As catchy as this title phrase is, I can’t take full credit. I had two posters hanging on my dorm walls for most of my college career that followed this basic structure.
The first of these was “Disney gave me unrealistic expectations about men.” Beneath this saying, the poster featured pictures of Prince Eric (The Little Mermaid), Prince Phillip (Sleeping Beauty), and Prince What-his-name (Cinderella). The second poster read “Disney gave me unrealistic expectations about hair.” It then featured the hair of Ariel, Belle, and Snow White. I’m not sure why Snow White as I thought she had the most boring Disney hair of all time, but I didn’t make the poster.
Speaking of hair, though, there is one new edition to the Disney Princess ranks who should be featured on a remake of the hair poster should one ever be made. Yes, I’m talking about Rapunzel.
I saw Tangled for the first time about a month ago. That was far too long of a wait considering the movie came out in 2010. I was a bit apprehensive going into it. Disney hadn’t made a true Disney Princess movie in many years. I wasn’t sure what I was going to get. To say I was pleasantly surprised was an understatement. I bought the movie a few days after watching it with friends and probably have a good chunk of it memorized. (Maybe not, but maybe. “This is the story of how I died. Don’t worry, this is actually a very fun story…” I’ll stop now.)
I’d even go so far as to say that Tangled is my favorite Disney movie. I am a devout lover of almost all things Disney and have been my entire life. To say that the newest Disney Princess movie surpasses my love of all the previous ones is quite the statement. So, the next question is naturally “why?” Well, there’s a few reasons—the music, the plot, the characters, it’s Disney, the enchantment, the fun…. That’s a bit more than a few, huh? Hmm, ok—all of those aside, there are three big reasons I’d rank this as my favorite Disney princess movie: villain, love interest has a purpose, and princess does for herself.
Villain—don’t get me wrong. There have been some awesome Disney villains. In fact, I’m one of those nut cases who occasionally watches the movie and says “go (insert villain’s name). This impulse is always curved by the end when the villain turns from a kind of fun character to an all-time jerk.
There was no moment like this in Tangled. I hated Mother Gothel from beginning to end—no competition. She was manipulative, cruel, a kidnapper, and just a nasty person. Disney, I tip my hat to thee for creating one of the best villains I’ve ever seen anywhere. “Mother knows best. Listen to your mother. (I’m such a…” You get the idea.
Also, I have to make note that Gothel was unique in that she had a reason for keeping the romantic couple apart that wasn’t “because I feel like it.” Don’t believe me? Ok, Ursula—revenge and then keep Ariel and Eric apart because she felt like it. Jafar—keep Aladdin and Jasmine apart because he wanted to marry Jasmine so he could become sultan? After a while, it just seemed to be “keep Aladdin and Jasmine apart because he felt like it.” Sleeping Beauty—Maleficent wasn’t invited to the party so she cursed Aurora to die. I don’t even remember why she captured the prince. Tangled—Gothel wanted to live forever and couldn’t horde Rapunzel’s healing powers as long as Eugene was alive because he would look for her and try to rescue her. That’s a huge leap. Not only is Gothel a horrid person (awesome villain), but she has a reason for being that way that isn’t “I have to marry someone or keep people from being together because I have nothing better to do.” Now, I still love all of the afore-mentioned Disney movies, but the villains just don’t have the same motivation.
Love interest has a purpose.
As I’ve said, I love all things Disney, but allow me to digress. Aladdin—what did Jasmine really do aside from not want to be forced to get married? The Little Mermaid—Eric, he needed to find a bride and become king. Sleeping Beauty—Phillip met her and wanted to get married. Cinderella—don’t get me started. Eugene Fitzherbert—stole a satchel containing a crown that Mother Gothel then used to manipulate circumstances to her exact desires. Stop, go back—the word “married,” “wedding,” “king,” and “love” were not included in that explanation. Go “poor orphan Eugene Fitzherbert” for being awesome!
Princess does something
Ariel—let Eric save her. Belle—actually distracted the Beast and got him stabbed. Sleeping Beauty—the spindle, enchanted sleep—enough said. Cinderella—don’t get me started. Snow White—really don’t get me started—DON’T TAKE APPLES FROM STRANGERS!!! *deep breaths.* Right, I’m back. Rapunzel—“I won’t stop. For every minute of the rest of my life, I will fight. I will never stop trying to get away from you, but if you let me save him. I will go with you...Just let me heal him, and you and I will be together, forever just like you want…I promise.” She was willing to give up her life, her chance at freedom to save Eugene’s life. Take that, poison apple girl!
Tangled, I think, is one of Disney’s best movies. Aside from all the things mentioned above—the horse and the frying pan made it epic. “Frying pans! Who knew, right?”
All right, here it comes. My only “wtf moment.” Every story has at least one. Usually, with Disney movies, I find many “wtf moments” but ignore them all because I love Disney. My “wtf moment:” how did Gothel know to sing to the flower? Did the flower come with an instruction manual “because I’m not gonna lie, that would be stupendous.”
Closing remark. Did you know Rapunzel means “radish?” Good work Brothers Grimm for naming her Rapunzel because “Radish! Radish! Let down your hair to me” would have just sounded wrong.
See you out of the box