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Non-Review Review: Shrek the Third

The biggest problem with Shrek the Third is arguably reflected in its lead character. Despite producing two sequels, making a boatload of money and establishing a massively iconic franchise, it seems like the creators are unwilling to accept their changed reality. Much like the title character refuses to adapt to his new-found circumstances, and the possibility that he will become a father, Shrek the Third refuses to admit that it has essentially become the fairy-tale establishment that it so sorely ridiculed and mocked. The wry and subversive take of fairy tales championed by the original Shrek is no longer on the outside looking in, but on the inside looking out. Shrek the Thirdjust stubbornly refuses to accept that.

Has the franchise lost direction?

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Non-Review Review: Tangled

Disney’s 50th animated feature film is something of a return to traditional values. Despite the surrounding discussion about whether this would be Disney’s last “princess” fairytale film or whether boys would respond to the story of Rapunzel, the movie is assuredly old school in its style. Although the way that it has been handled by the studio betrays a stunning insecurity about it, it’s self-assured a good old fashioned fairytale at heart. Though it moves away from hand-drawn animation to computer-generated imagery (though it’s reportedly heavily influenced by the old-school approach to animation), it couldn’t be more of a traditional Disney film if it tried. After so many attempts to update, subvert, revise, deconstruct or play with that classic formula, sometimes it’s nice to be served a traditional film, straight-up.

Go on, let your hair down!

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The Princess is Dead, Long Live the Princess: Disney Won’t Be Letting Fairy Tales Live Happily Ever After…

Apparently Disney are putting an end to the production of fairy tales, which is somewhat ironic for a studio which has an iconic fairytale castle as its distinctive corporate logo. I suppose it was sort of inevitable coming from a studio that was terrified of advertising Tangled as a “princess” movie. Disney board director John Lasseter explained the decision:

Today, among little girls especially, princesses and the romanticised ideal they represent – finding the man of your dreams – have a limited shelf life.

It’s very clever to couch his argument in what might be considered modern feminist terms  – “finding the man of your dreams” is such a fifties aspiration for young girls, after all – but I’m not entirely sure I’m comfortable with what Disney plans to replace them with. I’ll admit that I am a relatively conservative individual – I just don’t like change – but there’s something unsettling about such a major refocus, and perhaps what it says about pop culture as a whole these days.

Okay, so maybe Disney needs to work on its female leads...

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Disney’s Tangled Rapunzel Name Change

Disney: It’s not for boys.

It emerged earlier in the week that Disney changed the name of their next almost-conventionally-animated movie from Rapunzel, which makes sense, to Tangled, which doesn’t. People were a little confused, since Disney has traditionally been fairly straightforward in making its adaptations – Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, The Princess and the Frog, Snow White, The Little Mermaid and so on are all named for the myths and stories which form their basis. Why the sudden name change? Apparently because boys won’t go to see Disney movies. Apparently they are more likely to go and see a movie called Tangled.

All tangled up...

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