Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Princess Project Introduction and Index

Ah, the Disney Princess franchise. The whole shebang was started in the early 2000's by Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney after -this is true- a trip to a Disney on Ice show where he saw little girls wearing unlicensed Disney character costumes and immediately saw dollar signs an untapped market. And let me emphasize that this in itself was not a bad idea. In fact, it was pretty awesome in theory. After all, there are very few older films that either sport a female main character or are primarily directed at young girls that are still being marketed today (the only other one I can think of is "Wizard of OZ").

The problem is the specific way in which the Princesses are marketed. They're completely divorced from their films, making them folklore-based characters who've found themselves without stories. There are no happy endings to earn, no conflicts to resolve, just creepily vacant stares and sparkles.

And that is worthy of criticism, but unfortunately many vocal critics have equated the Princess Franchise versions of the characters with their very different film counterparts. It's almost impressive how often critics are blatantly wrong about what actually happens in the films. (Honestly, everyone gets the sequence of events in "The Little Mermaid" wrong.)

As a lover of animation, and a Disney fan, I wanted to help set the record straight when it came to the Disney Princess characters themselves. The simplest way to do this, it seemed, was to go right to the source: rewatch each of the films in which the Princesses first appear and keep track of certain things they've come under heavy criticism for. (It turns out that watching all these films in order is also an efficient "Speed Run" version of the history of Walt Disney Feature Animation I got during the Chronological Disney Animated Canon project years ago.)

I was originally planning on watching each film and writing an analysis, but doing live Tweet-commentaries -Tweetmentaries, if you will- on them turned out to be more fun. It also brought in an element of audience participation. And I wound up reconsidering some of the films (as we shall see, there is one film where my opinion was almost completely flipped).

* - "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"

* - "Cinderella"

* -  "Sleeping Beauty"

* - "The Little Mermaid"

* - "Beauty and the Beast"

* - "Pocahontas"

* - "Mulan"

* - "The Princess and the Frog"

* - "Tangled"

* - "Brave"

* - "Aladdin"

* - "Frozen"

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More Animation Marathons

* - The Chronological Disney Animated Canon

* - Don Bluth Month

* - Dreamworks' "Tradigitals"

* - The Short Animation Blogathon

* - My Summer of Sequels

* - Random 90's Animation

* - The Princess Project

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