Monday, August 4, 2014

The Princess Interviews: Part I.

Disney's current crisis has nothing to do with money or bad movies. No, Disney is running out of princesses, and we need to help.

Walt started raiding the Brothers Grimm back in 1937 with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, his first feature-length film, from the story "Snow White" (or "Little Snowdrop," depending on your translation). Pretty good movie.

Since then the Brothers Grimm have been provided Disney with some Disney princesses ("Briar Rose" was Sleeping Beauty), as has Hans Andersen (considering what Disney did in turning "The Snow Queen" into Frozen, we may as well drop the Christian). Other sources of princessery are less reliable: They've tried to force Mulan into the princess family, although she is not a princess; Pocohontas, although it's outrageous to use a real-life historical figure as a stinking cartoon princess; and the wholly inappropriate barbarian Pixar princess Merida was shoehorned in. They had to promote Rapunzel to princess standing, although she was not a princess in the original Grimm story. I'm almost willing to overlook the breathtaking means by which they made a princess out of an African-American girl in the reworking of The Princess and the Frog, because it was cleverly done. Good thing for Tiana that it is not illegal for U.S. citizens to hold titles of nobility.

I'm surprised they didn't make Jane Porter into a princess by virtue of her marrying Tarzan, King of the Jungle.

Gotta move the merch.

The thing is, there are other princess in the Grimm oeuvre that have not yet been exploited employed as Disney heroines. Today, and moving forward, we examine these remaining princesses to see if any of them can be made to work.

Our first interview is with Goose Girl, star of the Brothers Grimm's "The Goose Girl":

Interviewer: So, Goose Girl, you have a real name, I trust?

Goose Girl: Yes, although not in the story. You can call me Brittany. 

Int.: All right, Brittany. Now, you have a longish story in Grimm. Does it have a big wedding at the end?

GG: Oh, yes, I marry the prince and the villain is punished and everything. 

Int.: Great! And there's magic, right? We need the magic.

GG: Yeah, I have a magical lock of hair for protection, but the evil servant tricks me and I lose it and then she makes me switch places so she's the princess and I'm a yucky maid.

Int.: Good, good. Could be a problem with a servant being the main bad guy, you know, too much sympathy for the oppressed. We don't want to see Occupy Magic Kingdom. But we'll give her some backstory to make her motivations impure. It's fine. And you have a sidekick, right? A talking animal of some sort?

GG: Yeah, a fairy gave me him. Falada. He gets a name and I don't, right?

Int.: Is Falada a goose? 

GG: Nah, I'm called "Goose Girl" because they make me help the goose boy, Curdken. Who also gets a name and I don't. No, Falada is a horse. 

Int.: Better and better! Wait, you really love this Curdken guy, I'll bet. Is he the real prince in disguise, or--

GG: Goose boy? Are you nuts? He's a punk who manages the geese!

Int.: Okay, we'll call in rewrite. Tell me more about the magical horse sidekick. 

GG: Yeah, he gets his head cut off, which is kind of a bummer. But it's all right, because the head still talks.

Int.: Wait, what?

GG: Yeah, they nail up the head and it keeps talking and the old king overhears---you could give the head a song! I bet--- Hey, are you all right? 

Int.: Sorry, I just had lunch.

GG: Well, don't worry, because in the end the fairy reattaches the head and Falada is okay. 

Int.: That's enough about the horse for now. Please tell me the evil servant gets her comeuppance without a lot of bloodshed.

GG: Oh, yes! It's no problem! She gets crammed into a little cask with big nails hammered into it and dragged around by four white horses until she dies. You won't need to see a thing!

Int.: G-great. Thanks so much for coming in.

GG: So, when do we start filming?

Int.: We'll be in touch.

To Be Continued.... 

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