Respect Your Inner Princess

Today, I - a 16-year-old girl - was shunned for having a Disney Princess pencil case. But, as princess films are starting to become more and more influential, does this still remain a fair thing to do? It's time to respect your inner princess: you might just be surprised to see what she's like...

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4. Surprisingly Complex

Think about it – princess films have been very influential in our culture, and are often a force to be reckoned with in the film industry. What was the first-ever animated movie? A princess film. What was the film that carried Disney into its second golden age after a period of stagnation in the 1970s and 1980s? A princess film. What was the first – and for a long time only – animated film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar? Why, a princess film! Not without good reason, either: such films are often things of beauty and – dare I say it – complexity that few people appreciate.

For one thing, they often contain very heavy, surprisingly complex themes: Beauty and the Beast deals with the relationship between physical and emotional beauty; The Little Mermaid and Brave with the parent-child relationship; Cinderella and The Princess and the Frog with the need to believe in your own abilities, even when the odds are stacked against you. Heck, Mulan even deals with such difficult themes as gender, family loyalty and self-worth. These themes would be emotionally challenging in a grown-up’s film, let alone a child’s. In fact, there are several genuinely emotionally affecting moments in these films. Everybody talks about the emotional moments in Bambi, The Lion King and Up – but what about Snow White’s funeral? What about Beast’s death? What about Merida’s too-late realisation that she does love her mother after all? Watch these scenes, and I challenge you not to feel moved by the musical score alone. That’s another thing: the music and animation of Disney Princess films will stay with you always. Do you know the songs Heigh-Ho, Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, Under the Sea and Be Our Guest? Do you know the songs A Whole New World, Colours of the Wind and Reflection? Do I even need to say which films they came from? Then, of course, there’s the animation. The ‘singing-on-a-rock’ scene in The Little Mermaid, the ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast, the flying carpet scene in Aladdin – all have become iconic. All are from princess films.

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