Thursday, January 19, 2012

Introspective Disney Songs

When I was younger, my family used to watch a lot of Disney movies. I noticed that a lot of Disney movies have songs where the hero sings about his or her struggles with existence.  I didn't question it at the time, because I thought it was a requirement for them to have introspective songs in their movies.

I thought it would be interesting to go back and reflect for a moment on these introspective songs.

1) Mulan

Mulan's problem is that nobody understands who she really is.  As she says several times, "When will my reflection show who I am inside?"

Does anyone else think it's kind of weird that Mulan wants people to know her true self, when she spends the rest of the movie pretending to be somebody else? I mean, what she does in the rest of the movie completely contradicts the sentiments she shows in this song.

2) Hercules

Poor old Hercules can't find a place where he belongs. He doesn't feel like he fits in anywhere, which is a sentiment the twelve-year-old me really connected with.

Now that I think about it, this song is really short. It only has one verse; Hercules just repeats the refrain three times to make it last longer. Sure, he changes the words a little bit each time, but he's still just repeating the refrain. I find that kind of odd. Why doesn't the song have a second verse?

3) Beauty and the Beast

Belle doesn't get very introspective, actually. She wants "more than this provincial life", but she doesn't really explain why. I always figured that she wanted a new life, because the town is boring and repetitive. After all, she keeps complaining that everything is always the same.

Looking at this again, I find it telling that about a third of the song is dedicated to the fact that everyone in town thinks Belle is weird. Those townspeople seem friendly enough, but they're put off by Belle's borderline obsessive love of reading.

But for some reason, Belle doesn't seem to notice this. She seems completely unaware that she has a reputation for being a daydreaming bookworm. Why is that the case? Is she that clueless, she can't tell people think she's odd? Or does she perhaps think it's perfectly normal to ignore other people, in favoring of sitting by the fountain and singing to sheep?

It would make sense if Belle wanted to move away, because everyone in town thinks she's weird. But she has no idea they feel that way. Maybe she is kind of weird, after all.



  1. Hercules is kind of repetitive.
  2. Mulan needs to reconsider her motivations.
  3. Belle is kind of weird.


sarah said...

Mulan- She wants people to see who she is inside and that therefore is the dilemma of the whole movie. She can't be who she wants to be in order to save her father. They found out about her secret and she brings dishonor unto her family. Then she comes and saves the emperor in a way that is her own and finally people appreciate her for who she is! YAY! =D

Hercules- Sometimes people have a phrase or something that they will repeat to themselves to encourage them.

Belle- She has the problem that every imaginative girl that's reads lots of books with adventure and (let's be honest) handsome boys has! You want to save someone, you want someone to save you, you basically want something dramatic to happen!

~Sarah =D

Inky said...

Lol, I think you need to be a girl to relate to Mulan and Belle.

You see, Mulan isn't actually pretending to be something she is not. {Well other than being a boy.}
Mulan was a tom-boy all along, and she didn't want to be trapped into a life she'd never be content with, so by joining the army she was able to do everything that was her nature all along.

Belle, I sort of can relate too. I think she prefers books to fools, because honestly, she's really only given the choice to hang out with the "gaston" boy crazy bubble heads, who think nothing about anything of importance other than the jock. Or she can hang out with sexist and over oppressive Gaston, who's head is too fat too care for others.
So the singing sheep part is weird, but other than that, I really do prefer books because sometimes they're the only friends whose opinions I can actually agree with. Lol.

Kate said...

Yes, I see your problems, and I must agree with them partway after I think about this.


Mulan's real self is being confident and relying on her brain, and she feels she can't do that in a society where she's judged on appearance and manners. So she, in beeing herself by caring deeply for her father, goes out to war and uses her confidence and brains to survive.

Hercules is really singing about finding his way and, yes, constantly repeats it over and over and over again, but it starts off as a wish, and turns into a dream he can make come true if he belives in himself. (Corny, I know)

Belle is a bit odd, but that's what makes her charming. Everyone in town thinks she's odd because with such beauty like hers, they all think that she should be getting married or raising a family, not spending her time helping her crazy father and reading books. Yes, I do find it weird that she never notices these things, but that's what makes her unique; she doesn't care about what people think of her (Somthing the Beast must learn... Plot spoiller)

In all, intersting Blog post. I enjoyed it!


Emily said...

Belle does notice that she doesn't fit in. In fact, she has a whole conversation with her father about it after she sings that song. She's frustrated because she's afraid that she's going to get trapped into a simple, country life where she doesn't quite fit in and never get the opportunity to explore and enjoy all of the wonders she knows about from her books. She feels like she can't talk to the people she lives with because they don't know and don't care about any of those things.

Moriah said...

I love those Disney movies , I've always loved the songs they were always so catchy.

Anonymous said...

belle is not weird!!!!!!!!!! o.o

Anonymous said...

I agree that Belle is weird, and I have never cared for the movie (I have always referred to the film as “Stockholm Syndrome: The Movie") On the surface, the young and beautiful Belle is imprisoned by the beast and rather quickly comes to love him as he gradually begins to go from captor to protector, friend, and then finally theoretical lover. The picture does a strong job in the first act setting up Belle as someone who might actually fall for said scenario even without the kind of social conditioning that exists in a captor/captive situation. Belle is shown as being so unhappy with her 'provincial life' that it stands to reason that she may be susceptible to the theoretical allure of basically partaking in the kind of harlequin romance adventures that she reads about in the song.

While many wax poetic about what a wonderful love story this is, Beauty and the Beast only describes the type of love story you see play out on episodes of Cops. Really, how is it romantic that a woman is forced into servitude by a verbally abusive, brutish man and then slowly falls in love with him? That's not love; it's the makings of a battered wife, but that is just my opinion.

sarah said...

Oh! I forgot this! I agree that Belle is weird. I like her for that. People are only weird cuz they're different from everyone else. I consider it a compliment! =D

Kira said...

I love Belle! :O If I had to pick a favorite Disney princess, she'd be it. *feels like a nine-year-old again* But that's probably because I relate to her, and so that probably makes ME weird too.

Anonymous said...

These are all my favorite Disney movies! The classics are the best and it is sad that kids in this generation don't get to have the good ones we did. The new ones don't have a life message to it, like the classics. I wish that they would continue this trend

Belle liker said...

Good gracious, you people! How dare you insult Belle! I happen to like hr because I can relate to her like Inky, Sarah, and Kate can due to my being mistreated for being different and because I favor intelligent people like her over less intelligent people like that pathetic Gaston and his mindless followers.

I can remember when I was in school and antagonized for not being like everyone else. Since when is being different always bad? I mean, It's not right for people to be exactly like everyone else.

In the last school that I attended, there was this gal who called me weird when I suggest hanging her with her.

In that same school, there was another gal who told me that other people would think of me as weird if I fawned over a fictional gal. And that was before she called herself weird.

If anyone asks me, those gals are hypocrites. Heck, they likely antagonized me more than anyone else at the school that I attended with them.

No one should call a person weird before taking a good look at himself or herself. And this a lesson that all extroverts like Gaston have to learn: Don't pass unto others because you might be judged yourself.

Speaking of Gaston (who's the same gender as me), he's like one of the people who bullied me just for being myself. And because of his inability to leave Belle alone and his bias towards introverts like me, I loathe him, everyone who sucks up to him, and everybody else who's similar to him.

With that typed, I like nerds and geeks better than jocks and other bullies.

About jocks, I don't stereotype them. Instead, they stereotype themselves.

True athletes aren't jocks. In fact, they're nicer, smarter, and more well-behaved than jocks.

Jocks, on the other hand, terrorize those who aren't like them. What sickens me just as much as who they are and what they do are the fact that there are people who support them and other bullies like what Lefou and Gaston's other followers did.

For example, I remember some jerk had posted this lie on YouTube: "Jocks rule. Nerds rule. Bwahahaha!" If I ever met that guy or gal (most likely guy), I'd tell him to shut up and get back at him for being a deluded liar. And if he gets his desserts, I'd laugh nastily at him.

As for you Belle supporters who call Belle weird, that's not the right way to support Belle. Like the Anonymous who posted on January 19, 2012 at 7:56 P.M. pointed out, she's not weird.

If you ask me, weirdness can be in the eye of the beholder. And I don't consider weird compliment. Why, I remember another gal in my last school called me weird and I got very turned off by that. In response, she apologized to me.

Anyway, I hope that think twice about badmouthing introverts like Belle. I've had enough or more than enough of crowd-pleasing and extremely conformist extroverts looking down on non-conformist introverts like they're villain, which they're not.