And the month of Disney continues! *Mickey Mouse Cheer* Introducing week two of the Mighty Mouse marathon!
Last week, we took a look at my favorite (and least-favorite) Disney Princes. Now, it’s the ladies turn! Simply keep scrolling for my definitive ranking of every Disney Princess!
Well, ALMOST every Disney Princess. I don’t count Moana or Merida. Don’t know why, exactly – I just don’t.
And, again, I’m basing these opinions off of varying degrees of familiarity. For some of these princesses, I’ve only seen clips. BUT IS THAT GOING TO STOP ME FROM JUDGING THEM AS A WHOLE? DO YOU REALLY THINK IT WILL?
IF YOU THINK THAT WILL STOP ME, YOU DON’T KNOW ME AT ALL. #IDoWhatIWant
*smiles sweetly* FORWARD, YE PEOPLE. Let us ride into the kingdom of fair maidens and judge them with candor and brutality! And, occasionally, affection.
# 12 – Snow White.
HER VOICE. OH MY GOSH, HER VOICE.
The real question in the movie: why someone didn’t try to kill Snow White SOONER? Why were the dwarves crying when she was comatose? SHE WAS FINALLY SILENCED.
Okay, aside from her voice, there’s just not much there. She’s a hard worker, which is a good thing. And she whistles while she works, so give her a point for cheerfulness. That’s the nicest thing I can say about her. But other than that, she’s dumb as a the proverbial hammer and about as annoying when said hammer strikes your thumb instead of the nail head.
I’m not a fan of a lot of Disney’s modern agendas, but giving their princesses a LEETLE more personality is a definite improvement, as opposed to plastic dollies who just stand there and accept eat food given to them by strangers and are generally bland, dumb, and aggravating.
But the salt in the wound? This is the princess that COULD have been voiced by Deanna Durbin (who happens to be one of my favorite actresses). She auditioned for the part, but was rejected because she sounded too womanly.
GUYS, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??? DEANNA DURBIN WAS BORN TO BE A DISNEY PRINCESS. ANY PRINCESS. ARE YOU CRAZY????
# 11 – Ariel
AGAIN WITH THE VOICE.
Plus, I’m not a fan of the rebellious, disobedient characters. What I’ve seen of Ariel just struck me as annoying, rather than charming.
And then . . . let’s talk about the voice some more. It’s partially a mercy that Tour Guide Barbie doesn’t speak for half the movie, I suppose, but then we’re left with nothing but that over-emoting face. I MEAN, LOOK AT THAT DUMB FACE.
Her eyes are so big and bright, I feel as if they might pop out of her skull. *backs away*
And she IS pretty foolish. She makes a deal with a SEA WITCH. Some could excuse that by saying that’s how in love (or rather, enamored) she is with Prince Eric (which raises it’s own set of questions) but I just call it foolishness. Before you jump into Eric’s world, honey, you’d better figure out how to survive better in your OWN neck of the woods because you have “helpless victim” stamped all over you.
And guys, let’s remember she does all this for Eric. ERIC.
# 10 – Aurora
I’m torn over deciding whether Aurora – the girl who spends the bulk of her life sleeping – is an inspiration or a horror story.
In any event, it’s hard to get too excited about a character that does little but sleep. That, or mooning around in the woods dancing with owls and waiting for some romantic fool to give her a pick-up line.
Sorry, but I have a little trouble relating to female characters that want nothing more than a guy.
I mean, don’t you have any other goals in life??? And again, just not a fan of the voice. Or even really her face / animation. And she’s kind of boring so . . . yeah, there’s really nothing else to say about Aurora.
# 9 – Jasmine
Welp, it’s pretty hard to respect a gal that’s yapping about being a liberated female and dresses, uh, the way Jasmine does. If she’s not a prize to be won, how come you dress like a crackerjack prize, honey?
The one thing I did like about Jasmine (and really the only redeeming thing I found about her) is that she had an interesting voice. Usually, alluring voices are lower and smokier than Jasmine’s younger, girlier voice. I found this to be the only thing fresh about Jasmine.
Aside from, you know, her behavior. That was plenty fresh.
And yep, that’s it. I don’t have anything else to say about her. She got an extra point because I like her looks (face/animation) better than Snow or Aurora.
# 8 – Cinderella
When I was little, I didn’t get Cinderella. I’m afraid I was not gifted with a docile nature and I probably would have been cooking up ways to smother Lady Tremaine and her brats in their sleep, so I grew up thinking Cinderella was unutterably wishy-washy and weak.
But upon growing older and viewing this movie again recently with a more open mind, I finally recognized that Cinderella is a good character. We DO see her struggling with her lot in life in the little moments where she glares or snaps at Lucifer, or sighs or rolls her eyes at the Stepmother and her stepsisters. Not to mention her stern treatment of Lucifer.
I really liked that you saw the foreshadowing of how Cinderella would be a good princess one day. She serves and rules her little kingdom well, and always looks out for her little animal subjects. Even the cruel individuals are treated fairly and graciously.
What really damages Cinderella for me is I felt that she had a lack of scope. There was no clear “I want” for Cinderella, other than to go to a party. Which was great for a short term goal, but I was left wondering what sort of dreams Cinderella had for the rest of her life. Had she accepted that her current situation was going to be her life-long destiny? Did she not realize the full-scope of her imprisonment? It was a little unclear.
Overall, her voice is quite pleasant, both speaking and singing, her looks are okay, and I really liked her animation (watch Cinderella’s movements closely and see how the artist did a great job combining a homey sweetness with a graceful dignity). She had the potential to have a higher rating on here, but lost points because, ultimately, I didn’t really understand what made her tick.
# 7 – Mulan
Before I watched this movie, I had heard a great deal about it, and I really thought Mulan was going to be my favorite Disney Princess. Unfortunately, the actress just didn’t cut it to me. She has an oddly flat voice and during the most emotional scenes adopts a flat, laborious delivery that kind of ruined the impact of the moment. It’s a really strange effect, almost as if she suddenly becomes an automaton. Go watch a few of the more emotional scenes you’ll see what I’m talking about.
And then we have the magically changing face. I like Mulan’s face / animation when she is a girl, but the minute she dons a uniform and disguises herself as a man, her face (and animation) LITERALLY changes and she looks like a completely different character (and somehow a dumber, less engaging one).
I don’t know – is it just me???
Now for her character. I felt that there was good material here (unlike the frenetic clumsiness of Princess Anna, Mulan has a quieter awkwardness that is endearing), and she is obviously brave, smart, and cares about the people around her but . . . I didn’t really feel that Mulan had any faults. I felt like the only thing holding her back from doing ANYTHING in life was the fact that she was female (oh, darn those chauvinistic men and my traditional nation, yada, yada, yada). She seemed a little too perfect. She even ended up feeling a little boring as Mushu ended up stealing the show and she almost started to feel like HIS side kick. Mushu is awesome and all, but this is supposed to be Mulan’s movie.
However, I do love Mulan’s goal. She is one of the very few princesses who is isn’t looking for romance and has some clear goals outside of a guy. #ARMPUMP She adores her father (very relatable) and would do anything for him, even risk death. The core of her nature is genuinely heroic and inspiring but, sadly, all the trimmings didn’t live up to the hype for me.
# 6 – Tiana
Visually, I like how Tiana looks; she’s really pretty and there are parts of Tiana’s character that I can relate to more than any other Disney Princess. Almost There could practically be my theme song. A girl that loves her parents, lives for goals, and is bursting with ambition and wants to go into business and basically not be bothered or distracted from her dreams? Yes, please!
But, unfortunately, I found it very difficult to connect with Tiana in her frog form. The minute she turned into an amphibian the burgeoning connection I felt with her disappeared. Admittedly, even before the transformation the animation style of The Princess and the Frog wasn’t my favorite (it all looked overly cartoony to me). In addition, while I liked the basis for Tiana’s personality, I didn’t feel that there was anything extra. I felt that the film makers themselves were a little nervous about Tiana and shrank from giving her any more personality than just the basics. I ended up feeling as if she didn’t have any faults and was a little TOO strong. Yes, she sort of is supposed to learn to love and lighten up – but she already DID care about people in her life (Charlotte, her mom) and she could be more lighthearted around them . . . so . . . her personal arc and journey was a big froggy splat for me.
They had a great foundation, but I felt that her character and her animation style could have been even more layered. But . . . again, part of the trouble I might have been having is because of the voice. I just didn’t connect with the vocal performance as much as I wanted to. I don’t think she had an unpleasant voice, I just felt it was lacking in the vibrancy and personality that is necessary for any animated character.
# 5 – Rapunzel
Okay, don’t get me wrong, I LIKE Rapunzel quite a bit, but I don’t adore her quite as much as the rest of the Internet seems to. I kind of feel like I’ve seen her character before a lot – the cute, dorky little princess who doesn’t act like your dainty royal but is going to win everyone over with her vibrancy and sweetness, etc, etc. Now, I thought that they did this trope very well, but . . . honestly, it’s still a bit of a trope.
One of my favorite aspects about Rapunzel (and one of the things that makes her different from Anna, another dorky princess) is her primness. If you watch Rapunzel’s movements (tipping my hat again to the genius Glen Keane), she has this adorable body language that sets her apart from any of the other princesses. She’s a slightly more self-conscious princess, a little more behaved and delicate than Anna, a little more shy or unsure of herself – and that is a big part of her charm.
Visually, she is pretty cute (love the green eyes and freckles) but I felt that the expressions weren’t QUITE as good as they could have been, and I think most of that can be blamed on the actress (since the animators draw a lot of their inspiration from filmed videos of the vocal performances). I think Mandy Moore has a cute voice, but I sooort of felt like she had a tendency to up the Valley Girl emoting during intense scenes instead of genuinely acting.
But don’t mourn! Rapunzel is still in my top five favorite princesses! She’s a sweet, perky Renaissance woman with a delightful innocence and a generous spirit that is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for those she cares about. In the end, I admit there’s very little not to love about Rapunzel. You’ve got to let me nit-pick a LITTLE BIT, folks, otherwise we’ll never narrow this down!
# 4 – Elsa
There’s plenty to like about Elsa. I actually feel this is the first time that Disney ever really attempted to portray an introvert, and I think they really nailed that aspect. I like her quietness, her reserve, her natural dignity and graceful manner.
She’s incredibly animated, with her heart in her eyes and every emotion we need to see on full display in her face. There’s a lostness in her countenance, but also a cute appealing quality and it’s clear that we can see the little girl beneath the queen.
I really liked her vocal performance (Idina Mendel has a unique, almost scratchy voice that was a perfect blend of vulnerability and aloofness, staidness and emotion) and felt that she was one of the most unique Disney Princess voices we’ve had in a while.
How did she lose points? Well, Elsa’s not really a heroine in this movie.
I’m always puzzled when people (though, granted, they are usually rebellious, angry people) hold Elsa up as a role modal – she is really more of a cautionary tale. “Being herself” and throwing off all rules didn’t bring her happiness, it didn’t fix her problems and it only harmed her and everyone else around her. What Elsa has to learn is that rules are there for a reason and it IS possible to control yourself, to curb wayward talent, to refine and hone skills, to discipline your emotions. That’s one of the things that make me like Elsa. She’s a wonderful example of how rebellion is wrong, but that there is hope and it is Love (specifically, the Love of Christ) that can refine and hone what we, in our own strength, cannot control. Elsa is not a strong character, despite her amazing powers. She starts out this movie as a very weak and fearful character because she doesn’t have any self-control. While this makes her very human, that doesn’t make her a positive character by any means, merely complex and interesting.
I’m not saying all this to be negative about Elsa (hey, I was just dismissing princesses earlier for NOT having faults), I merely say all of this to point out that Elsa is not the hero of Frozen, she the the antagonist / anti-hero, thus, it’s a little difficult to rank her in the same way as a typical Disney princess. I still like her a lot, she’s a well done character, one of the best Disney has produced. But while that might bump her into a place of honor above other boring princesses, she can never be a favorite heroine.
HOWEVER, FROZEN 2 IS COMING AND ELSA IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE MORE OF A HEROINE AND JUST GENERALLY AWESOME AND I CAN’T WAIT!!!
Note: Elsa also lost a point because . . . that singing voice. GO AHEAD, YELL IN MY FACE AND SCREECH LIKE A CHICKEN, WHY DON’T YOU?
*cracks knuckles* And now the rubber hits the road. These last three were VERY close for me and were only separated by teensy technicalities.
# 3 – Belle
Ahhh, Belle! 😍 Perhaps one of the most popular Disney Princesses – and with good reason! Belle represents redemptive love and truly cares about what others can’t see. This just doesn’t extend to the Beast, but is also seen in the respectful way she treats her misunderstood and often-mocked father. Belle is always supportive of him and genuinely sees what no one else sees: that he is as a talented, special man.
She’s a dreamer to the core and captures that longing in all of us for something more. She is a deep thinker and has a natural intuitiveness that proves to be invaluable. She is kind, gentle and is gracious to everyone around her. Even the dull-witted, prejudiced, boring townspeople are always treated patiently by Belle.
But although patience is one of Belle’s virtues, she is still definitely feisty and has no problem telling people off when they’re being cruel jerks. And even though she is wonderful girl, she still has faults. She has a curious / rebellious streak that gets her into trouble, and she has a bit of trouble admitting when she’s wrong.
As for her vocal performance – IT’S PERFECT. Paige O’Hara’s voice is as soft and delicate as snow, and has such an unusual, tremulous quality. Physically, she’s gorgeous. Just LOOK at the way her hair moves in the gif above. #jealous. As for her face, she has a beautiful “girl next door” look with her soul in her gorgeous hazel eyes. Her animation is wonderful (the animators studied ballerinas to implement their studied grace into Belle’s movement). She’s simply unforgettable.
If I was rating on nothing more than nostalgia, Belle would have to win this competition, hands down. So why did she loose points?
Through no fault of her own, let me tell you. She’s gorgeously animated, her voice is lovely, and I adore her character.
So that leaves us with a few mystery factors in regards to my judging and why I bumped two Disney Princesses above Belle. # 1 – Relatability and # 2 – That Little Something Extra.
# 2 – Anna
If i had two choose two Disney Princesses that are most like me (anybody else take those stupid Buzzfeed personality tests?) I would pick Tiana . . . and Anna. Flaws and strengths, I can really see a lot of myself in Anna in the way that she reacts to the people, and the world, around her.
Anna, to my mind, adds depth and dignity back to the often-maligned and over-simplified extrovert. As an extrovert, being cheerful is important to Anna, but that doesn’t mean she feels that way all the time, and she often covers up negative emotions with her positivitiy and zest for life. She loves being around people and making new friends and she’s game for new adventures, but we rather get the idea that Anna would be content to stay near her home and set exploring aside. She’s more interested in people than places, and more anxious to have new experiences with humans than locations. A homebody extrovert – like me!
As an extrovert, I really appreciated that Anna had so much depth and wasn’t some one-note airhead. She wasn’t perfect, but she wasn’t totally flawed, either. She was a multi-dimensional and well-crafted character. For example:
Faults: She’s naive and reckless. She has a tendency to blame herself for other people’s mistakes or snatch at responsibility – to the point of making things worse. She feels things TOO strongly, and empathizes too much. So much so, that her empathy could potential destroy her or the very people she’s trying to help. She often believes she understand before she actually DOES, and can be inadvertently prideful and thoughtless as she tries to fix everybody’s problems and digs her finger deeper into the wound, believing that she can help no matter what. Which is a bit prideful.
Other Traits: She simply wants to be loved – by anyone. Elsa is, and always will be, her first choice, but her craving for affection is so great, she’ll accept it from anyone and just as eagerly reciprocates. Which can be bad AND good, depending on the scenario.
Good points: She’s intelligent, quick-thinking, and resourceful. She’s anxious to please, help, serve, and generally love everyone around her. Generous and forgiving, she’s also loyal, honest, brave, and she keeps her sense of humor even when things get uncomfortable and difficult. She’s incredibly scrupulous. If Anna says she’s going to do something, she does it.
Anna is one of the most inspiring Disney Princesses out there, in my opinion, because she represents sacrificial love. She keeps loving Elsa even when she is rejected, even she she doesn’t understand, even when Elsa hurts her. She holds on fiercely even when it looks like there is nothing in it for her. She keeps believing in her family when all hope seems lost. And, at the end, she would rather die for the sister she loves than save herself.
*LOUD WET SNIFF* *WIPES EYES*
I also love her animation and her looks (her red hair and freckles!!! Guys – she’s adorable!) and her voice is irresistibly perky while still being packed with all the depth of emotion this role requires. The cherry on top, her vocal performance is often unexpected as Kristen Bell delivers many of her lines with a unique spin that I wouldn’t have anticipated.
Why did she lose a point? She is a sliggggghtly more classic character (at least nowadays, where dorkiness rules the fictional world) and she was used as a feminist vehicle several times during the film, which is a shame.
OKAY, HOLD ONTO YOUR CROWNS. MY TOP FAVORITE DISNEY PRINCESS OF ALL TIME.
You probably won’t be surprised to find out that it’s . . .
CHARLOTTE LE BOEUF
^ Ahem – you might have just insulted yourself there, Charlotte. Look in the mirror. ^
BAHAHAHAHA. I AM SUCH A KIDDER. IT’S NOT CHARLOTTE – though she IS a hoot.
Let’s see then . . . could the real winner of the Best Princess possibly be . . .
OKAY, OKAY – I’LL STOP MESSING WITH YOU. (you love me for it, I know – *smiles*).
I’ll be serious for a second – and I’ll hurry up and spit it out before I get tired of being serious.
The winner is . . . *drum roll*
# 1 – Pocahontas
I’LL BET I SURPRISED YOU WITH MY CHOICE. Did I? Let me explain. I’ll try to organize my thoughts a bit.
LOOKS: She’s so unique. I mean, really, has there EVER been a Disney Princess that looked even remotely like Pocahontas? Nope. The sharp, aristocratic planes of her face almost make her look like a piece of Native American artwork come to life and give her a remote look that is perfectly off-set by by the soulful gaze. And – UHHHH – CAN WE TALK ABOUT THAT HAIR????
ANIMATION: It’s easy to see that the same animator (again, the ever-brilliant Glen Keane) who worked on Tarzan worked on Pocahontas. In a way, she has his same grace. But there’s also a “animal” quality about her, as if she is a magnificent woodland creature, or a something of nature, a sprite or a spirit.
And yet this creature-like, otherworldly quality that is off-set by her delicate and elegant body language that scream royalty.
CHARACTER: Even though her culture is different from the typical Disney kingdoms we are shown, Pocahontas still acts like a princess right down to her fingertips. I like her gentleness, her nobility, her curiosity, and her mild sense of humor. Even though she’s a soft-spoken and soft-hearted character, Pocahontas is also a dare-devil, an explorer, and an adventurer. She also has a delightfully mischievous streak.
But even in her insatiable curiosity and her inherent playfulness, there is a maturity and elegance in Pocahontas that I loved.
Pocahontas also represents some wonderful truths that I really appreciated. Her deep spirituality shows that there are things more important than feelings, that there is a Power far greater anything she could produce and, sometimes, instruction needs to be sought from some wiser place than your own mind.
Pocahontas is also the only princess who delivers on the hard reality that love isn’t “all you need.” Romantic love is not the solution for all woes in this world. She is an inspirational character because she shows that not all happy endings look the same. Sometimes the relationship doesn’t work out, and sometimes it ISN’T the most important thing in a girl’s life, and she has to walk her own path.
Side note: By the way, just because I appreciate this part of her story, doesn’t mean I wasn’t on board for that romance 100 percent. The selfless love that John and Pocahontas hold for one another is so touching. John is willing to die to keep others out of harm’s way, Pocahontas is willing to die to save him, and they are both willing to be separated, because they love each other so much. ARGH, IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL.
Speaking of love, can we just talk about the great love that Pocahontas has in her heart? Not just for John, but for all the people around her, for her world, for new ideas, for new journeys. Love and tenderness flow out of Pocahontas.
FAULTS: Okay, she’s ALMOST flawless, but I don’t care.
Wait! I thought of something. She’s reckless and she can hide the truth or be deceitful if she thinks something else is “more important” without considering what the consequences might be or really acknowledging that she is making up her own perimeters for her prioritization. This causes her to put people who care about her in uncomfortable or dangerous situations.
Because of her tendency to leap off cliffs (figuratively and literally) people get hurt. Poor Kocoum.
RELATABILITY: Really, Pocahontas belongs in a class of her own. All of the other Disney Princesses on here (good or bad) feel more like girls, whereas Pocahontas is definitely a young woman. There’s a mature quality about her that I really appreciate as an older person watching Disney. Her behavior has a youthful quality while still being older, and the decisions she makes definitely reflect a wiser more grounded character, and I found this relatable.
Yes, yes, I know a cursory glance of my social media or blog might make you think I’m just a merry-making moose, but part of that is just for fun.
I appreciated Pocahontas because she was an older character and making harder decisions with an adult calmness and clarity that is far removed from the teen angst of other Disney Princesses.
The other thing I loved (and related to) was the spiritual aspect of Pocahontas’s character. Even though I don’t agree with or condone anything Pocahontas believed in, her spirituality was something I liked and it enriched her character. Instead of the two types of heroines we usually see (one dictated solely by her feelings and her “heart” and the other a planner who has to learn how to feel) Pocahontas is the only Disney Princess to acknowledge that there is a spiritual world that is powerful and real and something we should be conscious of in our daily lives (although this only applies to the truth of Christianity). My spiritual life is a huge part of who I am, and so I felt a connection to Pocahontas because of this.
GUYS, HONESTLY I COULD GO ON AND ON ABOUT POCAHONTAS, BUT I’D BETTER STOP NOW.
And with that, we have reached the end of my definitive ranking of the Disney Princesses.
^ that’s a ridiculous exaggeration even for me ^
Now, tell me. What is YOUR definitive ranking of the Disney Princesses? Comment below – I WANT TO KNOW!!
Next week, we’ll have ANOTHER Disney-themed post. Not gonna tell you what it is, you’ll just have to find out for yourself! *smirks*
Stay time, same channel, folks.
See you next Saturday for more Disney Delirium!