13 April 2008

Wouldn't you think my collection's complete

I didn’t plan on doing another Disney Crush article so soon, so we’ll call this the bonus edition, and you all have George to thank for it.

The character of Ariel is tough to pin down. As Princesses go, she does not yet possess the grace common to the Disney breed. True, she has the song of a Disney Princess (I must admit that even I tear up every now and again when listening to Part of Your World), but even that is short-lived in this film. Yet, in looking at the younger Disney heroines, she is much stronger than the younger, and naïve, Alice and Wendy. The story of the Little Mermaid revolves around Ariel, who is standing on the precipice of adulthood, while still clinging to child-like truths.

More than any Disney Princess, save Jasmine, there is an innate sensuality to Ariel. Whether this is due to the fact that when we are introduced to her she is wearing a seashell bikini or that when she is transformed into a human, we spend several minutes watching Ariel, and her shapely legs, as the learn the mechanics of walking is besides the point. As we have learned about most of the heroines of Disney stories, it is not what we find on the outside, but the beauty on the inside that makes us stop and take notice. Though, it is worth noting that the animators used thirty-two color models for Ariel and even created a new color, appropriately named Ariel.

Ariel truly shines when we catch the glimpses into her character. We grimace and giggle at her youthful understanding of the world. It is hard to watch a child who does not yet realize you cannot trust everyone, a lesson Ariel must learn the hard way, at the tentacles of Ursula. When a new trinket comes into her world, it is tough not to smile at the unabashed joy Ariel has at placing the thing-a-ma-bob in its rightful place of honor. Digging deeper, Ariel is, at heart, a rebellious spirit. She wants to be different, she wants to be noticed, and it is hard to be different and get noticed when you are the seventh daughter of any family, unless you find ways of pushing the boundaries set before you.

After Ariel has lost her voice, it could be assumed that Ariel would, as Ursula puts-it, resort to using her ‘body language.’ While it can be assumed that Prince Eric is drawn to Ariel, in part, because she is easy on the eyes, this is not where the attraction ends. The same wonder that Ariel found in the trinkets she had collected under the sea, now extends to everything she can see, touch, and experience on the surface. This new and exciting sensation is contagious, and only further draws Prince Eric to Ariel.

Like any young person in the world who is exploring the frontier between being a child and becoming an adult, Ariel is bound to make mistakes. As she explores her world, body, and personality, we are transported on the journey with Ariel. Inside each of us is an unruly teenager who wants to bend, and then break, the rules, a child who falls in love with collecting coins, cards, trinkets, and dolls, a person who thirsts to learn more. There are thousands of pieces that make up Ariel, and at least one of them speaks to a buried treasure in each one of us, and this is why we are attracted to her.

For the record, Ariel, or rather the speaking and singing voice of Ariel, Jodi Benson, has a connection to one of our other Disney Crushes. In Enchanted, while Giselle is visiting Robert’s office, Giselle is placed in the care of his receptionist, Sam. Sam, as it turns out, is portrayed by none other than Jodi Benson. This cameo works in harmony with The Little Mermaid homage involving the office aquarium and the background music of Part of Your World.


Unknown said...


Thanks, Ryan!

I didn't catch the Enchanted reference till the third time we watched it.

Ryan P. Wilson said...

Enchanted is so pack-full of references that one or two are bound to slip by for a little while.

Greg said...

No, I didn't catch that one. Or to pun a song from the film, "He did not know..."