Hi! It’s Annie!
We’ve talked plenty on this blog about Disney Princesses and Princes, but I find it pretty surprising that I have yet to actually talk about my feelings on the romances. Especially since they take front and center in a lot of Disney films. Disney movies can carry so much hope. That even though things are unfair sometimes, it is possible for your dreams to come true or to find your true love. And by critiquing some of these couples, I don’t mean to take the magic out of it. But there are definitely some questionable decisions made by one or both characters involved. On the other hand, I am absolutely in love with some of these couples and the hope that comes from them. So I’m going to go over some of the major couples in Disney and why some of them are great and some of them are… not so great. Obviously, MAJOR SPOILERS for if you somehow haven’t seen these Disney movies. Which I hope is a very small bit of you!
Unhappily Ever After:
Snow White and Prince Florian- I think there are a lot of reasons that this one doesn’t quite work out. The primary reason being that Snow White is canonically fourteen at the time of this film. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to love about this movie. This is the movie that spurned the popularity in animation and made people truly believe that an audience would absolutely sit down for a full movie of cartoon animation. It’s a gorgeous movie, partly because it was literally hand painted, and has an amazing storyline. In many ways, this is the movie that started it all for Disney. But Florian kissing the corpse of someone he had barely met and also frightened on multiple occasions isn’t really convincing enough to make this a good couple. They didn’t spend any time together at all. There are really good versions of this couple. For example, I absolutely love David and Mary Margaret in ‘Once Upon A Time’. Not only is the chemistry amazing because they’re played by a real life couple who actually fell in love during the duration of the show. It’s also a much more complicated hate to love storyline that focuses on and grows both of the characters. But the original story didn’t really have the time or maturity for that quite yet.
Aurora and Prince Phillip- Another unconscious kiss and not a lot of time to get to know each other. Aurora gets a whopping fourteen minutes of screen time in the original movie. And while I do like Phillip, he actually isn’t the person who should get credit for slaying Maleficent and saving the day. The three fairies are the ones who enchanted the sword to deal the killing blow, released Phillip, and let Phillip know about the way to break the curse of the kingdom. Aurora agrees to marry Phillip after dancing with him once. And I have yet to find a version of this story that really fleshes this out. But once again, the movie is gorgeous. Probably one of my favorite designs for any Disney film that I’ve seen.
Cinderella and Prince Charming- It’s rather unfortunate that she wasn’t even wearing a mask and he didn’t remember what she looked like after spending the entire night with her. But, you know what? At least he spent the entire night with her. Which is more than some of the others can say. Still, while this is better, it isn’t great.
Ariel and Eric- This is probably going to be my most controversial opinion on this list. Ariel knew absolutely nothing about Eric when she first decided that she had a crush on him, other than the fact that he was from the human world. Which is probably one of the reasons why she had a crush on him in the first place. On the other hand, Eric scoffs at the idea of falling in love with a Princess he barely knows at the beginning of the film. But then spends the rest of it declaring that he will marry a woman just because of her voice when he barely even saw what she looked like, if at all. Plus, the fact that Eric fell in love with Ariel without ever having a conversation with her, something Ursula disturbingly predicts earlier in the film, is not something I’m thrilled with. Ariel could have wanted to go to the human world with or without Eric. Part of me wonders if Eric was even super necessary to the plot.
Happily Ever After:
Belle and the Beast- I know what you’re going to say. Stockholm Syndrome. I’ve made an entire post about why ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is definitely not Stockholm Syndrome. Belle never changes to accommodate the Beast, it’s the other way around, and Belle doesn’t fall in love with him until he lets her go. Though I still take a lot of issue with the kidnapping. But I really like this because it’s a great story about second chances and growth. The Beast is both adorable and amazingly expressive for this style of animation as well, which only makes his part in the romance more endearing. And using Belle to encourage young girls to read at the time, is a stroke of genius that impacted my life as a young girl as well as countless others. Both characters learn to completely accept the other for who they are. Both of them are othered and find comfort in each other. And they definitely spend a lot of time actually getting to know each other!
Tiana and Naveen- Speaking of growing together and spending a lot of time together. This is a pretty typical hate to love story, but it’s so gradual and adorable that I can’t help but fawn over it every time. And both of them have to grow in order to realize what’s between them. Naveen has to take on some responsibility and Tiana has to learn to let her hair down a little. Naveen offering to work two or three jobs to help get Tiana her restaurant has to be one of the best things any Prince ever does.
Rapunzel and Eugene- This is the relationship in all of Disney that feels the most natural to me. Rapunzel and Eugene don’t start out hating each other by any means; rather they are kind of wary of each other. They definitely become friends before they fall in love, and it’s interesting to see the slow progression of them realizing that they care for each other. They also have the time to grow together. Eugene learns to trust again, even giving Rapunzel the information of what his actual name is. Rapunzel, in turn, grows as a person and becomes less naive and more resourceful. The love between them is built out of knowledge and friendship; which is really what makes this seem so natural. There’s no insta-love here!
Mulan and Li Shang- Firstly, he fell in love with her before he even knew she was a girl. The love between them transcends views on gender and gives us a bisexual King. They also spend plenty of time fighting side by side as equals. There are far too few relationships like that in fairytale adaptations.
Anna and Kristoff- Also a very realistic seeming relationship! And probably the most adorable! Pair a golden retriever with another golden retriever and you’ve got them! I seriously love these two so much. You’ll never find as self sacrificing and supportive of a boyfriend as Kristoff or as caring of a girlfriend as Anna. They truly deserve each other in the absolute best way.
I didn’t want to mention couples that are very obviously bad and shouldn’t have been made; such as Pocahontas and John Smith. But I also want to say, that even the couples that I mentioned that I disliked hold some magic for me. Snow White and her Prince have had so many great adaptations and, as I said before, I am personally obsessed with their adaptation in ‘Once Upon A Time’. And I love most of the Disney classics. But while watching ‘The Little Mermaid’ today, I couldn’t help but notice how I wasn’t so thrilled with Ariel and Eric’s relationship. But even though some of my perceptions of the movies have changed; nothing will take the magic of these movies away. And the relationships these movies present have absolutely matured over time. Great, now I want to go to Disneyland!
See you across the pond!