Scar: The Desegregationalist?

Maybe we have Scar all wrong. If you watch The Lion King, you can easily come away with the view that Simba’s uncle is a devious usurping murderer. And this would not necessarily be incorrect. Yet, I do question if we are not presented with a somewhat lopsided view of the Royal family that predisposes us against the dark-haired lion. Mufasa, King of the Pridelands, is seen presenting his heir to resounding cheers and hoof-stamping from his subjects leading one to believe that every animal supports his rule. But we obviously know this isn’t true. I’m not talking about Scar…I’m talking about the hyenas. This group, characterized for their low intellect and ravenous appetites, have been banished from the lands and forced to live in an elephant graveyard. We know nothing about why or when this happened, only that Mufasa and team do everything to make sure this segregation continues to occur. But does he really have that right?

Hyenas are carnivores and therefore a competitor to the Circle of Life story that Mufasa bases his whole worldview around. The hyenas also eat the antelope and when they die become grass that is eaten by the antelope. Yet for some reason, they are not allowed to live in the lush, gated community that is the Pridelands. Why? They are doing what comes naturally to them, yet Mufasa does not allow them to mingle with the other local residents. We see cheetah’s in the opening sequence, so this wasn’t a sentence based on their diet. So what was it? When we look for an answer here, the obvious thing one could point to would be what the pridelands look like after Mufasa dies and Scar & The Hyenas take over. But that could be more a case of poor leadership vs. the fault of the hyenas.

So with that question swirling in the clouds of your mind, let’s revisit Scar. Say what you want about him, but one positive thing that he does is reach out to a disenfranchised group of underdogs that results in them having the same access as every other animal. Sure his motives may have been purely self-serving, but what politician doesn’t have ulterior motives for good works? And does the ends justify the means? When Scar’s obituary came out after he was digested by those he helped to free, I hope that it would mention that for a brief moment, Scar brought a little equality and pride to these lands.

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A Coat Tailor?

I can get past the ridiculousness of wanting a coat made out of dalmatian fur, but the question that has me seeing spots is: who was Cruella going to have produce the actual coat? Now, I understand and can rationalize someone who is privileged wanting something that no one else can have. Cruella De Vil grew up in luxury so she needs something exclusive and extravagant. We would assume that someone in her position would ‘know people’ to get it taken care of. But I don’t know if that is the case. Take Horace & Jasper. These two boneheads are the ones hired to steal dogs instead the more obvious choice of hiring professional thieves. (or buying from elsewhere)  From what we can tell these two were going to be the ones to also kill and skin the canines. I will bet that they did not have any previous experience in this vocation let alone possess any sort of expertise in fur preparation. So, it comes back to my original question. Once she gets the most certainly mangled dog pelts, who would be willing to make such a coat? And how would this amoral person be able to cobble together such a coat from the mess received? I guess that’s why she needed to steal 101 Dogs for one coat…

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What’s the Deal with Ursula?

Am I the only one who has an endless amount of questions about Ursula? When you first meet this octo-witch, you kind of take everything about her at face value. But when you start to dig a little deeper, the water gets more and more murky. First of all, she used to live in the palace. Did you catch her mentioning that when she was spying on Ariel? She didn’t just visit the palace, she lived there. Was she part of Triton’s council? Was she in politics? She obviously has to know something about the Oceanic legal system as she was able to best Triton with a legal document. For some reason, she ends up getting banished. I think we can all assume that her exile had something to do with her spells and general evilness. But none of that bothers me as much as the fact that she is part octopus. All the other half human creatures in Triton’s kingdom, that we see anyway, are half-fish. You don’t see any other shark-boys or seal-ladies floating around. Are we to assume that Ursula was changed into her current self by some sort of irreversible spell? Or could it be that she was an anomaly in the kingdom. A mutant of sorts. Could it be that she was looked upon differently her whole life because she had something different going on down below? Maybe she also ate her feelings which lead to her less than healthy physical state. Her appearance is definitely an issue she struggles with regardless of  if it was enchantment or genetic. She didn’t seem too keen on merpeeps who want to change something about their physical appearance.  Could it be jealousy? Remember the ugly merpeople she makes pretty only to have them become part of her living garden? I know every movie needs a villain but maybe she is not the one who is truly at fault here. What about the merparents out there that are obviously not educating their children about the direct link between the rash of local disappearances and a visit with Ursula? Maybe she is doing the ocean a favor by weeding out the stupider merfolk. I we could chalk this up to survival of the…unfittest?

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Who hired these guys?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the lack of accountability for the castle guards in the movie Aladdin. While they were severely lacking in morals & loyalty, they are not the only protectors of the realm that need some serious additional training. If you’ve watched Tangled, you will know what I mean. I don’t think I have ever seen more consistent incompetence among a group of men then I do from this squad. It seems that the only thing they are good at is not protecting the kingdom or the royal family. Let’s review their track record. First, they allow an elderly woman to scale the castle walls and kidnap the baby Princess. While I am not sure how Mother Gothel would have made it up to the balcony in the first place due to her advanced state, someone should have seen her performing this feat from one of their guard-posts. But no one did. Then after the crime is committed, these geniuses are somehow unable to find a tower housing the child in the middle of the woods within walking distance of the castle. Surely they would have scoured every inch of the countryside, right? I guess not. Later on, this same band of merry men allow Flynn and the Dynamic Duo to steal the most treasured royal possession, the lost princess’s crown, right from under their noses…literally. But they end up redeeming themselves right? Nope. They are comically thwarted by a band of thugs who not only break Flynn out of prison but elude capture themselves in the process. It almost makes me wish that Rapunzel wouldn’t have been returned to the King & Queen. If the King is willing to allow such shabby work from those sworn to protect him and his family, I’m not sure what type of strong parental figure he really is. Maybe she is better off without them. I’m serious…I mean, he ends up putting a horse in charge of his entire royal force at the end of the movie and arms them all with frying pans….

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Why?

I always try to add a touch of sarcasm & wit on this blog, but the news I just read has made me place that on hold for this post. I just read that Robin Williams has died. I am not trying to capitalize on this tragedy or ‘break this news,’ I am merely trying to give a little salute to this Disney icon. When I first saw Aladdin, I wanted to be Robin Williams. His voices, comedic timing and pure insanity amazed me and inspired me to embrace my inner goof and pursue theater. The Genie will remain one of my favorite Disney characters of all time. He will be missed.

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Image Credit: wikia.disney.com

Does Hakuna Matata also mean ‘No Acuity?’

Ok. Let’s go over the plan again. There is a large number predators that are big and strong and will stop at nothing to devour you both if you’re discovered. They are holding another group captive and we are going to save them. These prisoners are a group of ladies that I knew a long time ago and based on the actions of my recent one night stand, they’re probably starving as well and will also want to consume you if they catch your scent. But don’t worry about that, they’ll be too focused on gaining freedom to be thinking about food. Once we oust the evil dictator I will reclaim my throne and reestablish the Circle of Life in the Pride Lands. What’s the Circle of Life? Oh, it’s just a little thing that my dad taught me. Basically it means that my kind can kill and eat whatever we want because when we die we become grass and others like you and your kind can ‘eat’ us. It’s not exactly the same thing, I agree, but is sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it? You’re right…it isn’t really a circle either…more like a pyramid. Guess I never really thought about it too much. No, I haven’t considered establishing a strict vegetarian lifestyle when I am King, why? Oh, right. Because you and Pumbaa would be a the perfect victory feast for a band of hungry, battle-weary lionesses….hadn’t thought of that either. Oh well, too late now. Hakuna Matata!

I can appreciate that they are doing it to help their friend. It is a very valiant thing after all. The only problem that that this is a lose-lose proposition for these two. Sure they get rid of one group of meat-eaters, only to have another group of carnivores take their place? Wasn’t Nala trying to kill & eat Pumbaa before Simba stopped her? Her shock of seeing him abated her hunger for a bit but I am sure there wasn’t time for Simba to share and get Nala on board with the whole ‘I only eat bugs’ thing. Disney has a way of having couples not discuss those important types of things before they make life altering decisions. (see my Little Mermaid post). I don’t think Timon really saw what was happening. He was the one who didn’t have a clue. When Simba fell in love, the real bottom line is that it would have been better for Timon & Pumbaa if their trio had gone down to two.

(Special Thanks to Abigail for drawing this scene from a Lion King Screenshot! She does a great job and shows her step by step process on her blog. Take a look: http://www.drawingdisney.wordpress.com)

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What happened to the Fish Tank crew?

Nemo’s father embarks upon an amazing adventure in the hopes of rescuing his son. Marlin fights sharks, jelly fish and even a giant whale. He surfs the waves with sea turtles and rides in a pelican’s mouth to escape hungry seagulls. He is nearly eaten or killed numerous times, but gets his happy ending and even makes a good friend in the process. And that is what the writer’s want you to focus on at the end of this film. What they want you to have Dori-like memory on is the tragic ending of 5 characters who were a truly integral part to both the plot and character progression of the story: the fish tank crew.

 
When Nemo first encounters this group, their leader Gill only sees him as a means to an end. A chance to escape. Yet over the course of Nemo’s short stay, the entire crew adopts him and do everything they can to protect him. While Nemo’s courage to escape is fueled by the news of his Dad’s rescue plan, the idea and skills needed to accomplish this feat come from his new family. Although, not intended, Nemo drains to safety leaving everyone in his wake carrying with him only the lessons he learned while in the tank. He uses these almost immediately to rescue Dori when she is caught in the fisherman’s net. We instantly become engulfed in this new adventure for Nemo and quickly forget those that were left behind. But then something strange happens…
We get a quick glimpse of the fish tank crew floating beside the dock in their sealed plastic bags just outside of the Dentist’s office window. While the last lines from these characters are whimsical, it is overshadowed by how truly dire their situation is. Not only are they trapped in an enclosed space with minimal amounts of water for breathing, they are also terribly exposed to any number of predators including the seagulls that cover the aforementioned dock. Instead of the happy ending vibe we are all supposed to feel, I tend to get a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Like being excited for the safe return of Private Ryan but also feeling the sadness over the loss of all the men that died to make his rescue possible. You know, for a story about a clown fish, that ending isn’t very funny.

(NOTE: This post was written before the sequel, Finding Dori, is released in case the crew is part of the new cast.)

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How Bad is Aladdin’s Memory?

Remember the opening scene of Aladdin where he is chased mercilessly by the palace guards for stealing a loaf of bread? Or when he is arrested by the same guards who also brazenly disobey direct orders from the Princess? Or the time they grab the foreign dignitary & potential suitor visiting the palace and try to drown him? What about when the Sultan & the Princess are enslaved by a former adviser and they are conspicuously absent from the rescue party? I bet you remember. I bet someone else probably remembers too: Aladdin. Yet he allows each and everyone of this seedy bunch to remain the primary protectors of the kingdom. How could you trust this group? I’m sure he probably tells himself they were just ‘following orders,’ but that brings into question where their loyalty lies. If it were me, I would have seen if there was any room for a few more guests in Jafar’s lamp before the Genie chucked it into the Cave of Wonders. It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s atonement.

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How come only the mice talk?

I’m not going to rule out that she is crazy. There is a strong possibility that our heroine has had ‘one too many hits with the snake.’ I wouldn’t blame her though. She loses her father and immediately becomes enslaved by her step-mother and step-sisters. Her only friends are the wildlife that come in through her open windows and doors. I mean, she wakes up in the morning singing so there has to be something amiss. But it still doesn’t make sense why only Jacques, Gus Gus and the other mice can speak, yet this skill alludes all of the other animals…even Lucifer! Or maybe they can talk and choose not to because she only makes outfits for those little rodents. I mean, Cinderella gets a whole dress meticulously designed by the local aviary residents and what do they get? A handkerchief on the head? I wouldn’t talk to her either…

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What if it was all the Trolls’ fault? [a theory]

I’ve been letting this one solidify in my brain for a while. Frozen is still on a decent rotation in my household so I’ve been able to watch this movie enough times to believe that this theory has some decent foundations. There are no shortages of posts floating around the internet about the plot holes in this movie. I’ve posted a few of my own on this blog. However, I think that the theory I am about to lay out might solve almost all of them. And it all starts with the question: what if the trolls were behind….everything?

Let’s start at the beginning of the movie. Elsa has just nearly iced Anna and the King & Queen rush to trolls for help. This signals a previous relationship between the royals of Arendelle and the trolls. What kind of relationship isn’t clear but we know that the King only turns to this group because the trolls are fluent in the workings of magic. Not only does the Troll King understand Elsa’s powers completely, he is even able to heal Anna & even change her memories. The day is saved! Trolls Rule! But then, the Troll King has a chat with Elsa. He shares with her that her magic has the potential for great beauty and great danger which further exacerbates the situation engendering fear in both Elsa and her father.  So why didn’t the Troll King just tell them then that ‘Love’ was the answer? Instead he gives a vague command to the King that he must help her learn to ‘control it.’ Could it be that the trolls didn’t actually want Elsa to master her abilities? Is it possible that the Troll King not only knew this advice would not help, but also that his words would put the royal family on a path to destruction? Impossible!…yet….

Let’s look a little more at the character of the trolls. We see early on that Kristoff is ‘adopted’  by one of the female rock trolls. She surprises him and Sven and states that she is going to keep them. While cute and endearing, we only seem to accept this because it appears young Kristoff is without a family. But that can’t be true. How is he working with the ice-farmers or feeding/clothing himself and his reindeer? Whatever his situation, I can’t believe that living in the hot springs with a bunch of trolls that turn into rocks when no one is around could be the best environment for a young boy. The trolls take what they want regardless of the kingdom’s laws. Then later when Anna and Kristoff visit the camp for help, the trolls ignore the urgent need and instead join in the song that culminates with a wedding being performed on the two helpless humans. Kristoff informs them during the song that she is engaged and their response speaks volumes. They scheme: ‘So she’s a bit of a fixer upper. Her brain’s a bit betwixt. Get the fiance out of the way and the whole thing will be fixed!‘ They couldn’t care less about what Anna wants or even what she needs as she slowly freezes to death right in front of their eyes. They are solely focused on their own agenda.

The trollsBut here is where it all crystallized for me. Up until the point of the movie when Anna returns home half frozen, Prince Hans has been nothing but a gentleman. He is helpful, caring and heroic. Yet when Anna asks for him to save her with a kiss, he reveals that he has been evil all along…but what if that wasn’t him talking? What if the trolls got to him first? Instead of going back to sleep after Kristoff & Anna left, what if they went to ‘fix’ the situation? We know that they could perform magic on the brain and we know that they have a way of taking what they want. So would it be too shocking if they beat Anna back to Hans, cast a spell on him turning him evil just to get him out of the way? Once Hans was removed, there would be no reason Anna & Kristoff couldn’t be together. But why was that so important?

Theory: What if all along they were waiting for their opportunity to retake Arendelle, a land stolen from them by Elsa & Anna’s ancestors hundreds of years before? Could there have been a troll plot put into motion long ago that caused Elsa to be endowed with nearly uncontrollable magic abilities they hoped to exploit to destroy the human invaders? But then when Elsa was seemingly out of the picture, the trolls had to pivot quickly on the opportunity to insert their brain-washed, human pawn Kristoff as the husband to the next in line for Queen.

Yes, this is a little far-fetched, but if we can believe that Hans can do a complete 180…why not the trolls?

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