Saturday, December 3, 2016

Most Disliked Disney Protagonist (Female)

            I have not been posting nearly enough this year and I want to steer back from that.  To that end I have found a 30-day blog challenge and fluffed it out to 31 entries (since December has 31 days).  I have done a 30-day challenge before for movies, though that one was poorly executed (I started it in the middle of a month, at one point I posted 2 entries on one day, it is a mess).  I did another one just this year in August on Video Games, that one was better, go read it after this one, all of it.  Or don’t, no pressure.

            Today is day 3 and the topic is “Most Disliked Female Protagonist”.
            Two days ago, I talked about how “The Little Mermaid” had a painfully naïve protagonist whom I did not care for because she has no arc and does not grow as a person after having been exploited by a bad person and then getting bailed out by her Dad and boyfriend.
            Yesterday, I mentioned really liking the recent output of Disney with my love of both “Inside Out” and “Zootopia”.  But, I don’t like everything they have been doing.  Case in point, I think one of the most annoying characters in recent cinema history is Anna from “Frozen”.
            So which of the two do I think is worse?  Let me pontificate on each of their merits for a moment before ultimately condemn one to be the worst.
Neither win for best redhead in the Disney canon.  They are just in better regarded films than "Brave".
            Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” is the worst… Sorry, I should have pontificated in text form.  On Day 1 I spelled out how little I enjoy “The Little Mermaid” and pretty much all of it came down to the characters—and the plot, but that is not what we are talking about.  This is the sort of thing that kind of requires people to have seen each movie and then to see how those movies break by the failure of the characters as elements in the story.  It also means that a character can be superior via growth in the story or fitting into the world/narrative better, or just by learning a better lesson from the story—such as the story is.  So let’s start by explaining what each is about.

The Plots
First the recap of “The Little Mermaid” I wrote on Monday and touched up a little.  Ariel is the undersea princess of a race of mer-people but views the surface world of humans as a magical place that she wants to learn more about.  Her father, King Triton uber masculine bully of the sea, derides her obsession and after he destroys her collection of tchotchkes taken from human ship wrecks, Ariel runs—swims—away from home.

Body Language!
Ariel meets with the sea witch Ursula and strikes a deal to turn human for three days, if during that time she can find love on land she will be allowed to remain human and live out her life on the surface world.  If Ariel is unable to find love she will become one of the cursed creatures that Ursula torments for amusement.  Ultimately Ursula uses trickery to win the bargain and leverages Ariel’s freedom to take over the undersea kingdom from Triton.  Ursula is then justly murdered and everyone else has a happily ever after.  Ariel learns nothing from this experience.

            Now let’s look at “Frozen”.  After Anna is nearly killed by her sister she is mentally lobotomized by a cadre of helpful(?) trolls.  She and her sister spend the next decade being both neglected and sheltered by their parents until one day those god awful parental units are mercifully put out of the sisters’ misery by dying at sea.  Cooped up in the palace for decades Anna’s sister, Elsa is due to be coordinated.  On the day of the coronation Anna is seduced and Elsa’s freak magical powers cause havoc, these two things are not directly related, but sub textually they are very related.

Body Language!
Elsa exiles herself and Anna goes to bring her back—at the very least Elsa should stop the apocalyptic magical snow storm she summoned while leaving.
            After a series of adventures with a sentient snowman, a guy who sells ice for a living, and a funny reindeer, Anna finds her sister living in a magical ice palace.  Anna is betrayed by her would be lover for no reason and must rise to the occasion to save her menace of a sister from being justly murdered and in doing so Anna saves the kingdom.  Along the way she learns the difference between romantic love, familial love, and lust.  A pretty good set of lessons for young people.
My Thoughts
            Do you see the obvious difference?  That Anna learns from her experiences and grows as a person, ultimately being the key to saving everything thru an act of heroism.  Ariel by contrast does not.  In fact, the split between the two is so big you might ask, “Why did you even bring up Anna and ‘Frozen’ at all if the answer is so obvious?”  And that is a fair question.
1)     I already talked about “The Little Mermaid” and wanted a little more meat for this entry.
2)     I dislike “Frozen” and Anna is a part of why and I wanted to bring it up now so that when I start talking about “Frozen” down the line I can link back to this with the words, “She’s not all bad”.

            “So what is your problem with Anna then?” you are now asking, followed by the words, “You’re an asshole” as the fandom of “Frozen” is rather intense.  I dislike a couple minor things that stack into something more.
1)     Anna complains about not wanting to be cooped up in the palace, but unlike Jasmine or Miranda before her she doesn’t do anything to change her position in the world, she remains locked in the palace.  Even Ariel ran away, that was the impetus for the whole story.
2)     Anna is annoying, I do not find her all that funny and aside from the bemusement I feel watching other characters reacting to her BS.  She doesn’t really do anything for me.  Better than boring, but not by much.

            “Those 2 things don’t stack into anything,” you are saying.
Well, the more I write this the more I feel like I am being overly harsh.  You know what, the decision was easy and now my dislike of Anna seems tremendously small.
I am so confused.  This image isn't even from either of these movies!
I think I just figured out that I dislike “Frozen” for other reasons and while Anna doesn’t help the case of the movie she is not the bugbear that I thought she was when I started writing this.

            Ariel Sucks!  Anna is fine.  Internal argument over without ever getting going.

            You know if I were not doing a daily thing and had more time to think this over I would scrap this blog and do something else entirely.  Can’t do that now!

Beg for Attention
            Share your own thoughts on this in the comments.  I know I am not the only person out there who is nostalgic for Disney products, and I am sure many people disagree with my selection for today’s entry.  Tell me how this non-argument was not entertaining, confusing, and a waste of time that would have been better served by a more straightforward blog.  Or whatever.
I picked Disney stuff just because I knew there was so much of it to talk about and it lends itself to discussion in the comments.  So please, tell me how my opinion about cartoon movies is biased and how your opinion on cartoon movies is objectively right.

If you like or hate this please take the time to comment, +1, share on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook, and otherwise distribute my opinion to the world.  I would appreciate it.

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