Disney sequels and remakes aren’t exactly known for rocking the boat. There are, of course, notable exceptions to this rule – films like Maleficent Where Cinderella III: A twist in time, who take their source material and allow themselves to play with it, turning it into something completely different. But, more often than not, what you get is your new Pinocchios, your 2019 Lion Kings, or your The Little Mermaid 2s. It’s understandable that you have a soft spot for one of these movies – maybe they played a huge role in your childhood or in your relationship with your own child – but let’s face it, they’re not exactly groundbreaking. . More often than not, when Disney decides to dust off an existing IP address, they usually play it as safe as possible. Sometimes they end up sanitizing the story even more so as not to offend anyone’s sensibilities, removing alcoholic beverages from Pinocchio and Dumbo, for example. With this history, it is not without some hesitation on the part of the fans that Disillusionedsequel to 2007 Delightedhits screens around the world on Disney+.
The Heart of a Disney Princess Animated Movie
Although not part of the animated canon, Delighted is an extremely popular Disney film. Some fans even list its protagonist, Giselle (Amy Adams), as an honorary Disney Princess. It is only logical, after all, since Delighted is a heartwarming fairy tale about a young woman whose life is thwarted by magic after she finally finds her one true love. It’s the classic princess formula that Disney has become known for. However, at the time of Delighted, this classic formula seemed to have gone wrong. In 2007, it had been almost a decade since Disney’s last princess movie hit theaters, and the princess wasn’t even a princess to begin with: it was only through the power of marketing that Mulan became a part of the princess range. After rising from the ashes with The little Mermaid in 1989, Disney seemed to have lost touch again. Her princess and adjacent princess releases didn’t do so well with critics and at the box office, with the two Hercules and Pocahontas receiving mixed reviews and making less money than expected. Moviegoers seemed tired of what the studio had to offer, and Disney was looking for a new, more lucrative and less regal approach. It is in this scenario that Delighted came out of. And while the film isn’t always remembered as a turning point for the studio, it was the film that brought the Disney Princesses back to the screens and made them who they are today.
Realized by Kevin Lima, Delighted tells the story of Giselle, a beautiful and naive peasant girl who is about to marry her one true love, Prince Edward (James Marsden). After the wedding, the couple will become the king and queen of Andalusia. There is, however, a not-so-small problem: Edward’s witch-stepmother, Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), will not let go of his crown without a fight. With the help of his trusted servant, Nathaniel (Timothy Spall), Narissa installs Giselle and banishes her from the fully animated fantasy world of Andalasia to the dark live-action realm of New York. Trying to find her way back home by knocking on the door of a billboard castle, Giselle encounters Robert (Patrick Dempsey), a cynical divorce lawyer, and his bright-eyed six-year-old daughter, Morgan (Rachel Covey). Robert’s pragmatic worldview clashes with Giselle’s fairy-tale logic. At the end of the film, Giselle learns that marrying a man you’ve known for a day probably isn’t a good idea, and the bitter lawyer discovers that there is indeed magic and wonder in life. ‘love.
Playing with Disney movie tropes
However, even though it ends with a classic true love kiss, a fight against a dragon queen, and an animated sequence in which talking animals are the only guests at a royal wedding, Delighted makes it clear from the start that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill Disney princess movie. Of course, Giselle could sing her intro song, “True Love’s Kiss,” without an ounce of irony in her voice, in a very traditional scene in which the future princess dreams of the man who will make her the wife the happiest in the world. Still, there are a few lyrics, such as “For lips are the only things that touch,” that betray the less-than-healthy sense of humor people have behind the scenes — a sense of humor that’s meant to be shared by the public. Even for a Disney animated movie, the performances of Amy Adams and James Marsden are so over the top that you can’t help but find Giselle and Edward ridiculous instead of endearing. And, from the moment Giselle arrives in the real world, her inability to function as a human becomes apparent: she cleans the house with rats and cockroaches; she begins to sing and dance in the middle of the street; she doesn’t seem to know what sex is; and, probably worst of all, she almost eats a live fish in an aquarium. Edward is also not equipped to deal with the real world, stabbing buses with his sword as if they were dragons and asking a television for advice as if it were a magic mirror. The film was not just a fairy tale, but a fairy tale poking fun at other films of the genre, specifically Disney films.
A response to animated films from other studios
Delighted looks a lot like Disney’s belated response to another film that took a more cynical approach to fairy tales while engaging in its own form of fairy tale logic. In 2001, DreamWorks Animation hit theaters around the world with a game-changing game with a very short and unassuming, albeit odd, name: shrek. Realized by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, shrek star Mike Myers as the voice of the titular crass, bubbly green ogre who strikes a deal with the cruel Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) of his tower. The deal is simple: Farquaad will marry the beautiful princess, and in exchange for Shrek’s help, he will stop throwing annoying fairy tale creatures into the ogre swamp. A little like Delighted, shrek told a classic story about the magical powers of true love, all while joke after joke at the expense of talking animal companions, sudden musical numbers and, of course, Disney’s most famous IPs. The boss of DreamWorks at the time, Jeffrey Katzenberg Lawyers had the film reviewed before it was released to avoid a lawsuit from the rival studio.
If, at the end of the 90s, the public was already showing signs of fatigue with the Disney way of making films, after shrek, there was absolutely no place in the market for ancient, ironic-free fairy tales. Trying to keep up, Disney tried to shake things up a bit, releasing movie after movie filled with action, weird creatures and, above all, snark. Think Lilo & Stitch, treasure planetand even The Emperor’s New Routinewho preceded shrek by one year. Do kids want 3D animation? Well, so Disney bought Pixar and poured tons of money into domestic projects like Little chicken and Dinosauranother one shrek predecessor. Some of those movies didn’t pan out, while others were critical and commercial successes, but none brought the studio back to what it once was. And came Delighted.
Delighted wasn’t exactly made from the same fabric as the other Disney Princess movies, but the fabric was definitely from the same supplier. He was full of snark, but also felt sincere in his belief in magic and true love. It wasn’t animated, but there were some nice 2D animated sequences that showed the studio was still on top form. It made jokes about characters suddenly singing and dancing, but it was still a musical with big numbers. He managed to take everything shrek and other non-Disney movies of the time were using to get ahead of Disney and make it Disney. It was a success! At the time, the film had the second-biggest Thanksgiving opening in history, behind only toy story 2. Critics loved it almost as much as audiences, and Amy Adams and the film’s score received nominations at various award ceremonies, including the Grammys and the Oscars. But perhaps the best example of DelightedThe success of is the impact it had on the princess films that followed it.
Two years after the Delighted phenomenon, Disney Animation would return to the princesses with the Louisiana fairy tale The princess and the Frog. The film was a modest hit, indicating that while Disney wasn’t around yet, the studio still knew how to make a good fairy tale movie. In the following years, the House of Mouse will be released Tangled, a version of the classic Brothers Grimm story Rapunzel. The film was a huge success. In 2013 and 2016, respectively, Disney released Frozen and Moanatwo princess-powered cultural juggernauts, the first of which got a theatrical sequel in 2019.
But these new princesses were a little different from their spiritual grandmothers. Gone are the days when a woman simply married the first dashing young prince she met in the woods, and young girls dreamed of nothing but finding their man. The idea of love at first sight was now met with a roll of eyes, and animal sidekicks were frequently greeted with metatext jokes. Only the vocals remained the same.
Where did these 21st century princesses find that new spark, you ask? Well, they found it somewhere between New York and the kingdom of Andalusia. Maui (Dwayne Johnson) comment on Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) being a princess because she has an animal sidekick is right there in little Morgan’s dread of finding out that Giselle can talk to animals and Robert’s horror of finding out that he just might be in love with a woman who is friends with a squirrel. The clash between Rapunzel (mandy moore) and the worldly cynicism of Flynn Rider (Zacharie Levi)? It was taken right away Delightedthe book. Frozenthe self-absorbed prince who ends up not being the primary romantic interest? Also Delightedthough Prince Edward turns out to be a decent human being. Frozenmemorable joke about finishing each other’s sentences/sandwiches? Yeah it is Delighted: Edward realizes that Giselle may have fallen in love with him when she fails to finish her verses in a song. None of these films would exist in their current form without Delighted. So the next time you look Moana with your children or while singing “Let It Go” at karaoke until your lungs collapse, take a second to thank Giselle from Andalusia. She deserves it.
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