Tag Archives: Feminism

Tangled (2010)

Rapunzel

Rapunzel

Tangled marks an interesting point in Disney’s evolution. For a decade, Pixar had produced more creative and more artistic films. It had produced more memorable characters and more impactful stories. With that company’s acquisition in 2006, Disney also bought the brains behind Pixar’s magic in John Lasseter.

With Lasseter in charge of all creative for both companies, though, the vision behind each set of films began to meld and slowly become indistinguishable from one another.

Tangled marks a clear beginning of that process. It is the first film that Lasseter oversaw from start to finish. The film was announced a year after Lasseter took hold of the reins and Pixar became part of the Disney family of companies.

With a budget of $250-million, Disney bet big on Tangled being a huge success. Given the box office gold that had come with Lasseter’s previous projects, it was more than likely a safe bet. But it was still $100-million more than anything Disney had spent on a film in the past decade.

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Lilo & Stitch (2002)

Lilo introduces Stitch to her friends.

Lilo & Stitch is a heartwarmer. Stitch is an adorable, if extraordinarily quirky, character who manages to be both sidekick and hero. At the same time, it’s a movie that hardly knows what it’s supposed to be: part sci-fi epic about a misunderstood genetic experiment, and part family story about two sisters trying to make it work in trying times.

The combination works, though. Stitch is an adorable character that, like Wall-E, whom Pixar would later invent, manages to convey real and universal emotions without the use of language. Lilo is a child desperately trying to fit in when she’s just a little bit stranger than her friends: something almost everyone can relate to. Ultimately, Lilo & Stitch — despite space aliens, a trip across the galaxy and a genetic experiment falling on a Hawaiian village — becomes the perfectly normal story of two people desperate for love and acceptance who find each other and forge a perfect friendship.

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Mulan (1998)

“I’ll make a man out of you.”

I used to think Mulan was a great girl power movie about challenging social conventions and rising to any challenge. It’s not.

Mulan is based on an actual ancient Chinese fable. In the original, Mulan is the daughter of a general and, despite it being against a woman’s place in society at the time, he taught her to ride and wield a sword. Just like in the film, when one man from each family was drafted, her father volunteered despite his age. Mulan stole her father’s armour, dressed as a man and went to war in his place.

But that’s where the similarities end.

There is no love story in the classic version. Mulan returns home and bestows the armour on her younger brother, now old enough to wear it. She dresses in the clothes of a woman and wears make-up. Eventually her friends from the army return to visit and are shocked by the dazzling woman before them, and her story of the young warrior who became a lady spread across the land.

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