Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Of Power and Princesses, pt 2

2. Scope

How would the world of Frozen be described? I see 3 main traits: 1) magic exists, 2) the stories happen in or around the rulers of a feudal state, usually a kingdom, and 3) these kingdoms exists in a common alternate earth.

Traits 1 and 2 are pretty straightforward, but trait 3 requires a little more explanation. Let us consider the library of Disney animated movies. First, we’ll dismiss the Mickey Mouse/Goofy/etc. and Winnie the Pooh based movies, as well as others populated primarily by talking anthropomorphized animals. Among the rest, most can be split into two general settings: those occurring in a fictionalized earth; and those on an alternate earth. In this alternate earth, the cultures of our earth exist, but the political entities are different. Additionally, magic works, and some technologies do not exist, primarily gunpowder-based weapons, cannon and fire-arms.

Examples of earth-based stories are Pinocchio and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Pinocchio takes place in Tuscany and other areas of Italy, and Hunchback takes place in Paris. Pinocchio has plenty of magic, and Hunchback has animated gargoyles. However, their existence has no long-term effects on the world; no ‘future’ movies talk about puppets coming to life and boys being transformed into donkeys, nor of the great gargoyle rebellion if 1490, or the church’s campaign to destroy these unholy monsters. Instead, One Hundred and One Dalmatians occurs in London, unaffected by the unusual events of Pinocchio or Hunchback.

The alternate earth contains Frozen, which occurs in a Scandinavian culture, but in the fictional kingdom of Arendelle. Similarly, Tangled happens in an eastern European culture, but in the fictional kingdom of Corona.

There are a couple “problem” movies: Peter Pan and The Princess and the Frog. Both of these movies involve both real and fictional locations, London/New Orleans and Neverland/Maldonia. For simplicity’s sake, I will not consider them. Additionally, I’m not considering any Pixar films, because it’s already been established that most of their movies exist in a common world depicting the apocalypse: (NSFW or kids, language)

Based on these criteria, I am considering the following movies to occur in the Disney alternate earth:

· Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (German culture, unnamed kingdom)

· Cinderella (French culture, unnamed kingdom)

· Sleeping Beauty (French or German culture, two unnamed kingdoms)

· The Black Cauldron (Welsh culture, kingdom of Prydain)

· The Little Mermaid (Dutch culture, unnamed surface principality and unwater kingdom of Atlantica)

· Beauty and the Beast (French culture, unnamed principality)

· Aladdin (Arab culture, sultanate of Agrabah)

· Tangled (eastern European culture, kingdom of Corona)

· Frozen (Scandinavian culture, kingdom of Arendelle)

Looking at this list, an obvious pattern emerges: the Disney Princesses. At this time, there are 11 official Disney Princesses, and I include 7 of their movies. Three of other four I excluded for reasons already cited (Pocahontas, Mulan, and Tiana’s movies occurring in the fictionalized, not alternate, earth, and Mulan has cannons.) Disney has announced that Anna and Elsa from Frozen will soon be added to the official list as well.

That leaves Merida from the Pixar movie Brave. Looking at the details of the movie, however, it applies very well to my filters, and so I will include it.

· Brave (Scottish culture, kingdom of DunBroch)

The Disney alternate earth, a.k.a. the Princess-verse, is a lot like the Europe of the 17th and 18th centuries, several hundred separate small, independent states, each with their own King, Prince, or Duke.

No comments:

Post a Comment