Friday, October 11, 2013

The Good Thing About Comas and Sleeping Princesses (?!) aka Ugly Princesses Not Allowed Pt 2

It's been days since the "girls having feelings are so difficult to animate" goof quote by Mouse House employee Lino Disalvo (head animator on Frozen's crew)*, and the disbelief/outrage from various corners of the web continues to grow.

There was one (snarky) comment I wanted to report on the blog, since it does impact animated fairy tales (from Slate):’s really hard to accurately convey characters’ inner lives when they have to look hot in every frame. Feelings are so ugly. Ask Freud. Ask Claire Danes. No wonder a great many Disney movies like to place their leading ladies in comas. If only "pretty," as the Cut’s Maggie Lange writes, could “just be an emotion … we could all go home early.”
So: comas, sleeping, still-as-a-statue and sobbing face down on the nearest object - these are animators favorite girl scenes??

(Wow - my brain just zigged and zagged into some dark places regarding the issues you could riff on from here..!)

Disney still haven't responded to the "what-the-flop!" reaction media-wide, by the way. I'm beginning to wonder if they're going to pretend it never happened and shove it under the carpet, while quietly, just to be on the safe side, they take those sleepy/coma-ish princess fairy tales off the Disney options table for the foreseeable future, just to be sure they're not accused of adding "yet another easy sleeping scene".

Here's a few I can think of we're unlikely to see on the big screen anytime soon:

  • Twelve Dancing Princesses
  • The Water of Life
  • East of the Sun, West of the Moon
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • The Snake Prince
  • The Tinderbox (noooo! that would be so awesome.. *sigh*)
  • The Princess and the Pea

Here's another good point on the difficulty of animating "lady feelings":

Representing characters’ feelings without diminishing 
their attractiveness was only the first hurdle. Filmmakers working with two princesses also had to distinguish visually between them, as if there wasn't just one way for a Disney princess to look. MovieViral tells us that the animators were also tasked with creating “2,000 different snowflakes that can be seen in the entire film.” After they’d spent so much time individuating all those snowflakes, can we really expect the poor Disney employees to turn around and dream up a pair of nonidentical female characters, too? Come on. At least snowflakes are allowed to be ugly.

But I should balance this with a different perspective. Surely there's something.... ah - here we go, a quote from New York Magazine:
In fairness to all creatures of the world, Disalvo did also mention that adding emotion to a snowman is super tricky as well.

* By the way, congratulations Mr. Disalvo - this is how your long, enviable and distinguished career will be summarized for the rest of time. Ain't immortality a bitch?

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