Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Most Disney Princesses, not all, seem to have sidekicks or companions that help them during the course of their films or in general throughout their lives. Some are pets, some are friends. Mostly they're used as comedy relief or for the all important Cuteness Factor. I'm just going to go through the Princesses (including Anna and Elsa) and examine what I see as their sidekicks.

Snow White's dwarfs are probably more than mere sidekicks, the film's full name is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs after all. They're in the original story, but they're far more important in the film, and the idea of assigning specific personality quirks to each of them is something that defines them and sets it apart from the original material.

Cinderella has a host of animal companions who help to make her life of drudgery under her formidable stepmother and thoughtless stepsisters a little less miserable, but the duo above of Jacques and Gus are two who go the extra mile for Cinderella and will always have a special place in her affections.

Aurora or Sleeping Beauty doesn't really have any clearly defined sidekicks in the way that Snow White and Cinderella did. Given that she doesn't appear that much in the film before being put to sleep that's probably not surprising. Like Snow White and Cinderella she does seem to have an affinity for charming small woodland creatures as shown in the above still from the film.

Ariel would have been lost without her lifelong companion of Flounder and the sage advice of her fussy crustacean chaperone Sebastian. I'm not sure how Flounder handles Ariel being land bound a lot of the time, but Sebastian can operate both in and out of water.

Belle's another Princess who doesn't have a sidekick as such. There's Philippe the horse, but he's as much her father's as he is Belle's. The Beast's transformed animated staff serve the dual purpose of comedy relief and Cuteness Factor, but they're more the Beast's than Belle's, although they did make a brief appearance with Belle in Amy Mebberson's Pocket Princesses strip.

Aladdin is unusual in that the focus isn't on Princess Jasmine, but the street rat Aladdin. He has his own sidekick in the monkey Abu, but that doesn't mean that Jasmine doesn't have one, and that's her protector and playmate the giant tiger Rajah.

In keeping with her at one with nature image Pocahontas was given Flit a hummingbird and Meeko a raccoon as her sidekick/companions in the film. They made an amusing and largely irresistible duo, and often seemed to be starring in their own side story within the film.

Mulan broke new ground gaining a mythological creature as her sidekick. Being voiced by Eddie Murphy made Mushu one of the most amusing sidekicks to date. Although the cricket Cri-Kee was supposed to be Mulan's good luck charm he seemed to become Mushu's very own sidekick as the film played out and the two were inseparable friends.

Tiana doesn't have a sidekick as such. The closest is the Cajun firefly Ray, but he doesn't survive the film (at least not in his accepted form), so I went for the jazz loving, trumpet playing alligator Louis. He is spotted playing with the house band in Tiana's restaurant at the end of The Princess and the Frog and he could also act as the bouncer if things got a little rowdy.

Pascal, Rapunzel's chameleon friend in Tangled was a wonderful sidekick, and rarely ever left the blonde's side or shoulder, which is where he spent a lot of his time. I always wondered just how she met him, because it was clear that his existence was kept a secret from Mother Gothel. I guess being a chameleon he could have climbed up the tower she was kept in. The story of how they first met would make a nice short.

Merida's brothers; Hamish, Hubert and Harris, whether they're in bear or human form are undeniably cute and funny, but they're not sidekicks as such, but they're about the closest I can come in Brave. Another contender is Angus the Clydesdale, but the triplets are much funnier.

And finally we come to Frozen and arguably the most unique sidekick of the lot: Olaf the Snowman, who likes warm hugs and wants to experience summer. Elsa's magic created Olaf, and it's also what gives him his own flurry and means he can survive seasons other than winter, but he's really Anna's sidekick. I guess as long as they give him plenty of warm hugs he can be there for both of them when they need him.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Not a Princess

You can't create something like the Disney Princess franchise without creating a bit of controversy about membership. Above are some of the characters who weren't made Princesses for one reason or another. I spoke about Eilonwy and Kida. I'll cover some of the characters in the above picture with a couple of omissions and I'll also add some that aren't there in the following post.

Basically there seem to be arguments to make any female character that is featured prominently in a Disney animated feature into an official Disney Princess. I'll go through the non human ones, with one exception first.

This is in order Faline (Bambi. I picked a shot of her as a fawn first meeting a young Bambi, because it's so cute), Lady (Lady and the Tramp), Perdita (101 Dalmatians), Duchess (The Aristocats) and Nala (The Lion King). I could have also included Miss Bianca from The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under, but I've never really seen anything that suggests she be made a Princess.

Disney don't generally make non human characters into Princesses, and all of the above are not anthropomorphic, they're animals, who look and to a certain extent behave that way. Both Faline and Nala can make a case for being royalty as they both marry princes or kings. Despite their rather noble sounding names neither Lady or Duchess really have any claim to nobility.

Now I said there was one exception and here she is:

The cute vixen Maid Marian from Disney's version of Robin Hood. She differs from the others in that she's anthropomorphic. I've seen some excellent artwork with her as a Princess, and I'd personally like to see her added to the Pantheon. She has some claim to royalty being the ward of a king, too.

The others are in order (this is by no means a complete list, just the ones I felt deserved a bit of focus):

Alice from Alice in Wonderland. I've never really got the push to make her into a Princess. She's quite happy being a girl who had an amazing adventure. She may like to play at being a Princess, but she would never presume to be coronated (apparently that's what Disney call it when they make a character officially a Princess).

Wendy Darling from Peter Pan. Wendy is very much like Alice; a young girl who had an adventure. I think she's happy having known Peter Pan and seen Neverland and has no great desire to be a Princess. There's probably a good argument to add Tigerlily, though. She's probably got more claim to the title than Pocahontas.

If you're talking about Peter Pan you can't not talk about Tinkerbell. She's arguably become the most famous cast member of the film, being used as a sort of mascot for the company. She was actually part of the Princess lineup at one stage, but then Disney realised that she was marketable outside of that and gave her the Disney Fairies franchise. She's not a Princess there in Pixie Hollow either, she's a tinker or inventor I believe, who has adventures with her fairy friends.

For mine Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame was the next viable human Princess. She misses on one fairly vital category. Royalty of some shape or form. I've seen it argued that she's a Princess amongst her own people, but there's no evidence in the film or the book it was based on to suggest that this is the case. However Disney do make exceptions on occasion. Mulan is one, and the non inclusion of Eilonwy and Kida despite being bonafide Princesses, are others.

Megara from Hercules could be another. In Greek mythology she is a Princess, although that's not made clear in the film she's in. If she marries Hercules she could also lay a claim of sorts. He's the son of Zeus who is King of the Gods, so that makes him Prince of the Gods and by extension Megara Princess of the Gods. It's a shame she was never added to the line up, because she's a got a distinctive look and I found her a multi layered character.

Jane Porter from Tarzan. In some respects Tarzan was King of the Jungle and that would make Jane the Queen. She sounds suitably regal too, voiced as she was in the film by Minnie Driver using her 'posh' English accent.

I really liked Lilo in Lilo and Stitch, but I think it's pushing it a bit to claim that she or her sister are Hawaiian Princesses. There's no indication of that in the film.

Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph would make an awesome Princess. I've chosen to use a picture that shows her as she was for most of the film, because it just fits the character better than the over the top Princess costume she had for a bit later in it. She did immediately disqualify herself from Princesshood by declaring herself President and promising to let the position be voted on in the future. In my head canon she's too young yet to be considered as a Princess in the Pantheon, but could do so in the future when she's a bit older.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


I knew about the Disney Princess phenomenon before I shotgunned the films in January, although that experience and blogging it did make me more keenly aware of it.

The Disney company and Fairytale Princesses have gone hand in hand for years now. Their first animated feature starred Snow White and from that time on people tended to think of the Disney version when they heard the name, rather than the Brothers Grimm one. The same thing happened with Cinderella (Charles Perrault) and Sleeping Beauty (Perrault and/or Grimm. It could also have come from Basile), although it should be noted that Sleeping Beauty failed at the box office on its initial release.

Despite being associated with the Princesses and them being as popular as they became Disney didn't do a 'Princess' film between 1959 and 1989, when The Little Mermaid was released and kick started the era that is commonly referred to as the 'Renaissance'.

There was possibly a hope that Eilonwy from 1985's The Black Cauldron may become a Disney Princess, but she never really worked out. They give a few reasons for that these days: the film wasn't a musical (all Disney Princesses seem to be able to sing) and she was a lot like Sleeping Beauty in appearance. and dress. The real reason is that the movie wasn't successful. It also didn't help that she was, in my opinion anyway, blandly presented and didn't have the best of sidekicks (a luminous floating magical ball called 'bauble).

While Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty) may have been popular it's hard to start a franchise with 3 characters. By the late 1990's when the Disney Princess franchise really came into being the company had a veritable pantheon. The original line up consisted of Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Jasmine (Aladdin), Pocahontas (Pocahontas) and Mulan (Mulan).  Four are royal by blood (Snow White, Aurora, Ariel and Jasmine), two who married into royalty (Cinderella and Belle) and two more who fit into the 'Princess mythology' (Pocahontas and Mulan. Pocahontas is technically royalty as she's a Chief's daughter and that can be looked at as a form or royalty. Mulan isn't royal either by birth or marriage, although Li Shang may have been related to the Emperor).

They later added Tiana (The Princess and the Frog, married into royalty), Rapunzel (Tangled, royal by birth) and Merida (Brave, royal by birth). It isn't official yet, but it's widely believed that both Anna and Elsa from Frozen will also be added into the Pantheon and both are royal by birth.

There's been a push to include Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire, as she is royal by birth, but the film flopped at the box office and she doesn't sing. Although her look (facial markings, dark skin and a cute outfit) is distinctive and marketable. They'd probably argue that being Atlantean she's not precisely human, but Ariel's a mermaid and she qualifies.

I didn't really know how big a deal the whole Princess thing was before I started watching the films one after the other. I knew it was something that was popular, but when I researched the films a bit it became clear how big a phenomenon it is and how passionately people follow it.

I became quite interested in the concept of the Princesses and how Disney portray them. If you look closely at the pictures where they're all gathered you'll note that they don't actually ever look directly at each other. This preserves the idea that they exist independently in their own mythologies. That will of course alter if both Anna and Elsa are added, as they're sisters. There's also a brief cameo appearance by Rapunzel in Frozen, so that suggests that Arendelle and Corona are trading partners.

At about this time I discovered the idea from many fans that the Princesses do in fact know each other and associate. This is best captured for me by artist Amy Mebberson with her Pocket Princesses idea. If you've never seen it before, they're little Ghibli style sketches of the Princesses day to day life as they all share a house together.

The idea intrigued me. It also intrigues Bronwen; the bright green plot bunny I have spoken of before. She insisted I write something on it. From time to time I'll post an occasional chapter of this as it unfolds.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Frozen 2013

Personal Overview: once again Disney mined the Hans Christian Anderson well. Frozen is based on The Snow Queen, and like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Tangled the idea of filming the story had been kicking around for a long time, it was just a case of when and how to best use it.

Just as with The Little Mermaid I didn’t know a whole lot about The Snow Queen legend other than what I had read in Fables and Jim Hines’ Princess series. Somehow I managed to miss reading a lot of Hans Christian Anderson. Probably just as well, because I don’t think Frozen really shares a lot with the original.

I saw this on a warmish day, so the whole snow and ice theme was appreciated.

The characters of Anna is just so cool. Elsa less so and I had the feeling that her ‘ice power’ was in some ways a metaphor for depression. The character is still very well done, but she’s just less fun than Anna is.

The story delights in wrong footing the viewer. Anna meets and gets engaged to Prince Hans of the Southern Kingdoms the first day she meets him and in a clever inversion of what seems to happen in every Disney Princess film, spends a lot of her time after explaining exactly how she can fall in love with someone on the day they first meet.

The act of true love that saves Anna is not something from Hans or the doughty ice salesman Kristoff, who is the real male lead, but from Elsa, Anna’s much loved, but distant sister.

They did originally plan to call the film The Snow Queen, but Frozen works better, because it’s really not about Elsa, but Anna.

The casting was spot on: Kristen Bell as Anna (she can sing! I may not have mentioned it here, but I am a huge Veronica Mars fan, so anything that advances Kristen's career is a good thing as far as I am concerned), Idina Menzel as Elsa and Jonathan Groff as Kristoff.

There were a couple of small plot flaws, one was they took 3 years to crown Elsa, but accepted Anna’s authority in seconds and even more accepted it when she put Hans in charge, a foreigner with no actual credentials and a dubious background who had only arrived earlier that same day. The other was the reveal of Hans as a bad guy. I picked this quite early, because that’s how the films work, but there was no hint of it before and it was just ‘oh hey, I’m bad, because I have to be. Sorry to all those viewers who thought I was good.’

Other than that Frozen consolidates Disney’s reputation for sterling animation.

Hero/es: definitely Anna, plucky, bright, brave, she ticks all the boxes, a little naïve maybe (the whole you got engaged to a guy you just met that day thing). Then there’s Kristoff, he’s a lot less harder on the inside that he tries to appear on the outside, and he does fall head over heels in love with Anna. Kristoff’s loyal reindeer Sven is a hero, they would have died on a number of occasions if it weren’t for Sven. I have to also nominate the summer loving snowman Olaf, although more about him in Cuteness Factor.

Villain/s: strangely enough there are a few. Elsa is both hero and villain, although I think it’s her power more than she herself who is a villain. The Mayor of Wesselton (often mispronounced as Weaselton) is one, especially when he sends a couple of henchmen to kill Elsa. Of course Hans. Viewers spend most of the film thinking that he’s not so bad, then his true colours come out and he’s revealed as a power hunting opportunist who is willing to stab anyone in the back to get what he wants.

Cuteness Factor: this is partially filled by Sven the reindeer, who like many Disney creatures that aren’t actually dogs behaves like one all the same. He doesn’t talk, he makes sounds. They very cleverly had Kristoff voice what he thought Sven would say in a goofy reindeer voice. The real Cuteness Factor however is Olaf the Snowman. Anna and Elsa originally built him as kids and Elsa animated him. When her magic kicked in a big way he came back to life. Olaf is also comedy relief with his love of summer (he doesn’t realize that sun melts snowmen) and warm hugs. Unlike some cute comedy relief in Disney films Olaf is never too sweet, nor does he become unfunny. The other thing that rates high on the Cuteometer are the rock trolls. These are rocks that turn into trolls. They heal the young Anna after Elsa’s magic accidentally injures her, they adopt Kristoff and Sven and they tell Kristoff how to heal Anna after Elsa again injures her, this time the heart, not the head. When they first appeared on screen in the showing I was at I think every kid in the cinema sat up straight in their seats and whispered: ‘Want!’.

Animation: I didn’t think they could improve, but they have. You know that the characters are cartoons because of a few things, the overly large eyes are one telling factor, but that aside they look real. In Tangled characters could look a little plasticky, that doesn’t happen Frozen. Anna and Elsa’s faces look real. Anna has freckles, her eyes change colour slightly depending on the light. Elsa becomes almost ethereally beautiful when her powers really kick in and she gives them full rein. The backgrounds, although they’re predominantly white, being snow and ice are still bright, they have depth and hints and shades of colour. It is astonishing.

Final Words: Like Rapunzel in Tangled, Elsa has a ‘super power’. There’s a lovely little cameo early in the film at Elsa’s coronation where we actually get to see Rapunzel. It’s from behind and she’s still got her brown pixie cut, it is a blink and you miss it moment though. I didn't think the bar could be raised any higher, but they did it with Frozen. The way it’s been received by audiences indicates that I’m not alone in that view. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wreck-It Ralph 2012

Personal Overview: right from the time I first heard about Wreck-It Ralph I was convinced it was a Pixar release. So much so that I was even waiting for John Katzenberger’s cameo (he does do one in Brave, as a guard).

I think it was a measure of how tightly intertwined the two companies had become since Disney’s take over of Pixar. I have visions of them tossing a coin in the boardroom and saying ‘Heads Wreck-It Ralph is ours, and tails Brave is Disney’s.’

The story itself: about the day to day lives of video game characters when the arcade shuts down for the night, is Pixar. There’s even shades of Toy Story in there.

The moral of the story: a ‘bad guy’ becoming good, though, is Disney.

They had cameos by actual game characters: Q-Bert, Pacman, some of the Street Fighter characters, the bartender from Tappa, etc… Even the fictional games and characters are clearly lifted from actual games. The first person shooter that Ralph enters to get his much wanted medal is just like any alien invasion first person shooter game. There’s elements of the original Donkey Kong in Ralph’s game, Ralph himself is not unlike the destructive gorilla and his game’s ‘hero’ Fix-It Felix Jr reminded me of Mario, also from Donkey Kong originally.

If Sugar Rush isn’t based on a game, it should be. Admittedly it was so realistic that it just about made my teeth ache and did make my mouth water. If it was a real game that you could play I’d be interested. It looked like fun.

They created a real fun kick-ass character with Vanellope. Yes, she was an obnoxious little so and so, but she had a tragic back story and even with her mouth you kind of had to like her.

It had the fun touches like Sugar Rush’s cops being a chocolate éclair and a donut. Not all the kids in the audience got that, but I’m pretty sure the adults did.

It also had the happy ending, although this time the ‘Princess’ didn’t get a Prince, although Felix did get Jane Lynch’s Sgt Tamora from Hero’s Duty in the end.

Hero/es: except for the villain everyone in this is a hero. Ralph, who rises above his ‘bad guyness’ to become a ‘good guy’ and save the entire gameworld, being prepared to sacrifice himself in the process. Vanellope, who no matter how many times she got kicked down, just kept on getting back up, eventually reclaiming her game from the villainous King Candy. Felix, who went out of his own game to put things right and Sgt Tamora who was written as a standard hero complete with required dialog (‘Make your Mamas proud time’ tends to stick in my mind).

Villain/s: there’s really only one and you don’t totally pick him until later in the film. You don’t like King Candy because he’s creepy (honestly he is) and because he’s in Vanellope’s way. You know there’s something not right about him, but the plot twist and his backstory is worthy of any epic fantasy story you care to name. The incredibly versatile Alan Tudyk does a great job with his very over the top portrayal.

Cuteness Factor: if you can get past how obnoxious Vanellope is, she’s cute, all the candy stuck in her hair and all. The idea itself is very cute. You have to feel sorry for Q-Bert, pathetically begging on the streets of gameworld because his game was shut down. There’s a wonderful scene with Felix in King Candy’s fungeon (get it?) when he uses his magical hammer to try and break out, but all it does is make the bars in his cell stronger, because his hammer only fixes things, not break them. That made me go ‘awwww!’

Animation: this is another reason I think of it as Pixar. Both Disney and Pixar have had very distinct styles over their histories, although they’ve started to meld ever since Disney took Pixar over and John Lasseter headed up the combined animation departments, but Wreck-It Ralph has that Pixar style, and the animators went absolutely berserk with the Sugar Rush world, like I said seeing it made my teeth ache and made me want to go out and buy something sickeningly sweet and full of sugar. Willy Wonka eat your heart out!

Final Words: Vanellope for President! Oh wait, I think that already happened. Wreck-It Ralph only cemented the company’s reputation and the juggernaut keeps rolling on through the Renaissance.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Brave 2012

Note: once again things get confusing. Brave is officially a Pixar film, but by this stage Disney and Pixar were really the same thing, different in name only, and Brave is more of a Disney film in concept and story than it is a Pixar one. Merida is occasionally referred to as Pixar’s first Princess, but she has also been added to the Disney Princess franchise. So I’m counting Brave as a Disney film here.

Personal Overview: when I first started hearing about Brave I wondered what fairy tale it had been based on, only to find out that it was an original story written by the director Brenda Chapman, the first female to direct a feature length Pixar film.

The casting all sounded really promising and had an all star cast. Billy Connolly as King Fergus of Dunbroch. Connolly is always good value and they let him do what he does best; be Scottish and shout amusingly. Kelly Macdonald as Merida, Kelly Macdonald is best known for playing Helena Ravenclaw in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Margaret Schroeder in Boardwalk Empire (Kelly Macdonald is Scottish, but Margaret is Irish). Craig Ferguson (famous for voicing Dobber in How to Train Your Dragon and playing Mr Wick from The Drew Carey Show), Kevin McKidd (Vorenus in Rome) and Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid from the Harry Potter films and Valentin Zukovsky in two Pierce Brosnan Bond films) all Scottish actors were cast in minor roles, except for Pixar regular John Katzenberger. I didn’t have an issue with casting Emma Thompson (I adore Emma Thompson) as Merida’s refined mother Eleanor and Julie Walters as the Witch, but I did wonder why they couldn’t have also cast Scottish actors in those roles.

The film is about the attempts of Eleanor and Fergus to marry Merida off to one of the sons of local clans to keep peace within the kingdom. They never say how old Merida is, but I’d put her at 16, which for the time they’re portraying does make sense. Merida is a highly spirited and headstrong young woman and isn’t having any of this being married off against her will.

When Eleanor tries to explain why this is necessary to her daughter there’s a blazing row, a tapestry is torn and Merida runs off on her Clydesdale; Angus, where she comes across a Witch (woodcarver) in the forest and procures a spell in the form of a cake (shades of Snow White and the poisoned apple there) which will ‘change’ her mother.

Of course these things are never what they seem, and the change turns Eleanor into a bear. Bears aren’t welcome in the castle. Fergus wears a bearskin cloak, he has at least one stuffed one in the great hall and he lost a leg to a giant rogue bear known as Mor’du.

Once Merida and her mother the bear work out what’s happened they try to find the Witch again. She’s gone off to a fair and won’t be back until spring. She leaves a message though that says to reverse the spell Merida has to mend that which was torn. She thinks this means the tapestry she tore when arguing with Eleanor, but the real thing that has to be fixed is the bond with her mother. Both tapestry and mother daughter bond are mended when Eleanor gets to know her daughter better as a bear than she did as a Queen and then puts her own life at risk to save Merida from the rampaging Mor’du.

There’s also some great comedy relief from Merida’s triplet brothers. Three silent, havoc causing redheads.

Hero/es: for me there are two. One of them is Merida, but I was more on the side of Eleanor. She appears cold and distant, but she’s really only trying to do what is best for the kingdom and, to her mind, Merida herself. Merida is the main character, but she’s not all that likeable. She’s supposed to be a ‘modern Princess’, but I would have preferred her to be more like Rapunzel. I can kind of understand Eleanor’s exasperation. Merida doesn’t listen, she’s frequently self centred, short sighted and even tries to change her mother by magic in a piece of remarkable gullibility and selfishness. She can stand up for herself, survive in the wild, good shot with an arrow, but needs to do a lot of growing up.

Villain/s: it’s kind of villainless. I guess Mor’du gets the ‘honour’. If he’d simply been a bear I could have let him off, because he’s just behaving like a grumpy old bear, in fact if he’d been a bear I may have even felt sorry for him. He’s old, he’s been shot a number of times, lost an eye, no wonder he’s crabby. However the bear is actually the cover for an ancient ambitious and mean prince who became bitter that he as the oldest didn’t inherit the entire kingdom when his father died, but instead had to split it between he and his brothers. The Witch could be seen as a villain, after all it is her spell and she is a Witch, however she did what she did to teach Merida a very valuable lesson, and she’s also highly amusing.

Cuteness Factor: it doesn’t sound like there’s a whole lot of cute here. Lots of funny (Fergus pretending to be Merida in a conversation with Eleanor, Eleanor as a bear and still trying to be the elegant queen, the incomprehensible Young MacGuffin), there is however a generous helping of cute. It comes in the forms of Harris, Hubert and Hamish, Merida’s irrepressible redheaded triplet brothers. They’re pretty cute as kids, although the maid Maudie from whom they are always stealing food may beg to differ, but as tiny bears (yes they ate the rest of the cake that Eleanor left) they are almost too cute for words.

Animation: this is Pixar and that means it is quality. It’s incredibly lifelike, it’s brightly colourful and you almost feel you could step into it. You can feel the grass under your feet and the water on your skin. You can smell the flowers. The sequence with the arrow is absolutely amazing. They had a job with Merida’s wild red hair, too.

Final Words: I quite like Brave. It had a sense of fun, although Merida did annoy me at times. I was glad she was made into a Princess, although not so happy that they tried to tame her after, and she’s the wild highland Princess for mine. I can’t get over the feeling that although it’s officially a Pixar film that in so many others ways it is pure Disney. Two of the songs: Touch the Sky and Song of Mor’du are two of my favourite ‘Disney’ songs. I also have to mention Fergus and Eleanor as the best Disney Princess parents ever. They’re real, they have depth, they’re believable. If you got through most of the Princess’ parents they’re not particularly well drawn or developed. They’re usually shuffled off to the side as something rather inconvenient that Disney just didn’t want to deal with.