My issues with these two aside, they do have pretty cool designs
I already shared some of these grievances in a wall post so the adrenaline is down but at least now I can somewhat organize my thoughts. In some ways this kind of a part two to my first rant.

Now, if you ask me the golden age of the Disney Princess lineup was that sweet spot when it was 10 princesses, I mean it was the first eight characters and films that most of us knew and loved, and grew up with, plus the two who kinda pretty much revived (no pun intended) the franchise and they fitted in quite nicely.

We even had a really cool website where the princesses talked to you, you could dress each of them up and play fun mini-games. Y'all remember that website? I even made a few collages of the OG ten, as you can see by my current user icon, I might share another one here.

Then things changed when Brave came along, and it kinda bothered me. At first I thought I was just being biased as hell, but then Moana came along, and to a lesser extent Frozen came beforehand, and I started to think that maybe it's something bigger than that.

Swanpride, a fairly active user here, made an article quite a few years ago about why Brave bothers her and I don't 100% agree with everything she wrote (it's more like 70-80% though) but one thing that really stuck out to me is when she asked this rhetorical question. What is the point of removing elements that are standard for a Disney Princess movie and still calling it a Disney Princess movie?

With the first ten princesses/films there was actually a good number of common threads between them, not just "wearing a dress and having animals friends", to bring it back to that obnoxious quote in Moana. They were all based on a folklore, they were all musicals, they all had love interests and they all had.....villains.

Y'all know those Disney Villains, that group of characters who almost rival the princesses in fandom and popularity. Those characters who have just as much inspiration and development put into their creation as the protagonists. Those characters that, even the lamest ones, bring a whole new energy and atmosphere to the screen. Those characters that have a whole section of the film's world built around them. Yeah, I miss them too.

Disney is currently going through a phase of these "wolf in sheep's clothing", fake-out, quite frankly underdeveloped villains. From what I understand the purpose of this is to be "more realistic because people aren't black and white and they aren't always what they seem" and it's "creative, innovative, different, unique" blah, blah, blah. Yeah.....it's really not, it's dumb, really dumb.

Brave and Moana seem to be the worst of them all because they don't have characters that can even remotely pass as villains. Mor'du is not a villain, and they made a very halfassed effort presenting Tamatoa as "villain-esque", with one scene and a song, but he doesn't cut it either. There are other characters in both films who are antagonistic and serve as obstacles but they're not villains. Say what you want about the weaker DP villains in the first ten films, there was never any debate about whether or not they were villains.

I know some people are like "What if the film's unique enough or rounded out enough that it doesn't need a villain or a love interest, like Inside Out or Finding Nemo?". Don't wanna be too mean but Brave ain't no freaking Finding Nemo, neither is Moana. You and I both know that a big part of why these films, as well as other revival movies, were made was because some people with big ass egos wanted to undermine previous Disney films and improve on the "typical problematic princess movie".

And how do they choose to "improve" it? By doing the same basic formula but removing major elements and calling it "progress". In most cases, just NOT doing something isn't revolutionary, especially when it comes to art, that's just pretentious lazy crap you're trying to pass off as a "minimalist masterpiece". Usually you don't improve on a famous dish by just removing ingredients, that's just an incomplete dish. Just NOT changing your clothes isn't a fashion statement, it's just, again, pretentious lazy and, in this context, nasty.

These movies just not having a villain or a romance is not "innovative, creative, progressive", it's lazy. These movies are not doing anything unique or different, they want us to think they are. They want us to see how they're NOT doing things that are just so "typical" and "cliche" for a Disney movie, like Merida and Moana NOT having princes, and blindly praise it as this revolutionary thing, but it's not.

And speaking of princes and romance, at first I was on board with the idea of future princesses not having love interests but now I'm kinda like, what's wrong with that? Of course, if you dare to complain about that, some people will jump down your throat with the sanctimonious virtue signalling, "So what? They don't need no prince! We need independent women!"

Well apparently a lot of men are quite dependent since they need a "princess". Romance is a standard for MALE lead films too. Wall-E has a romance, Ratatouille has a romance. There are variations of this like Hunchback of Notre Dame but yeah, this is a thing for many genres of movies, this isn't even exclusive to Disney.

Of course, there's not always a need for a romance but the difference with Brave and Moana is that the creators simply made the conscious decision to NOT have love interests because they wanted to, yet again, be progressive, rather than the result an organic step in the story writing process. We know for a fact that's what happened in Brave's case.

"But now the focus of the story is the sidekick/buddy relationship and the parent/child relationship". Mulan's relationship with Mushu and her father were both prominent than her relationship with Shang. Hell, even Snow White and Cinderella spent way more time with their sidekicks than their love interests.

You know Lilo and Stitch, that movie that centers around a friendship (Lilo/Stitch duh) as well as a sister relationship (Lilo/Nani), it also has a romance, (David/Nani) a villain, sidekicks, supporting characters, and several antagonistic characters who aren't villains, because like y'all love to say, people aren't black and white.

And if you look in the average Disney movie, from Hercules to Tarzan to The Incredibles to Meet the Robinsons, you'll find all these types of characters and relationships. It's called world building, not going out of your way to pacify complaints with meta commentary and showing off how progressive you're protagonist is. The mother/daughter relationship in Brave, Moana's thicker body type and all that wonderful "progressive" stuff is nice but they're both still the most lackluster halfheartedly made Disney movies I've ever seen.

That's what it all really comes down to huh? The more I watch Brave and Moana the more it seems like they just wanted to make "progressive" princesses to add to the lineup rather than making compelling films, because that's what's marketable right now, "get woke or go broke" as I've heard some say. Like I said in my previous article, in Walt's days, it was about telling stories, in Eisner's days it was more of a balance between the two, and nowadays it's all about making money and appeasing the seemingly plenty but just loud voices criticizing Disney.

And can I just say, I know conformity and tradition were things characters like Jasmine, Mulan and even Merida were trying to fight against, but that's only because those things were harmful in those contexts. Conformity, exclusivity and tradition are not bad concepts in themselves. Why can't the lineup be exclusive to characters who meet certain criteria? Why can't these characters have traditions between them besides "wearing a dress and having animal friends"? Why should Merida be so above getting a "sparkly barbie" makeover like all the other princesses? Oh yeah, because she's an "improvement" over the previous "problematic" princesses. Thank you Brenda Chapman, one of those big ass egos I mentioned earlier.

And yeah, being inclusive is nice, but this another reason why PATF doesn't bother me as much. They were inclusive by creating the first black princess and guess what, they still conformed to Disney Princess traditions, they took a folklore, based her story on that, took her an adventure and along the way she sang songs, she found romance and she defeated the villain. (I'm still having trouble understanding what's so progressive and "woke" about not having a villain.)

Then of course there's Tangled, the revival film that conforms the most to Disney traditions, probably the most "typical" DP movie since The Little Mermaid, and what do you know? It's still the most well received DP movie from the revival era among Disney fans, it's certainly held up a lot better than Frozen with the hardcore Disney fandom.

You know how they say some people are uncomfortable with change? Well if this is Disney's idea of change, where even the beautiful art form of creating a Disney Villain is pretty much.....dead, I don't like it. Not to mention all the countdowns Merida and Moana can't participate in, like best prince, best villain, best singing voice in former's case. Like I said, petty gripes, lmao.


10 princesses, 10 stories, 10 musicals, 10 romances, 10 villains, 10 fully realized worlds. Sigh....those were the days.