ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Disney Evolution

Updated on June 14, 2014

The Disney Castle

Source

Introduction

The Disney archetype has been set and predictable for ages. Towards the dawn of the twenty-first century, however, things slowly and gradually began to change - many would argue for the better. No longer was there a predictable and seemingly helpless damsel in distress, relying on a big, strong, handsome man to sweep in at the nick of time and save the day. A happily ever after didn't necessarily mean relying on a hero to come in and make everything better. Sometimes, a hero meant recognizing the potential within yourself. Sometimes a hero meant recognizing the potential within yourself. Sometimes a hero rose out of the ashes of tragedy and realizing that there is a bit of hero and villain within us all. this change has been instrumental in changing the way a younger generation began to see themselves, and can provide powerful and meaningful messages to the youth who are seeing these movies today. This hub will look deeper at three of these movies that I personally enjoy, and see as important tools in the way that we look at ourselves and others.

Source

Brave

Although a princess, Merida is not like any Disney princess yet seen. Brave was released in 2012, and although it seems to fit the Disney pattern initially, viewers soon realize that Merida is no ordinary princess. She does not want to conform to the traditions of her Scottish people and marry a prince after a test of skill. She wins the right through her superior archery skills to claim her OWN hand, and to truly be her own woman - much to the chagrin of her traditional (and perceived to be overbearing) mother.

When Queen Elinor voices her displeasure, and destroys Merida's prized possession, Merida runs off into the woods, where she encounters - what else - a witch. The witch grants her one wish, that will become permanent if not revoked within a certain period of time. The wish, however, does not turn out as anyone expected. Merida, her mother and her triplet younger brothers find themselves in a race against time to break the wish and return things back to normal before it is too late.

In this suspenseful, animated adventure, romantic love is not even truly introduced. Instead, is the bond of familial love that defines and creates this film into the classic tale of a non-typical Disney princess. The villain is not a person, it's a mentality that demonstrates that you truly should be careful what you wish for. Princess Merida and Queen Elinor recognize that their love for each other is stronger than what they may wish for each other in their own unique differences, and this film focuses on accepting differences rather than fighting against them. Written with incredible humor, tact and a deeply moving plot, this film paved the way for the two Disney films soon to follow and keep the new trend going.

Source

Frozen

I watched this film at home, having missed it in theaters. Although the music and the lyrics to the songs were everywhere, I managed to go into it with a completely open mind, unsure of what to expect. There was nothing that could have prepared me for the power of the film, and the way that it impacted me on multiple levels. Yes, it is animated. Yes, parts of it are predictable. But I never saw the ending coming, and I was surprised and pleased by the overall result in ways that I could not have imagined.

The animated adventure begins with two sisters in a kingdom in Norway. Elsa was born with a gift - a gift that is often mistaken as a curse. Elsa can freeze the world upon a whim, and while her child-like innocence is in full bloom, tragedy strikes. Elsa learns that her power is potentially dangerous, and that along with great good, she is also capable of harming others with her abilities. She grows to fear her gift, and isolates herself from her sister Anna at the request of her royal parents. When their parents are killed in an accident, Anna and Elsa are alone to face the world, and Elsa is soon to be named queen when she comes of age.

Although Frozen does contain a typical handsome prince, he is not the hero of the story. Elsa and Anna are - and their love is truly strong enough to conquer the eternal winter that Elsa inadvertently created when her powers were accidentally discovered in a moment of heightened emotion.

This movie demonstrates emphatically without question that some types of love are stronger than the romantic variety, and with a plethora of adorable, silly and heroic figures, it truly is one of my favorite Disney films to date. It is a truly beautiful and moving story that defies the Disney stereotype and creates a new breed of hero that will live on in generations to come.

Source

Maleficent

When Disney originally released Sleeping Beauty in 1959, it fit the typical Disney storyline perfectly. A young, beautiful princess is cursed by an evil fairy queen to prick her finger on a spinning wheel's spindle, and fall into a death-like sleep. Only true love's kiss can awaken her from this evil curse, and she and her prince can live happily ever after. After an epic battle against the evil Maleficent, the handsome prince awakens sleeping beauty, and the two live happily ever after.

The 2014 release of Maleficent, however, takes the classic fairy tale and turns it on its head. Told from Maleficent's point of view, and narrated by the aged Sleeping Beauty herself, Maleficent is a remarkable tale about hope, beauty, love and the continual battle between each creature between revenge and respect - the battle for good and evil that rages within each of us throughout the course of our lives. Is anyone ever truly a villain or truly a hero? Or do we each face situations where we may act as one or the other based on circumstances that often seem to be spiraling outside of our control? There is potential for good in each of us, and potential for great harm as well. Learning who we want to be and how we react to different circumstances ends up defining us as people, and makes us into the characters that we are to be remembered as by those who are closest to us.

I went into this film expecting excellent graphics and 3D special effects, but not knowing which direction the story would go. I was afraid, that upon her betrayal, Maleficent would turn into the evil villain well known from the classic adaptation of the fairy tale, and that her character's growth would end at that point as the movie turned darker. While I don't want to spoil the film for others, I will say that I was pleasantly intrigued by the twists of the film, and the direction that the writers and directors went with its development. I was thoroughly pleased by the end result.

There is a little Maleficent within us all, and when we are willing to see past the stereotypical views that we so easily hold, there is hope and beauty on the horizon. All we have to do is open ourselves up to other possibilities and be willing to shift our perspectives in order to let the light in - and allow love to temper our reactions and responses to things that seem destined to break us in the beginning, but make us stronger overall.

What's Your Preference?

Which of these Movies did you enjoy the best?

See results

Conclusion

While it's uncertain what the future films of Disney will contain, I think it's safe to say that the franchise has broken its long-held mold of what makes a compelling Disney story, and I look forward to new evolutions in storytelling in the future. With these three films alone, Disney has transformed itself into a franchise that is willing to move forward. It's not stuck in it's own archetype indefinitely, and it's willing to break boundaries and stereotypes to make compelling films that speak to a new, rising generation of children and adults alike. As I grow older, I am proud to say that I look forward to seeing what new, innovative and refreshing directions Disney will touch on in the future. These three films are films that I can watch again and again, and I'm proud to support the Disney franchise in the future for the work that they are doing on and off the screen.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      I haven't yet seen any of these films, but after reading your reviews and the information you provided, I look forward to seeing them.

    • JMcFarland profile image
      Author

      Julie McFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I highly recommend all three of them, but Maleficent and Frozen top my list.

    • profile image

      mbuggieh 3 years ago

      "Frozen" is a remarkable film!

      The idea of the love of sisters, of women for each other being the thing that saves them---not princes, is an important message for all people (boys, girls, men, women).

    • JMcFarland profile image
      Author

      Julie McFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I completely agree. Thanks for the comment.

    • M. T. Dremer profile image

      M. T. Dremer 3 years ago from United States

      My wife and I recently watched the Little Mermaid. While she had seen it many times, it was my first time seeing it in its entirety. I found myself enjoying all of the under-the-sea sequences as well as Ariel's desire to break free from her father's plan for her. But I was noticeably confused (and irritated) by how quickly she fell in love with her prince and that he was also the one who saved the day at the end. Though I suppose an argument could be made that Ariel wasn't the hero type. Sure, she saved Eric's life, but that doesn't mean she could take on a kraken by herself. Anyone who has read the Hobbit will understand that the main character doesn't always get the glory.

      So, when looking back at older Disney movies, I try to remind myself that they are contained re-tellings of older stories. When taken together, they might promote a helpless damsel. But, alone, each story is a character study of what that person would do in that situation. Having said that, I am also glad that the newer movies are portraying stronger female characters.

    • Michelle Ascani profile image

      Michelle Ascani 3 years ago from Deep in the Heart of Texas

      I used to love Disney. Unfortunantely their morality level has continued to go downhill. When they allowed cartoon nudity in Brave, that was the last straw for my household. Its always a slow fade for desensitivity. I truly hope they change their path. I would like to enjoy them again.

    • JMcFarland profile image
      Author

      Julie McFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      To each their own, I suppose. :-)

    • JMcFarland profile image
      Author

      Julie McFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Michelle,

      I can't help but note the irony. You were disgusted by Disney for the portrayal of nudity of a backside and no genitals, but have no problem with witchcraft, black magic, portrayal of monsters, poison, a woman living with 7 men she is not married to, a mermaid loving a human being, a human woman falling in love with a beast/monster, etc. If you read the bible to your kids, there is murder, a prescription for causing a miscarriage, rape, bloodshed, slavery, the death penalty for children, etc. Are you not seeing the hypocrisy here?

    • Michelle Ascani profile image

      Michelle Ascani 3 years ago from Deep in the Heart of Texas

      Oh, I feel strongly about most of the Disney movies and the evil they make "cutely acceptable", but I wasn't trying to turn my comment into a hate article. In fact, most of television portraits unthinkable things that are demoralizing generation after generations, and even teaching us to believe fathers are idiots to take away their position as leaders in our homes. I definitely teach my children all the realisms in life, but I just can't believe that ANY folks stand by and even allow nudity (genitals or not). Believe me, give it a few years more, there will be full on nudity. It's a desensitizing process. You can't just throw a vagina in a child's face. You have to work up to it so it will be acceptale. Thank you for your opinion.

    • JMcFarland profile image
      Author

      Julie McFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      You do realize, don't you, that Western culture is rare in its abject revulsion to nudity, right? That indigenous people see nothing wrong with the human body at all, don't shelter or stigmatize their children against sex childbirth, etc, and have a lower crime rate than we do, right? I understand that you think you're morality is superior to others, but it's an opinion. If you shelter your children this exclusively, it's going to come back and bite you when they're older. Christian denominations hold the record for divorces and abortions, incidentally, so it seems unlikely that version of morality is succeeding very well.

    • Michelle Ascani profile image

      Michelle Ascani 3 years ago from Deep in the Heart of Texas

      I know you seem to have something out for me because I am a Christian, but I have not made one snide remark to you and I don't appreciate your cut down remarks to me. I have no intention and do not shelter my children from anything, but I will NOT EVER allow people that I find immoral people to raise my children or tell them how to think. That is my God-given blessing to raise and teach my children MY faith. Just as it is your's to teach your children your faith. As the bible says "...unto the fourth generation." I believe my body is for my spouse. It was meant for my spouse and no one else. I know my spouse takes pleasure in my body, and that that too is a gift from God. I will teach my children to respect their bodies and to keep them pure for their spouse. I will also teach them to keep their bodies covered appropriately so they will not tempt others to lust and have strong desires for the physical looks. I WILL NEVER teach my children that showing off your body to everyone is how God intended it, and I WILL DO MY BEST to keep my children from being tempted to look or lust after someone else physically. Too much emphasis is being put on the physical intsead of the heart of who someone is. And about your marriage, abortion, etc. comment... I know and its a crying shame so many people "who attend church services" claim to be Christ followers, because they are not. They are just going through the motions of religious tradition. They are not like Christ at all. If you want to keep up the bashing, go for it. I'll no longer reply though. I apologize for believing two different faiths could converse or share their opinions civily. There is just too much hate and anger on one side.

    • JMcFarland profile image
      Author

      Julie McFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I have not insulted you. You seem to take any kind of disagreement as some type of an attack, which is unfortunate, but not surprising. It has nothing to do with the fact that you're a Christian. It is because you seem to feel entitled to have things your way, and no one else's beliefs or opinions should be duly considered. You're free to comment or not, but I would personally tone down the emotion. No one is angry at you. No one is out for you or attacking you. You came here of your own volition, and I have every bit as much right to express my views on my own hubs as you do, even if my views are different or even critical of yours. You are not your views, and beliefs and opinions are not sentient to be offended.

    • Moony27 profile image

      Meagan 2 years ago from Australia

      I knew Maleficent and Frozen were big changes from Disney's originals stories but I didn't know about Brave. I think I'll go watch it now :)

    Click to Rate This Article