleeping Beauty is actually rooted in the group dynamics of the three fairy godmothers which makes the film empowering and quite feminist. These three ladies team up to raise a child together and in the beginning, they have no idea how to do that especially without magical powers that I assume they have been born with. They give up their really cool powers for 16 years to protect this girl who is one day going to be the queen of their home land. By doing this these fairies are the heroes of the film. They are the ones who save the kingdom by helping prince Phillip and by raising Aurora and protecting her from Maleficent. Magic of the three fairy godmothers is in their group dynamics and their faith for each others (faith for their "fairy coven"). Sometimes they do get on each others nerves like sisters do but in the end they all know what is at stake and they work together.
Maleficent, The Black Fairy
In the original Sleeping Beauty ballad, the fairies are missing. The story is quite horrifying for modern readers. It includes a prince who rapes an unconscious princess who gives birth to twins while being in a coma. When the prince wants to marry the girl he raped, his wife tries to kill them and the cheated wife is framed as the villain of the story. In Perrault´s version, the prince did not have a revengeful ex-wife, neither he was a rapist but he had a cannibalistic ogre stepmother who wanted to eat couple´s young children.
Obviously, neither one of these scenarios were fitting for a Disney film. The origins of Disney´s Maleficent is in deeper and older fairylore. More specifically, in the legend of the black fairy.
As I mentioned earlier it is common in fairylore that fairies are often associated with different colors.
Colors of Maleficent are black, purple and poison green.
Black represents a hidden identity and death.
Purple represents high magic, spirituality, and high priestess. Back in the days purple color was very difficult to make so it was only allowed for royal people to wear purple. In Sleeping Beauty Maleficent is a ruler of her land.
Poison/yellow-ish green represents jealousy and danger.
Fairy of Revenge
Story of the black fairy follows a very old narrative of the fallen one. We can date first stories back to 30 - 40 000 years to the time of shamanism. In some native American and Finno-Ugric cultures, the world was created by two water birds. In these myths one of the water birds was good and the other bird was an evil/trickster. The world was only water and these birds dived to the bottom and brought some dirt in their beaks to the surface and started to build the earth this way. The trickster hid some of the dirt and when the "good" bird found out about this, he forced the trickster to become his servant, so the trickster bird became the ruler of the underworld and receiver of souls.
A similar story can be found from the Bible where Lucifer is the fallen angel and is banished from heaven. In Koran, the Iblis is the fallen jinnie who is Carlotta by Allah because he refused to bow Adam, the first man.
There are many examples in myths where the "neglected" member in the family/pantheon of deities becomes the ruler of death and the underworld. In ancient Greece after killing their father Kronos, the three brothers Zeus, Poseidon and Hades divided the world. Zeus who was the oldest became the ruler of the skies, Poseidon who was the second oldest ruled over seas and Poseidon who was the youngest became the ruler of the underworld.
The original fairytale of Sleeping Beauty does not have straight connections to magic but it does show the cattiness in female relationships. This is something that can also be found in the story of the black fairy. In ancient Europe there was (and still is) many negative associations to the color black and black fairy wearing the color black automatically has made her an outcast among the other fairy. In the folktales about the black fairy she usually starts out like any other fairy but for one reason or another becomes rejected by the other fairies and this chain of actions causes the black fairy seeking revenge to the other fairies. Disney´s Maleficent has all the same powers than Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather and eventually, her plot does not work out because she lacks the support of others. Her only true friend is her crow. The ogres that work for her are just minions and can easily turn against her.
It seems to be some kind of a Hollywood trend to make fairytale villains seek forgiveness and go through redemption. I have seen this a lot in films and tv in recent years. I did not like the live-action movie Maleficent that much. I thought Angelina Jolie did a good job playing Maleficent but I did not like the plot. In the live-action movie, the three fairy godmothers were turned into caricatures and they didn´t really do anything in the movie. Maleficent was not evil. She was "victim of patriarchy" and she became Aurora´s godmother. I was glad that the film had the fairy godmother-aspect included since that is important part of the story.
In the animation, Stefan and the queen are very loving parents and it broke their hearts when they had to give their child away. I did not like the way Stefan was portrayed in the movie Maleficent since he was a great character in the animation. The live action draws from the original ballad where the princess was raped and abused by the prince. whereas the original animation got it´s inspiration from Perrault´s Sleeping Beauty which draws heavily from the black fairy trope. In the original animation, it is pretty clear that the fairies and Maleficent go way back but their relationship is not explained.
I am a big fan of ABC´s Once Upon A Time. It is another show where redemption among villains is an extremely common theme. Regina the evil queen starts out as a straight forward villain. Season by season she becomes a better person and by the end of the series, she is crowned again as a good queen. Redemption as a story arc can work in a movie or a series but there is no denying that Regina, the evil queen on the earlier seasons is more interesting to watch than the good Regina of the later seasons. Another villain in Once Upon A Time is Rumplestiltskin who also goes through redemption arc. It takes much longer time for Rumple to get his redemption because unlike Regina, Rumple´s support net is much smaller. Once Upon A Time had a very interesting take on the black fairy and to my pleasant surprise, it had its inspiration in the black fairy folk tales where fairies were protectors of children.
The Empowering Villain
Maleficent represents the villain archetype when the three fairy godmothers represent the nurturing mother. What I love about the original Disney´s Maleficent is that she is un-apologetically evil. She has very bold moves, unforgettable laughter (check the video 18:20 and my favourite Maleficent laughter) and she can turn into this amazing kick-ass dragon. Maleficent is the dragon queen. She embodies evil and she does not regret anything she does. My favourite Maleficent scene is the one where she confronts prince Phillip and tells him Now you will meet Maleficent the lover of all evil.
She is very dramatic and among the fairies my favorite character in the movie. Maleficent embraces her evilness, it is part of her. What if we turn the premise of Sleeping Beauty upside down and look Maleficent as a character who is proud of the fact that she is an outcast and she does things differently and that is her magical power. Same way as working collectively is the magical power of the fairy godmothers. Maleficent being this extremely powerful evil character can be seen as a metaphor or as an allegory to love yourself the way you are and embracing that. Maleficent loves herself as an evil creature. It does not come from some emptiness or trauma. It comes from her love for destruction (basically she is a total psychopath). She loves her evilness and that makes her such a great character. We are allowed to love the villains in their villain-ness. They can be empowering and powerful archetypes.
I love Sleeping Beauty, I think it is one of the most magical Disney animations ever made and all these layers in the story and in the different film versions just add more magic into that. Magic in Sleeping Beauty is both collective and individual and deeply rooted in the enchanting world of the fairies.
As always thank you for reading my stories and watching my videos. I´v added new wonderful leggins to my store. Come and check them out. I´ll add new products each week.
Disney´s Beauty and the beast from 1991 is Disney´s 30th classic. It is also my favorite movie of all times and I have seen it about 90 times.
Beauty and the beast was the first Disney animated film which had two leading characters and later on it was an inspiration for movies like Aladdin, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas and Atlantis which clearly has two or more leading characters. First Disney animation with two leading characters was Lady and the Tramp from 1955.
It is a story about a beauty called Belle and a prince who was turned into a beast by an enchantress. He is doomed to be a beast until he finds someone who loves him. The castle is forgotten, servants are turned into living objects and the beast has hidden himself from the outside world. Belle lives in the near by village with her eccentric inventor father. She is an outsider because she reads a lot and she is curious. Belle is courted by handsome hunter Gaston but Belle does not want to marry a man who is not interested from her thoughts. One day her father, Maurice travels to inventors meeting and gets lost. He finds his way to the beast´s castle and the beast captivates him. Belle goes to save her father and the beast takes her instead.
Belle is free to wander around the castle but she is not allowed to enter the west-wing. There is a magical rose which flourishes as long as the beast has a chance becoming human again. Curious Belle enters the west-wing. Beast finds her and gets outraged. Belle escapes and is chased by wolves. Beast saves her and because of this unselfish act Belle decides to stay in the castle. They start to spend more time together and become friends. In the spring time servants arrange a ball for Belle and the beast. After a romantic evening Beast shows Belle his magic mirror and Belle sees her father who is ill. Beast allows Belle to leave and accepts his destiny, that he is doomed to live as a beast for the rest of his days. He also realizes that he is in love with Belle.
Belle travels to see her father. Gaston isn´t over the humiliation Belle caused by publicly turning down his proposal. He pays for the leader of mental institution to take Maurice. Belle tells everyone that Beast is real and that her father is not mad. Gaston leads the villagers to the castle to kill the beast. Belle and Maurice escape with the help of Chip. They go to warn the beast but it is too late. Gaston has wounded him. Belle tells dying beast that she loves him and the curse breaks. Beast returns back into human form and so does the servants. Movie ends into a grand ball.
Walt Disney and Beauty and the Beast
Walt Disney was interested to turn Beauty and the Beast into an animation already during his own lifetime but the complexity of the story became a problem. Just in the beginning of the 90th century following the success of the Little Mermaid the new generation of Disney animators and script writers re-discovered Beauty and the Beast.
Tale As Old As Time
Story of beauty and the beast is literally tale as old as time. First literal versions of the story can be found from ancient Greece but theme of the story is as old as storytelling itself.
There was a historical model for the beast. A man called Petrus Gonsalvus. In the 16th century European nobles had a sick habit to collect different kinds of people. Gonsalvus suffered from hypertricosis. His body was completely covered by hair. He was found as a child from the jungles of Teneriff and was brought into the court of France. King Henri II decided to do a test and see if he could turn a savage into a noble man. Later on king´s wife Margareta, who was known for arranging marriages, arranged Petrus to marry a daughter of one of her enemies (daughter´s name was also Margareta). For the surprise of queen Margareta and the rest of the court the couple fell in love. Petrus and Margareta never got a chance to live a free life. Their every single moves were followed. From their seven children, four had hypertricosis and they were given to different courts around Europe to amuse the noble.
La Belle et la Bête
Few centuries later the story of Petrus Gonsalvus inspired the authors of the French court. 1740 Gabrille Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve published her story La Belle et la Bete. Story was about a wealthy merchant and his beautiful daughter called Belle. The plot of the story is very complex and very much like a soap-opera. In the book Belle constantly dreams about a handsome prince. And she is convinced that the beast who has captured her has also captured the handsome prince of her dreams. When Belle returns to her home to her evil, envy sisters she understands that she is in love with the beast. She has a magical ring and mirror with her and from the mirror she sees that the beast is about to die. She goes back to the castle and tells the beast that she loves him and then beast turns into the prince from Belle´s dreams. In Villeneuve´s story prince has lost his father and her mother is leading a battle against another kingdom. He has been home schooled and when prince turns 18 his tutor turns out to be an evil fairy who wants to marry him and when the prince refuses, she turns him into a beast. Beaty´s mother also returns. She was the sister of the passed away king and captured by the evil fairy. In the story beauty and the beast are cousins and Belle is a royal by blood.
I read Villeneuve´s beauty and the beast last year. My English is pretty great but I must admit it was quite challenging for me to read the novel because it was written in very old fashioned English. But I did get something out of the book and that is, it is foremost the story of Belle. She is both smart and beautiful. During the time when book was written, forced marriages were very common and women married young. Villeneuve wrote the book for those young women to encourage them to adapt into the situation. Future unknown spouse might seem frightening beast at first but when you get to know them they might turn out to be really nice. Some of the forced marriages were indeed love-marriages and some were not.
Girls With Monsters
In Hollywood movies that portray the relationship between a woman and a monster, the beast has always reflected fears of the people of the time. For exampole the first King Kong movie from 1933 is an allegory of a love affair between a white woman and a black man. A topic that was not openly spoken during the time.
In 1756 French lady called Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont wrote a shortened version of Villeneuve´s tale and Disney animation is mainly based on Beaumont´s version. Another inpiration for the classic animation was Jean Cocteau film from 1947. Animators and the designers used Cocteu´s film style and make up as an inspiration for the animated characters.
Belle A Modern Beauty
In the beginnig of the 90´s Belle was a Disney princess that world had never seen before. She read, she was curious and wanted to know about the world. Belle is French for beautiful and she is often considered to be one of the most beautiful Disney characters ever created. Belle´s beauty is much more than outside beauty. She is incredibly smart, bit cheeky and she is kind. Belle´s mother is absend. We can assume that she has passed away. She has been raised by eccentric single-dad and Belle loves him dearly. Belle is also very aware that both she and her father have questionable reputation in the village. Their home is just outside the village which higlights this separation from the rest of the village. Belle is never ashamed of her father. She is proud of him and it is probably because she was raised by such father Belle loves to read and is very clever. Linda Woolverton who was the script writer of Beauty and the Beast hoped that Belle would not be portrayed as a perfect character or someone who wishes to be perfect. This is why she often has one of two strangles of hair on her face and she is pulling them back behind her ears.
Mentality of the villagers in the Beauty and the beast can be easily compared to the political athmosphere of modern day where people´s mentality and ideas are constantly manipulated by the media and people are not encouraged to think by themselves. When we first become introduced to the character of Belle, already the first song of the movie tell s how the villagers react to people that are different than others. Why woman in her 20´s reads? Why she isn´t like the others? Half of the village men are stunned by her beauty but they are also afraid of her independent character.
There is also grudge towards Belle. Brigid Bardot-look-a-like triplets can not understand how any woman can reject Gaston and his muscles. In the original fairytale Belle had brothers and sisters. Her brothers were kind and protective but her sisters were always jeaous of her beauty. It is very common in fairytales that women, sisters especially are portrayed evil. In the first animation scripts Belle had evil sisters but in the end they were removed because the writers wanted to focus more on the relationship between Belle and her father. Triplets were left to the animation to represent the envy sisters.
Sheeps that gather around Belle when she is sitting by the fountain represent the sheep-mentality of the villagers. They don´t feel need to think independently and for someone to do that feels strange to them. Maurice who is probably the most smartest person in the whole town, is thrown out of the pub when he tells about Belle´s kidnapping. Have villagers considered Maurice nuts the whole time? Geniouses have been considered crazy throughout times. Sheep-mentality is on it´s highlight in the end of the movie where Gaston seduces them all to go to a beast-hunt.
Beauty and the beast begins when an old woman enters the palace and asks shelter. Young spoiled prince doesn´t want the ugly hag to enter his palace and tells her to leave. Fairy sees the corrupted soul of the prince and turns him into a beast. He grows to an adult in constant self-hatred and aggression. Beast is completely attached to the palace. He can not enter the outside world because people would be afraid of him. Right in the beginning of the movie the narrator asks the most important question about the beast. ”How beast is able to love anyone, if they can not love themself?” When Belle enters the palace beast starts to understand himself and his own behavior. Like Belle is his prisoner, Beast is the prisoner of the curse.
The loyal servants of the beast know their master very well. They can see when he is on a good mood or a bad mood. In away all the servants, but especially the three most important ones, Lumiére, Mrs Potts and Cogsworth represent the conscience of the beast. Lumiére who´s name is French for light represents the hope of the beast. Belief that everything can turn out fine. This comes out in Lumiére´s optimistic character and charm. Lumiére is something that the beast wishes he could be.
Rational clock, Cogsworth represents the time passing by. Cogsworth is the one who reminds the beast about the rose and his noble heritage.
Mrs Potts symbolizes beast´s parents. Beast´s parents are not mentioned in the movie. They are dead or otherwise out of the picture which has made the prince bitter. Motherly Mrs Potts looks after the beast even when he is not taking care of himself. She represents unconditional parent´s love. Her large family that lives in the cupboard reminds the beast of the things that he can not have even though he would want to.
Beast is no doubt one of the most complex and multi-layered Disney characters. When he get´s to know Belle his nature becomes more calm and he becomes more human. This was the biggest problem in the Beauty and the beast live-action. Belle was trying to change the beast to her liking and he did not change at all. In the animation beast is the one who changes himself. Beast changing into a man is not a reward for Belle but it is a reward for the beast because he chooses to die as a beast or to become a man that he has always wanted to be.
Gaston The Handsome Beast
Gaston is the villain of the Beauty and the beast and possibly one of the best Disney villains ever created. Gaston is tall, dark, handsome, muscle man- master shooter. He is also chovinist and not very bright. Gaston is similar to the beast. They both have a large ego and anger-issues. They are also physically bit similar. Aggressive behavior of the beast is not tolerated by the society because of his looks but the evil deeds of Gaston are approved because he is very handsome. Sexist behavior of the character probably would not be extremely uncommon in 17th century French village. Gaston tells Belle that woman should not read, which annoys Belle a great deal. She continues her journey with her nose in the book while Gaston sings to the village how excellent wife she is going to be for him. Belle does not want to marry a man who is only interested from her looks. In the beginnig of the movie Gaston is portrayed as buff idiot. Lefou who is always following Gaston represents Gaston´s ego. He never questions his motifs. Instead he is always worshiping and praising him. When Belle refuses to marry Gaston. Gaston´s revenge is cruel. He hires the leader of mental institution to take Maurice. An act that is as cruel as turning a teen age boy into a monster. Gaston represents the man that the prince would have turned out to become if the fairy would not have turned him into a beast. Did the fairy foresee what was going to happen. I hope so.
When Belle shows beast to the villagers from the magic mirror to prove his fathers words Gaston´s true nature comes out. He persuades the men of the village to join him on his hunt. Durign the chace he says out loud all those words that the beast has been thinking by himself
do you think the girl loves you when he can have me. You are too kind..beast
There are three stages in the transformation of the beast. The first transformation takes place when the beast saves Belle from the wolves. After this kind act Belle decides to stay in the castle and help him heal his wounds. The second transformation is the most important one and it takes place during the famous ball scene. Beast let´s Belle go and return to her father. He realizes that he has fallen in love. Third transformation is often forgotten. It happens during the battle between the beast and Gaston. Beast is about to strangle Gaston who begs for mercy and the beast let´s him go. Gaston stabs the beast and falls to his death at the same time. Act of mercy that beast shows to Gaston saves him in the end. If you watch the animation carefully, the moment when Gaston is stabbing the beast you can see small skulls in his eyes.
Beauty and the beast begins in the end of the summer and it ends in the spring. Changes in nature represent the changes in the lives of the leading charactes. In the beginning of the movie world is filled with warm colors. Belle is wearing white and blue and she stands out from the other villagers. White and blue are colors associated to Virgin Mary. Belle is innocent but she is not naive. Dress is similar to Dorothy´s dress in the Wizard of Oz. Just like Dorothy Belle finds herself in a strange magical world.
More familiar Belle feels herself in the castle of the beast, the colors of her outfits become warmer. They go from pink to red and from blue to forest green. Use of colors represent the concreting of the adventure she was looking for. Life in the castle is surprisinly exiting. The yellow/gold dress she wears in the ball represents her future role as a princess. Blue/gold outfit that the beast wears in the same scene reprents self-acceptance and appreciation.
In the beginning of the movie beast wears dark red/purple cape. Dark outfit symbolizes his wish to hide himself from the outside world. When Belle and the beast enjoy the winter wonderland beast has a bright purple cape. Purple symbolizes transformation and royalty. Such simple act as the settle color change represents the quite change that has began in the character of the beast since Belle has arrived. Gaston´s colors are red and black. Red represents attention, blood and hate. Black is the color of hidden identity.
Palace of the beast is dark and blink. After the curse the angels on the walls have turned into laughing demons. Color world of the rooms varies between dark red and purple. Ballroom with´s it´s gold ornaments and painted ceiling is familiar to the mirror room of Versailles. When the curse is broken the dim colors become bright again and the angels return. Palace is like it´s owner, the cursed beast. Abandoned and nearly forgotten. When Belle and the beast fall in love, palace begins to change as well. It does not show outside just yet but interior becomes more and more brighter.
In the Villeneuve´s fairytale Belle´s father climbed to the beast´s garden to pick up a rose for his favorite daughter. In Disney´s beauty and the beast rose has another meaning. It became the hourglass of the curse. When the rose dies, the beast has lost all hope. In the language of flowers red rose symbolizes passionate, all winning love. Love between Belle and the beast overcame all obstacles (hopefully after the curse was broken it was also passionate). The fact that the rose is kept under a glass cover represents the hopeless situation of all characters. They are trapped and way out of it feels hopeless at times.
Lot of the success of the Little Mermaid in 1989 had to do with it´s music and the composer duo Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. They were hired to compose music for the Beauty and the Beast. Beauty and the Beast bears similarity to Frozen in that sense both movies had a song that lives a life of it´s now. People who have not seen the movie know about the son. These songs are of course Let it go and Beauty and the Beast. Songs for Beauty and the Beast were recorded with a living orchestra. There was also a pop-cover made from Beauty and the Beast and it was performed by Céline Dion and Peabo Bryson. Song plays during the film´s end credits. Movie won the Academy Award from the best music in 1992. Song human again was composed for the film but it was cut away from the movie because it wasn´t nessecary for the plot. In 1994 human again was added to the Beauty and the Beast broadway musical and since 2002 song and the animation scene made for it have been added to dvd and blue-ray versions. Howard Ashman had Aids and he passed away eight months before the premiere of Beauty and the Beast on March 8th 1991 and never witnessed the worldwide success of the movie. Creators of the film dedicated it to the memory of Howard Ashman. In the end of the film it says:
To our friend Howard who gave mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful
I am really fed up with the Stockholm syndrome talk so here me out. Standing up to yourself is not a typical behavior for people with Stockholm syndrome. The person who made the claim clearly hasn´t seen the film and neither knows what the syndrome is all about. In Stockholm syndrom person sheepishly does everything that their abusers tell them and never question them. Belle always stands up to herself when the beast is cruel and she only decides to stay when he saves her.
In the beginning of the 90´s there was lots of changes going on in the Disney studios. The first storyboard was closer to Beaumont´s book. Belle was a daughter of a merchant and the role of the beast was much smaller. Film was directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. Beauty and the Beast was first movie direction for both of them. Trousdale had been working at Disney in the effect appartment since the 80´s and Wise as an animator. Later on both have directed several Disney films. Script was written by Linda Woolverton who was later on writing the Lion King, Mulan and live-action Beauty and the Beast.
Woolverton wanted to make Belle a different kind of Disney princess. Princesses before Belle (and Ariel), such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella were products of their time and lived in rather domasticated world. Belle was more free. She was allowed to come and go as she pleased. Neither her father or the beast forced her to do houseworks. In the film we don´t see Belle cleaning or baking. She sings more to herself than to animals. Belle reads and she dreams about a different kind of life. She can´t stand men like Gaston. It is easy to minimize the importance of her character in 2018 but in 1991 character of Belle represented the independent woman of the 90´s and she showed the way for other powerful Disney heroines such as Mulan, Pocahontas and Elsa.
According to Woolverton Belle´s character was indpired by Kathreen Hepburn playing Jo March in the 1933 film version of Little Women. She made Belle into someone who loved reading, who was not a princess and who did not have any desire to become a princess or to get married. Belle was radically different to any of the previous Disney princesses and this caused grudge and suspicion among some of the movie producers and animations. In the first storyboards animators constantly drew Belle crying during her captivity. Woolverton did not accept this. Belle was not a quitter. She was at the time oldest of all Disney princesses, 20 years old (Elsa is currently oldest, being 21). In the beginning of the captivity Belle might have been shocked by the situation but she owned it and straight away started to familiarize herself with the new environment. When the animators gave up crying, Belle became a super-bitch and she was constanly fighting with the beast. It was not until Woolverton, Belle´s voice Paige O´Hara and the producer Don Hahn explained to everyone what kind of character Belle truly was movie was back on tracks.
When Glen Keane did sketches for the beast he combined several different animals, but the eyes of the beast remain the same throughout the whole movies was he in his beast of human form.
Beast in his human form and the inspiration, Michelangelo´s David.
Beauty and the beast was partly created with CAPS (Computer Animation Production System). Caps was a digital software that was created by Dsieny for Pixar. With the program it was possible to create more deeper and larger variety of colors and color effects to the characters. Ballroom secen was one of the first scenes in the history of animation where characters painted on animation cells are animated against a digital background. Originally the creators did not want to use computers at all but after the software became more advanced they decided to use it in the ballroom scene. Because of the success of the scene studio started to take more risks with the animation. This can be seen especially in the following Disney animation, Aladdin from 1993. Scene where Aladdin is on a magic carpet flight in the treasure chamber was made with the same advanced technique.
Most important ingredients of the animation are the characters. Figure of Belle was inspired by the Dega´s Balet Dancer paintings and her facial features came from Hollywood golden age actresses, Vivien Leigh and Audrey Hepburn. Belle´s animators were Mark Hehn and James Baxtor and Gaston was animated by Andreas Deja. Beast was animated by (now a Disney legend) Glen Keane. When Keane was shaping the character of the beast he used several different animals as an inspiration. Such as bears, bores, oxes and bisons. For the transformation scene in the end he studied sculptures from Greece ad Rome. Especially the works of Michelangelo. Human shaped prince has lots of similar features to Michelangelo´s David.
I have seen beauty and the beast countless times in Finnish but also in English and in French. I grew up with the Finnish version but I also liked English and French versions. I did not understood aything from the French version except of course words ”bonjour” and ”ma cherie” thanks to Lumiére but since the movie takes place in imaginery France I think French language fits well to the world of the film. I was actually bit puzzled when I saw the English version because in the Finnish version beast´s voice is always downgrated when he is in the form of the beast. This is not the case in the English version. I do love the voice of Paige O´Hara. She is nowdays an official Disney fine artist and paints a lot Beauty and the beast themed art. In the Finnish version wonderful opera-singer Mervi Hiltunen is the voice of Belle (she is also Finnish voice of Aurora and Alice). Lumiere is Esa Muje, Beast is Matti-Olavi Ranin and Esa Ruuttunen is Gaston. Ruuttunen is also an opera-singer with a wonderful bariton-voice. Definitely my favorite Gaston voice.
When Beauty and the beast appeared it broke all the animated-movie records. It was nominated in four different academy awards categories and it was the first (and only) animation ever to be nominated for the best picture award. This happened way before there was a category for animated movies. It was also nominated for the best sound, music and song. It won the best muic and song awards. It was the first animation in the world to win a Golden Globe for the best movie/musical of the year.
List of awards and nominations
Academy AwardsMarch 30, 1992Best PictureDon HahnNominated
Best SoundTerry Porter, Mel Metcalfe, David J. Hudson& Doc Kane
Best Original ScoreAlan MenkenWon
Best Original SongAlan Menken & Howard Ashman for "Be Our Guest"Nominated
Alan Menken & Howard Ashman for "Beauty and the Beast"Won
Alan Menken & Howard Ashman for "Belle"Nominated
Chicago Film Critics AssociationFebruary 1992Best PictureNominated
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association1992Best Film3rd place
Best Animated FilmWon
Golden Globe AwardsJanuary 18, 1992Best Motion Picture – Musical or ComedyDon Hahn
Best Original Score – Motion PictureAlan Menken
Best Original Song – Motion PictureAlan Menken and Howard Ashman
For the song "Be Our Guest"Nominated
Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
For the song "Beauty and the Beast"Won
Grammy AwardsFebruary 18, 1993Album of the YearNominated
Record of the YearCeline Dion and Peabo Bryson
For the song "Beauty and the Beast"Nominated
Best Album for ChildrenWon
Best Pop Performance by a Group or Duo With VocalFor "Beauty and the Beast"
Song of the YearFor "Beauty and the Beast"Nominated
Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion PictureAlan MenkenWon
Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for TelevisionFor "Beauty and the Beast"
Best Pop Instrumental PerformanceFor "Beauty and the Beast"
Los Angeles Film Critics Association December 14, 1991Best Animated FilmGary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
Producers Guild of America March 4, 1992 Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures Don Hahn
Me and the beauty and the beast -inspired hair style (also works for Elsa and Elizabeth Swan)
Me and Beauty and the Beast
I could write a whole a book about this movie. I have seen it so many times. Often Disney fans like to categorize themselves. I am a Beaty and the Beast fanatic. I saw the film first time at the age of 5 and I watched it at least once a day after that. I was obsessed with it. I still watch it at least once a year.
Fun fact, some years ago I came across an article that listed favorite Disney films of different generations. For those born in the end of the 80´s, majority´s favorite is Beauty and the Beast. For those born in the beginning of the 90´s, it is the Lion King and for those born in the beginning of the 2000 that movie is Frozen. This list is easy to explain with the fact that these three films are the financially most successful Disney animations of all times. Especially when Lion King premiered it was marketed with intense never seen before.
When I first time saw Beauty and the beast I had an artistic awakening. It is all because of Glen Keane. The scene where the beast turns back into a man was for the young me so beautiful and amazing that I made a conscieus decision to become an artist when I grow up and create something as magnificent and moving (only the people who like my art know if this came true).
Many girls of my age (and probably some boys as well) identified themselves to the character of Belle. She is very easy to relate. She is an outsider in her village, a book worm who dreams about another kind of life. When I was a child Belle was my absolute favorite princess. I still think she is one of the most beautiful animated characaters ever created. More I have matured the more I have started to like and appreciate the character of the beast because of his complexity. He is not a typical prince and he is not Flynn Rider/Robin Hood type of rogue/trickster hero. Beast is a beast. A conflicted, torned character who becomes a better person when Belle enters to his life. He becomes more brave and unselfish. Quoting the animator of Belle James Baxtor:
What makes Beauty and the beast a remarkable character-oriented film is that it is a story where the main characters become friends and actually get to know one another before they fall in love. It is not like Disney stories before that where girl and the boy fell in love during the first song.
Film has been sometimes critized for the fact that the beast returns back to human in the end of the film. Does it change the message of the film that the beauty is also inner beauty? I admit I was a bit dissappointed as a child when the beast turned into a prince. But nowdays I really like him as a human prince as well (especially when he has his hair loose). We know that Belle would love him was he a beast or not. Beauty and the beast is a story about two people. When the prince learns to put other people before him he becomes human again. Becoming a human is not a reward for Belle for accepting him as the way he is but it is a reward for the beast for sacrificing himself and deciding to be better. Message of the film that beauty comes in all shapes and forms is truly tale as old as time.
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Frozen is Disney animated film released in 2013. It is Disney animated classic number 53.
I bet everyone is familiar with the plot. In the Kingdom of Arendelle princess Elsa has magical gift to create snow and ice. One day she is playing with her little sister Anna and Anna gets into an accident. Elsa gets scared of her powers that caused this. Parents take them to see the troll shaman, who tells Elsa to be careful with her gift. He erases Anna's memory so that she wont remember her sister having powers.
In the next chapter parents drown at sea and Elsa is going to become new queen of Arendelle. Sisters haven't been in close terms since childhood. Anna still misses her sister.
During the coronation Anna meets Hans prince of the Southern Islands and develops a crush on him. After few songs couple is planning to get married. Of course Elsa doesn't wish her sister to marry a man she has only known for few hours. Sisters are having an argument and Elsa's powers are revealed. This is specially noticed by duke of Weselton who already has his mind on overtaking Arendelle. Elsa runs away to the mountains and leaves her sister and people of Arendelle to everlasting winter.
Anna wont give up. She leaves prince Hans in charge and goes after her sister. He meets Kristoff Ice deliverer. With his reindeer Sven he decides to help Anna with her quest of find Elsa. They reach Elsa's ice palace where they meet Snowman Olaf who Elsa created as a child. Olaf joins the group. Anna meets Elsa in the palace. Sister seems liberated but she does not wish to return to Arendelle. Kristoff takes Anna to meet the troll Shaman. Maybe he could help them to get Elsa back. Only goal for trolls seems to fix Anna to marry Kristoff. Suddenly Anna's faints. Fights with her sister are finally turning her heart to cold.
Kristoff, Olaf and Sven take Anna back to the palace to prince Hans. Hans turns out to be the bad guy and tells Anna that only reason he wanted to marry her is that in his home country he doesn't have any chances for the throne. Anna becomes very upset. Olaf helps her to understand that is really Kristoff who truly loves her. When Anna hears that Hans is planning to kill Elsa she decides to stop him.
In the last battle Hans makes Elsa to believe that Anna is dead. In the snowstorm Hans tries to kill Elsa when Anna runs between them and turns into ice. Elsa cries and hugs her sister and Anna melts back to human. Elsa finally understands that she can be all queen, sister and use her powers freely. She turns summer back to Arendelle and creates little snow cloud for Olaf. Duke of Weselton and prince Hans are both sent back to their home lands. Kristoff becomes official ice deliverer and his relationship with Anna also becomes official. Movie ends to a skating scene where characters enjoy each others company.
Kristoff, Olaf and Sven
I have always liked the character of Kristoff. I think I read from Disney Wiki that Kristoff is Norwegian-Sami. What it comes to his reindeer-leather/fur clothes this makes sense. Those of you who don't know the Sami people are native people of Lapland. One thing that puzzles me is that Kristoff is a blonde and usually Sami people have quite dark hair but then again I'm a Finn with Sami ancestry and I have blonde hair so of course it's possible. Kristoff is probably Norwegian Sami orphan since he was raised by trolls.
Sven however is a character who I have mixed up feelings. I've been recently doing lots of research on Sami people, culture and reindeer herding (because I'm cool that way).
Before Sami lifestyle became more intertwined with reindeer meat industry Sami people kept wild reindeers as their pets. However in 19th century Norway Sami lifestyle was more around reindeer meat industry.
Kristoff however is not reindeer herder but an ice deliverer so he can have a reindeer sidekick.
My problem with Sven is that there is more doggy features than reindeer features. In away character is a copy of Maximus from Tangled where horse was more a sniffer dog than a cavalry horse. I think more reindeerish Sven would have been more authentic and I must add one can not really ride with reindeer's. I'm from northern Finland and always enjoy seeing reindeer's.
In the beginning I was quite annoyed by the character of Olaf. I believe he was added to the film for the child viewers (and of course kids are the primal audience for Disney films). For me Olaf felt bit too childish (I'm Olaf I love warm hugs!) so my inner cynic was against. Now I'm bit more softer and believe that film needs Olaf to balance Elsa's inner struggles and Anna's dreamy personality.
Frozen takes place in Arendelle, country that was loosely inspired by Norway and Norwegian culture. Film settings and clothes were also inspired by Norway in the beginning of 19th century. I read from Disney Wiki that Anna's and Elsa's parents are called King Agnarr and Queen Iduna. Frozen takes place in July 1839. Arendelle's symbol is the Crocus flower and colors are green and purple. You can see the color scheme in Anna's outfits also in Elsa's outfits in the coronation. Otherwise Elsa's outfits portray her belonging to the world of winter and snow.
Norway is a country with long troll-tradition and I think it's just awesome that there are trolls in Frozen. Only thing that I didn't enjoy that much was the song of the trolls (Fixer Upper) that was more a broadway musical song and not that close to music that in Norway has been more connected to trolls like drums and folk instruments.
Songs and voice overs
When I first moved to Wales and went to Tesco to buy Christmas gifts there was Frozen songs playing non-stop. I wish they would play non-stop in Finnish shopping centers as well! haha! There is bloody many songs in Frozen, even for a Disney musical there's so many songs.
My personal favorites are "Frozen heart" and "Let it go". Last time while travelling in way north Finland and I saw reindeer's I had to sing "Reindeer's are better than people" lol
Since I'm Finnish I usually prefer the Finnish voice overs and usually voice overs are done with great care for animations in Finland. Unfortunately at least what it comes to recent Finnish voice overs from the past 10 years they've gone really bad. That is why I prefer to watch Frozen in English than Finnish. I've only watched the Finnish version once and after that sticked with the English version. Saara Aalto did the Finnish voice of Anna but her voice is just too high pitch to my ear so I prefer Kristen Bell. I'm quite careful with voices since I'm highly sensitive and find too high noises very distressing. But Finnish voice of Kristoff was even worse. Axl Smith who is Finnish media persona did voice of Kristoff and he spoke with very heavy Helsinki-accent. I personally speak with heavy Oulu accent but to be fairy when it is an animation I wish that characters would speak in common language and with accent as long as it fits for the character. Especially according to Disney Kristoff is northern Sami it would have been cool if in Finnish version his voice would have been someone who speaks with northern Finnsih/ Lapland accent.
Unfortunately in Finland there has been this very unfortunate trend within past years to hire the most biggest celebrities/famous people of that moment to do voice overs to animations. When there's great amount wonderful trained voice actors. I don't really get it..
I do like Katja Sirkiä who is the Finnish voice of Elsa. She is trained voice actress and does fabulous job. I do like listen "Taakse jää" (Let it go in Finnish) in Finnish. Otherwise I think English voice over is way better on Frozen than Finnish. That's my personal preference.
I like to research stories which animations are based. Last year I took part on online course about Hans Christian Andersen that was organized by the university of Odense.
We also went through Andersen's other famous fairy tale "the Snow Queen". Frozen is loosely based on the Snow Queen. Walt Disney himself was planning to make an animation from this famous fairy tale but other projects kept him occupied. In it's early design process Frozen was much more closer to Andersen's fairy tale.
For those of you who haven't read Andersen's story. It is very episodic and tells about two children Gerda and Kay. As I recall story doesn't mention where they live. I assume that in a city in Norway or in Denmark. Gerda and Kay weren't sister and brother but loved each others like sister and brother. Like many Andersen's fairy tale Snow Queen has Christian elements. Fairy tale begins when a mirror made by the devil gets broken. Piece of the shattered glass gets inside Kay's eye. This is noticed by the wicked Snow Queen and she kidnaps Kay to herself.
Gerda travels to Lapland to Snow Queen's kingdom to find Kay. Little thief girl (perhaps she is a Sami) is helping her with her reindeer and two crows. One of the shattered glass pieces reaches Kay's heart and makes him "Frozen". Gerda still manages to save Kay before it's too late and destroys the evil Snow Queen.
In the end the plot for Frozen was completely re-written, maybe that is better because original story is quite complex and episodic. Gerda and Kay were turned into two sisters. Anna's relentless nature reminds Gerda's persistence to save Kay. In away Anna reminds Kay when her heart get's cold after fighting with Elsa. No way Elsa is evil Snow Queen, even though according to the duke of Weselton and inhabitants of Arendelle that is exactly what she is. This is a great reference to the past of human mind and how easy it was to label someone as a witch. Just the fact that Elsa chooses to live alone in a far away cold palace isolated from the rest of the world feeds this idealism where powerful woman who chooses to live alone is dangerous.
The way Snow Queen wants to adopt little boy to herself has little bit resemblance to Elsa's grief and sadness for that she feels need to isolate herself from her family and the rest of the world. I believe one major reason for Frozen's insane popularity is the sibling relationship. This is also one of the reasons that made Andersen's fairy tale very popular. There isn't romance in Snow Queen. There is romance of Anna and Kristoff in Frozen. Still main focus in Frozen is the relationship of the two sisters. Disney has several films about sibling relationships like "My brother bear" and my personal favorite "Lilo and Stitch". Also in Frozen both of the main characters are very multidimensional.
Overall the world of Frozen portraits mindset of 2013 more than beginning of the 19th century. I give solid three and half stars to Frozen. Some trivia to the end. In 2014 Frozen won an oscar for the best animated feature and Let it Go was the best song. Frozen sequel is currently in the making before that we can all sing "Let it go! Let it go! I can't hold it back anymore!
Pinocchio is the second Disney classic movie and it premiered in February 1940. Film wasn't financially successful. Part of the reason is believed to be in the Second World War and americans not going to the movies that much at the time. However what it comes to the development of western animation Pinocchio is a remarkable film.
What it comes to Disney animations Pinocchio hasn't never been one of my favorites. Later as an adult I have learned to respect it more. Often I like to compare animations to their original sources.
Pinocchio's creator was Carlo Collodi. He was Italian writer and a journalist. Originally Pinocchio was published as serial story in Italian children magazine Giornale per I bambini between 1881-1882 and completely book in 1883. In 2016 I was studying illustration and one of the stories we had to illustrate was Pinocchio. That is when I picked up Collodi´s book and read it. Stories are pretty creepy and disturbing. Pinocchio in the book is really mean child. Jiminy Cricket only makes short appearance in the story. Pinocchio actually kills him by stepping on him. There is even one chapter where Pinocchio is nearly hanged as a trouble maker. In the end he does become a real boy.
I prefer the Disney version.
In the movie my biggest problem is with the main character. In the book Pinocchio doesn't regret his bad behavior but in the movie, Pinocchio has developing morality.
What's a conscience! I'll tell ya! A conscience is that still small voice that people won't listen to. That's just the trouble with the world today...
I think this sentence summarizes the whole movie pretty well. Disney's Pinocchio is about morality and the way humans learns to separate right from wrong. Greatest power in the film is Gepetto's strong love and trust for Pinocchio. They don't have that much time to spend together. Quite early in the movie Honest John and his helper seduce Pinocchio to work for Stromboli and the world of theater and later to Pleasure Island. In the movie transformation to real boy is reward Pinocchio receives from well behavior.
First scene where Pinocchio starts to understand Jiminy's words is the scene where Stromboli throws him in to the cage and threats to make fire woods out of him. When Blue Fairy arrives Pinocchio regrets his actions but is too ashamed to admit it, which is why his nose starts to grow.
By the end of the movie Pinocchio has developing morality. When he gets message that Gepetto has been eaten by a whale, his first unselfish action is to go and safe them. Second time happens when Pinocchio saves Gepetto's life by pulling him to the cave away from the whale Monstro. In the end Pinocchio does become a real boy since he has proved himself to be brave an unselfish.
Biggest reason why I never really liked Pinocchio's character is that he doesn't know how to say no but is easily manipulated and each time follows the person who he happens to be around. However when I last time watched Pinocchio I got a revelation and understood why he behaves this way. When Blue Fairy makes a wooden puppet a living puppet Pinocchio has no understanding about being a human. He is literally send to school when he is 1-day old. Straight away Honest John seduces him to theater. Next day he is captivated by Stromboli and next few days he spents in the pleasure island. Can I assume that wooden boy that has only lived for 4-5 days to has perfect judgement of human behavior? No. I can not relate myself to the character situation even if I'd like to.
Jiminy has always been my favorite character in Pinocchio. He climbs the social ladder when Blue Fairy makes him Pinocchio's conscience. Jiminy becomes found of Pinocchio and he want's the help him the best way he can. However for me Jiminy is most familiar from "All of us to all of you". Disney's Christmas special that as far as I know hasn't been aired in the USA since the 70's but it is aired in Finland and in all Nordic countries each year around Christmas. Hosted by Jiminy Cricket and each year there are clips from up-coming Disney films as well. I also like the way Jiminy was portrayed in the Once upon a time -series as a psychologist. I think it was very fitting for the character.
Gepetto represents unconditional love of a parent. He is a bit silly old man but he is very good-hearten. This can be seen the way his pets care for him. After Pinocchio has gone missing and Gepetto has prepared dinner, Figaro is really mad when Gepetto tells him not to eat the fish. He is really mad but still respects Gepetto's wishes.
I also love the scene where Gepetto tickles Cleo's stomach. Both pets are very found of Gepetto. Character has very playful sense of humor. You can see this in the scene where he dances with Pinocchio and makes him kick Figaro's butt. One can also see his playful nature in the music boxes and clocks he creates. Figaro gets little bit jealous for Pinocchio just because he gets so much attention from Gepetto. Figaro's and Cleo's relationship is like watching brother and sister. Cleo is angelic and sweet and Figaro is the rebel. Both are still very found of each others.
Pinocchio you have a tail!
Disney's Pinocchio is way less creepy than Collodi's original story (and many other animated movie Pinocchios). Still Disney's Pinocchio is considered to be one of the darkest Disney animations ever made. There is big amount of bad guys. Puppet theater owner, the violent Stromboli and the leader of the Pleasure Island. Honest John and Gideon are also crooks of the story but they are the characters who start the unfortunate events. I always thought creepiest scene in the whole movie is the one where Lampwick turns into a donkey. Pinocchio has lot's of psychological horror.
I really like the way Game Hall of Pleasure Island is designed. I think it was quite clever to make it as an 8-ball. There Pinocchio drinks beer, plays pool and smokes cigars with Lampwick. I find the whole concept of Pleasure Island pretty absurd. It is like trauma-therapy for young boys since they get to break everything.
Pinocchio includes lot's of sociological themes like child labor. Little boys are seduced to the Pleasure Island and when they turn onto donkeys Coachman is planning to sell them as "free labor" to salt mines and circuses. Scene where the little boys/donkeys are send to the boat trip is heart breaking. When I was watching Pinocchio I hoped that there had been some kind of a magical interfering (Blue Fairy perhaps?) who could have saved the lost boys.
One thing that I have noticed in Pinocchio is the episodic feeling of it. This also links the film to Collodi's original story. In many ways the bad guys in Pinocchio remind me lots of Disney's early animation episode characters from Silly Symphonies.
Little wooden head
Pinocchio has an opening storybook beginning. Jiminy is the story teller. Beginning of the film is fun when the camera watches world through the eyes of jumping cricket. One of my favorite things in the film is Gepetto's workshop. Every time when I watch Pinocchio I can't stop admiring the amount of details and funny looking clocks. Quality of animation is very much advanced compared to Snow White. Another beautiful scene is the underwater scene. I find underwater scenes and battles with Strombo actually much more light hearten than the anxiety driven scenes in the Pleasure Island or with Stromboli. Probably because family is back together no matter what happens.
One of the things I do like in Pinocchio are the songs. Hi Diddle Dee Dee is very deceitful song. I think it's hilarious but of course it gives one very unrealistic image of actor's life.
When you wish upon a star - is actually a Disney song that for me is pretty much the same as Christmas Carol. No doubt because each year it is included in "All of us to all of you".
I've never liked the character of Stromboli but I've always liked the song I've got no strings and the puppeteer performance. Especially different dolls that represent different nationalities; Russian dancers, Dutch dancers and the French can can dancers.
I also like the songs "wooden little head" and "give a little whistle". During those two songs viewer is introduced with Gepetto's workshop and the main characters.
There are many scenes in Pinocchio that I like. When Pinocchio finally finds his family in the belly of the whale Gepetto accidentally hugs and kisses a fish. I also love the end scene. Figaro is so happy when Pinocchio becomes a real boy he jumps into Cleo's tank and gives her a kiss. One of my favorite scenes happens right before Blue Fairy arrives. Gepetto has so many ticking clocks on the walls that Jiminy has troubles getting sleep. Then he shouts "QUIEEET" and all the clocks stop clicking.
I´m a Finn guys, so naturally majority of the Disney films I have seen I´ve watched with Finnish voice overs. Last time we watched Pinocchio in Disney society in my uni and that was the first time I watched it in English. I usually prefer Finnish versions (Finnish animation voice overs are usually very high quality). But because Pinocchio hasn't never really been my favorites I didn't mind watching it in English. In fact Pekka Lehtosaari who has directed most of the 90's Finnish Disney voice overs got orders from Disney to find voice actors matching with the original voices. They indeed are very much alike. Wonderful Finnish actor Matti Ranin who passed away few years ago (he also worked as director for Disney's Finnish voice overs) did voice of Gepetto. I thought it was quite funny because Ranin's physical appearance was very similar to the English voice of Gepetto Christian Rub and in fact Disney animators used Rub as physical model for Gepetto.
Pinocchio may not be my favorite Disney animation I still highly recommend any Disney fan to watch it at least once or twice in their life.
I´ve added some pretty sparkling binders to my zazzle store.
There are many different colour variations so go and find your favourite )O(
Tinker Bell and the secret of the wings appeared in 2012 and it was animated and produced by DisneyToons Studios. In order Tinker Bell and the secret of the wings in fourth movie about Tinker Bell and Tinker Bell movie franchise
Character of Tinker Bell was created by playwriter J.M.Barrie to his famous play Peter Pan. Walt Disney studios made animation about Peter Pan that appeared in 1953. In the movie Peter Pan Tinker Bell doesn't speak but she is very active and comical sidekick. I personally think that Tinker Bell in these Tinker Bell movies is more nicer and approachable than Tinker Bell in Peter Pan.
Like all the Tinker Bell movies this one starts with narrator introducing the fairy world to the viewer. In Pixie hollow there are areas for all the four seasons. Fairies in the spring, summer and autumn world can come and go as they please but winter fairies can not enter the warm world other wise their wings would melt. Fairies from the warm land can not enter the cold world because their wings might get frozen and break.
Tinker Bell is helping her fairy friend animal fairy Fawn to get animals enter the winter world. Tinker gets mesmerized by the beauty of the winter world. She can not help herself and soon she is surrounded by snow. Suddenly her wings starts to shimmer and vibrate. She returns to the warm world but can not forget what had happened. She finds a book from the library that tells about shimmering wings. Some of the text has been eaten by worms. She hears that writer of the book mysterious Storyteller lives in the winter world. Soon Tinker Bell sews herself warm winter outfit (that is really cute!) and prepares to return to the winter world.
Tinker travels to winter world as a stowaway. She finds the home of the storyteller but before she gets chance to introduce herself there is someone before her. It is a fairy called Periwinkle. She also has experiences from shimmering wings. Tinker Bell and Periwinkle meet each others and Storyteller takes them to see ice reflections where they can take a look at their past.
Once upon a time in London there was a little baby girl laughing in a cradle. From the laughter there was two fairies born. Other one flew to the warm world in the Pixie Hollow other one to the winter world. Tinker Bell and Periwinkle are sisters! (Kind of...fairies don't have DNA). Girls immediately like each others. Periwinkle is a frost fairy. She takes Tinker Bell to see magical wonders of the winter world. They go sleigh riding ice skating and meet Periwinkles winter fairy friends. When ruler of the winter world Lord Milori founds out that there is fairy from the warm world visiting he becomes mad and Tinker Bell needs to return to the warm world.
Tinker Bell with her friends build a machine that creates snow so that Periwinkle could come and visit the warm world. Machine works great at the beginning but when it gets broken Periwinkle gets ill and her wings start to melt. Lord Milori takes her back to the winter world. Both Lord Milori and Queen Clarion deny Tinker Bell and Periwinkle to cross the border again. They are former lovers. In the past Lord Milori broke his other wing when he and Clarion used to meet each others in the border. Ever since they stopped seeing each others. In rage Lord Milori tries to destroy the snow making machine but machine wont get broken. Instead it starts to create more and more snow that spreads all over Pixie Hollow.
Fairies notice that they are all in great danger. Biggest concern is the Fairy dust Tree. If tree get's frozen all the fairies are in danger to loose their magic. Tinker Bell remembers Periwinkles talent to create frost that captures warmth inside. She persuades Periwinkle and her friends to save Pixie Hollow. Soon all the winter fairies are there to help.
Animals and the fairies of the warm world go to look for cover. Winter fairies save the Fairy dust tree and the all Pixie Hollow. Queen Clarion and Lord Milori get back together and all fairies are allowed to visit between the different worlds.
I really like the character designs in these Tinker Bell movies. By their appearance Tinker Bell and Periwinkle aren't very much alike but their nature is quite similar. Both are very curious and clever.
Tinker Bell is good at sewing. I think her winter outfit is adorable. Very much similar to the way winter/Christmas elves are portrayed in English speaking countries (hey I'm from Finland...we have our own elves!).
Tinker Bell however is very cute wearing her winter outfit and it has similar style like in her iconic green dress. Periwinkles outfit has the same colors as there are in the winter world. Leggings and tiny skirt made from feathers are nice details.
I didn't have much expectations for this movie because it's a sequel but there was many positive surprises in the movie. I hadn't read any spoilers about the movie so I was genuinely surprised when it turned out that Tinker Bell had a sister. Another surprise was the relationship of Queen Clarion and Lord Milori. In these films Queen Clarion is most of the time portrayed as very reserved character (royal?). I thought it was nice to bring more depth to the character and to revel bit more about her past.
Level of the computer animation in these Tinker Bell movies is superior. The way snow, frost and winter landscapes are animated is just breathtaking. I think this movie will be new addition for my list of films to watch around Christmas time.
One of my favorite scenes is the scene where Tinker Bell enters the winter world the first time and her wings start to shimmer. It is pure magic. Overall animation of the wings is amazing. Every time fairies are flying wings are moving fast. They also reflect the sun rays. Another fun scene is when Tinker Bell meets the nurse fairy and her wings are checked that they aren't frozen. There is a fairy guy who got an accident with a rainbow and he is all colorful and itches all over. Then there is a fairy who is stuck inside snapdragon flower and can't see anything while walking.
I don't think the story in this film was as well written as the story in the first Tinker Bell movie. I do enjoy the details and the diversity of the fairy worlds in these Tinker Bell movies. In this film animals got their winter coats when they entered the winter world. Like Tink Periwinkle also collects missing objects and builds things. They make ice skates for Tinker Bell from paper clips.
There was lots of new characters in this movie. Lord Milori, Storyteller, Periwinkle and all her friends. I really liked the way Tinker Bell and Periwinkle immediately bond as sisters and they start to look similarities from each others. I recommend this movie to all fans of Tinker Bell, fairies and overall Disney fans who enjoy watching wintry Disney films. I think I'll watch this next time on my winter holiday.
Character of Tinker Bell is based on J.M.Barrie's famous play Peter Pan. Disney made their own version of the story in 1953. Disney's Peter Pan however hasn't ever been my favorites. I personally think that overall character of Disney's Tinker Bell being such a Disney icon has done lots of damage for the way modern people see fairies (tiny with wings, child like creature). In mythologies and folklore around the world fairies were originally very different and way more dark creatures. Within last centuries fairies have been "prettynized" especially in the Victorian England. Wings were originally given by the first children book illustrators in the 19th century.
In 1953 movie Tinker Bell is an active side-character. She is envies Wendy because she gets to spend so much time with Peter. In 1953's movie Tinker Bell doesn't speak but she is very expressive an sometimes comical character.
Tinker Bell the movie appeared in 2008 and it is computer high quality CG I animation created by DisneyToons Studios. There are also several sequels made for the movie.
Tiny baby is laughing in the cradle. Wind blows flower seeds across the skies and space all the way to Never-Never Land and into Pixie hollow. Little fairy girl called Tinker Bell is born from the laughter. All fairies of the Pixie hollow are there to welcome the new arrival.
Each new fairy must enter the magical ring and find out what their magical power will be. Tink tries to avoid the fairy hammer but the magic is too strong. Tink becomes one of the Tinker fairies.
She makes friends with tinker fairies Bobble and Clank. They tell her stories about the human world an Tinkerbell becomes obsessed about traveling to the human world. However tinker fairies aren't allowed to travel there only nature fairies can.
Tinkerbell meets nature fairies called Silver-mist (water fairy) Rosetta (Garden fairy) Iridessa (light fairy) Fawn (animal fairy) and Vidian (wind fairy). Vidian is one of the best flyers in Pixie hollow. She is selfish and doesn't like Tinkerbell who she thinks is attention seeker.
Tinker Bell tries to find her own path and always gets into troubles. After one disaster she escapes to the beach and finds a broken music-box. She fixes the music box and her fairy friends tell her that being a tinker is her true talent. Tinker Bell refuses to believe it. She wants to travel to the human world. She manages nature fairies to teach her their talents. Soon she finds out that she hasn't got what it takes to be a water fairy or create rainbows. Last hope she asks Vidian to teach her fly fast. Vidian tricks Tinker Bell to catch all the thistles but as a result Tinker Bell manage to destroy all Pixie hollow's spring reparations.
Tink decides to leave Pixie hollow. Then she meets Terrence, Fairy who guards the fairy dust. He manages to convince Tinker Bell how all work is important. Tinker Bell returns to the fairies and this time she has her self-designed equipment's with her to speed up the spring reparations.
Queen Clarion is impressed by Tink's determination and grants her and other tinker fairies permission to visit human world. Tinker Bell's first task is to return the music box to it's rightful owner, which is little girl in London. Her name is Wendy Darling.
I really like this Tinker Bell-Movie Tinker Bell. Same way as Tinker Bell in the 1953 movie this Tinker Bell is stubborn and mischievous young fairy maiden. I've never really got grasp to Tinker Bell in 1953 film. It might because she doesn't say a word and that she doesn't have a lot screen time. Tinker Bell the Movie takes place time before Tink met Peter Pan and that makes movie interesting. Tinker Bell in this newer movie is also more sympathetic and softer character.
Tinker Bell's appearance is of course 3D version of 1953's Tinker Bell. CGI Tinker Bell has more rounder eyes where as 1953's Tinker Bell has more "cat eyes". 3D Tinker Bell's dress is bright green and 1953's Tinker Bells dress is light green.
Already in Disney's Peter Pan we can see Tink's talent to work with her hands. I think there was a scene where she get's locked into Wendy's drawer and tinkers the lock to get out (It's been a while since I watched Peter Pan). Determination of the character can also be seen in Tinker Bell the movie the way she starts desperately to look new talent for herself so she can visit human world.
Animation style and quality of animation in Tinker Bell the movie is absolutely breathtaking. Movie is filled with colors. There are all four seasons in Pixie hollow because fairies also bring seasons to the human world. I was very impressed by the details of the fairy houses and homes also the big fairy tree where the queen lives and where fairy dust is kept. Animation of fairy dust and how it fall down like a waterfall is magical.
I really liked the scenes showing Pixie hollow at night time and all mysterious lights showing up. They reminded me Disney's light experiences in Fantasia in the Nutcracker Ballet - episode.
Peter and Wendy
Strange enough during whole movie I kept waiting for Peter Pan to show up but he didn't. I was also bit surprised by the end of the film when Tinker Bell took the Music-box to Wendy. Because in the movie Peter Pan Tinker Bell is always jealous of Wendy and is quite mean to her. I have heard theories that Tink would be in love with Peter. I believe that this theory was started by the year 1991 movie Hook where Robin Williams played adult Peter Pan and Julia Roberts played Tinker Bell. In Hook Tinker Bell did said to Peter that she loves him.
In Disney's Peter Pan Tinker Bell is more afraid that instead of going to adventures with her Peter is going away with Wendy.
Most likely movie makers thought it would tie movie better with the world of Peter Pan. I was personally bit surprised by the end knowing Tinker Bells attitude towards Wendy.
There is really great music in the movie. I was surprised when I heard that one of my favorite singers Loreena McKennitt was performing some songs in the film. McKennitt is Canadian musician and does lots music based by Celtic folk music. Film begins her singing song To the fairies they draw near. There is also Irish and Celtic folk music in the movie.
Like I mentioned in the beginning Tinker Bell is probably the most famous fairy ever existed. Popularity of Disney's Tinker Bell and image of her has partially created one-dimensional idealism that modern people have towards fairies.
English word Fairy covers all kinds of magical creatures that are connected to nature.
I was positively surprised how much accurate fairy mythology and folklore knowledge there was in this movie. The way fairies are born when children laugh, flowers open to bloom for the first time, sun rays touch the grass and morning dew shimmers.
There are several different fairy species all around Europe and many times each countries and areas have their own as well (for example in Scandinavian mythology there are gnome like creatures Nisser and Älvan creatures that are more similar with human size Lord of the rings elves with pointy ears and all).
Tinker Bell is part of the flower fairy realm (and I guess Tinker fairies are one race of flower fairies). Traditionally flower fairies are tiniest fairies with wings and are born from flowers and laughter of children. Also in ancient times people did believe that change of the seasons was created by different nature spirits. They would paint the autumn leaves and snow sprites would blow winter winds.
I never thought I would ever like Tinker Bell's character but after seeing this film this has happened and I'm now a Tink fan! I really like the way Tinker Bell's character grows in the movie. She learns to understand and appreciate herself. I think my favorite scenes were those where she tinkers all kinds of things. I find Vidian's character very interesting. I think her despise towards Tinker Bell was bit too obvious. I hope there will be more depth in her character shown in the next Tinker Bell movies and maybe Peter appears at some point as well.
There are new binders in my Zazzle Store and you can customise your name on them :) Here are few of my favorites )O( Click images to see more.
Beauty and the beast: Enchanted Christmas is animated movie appeared in 1997 and it's a sequel for the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast from 1991. In the animation the story is told as flashbacks. Flashbacks are from the time when Belle was still a prisoner in the Beast's castle. If you haven't seen this movie this is a spoiler warning!
Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas starts from a Christmas party. That takes place in a time after the events of the first movie. The most important side-characters from the first movie Lumiere, Mrs. Pott, Chip and Cogsworth are re-living their memories and chat how Belle brought Christmas celebration back to the castle.
In the flashbacks we'll go back to the winter of the first movie. Flashback begins from Belle's escape when Beast saved her from the pack of wolves. Belle tries to get beast to open more. They go skating together and make snow angels.Beasts however shutters down more. He is ashamed by his looks and is filled with grudge towards winter. Sometimes Belle feels herself desperate and almost looses her hope with the beast.
In the second flashback we'll find out why Beast feels grudge towards winter. He was turned from human to beast in Christmas. Villain of the movie is Forte, pipe organ who was court composer in his human form. Fronte's sidekick is Fife, little flute. Fronte promises Fife that he will get's his own solo to play if he helps him to sabotage Christmas and Belle's and the beasts relationship. We also see Fronte's human character in the flashbacks. As a human he didn't get the admiration he wanted so he prefers to stay as pipe organ since Beast is always his audience and finds his music comfortable. One of the most memorable scenes with Beast and Fronte is the scene where Fronte tells Beast to destroy the magic rose. However beast knows that if he destroys the rose he also would loose his human side completely and also looses his capacity to give and receive love.
Belle decides to give Christmas party at least for the servants even if Beast wouldn't agree. Servants start to prepare Christmas in secret. Belle and Chip go to the forest to find a tree after Fronte recommends them to do so. Fife causes and accident and Belle nearly drowns. Beast saves her but is extremely mad because she didn't obey his orders. One of the saddest scenes in the movie occurs when Beast throws Belle back to the dungeons and Belle says "I should have known you'll always remain as a beast". Fife is shocked that he caused the accident and he starts to question Fronte's motifs..
Soon Belle and the beast get a long again and castle folk starts to prepare Christmas. Fronte gets furious and almost destroys the castle but ends up destroying himself. I especially like the end of the movie. We'll go back to the "present day". Mrs Potts has finished her story. Belle and prince welcome everyone to the Christmas Party and Fife has become new court conductor.
Beast in my personal opinion is one of the most interesting characters in the history of animation. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite movie of all time. He is very complex character: aggressive, lovable, endearing, scary, protective, beast, arrogant, prince and has humanity. In away Beast remembers his life as human prince with shame and he is also shamed of his beastly outlook. He is constantly afraid that he might become full-beast and he is also aware that when he was a human even then he behaved beastly towards others. He is also afraid of the idea to return back to a human because he has fear can he change his beastly behavior even then? Solitude and isolation also causes him anxiety. He sees Belle as an angelic creature and the more they spent time together the more he is touch with his human side. As their relationship becomes warmer Belle starts to understand the beast and his inner struggle. That is when their romance start.
I have lots of problems the way beast is portrayed in this film. Especially the part where he locks Belle into the dungeon just because she wants to have a Christmas party. This is not enligned to the beast´s behavior in the original film and is the weakest link of this film.
As a viewer I find new and interesting aspects from Belle as a character. Especially in the beginning of Beauty and the Beast Belle is described to be someone who in away lives in imaginary world. She dreams about interesting exiting life and adventures. Later in the movie Belle becomes more active character and is more aware of things happening around her. In the Enchanted Christmas Belle really tries to get Beast more involved in winter activities and tries to make him appreciate the lovely things in Christmas. Belle is beautiful character. She is overall friendly towards people she meets. She is polite even for Fronte though she clearly doesn't like him. Belle therefore remains in her original character unlike the beast.
New characters are Fronte and Fife. Fronte reminds me of Frollo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Not by appearance but attitude. Fronte is very arrogant character. One way he tries to get Beast to dislike Belle is by singing a song about evil charms of women. Fife is typical bit stupid side-kick of the villain. He does have a concurrence and he feels guilt of his actions and viewers forgive him when he jumps to the other side.
Angelique is castle's decorator who was turned into a angel decoration also Christmas balls who I assume to be Angelique's assistants. We don't see Angelique a lot in the movie. It is clear that she loves Christmas and she either decorates the castle and have big celebration or she doesn't celebrate at all.
When I watched the movie I wondered is there lot's of non-living things in the castle? If servants were turned to things like Christmas decorations? do they have real Christmas decoration? or dishes? maybe they have them more in storage.
I love all scenes with Lumiere and Cogsworth. As a dry humorous British Cogsworth doesn't easily warm up Lumiere's french charm. Mrs. Potts is caring motherly character as always and Chip is his cheerful self.
Disney's imaginary locations
I would like to correct some Disney misunderstandings that people have about the animation locations.
No one should say that Beauty and the Beast takes place historically accurately in France. Beauty and the Beast takes place in to imaginary 17th century France. There are songs where they mention France. In both movies characters speak about baroque - architecture and style which was dominant style in 17th century France. Also in the Beauty and Beast: Enchanted Christmas there is also yule-log that is one of the central European Christmas traditions.
Movie itself is not historically direct portrait from 17th century France that is why I prefer to talk about imaginary France. Same way as Aladdin takes place in imaginary Agrabah and Frozen takes place in imaginary Norway.
Unlike for example Pocahontas which takes place in historically accurate 17th century Jamestown. Aristocats early 20th century Paris and Great Mouse Detective in London of Sherlock Holmes.
In many animations imaginary country or place is very good solution. In that case story is not bound to certain time period or place but story can get influences and inspirations from certain time period, style, culture and place. One famous fairy tale versions made from Beauty and the Beast is Charles Perrault's fairy tale. Perrault himself was famous in 17th century France. Without doubt animators and story team were inspired by baroque style and french landscapes.
Beauty and the beast: Enchanted Christmas is not worst what it comes to Disney sequels. There is even character development of certain level. This is animation sequel and that's not the same thing than Disney's animation classic and definitely script could be way better. Overall it's nice additions for those who enjoy Disney's Christmas / holiday themed films and also some Beauty and the Beast fans can enjoy it as long as they don´t take it too seriously.
Snow White and the seven dwarfs is Disney animated film appeared in 1937 and it was the first full length animated movie in the entire world. Finland's premiere was in December 1938.
Disney classics movie list Snow white and the seven dwarfs is number 1.
Snow white and the seven dwarfs is based on German folktale. Most famous version of the fairy tale was written by brothers Grimm and it appeared in their collection of fairy tales in 1812.
As a teenager Walt Disney worked as a newspaper delivery boy. Once he was invited to watch silent movie about Snow White played by actress Marguerite Clark. Movie made huge impact on young Walt.
When Walt Disney announced that Disney company was preparing a full-length animated film Snow White was called "Disney's folly". People believed that studio would be bankrupted and no one would want to sit in a movie theater over an hour watching a cartoon. Disney didn't gave up and Snow White became a box office success. Movie won 11 academy awards (including 7 miniature Oscars) and it was start of the Disney empire we know today.
Snow White is 78-year old movie and still runs in movie theaters across the globe.
Movie starts with a prologue. Snow White is a princess. After her father has passed away she was forced to work as a slave for her step mother the evil queen. In the beginning of the movie Snow White is singing by the well and cleaning the floors. She is singing of her hearts secret wishes and suddenly prince appears and starts to sing for her.
Queen is afraid that some day Snow White becomes more beautiful than her. Everyday she asks her magic mirror who is the fairest of them all? one day mirror says that Snow White is the fairest of them all. Vain queen becomes outrageous. She orders huntsman to take Snow White in to the woods, kill her and bring her heart to the queen in a trinket box.
Huntsman takes Snow White in to the forest but he can not kill her. He tells Snow White that queen wants her dead and tells Snow White to escape. Snow White runs into the forest and spends a restless night there. When the morning arrives she has calmed down. Forest animals come to her and she sings for them. They show her the way to the house of the seven dwarfs. Snow White believes that there is seven children living in the house.
Soon queen finds out that Snow White isn't dead.Queen is also an evil witch. She has potion making room in the dungeons. She makes a potion that turns her into an old hag. Then she makes another potion. A sleeping potion where she dips an apple. When Snow White bites it she falls a sleep until her true love kisses her. Queen believes that dwarfs will bury her alive.
Evil Queen arrives to dwarfs house in her disguise. She tricks Snow White to bite the poison apple. Forest animals recognize the evil queen and run to find the dwarfs. Dwarfs and animals start to chase the queen. Witch/queen tries to roll a huge stone upon them. However lightning strikes to the cliff and queen falls down and dies under the stone.
Dwarfs grief their beautiful Snow White and build her a glass gasket. Prince has heard about the beautiful princess who lays in a glass coffin. He recognizes Snow White and kisses her. Snow White wakes up. Dwarfs, animals and the happy couple rejoice. Movie ends when Snow White and prince Charming ride to their castle.
And they lived happily ever after.
I think best qualities of Snow White are her empathy and kindness. She is very approachable.You can see this the way forest animals come to her without any fear. Snow White is also determined and very courageous in her own way as well.
One of the most powerful scenes in Snow White is the scene where Snow White runs into the forest. As a child I always though that she got scared of the shadows of the trees. Truth is that she is in depths of despair after she hears that queen wants her death. Since her parents have passed away step mother is only one who she has left. Snow White is also courageous because she decides to hide from her and control her own life.
Snow White makes friends with the dwarfs. She can also be sturdy. This we can see in the scene where she tells dwarfs to wash themselves before dinner. She is also optimistic by nature and loves to sing while working.
Disney animators used Hollywood actresses as their inspiration for Snow White. Snow White is 14 years old.
In the beginning of the movie Snow White is dressed up in rags. When she is in the forest with the huntsman she is wearing more royal outfit. Upper part of the dress is dark blue with lighter blue puffs leaves that has red stripes. Skirt is yellow. These two complementary colors work well against the backgrounds that are most often different shades of green and other very earthy colors.
One of the greatest strengths Walt Disney added to his feature film was the different characteristics of the dwarfs. Snow White and Prince Charming are the romance element of the story, Evil Queen is the drama and horror, Dwarfs and the animals are the comical relief.
Doc is not very wise. He is actually quite stupid and doesn't always remember his own name. Because he is the oldest of the dwarfs he is also the leader..or maybe he made himself a leader? Dopey is a comical relief. Since he can not talk he uses funny sign language. Grumpy is funny when he doesn't try to be funny. He doesn't like that things change that is why he is so against Snow White staying with them. Scenes with Grumpy also show Snow White's witty side. She finds Grumpy's attitude amusing. Of course they become good friends. In the end of the movie Grumpy cries big tears when he believes that Snow White has passed away.
In the first scripts of Snow White prince had way bigger part. For some reason or other writers made his part smaller and smaller. Personally I've never really cared about Prince Charming. Perhaps because his part is very small in the film. He is also a bit comical and stiff. Reason for this is that back then Disney animators didn't have that much experience animating male characters. Purpose of Prince Charming in the movies is to be Snow White's dream man. Bring hope to her that some day she gets away from all the misery and rules her kingdom together with her prince.
First concept drawings of Snow White Evil Queen was designed to be more comical and cartoon-ish character. When story evolved queen became more close to the evil queen in the brothers Grimm story. Her face is beautiful but cold. Unlike Snow White she never smiles. When the villain is completely emotionless and self-centered that makes her very dangerous character indeed.
Evil Queen wears a hood. We can only see her face and that is the most important thing for her in the whole world. Everything else in her body is covered accept her hands. She is wearing a violet dress. She has cape that could belong to Dracula and she wears a crown. We don't really know is she the most beautiful woman in the world. We can only see her face. We don't know her hair color. She might even be bald.
Queen is also an evil witch. She has a potion making room in the cellar. I personally believe that queen is looking for away to make herself immortal. Think about it. She tries to kill Snow White who is her only heir. She is also obsessed with her beauty and wishes to stay young forever. She is drunken with her power.
Biggest difference between Snow White and the Evil Queen is that queen lives in constant insecurity. She tries to convince herself that she is on control by asking everyday from the magic mirror who is the fairest of them all? Snow White doesn't care about her beauty. She cares more about the others. Her kindness and inner beauty also reflects her outside beauty. Snow White feels sorry for the old lady who is the queen in disguise. Snow White greatest strength is also her biggest weakness. She is a trustful person and tries to see good in everyone. Sometimes she is a bit too trustful and it gets back at her when she falls in to the trap.
Why did evil queen became evil? this is something that fairy tales and Disney movie can't tell. Queen only sees herself and only trusts herself. In modern days I guess she could be described to be a narcissistic person. Maybe that makes her such scary and complex character. She is lacking empathy and she has no conscience.
Snow White is complete opposite of the evil queen. In the difficult times she goes and seeks for help. Her kindness is appreciated by all of those who she meets. This is what eventually saves her life..not only prince that wakes up her with a kiss.
As a child I never really got into to the world of Snow White. I saw her as a very passive Disney princess. Just later on as an adult I have started to appreciate Snow White as a character and as a movie way more. There is many psychologically fascinating characters, extremely beautiful backgrounds, humor, romance, drama and horror elements (which is something that current Disney films are often lacking). Snow White definitely has it's place in the history of animated movies and in popular culture.
Disney animated film released back in 1998 and it's Disney classic number 36.
China is in the edge of destruction. Tribes from the north are about to attack and their fearsome leader Shan Yu wants to concur all China. In peaceful Chinese village young Mulan is on her way to meet the matchmaker. Meeting does not go so well and Matchmaker believes that Mulan's is bringing only shame for her family.
Mulan is sad and disappointed for herself. Her father tries to comfort her. At the same time Emperor's console arrives and announces that one man from each family should join the army and defend China and the emperor. Mulan's father Fa Zhou who served in the army in his younger years sees that it is his duty to defend his country. Mulan knows her father is old and sick and he wouldn't survive. Father and daughter have an argument and during the night Mulan cuts her hair and steels her father's armor and joins the army as a man called Ping.
In the morning Mulan's family notices that she is gone. Mulan's grandmother prays family ancestors to protect Mulan. Ancestors decide to send family's guardian stone dragon to protect Mulan. Mushu who used to family's protector dragon, now a cong-player, manages to break the stone dragon. Mushu takes his place and goes after Mulan and hopes that ancestors would forgive him and make him family's protector dragon again.
Mulan also has her lucky cricket Si-Ri to help her. Luck is what Mulan needs since Mushu's advice's aren't always the best ones. Recently promoted Captain Shang want's to make his troops best in all China. In the beginning Mulan gets lot's of new enemies just by being clumsy. Nevertheless she proofs to be tough and talented warrior. Mulan makes friends with three soldiers Yao, Ling and Chien Po. She has a crush on Captain Shang but of course she can not reveal anyone that she is actually a woman.
Mushu get's tired boring life in the army camp. He and Si-Ri decrease a letter where general Li (Shang's father) orders his son and troops to follow him to the mountains. Once they get their it's horrible sight. Huns have killed everyone in the mountain village and there is nothing left from emperors army anymore than Captain Shang and his troops, As they continue their journey they get attack by the Huns. Mulan saves the troops and Captain Shang by lighting a firework that causes a snowfall. She get's wounded and once doctor examines her everyone find out that she is really a woman. Woman in the army is against the law and Shang should kill Mulan then and there. Mulan however saved his life so he spares hers. Troops leave her to the mountains and continue their journey to the forbidden city.
While sitting in the mountains Mulan sees that Huns and their leader Shan Yu are still alive. She travels to the forbidden city to warn Captain Shang. Captain however does not listen to her and Shan Yu manages to kidnap the Emperor. Mulan asks her friends Yao, Ling and Shien Po to dress up as emperors mistresses. Together they fight against huns and Captain Shang manages to save the emperor. Mulan escapes to the roof and fights there with Shan Yu. Mushu lights up fireworks and that is the end of Shan Yu. Mulan and Mush are saved last minute before whole palace is destroyed.
Emperor rewards Mulan and is eternally grateful for her for saving China. He offers Mulan a job as a royal counselor. Mulan doesn't take the offer she just wants to return back home to her family. After touching goodbyes Mulan returns to her home village. She gives emperor's gifts to her father but Fa Zhou is just happy that her daughter has returned home. At the same time Captain Shang comes to return the helmet Mulan forgot. Mulan asks him to stay for dinner and her tactful grandmother asks him to stay for eternity. Mushu is promoted as protector of the Fa's family and movie ends ancestors having a great party.
Disney's Mulan is based on a Chinese poem called Ballad of Mulan from 6th Century.I have a blog text about Ballad of Mulan you can read i Original poem itself is quite short but after the first literal version appeared there has been tons different versions about the legend of Mulan in Chinese literature, theater, art, comics and movies. Disney's Mulan is pretty loyal to the original story of Mulan. Of course in the Disney movie there is lot's of new characters and humor. Still the plot and character descriptions are pretty much the same. Disney had difficulties to get Mulan to Chinese cinema distribution. Few years before Mulan Disney founded movie Kundun that told about the life of Dalai Lama. Tibet's spiritual leader. Kundun was seen as a protest movie against China since Tibet is controlled by Chinese government.
China takes 10 western movies to cinema distribution each year. Surprisingly Mulan made it to Chinese movie theaters. Chinese reviews were very conflicted and film was seeing too much western type of movie about Mulan. Ironically some american extreme-feminists criticized Disney's Mulan for being too submissive female character. Which in my opinion is ridiculous considering that movie takes place in ancient China where women were submissive to men Mulan being the only acceptation. Disney storytellers were historically accurate.
Finding one´s identity
In China Mulan has been a patriotic symbol. Ballad of Mulan is mostly developed around the idea that no matter if you are a man or a woman you can still be heroic and bring glory to your country and family. It is very remarkable as a Chinese poem and really has made a big cultural differences the way it raises questions about gender roles and identity. In a country where traditional roles of women have been shifted just in the past 50 years this is remarkable.
Disney's version is more about finding one's identity and breaking the traditional gender roles. In many ways Mulan was a groundbreaking Disney animation as well since Disney has reputation to be quite conservative studio. Mulan started this whole new generation of active and capable Disney female heroes. We could already see them in Esmeralda in Huntchback of Notre Dame and Megara in Hercules but all these characters shared the screen space with leading men characters. Without Mulan we might not have Merida from Brave and Elsa from Frozen. Disney studios started to make Mulan in 1994. Disney animators were sent to China to research Chinese landscapes, art and architecture. There is also Chinese inventions in the animation such as paper and fireworks. Mulan was premiered in 1998 and it became huge hit. It was financially second successful family-movie of the year Bugs life going ahead.
Leading lady of Mulan is of course Mulan. We get familiar with Mulan's character straight in the beginning when she is writing cheat sheet to her hand. Mulan is very found of her family especially her father. When things don't go as planned with the matchmaker Mulan feels depressed and sad she has brought shame to her family. Mulan is very brave, unselfish and emphatic. There is many reasons why Mulan chooses to go the army. She want's to protect her father. Perhaps after the incident with the matchmaker she doesn't really care anymore about her reputation. In the beginning of the movie Mulan tries adopt the traditional Chinese female role.
When she joins the army that is when she starts breaking the gender role. In the army she finds her confidence and inner strength. With her intelligence she saves all China and it is her emphatic character that she wins soldiers, Emperor and Captain Chang to her side. In the end of the movie Mulan understands that she doesn't need to adopt traditional role of a man or woman. It is enough that she is just herself.
Mulan's father Fa Zhou is a very kind man. In the original poem Ballad of Mulan it was said that Mulan's father raised her like a son. When Mulan decides to take his father's place in the army father doesn't object but he is not happy either. In the Disney animation Mulan doesn't tell her family that she is about to leave. In both versions common thing is the warm respectful relationship between father and daughter.
Fa Zhou is famous character in the army. When he was younger he used to be a soldier. When Mulan can not bring honor to her family as an unmarried woman. Can she bring honor as a man following her father's foot steps? Fa Zhou is kind, foreseeing and wise father who tells Mulan to follow her own path.
Li Shang is recently promoted Captain. He is strict about order and good behavior and he has very good physical appearance (which we can see in the training camp scene). Shang is also emphatic character. This shows up in the scenes where he is with his father the general and in the end of the movie when he goes to see Mulan. We also see his vulnerability when he realizes that his father has died in the attack.
Mushu and the rest of the gang
Mushu brings comical relief to the story. Mushu is a former protector dragon of the Fa's family. Mushu brings intelligent humor to the movie that amuses both children and adults. Mushu wants Mulan to become successful and these two share a special bond. Mulan herself is a bit introvert character and Mushus appearance brings nice balance to the film.
Other funny side-characters are Mulan's not-very-discreet grandmother. Three soldiers Yao, Ling and Shien Po. These three always make me think of three musketeers. Three armybuddies that are closed as brothers. They all like Ping (Mulan) and accept him (her) to their gang. Best thing about these three is their different characteristics. Tiny Yao who has anger control issues, Tall and joking Ling and calm chubby Shien Po who has very Buddha-like appearance.
Shan Yu is the bad guy of the film. He is the fearsome leader of the Huns. He is a cruel man and wants to take over China and sees it as a challenge. He wants to destroy the Emperor. In his eyes Emperor challenged him by starting to build the great wall of China. Shan Yu doesn't feel pity or mercy and kills everyone that are on his way.
Animation and music
Animation style in Mulan is extremely beautiful. Animators put lot's of effort for constant quality and style that reminds Chinese visual art. Computer technique was also used in Mulan especially in scenes with huge crowds but the scenes made with computer blend very well with 2D animation.
In my opinion Mulan is Disney animation with fabulous music.
First song Honor to us all is very humorist and right in the beginning viewer realize what meeting the matchmaker is all about. Second song Reflections in extremely beautiful and fits perfectly for the mood Mulan must be feeling at that moment. Third song I make man out of you is one of my favorite Disney songs of all time.
It shows how Captain Shang manages to create perfect army unit from group of lazy slackers. We can also see how Ping (Mulan) becomes respected part of the team when in the end of the song he (she) climbs to the end of the pole to get the arrow. Fourth song A girl worth fighting for takes place when group is marching towards mountains singing about women. Time to time Mulan says things about women's intelligence and get's weird looks back.
In certain way Mulan is different compared to many other Disney princesses out there. According to her family tree Mulan isn't a princess or a royal for that matter. But term "Disney princess" is very flowing. Basically any Disney female leading character can be categorized as Disney Princess like Jane from Tarzan and Alice of Wonderland are also called "Disney princesses". Which is a bit silly but that's just people stereotyping Disney animations. Mulan does breaks the tradition since we don't see the romance in the movie. We see the beginning of possible romance. We see how Mulan gets very found of Captain Shang but of course pretending to be a man she can not reveal her feelings to him. In the end of the movie Shang comes to Mulan's home village to return her helmet.. well helmet is an excuse to see her again and before that Emperor himself has given him some good advice. It is up to viewers imagination what happens between these two characters.
I think I watched Mulan on video (yes on video!) first time sometimes between 1998-1999. I remember always considered it as a good movie though in my eyes it didn't get to the same level with Disney's renaissance-era animations from the early 90's. But I must admit when I watched Mulan again in my winter break for this blog text, with careful eye of Disney researcher and I also did research about the legend of "real" Mulan at the same time. My appreciation for this film has risen tremendously. If I gave three stars before now it's straight four!
There is great balance between humor and drama in Mulan and neither one get's over the top.
Movie is loyal for it's original source and handles important issues that are relevant in today's world as well.
Mulan's universal theme of finding ones identity touches as all no matter who we are or where we come from.
Artist and Illustrator. Mythology and Folklore enthusiastic. Keen traveler. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea, and such.
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