Disney: From Princesses to Evil Fairies

Disney: From Princesses to Evil Fairies

Maybe Disney’s not covering princesses anymore, but they sure are making a princess-villain movie.

You might recall that last year Disney announced that Tangled would be their last princess movie, as the company pretty much hates little girls and thinks that princesses won’t sell to desensitized boys who would rather watch things blow up—and they’d rather have the girls buying their pop albums and other expensive fads of the moment anyway. Okay, I’m paraphrasing here. But the gist is that they canceled their next princess film before they even evolved enough to create a princess who could save herself without help, have a little bit of gumption, and not wear a dress. (Perhaps Pixar will help us with that with the upcoming Brave?)

That said, Disney apparently thinks it’s perfectly fine to make a film about a princess movie villain, as they’ve signed on Angelina Jolie to star as a live action version of Maleficent, the evil fairy who wasn’t invited to Aurora/Sleeping Beauty’s big birthday party and spoiled the fun for everyone by putting Sleeping Beauty to sleep and, depending on which version you’ve watched or read, not letting her wake up until a prince either kisses her or rapes her and makes her pregnant with twins, which then wake her up by drinking milk at her breast. (Not kidding here—that’s how the story goes!)

Anyhow, Disney is creating a film to explain how Maleficent (is it only ironic to me that the one villainess they’re profiling here has the word “male” in her name? Now I’m fishing!) became who she is and why she felt like she had to curse the pretty, pretty princess in the first place.

I am all about making a movie about a villain, preferably if it sheds light on the character’s humanness and how she (or he) wasn’t always cruel and vicious. In fact, I would welcome it—and I wish all characters could be so layered. Disney isn’t known for its layered characters; it’s usually a black and white, good versus evil in the company’s films, unlike the rival Don Bluth films of our youth, which often highlighted both positive and negative aspects of heroes, at least. This could be a really fun movie, but I think Disney could still make more female-led films without relying on their old fairytale crutches. How about a new fairytale? Or a new story altogether?

Make the lead to Mars Needs Moms a girl instead, for example—or another Toy Story movie with Bonnie and Jessie as the main characters. Girls are 51% of the population and it’s time to recognize that, rather than make a movie with male leads to be “neutral” for the audience. That’s not neutral, and continuing to do so over and over again without regard to fans is also sexist.