Sunday, May 18, 2014

Is Ariel Selfish and Uncaring? - An ACF Exclusive! (And a personal one, to be precise)

     [Image Removed Due To Copyright Complaints From The Walt Disney Company..Sorry, Jase]                   
As we all know, my buddy Stefan and I, we at war with Disney, not the old one, mind you, but the new one.  The totalitarian type Disney, runned or should I say, ruined to the ground by both Robert Iger, and his lapdog, Anne Sweeney.  With a name like Sweeney, it doesn't sound so sweet, not as sweet as the very character that I will talk about now.

We all know the deal.  There is no secret that I like The Little Mermaid.  But, I didn't always like it.  Let me tell you a story how I came to like this wonderful movie and everything in between.

As a kid, at the time, I often think of it as "girlie stuff".  It means if a boy sees a movie that has mostly girl stuff, they think of it as icky. To a kid, it is just fun and games, especially when a boy likes other things like video games, wrestling and comic books, which I thought of that at the time when I was watching The Little Mermaid at school, whenever recess was canceled.  But, by the time my father died, the fun and games were over. For the next several years, whenever I avoid watching The Little Mermaid, I thought of my father's passing.  All that changed in 2006, when I bought the Platinum Edition DVD, all my fears of watching it, were all gone.  But, all I needed was a little push, whether it's from watching Sailor Moon, whose courage helped me through the dark times, or watching Little Shop of Horrors, whose songs were done by the same people who did the music for The Little Mermaid, Alan Menken and the late, great Howard Ashman.  Since then, I have not only embraced both The Little Mermaid and my femininity, but I made it my mission from God to meet Jodi Benson, who not only is the heart and soul of Ariel, but also a believer of God, like myself.

Stefan's Notes: Jodi Benson is Great! She should be in Voice Acting more.

Anyway, what this got to do with Ariel, you ask?  Although I have embraced my childhood, there are some who don't.  I heard on the web, and everything in between and they say the same thing over and over again, including the Nostalgia Chick.  They keep saying that "Ariel is an uncaring, selfish mermaid, who forsakes her friends, family and voice for a man she hardly knew."

Well, before I get to my thoughts, here are the main factors of Ariel's character development and why they think that way.

First of all, she was a teenager at the time. And teenagers all go through the same thing: Rebellious, headstrong, and everything in between.  We all go through some teen-angst but what teen doesn't.

Next, Ariel didn't become human because of Prince Eric.  She wants to be human because she wants to see what the human world is like and what their customs are.  No sense of staying in a grotto full of human things forever.  Which leads to the main reason why many people hated Ariel all the time, her father King Triton.

The son of Poseidon and grandson of Neptune, Triton is the ruler of Atlantica, the fabled home of the merfolk.  Although a powerful monarch and loving father, Triton at the time had one thing he hated more than Ursula: Humans.  Why do you think Ariel was naive enough to believe that Ursula could make her dreams come true, it was all because of King Triton himself.  It seems that stubbornness runs in the family.  While Ariel believes that not all humans are dangerous, Triton is the exact opposite. Long ago, Triton didn't have a profound hatred with the humans until his wife and Ariel's mother, Queen Athena, was killed by humans.  And because of that, the kind-hearted and caring ruler of the seas was no more.  But when Triton found out through Sebastian that Ariel is in love with a human like Prince Eric, his Xenophobia kicked in and destroyed everything around Ariel's grotto, including the statue of Eric himself. I'm sure he won't win any "Father of the Year" awards with actions like this.  In short, King Triton, very big guy, with a very short fuse, bad combination.  Anyway, although he has given up his hatred for humanity and becoming kind and gentle once more for the sake of his granddaughter, Melody, Triton's rage against the humans, by destroying Ariel's grotto, will be stuck with me for the rest of my life.  Talk about Nightmare Fuel right there.

Look, the point is, Ariel is flawed character.  But that doesn't make her selfish and uncaring like the Nostalgia Chick puts it.  Ariel is the most sweet, kind and caring person in all of animation, whether she is a mermaid or a human.  Sure she makes a lot of mistakes but she learns from them, even after becoming a mother to Melody.

What is sad about this whole negativity towards The Little Mermaid is many things. For instance, other than bashing Ariel in general, Disney canceling the 3D re-release of this wonderful movie because of low grosses from the other 3D re-releases, comparing Ariel to Bella from the Twilight series (Not Cool!) and as of right now, there is no Ariel figure for the game Disney Infinity.  It would be cool to have her alongside Rapunzel.

One more thing, let me tell you differences between the Platinum Edition DVD and the Diamond Edition Blu-Ray of The Little Mermaid, but from a personal stand point.

The Platinum Edition is a badge of honor to me.  It represents my path to redemption and resurrection after so many years of repression after my father's passing, all ending with me meeting Jodi Benson herself. 

While the Diamond Edition represents all the broken promises Disney has given us.  That and messed up the Part of Your World sequence and all that.

Bottom line, an ordinary kid would've like The Little Mermaid and then hates it when all grown up.  But not me, though.  I am the exact opposite.  And to end this, I will answer this question: Is Ariel Selfish and Uncaring?

Stefan's Notes: Count me in as one who likes TLM during AND after my Childhood.

The answer is...No.  She is not.  She may be flawed, but she is not selfish and uncaring. These people just pegged her the wrong way.  They don't know Ariel better than I do. And Stefan, if you are reading this, I will help you deal with Iger and his lapdog Anne Sweeney.  I will fight to save Disney for Ariel's sake.  You can count on me.

Nobody puts Baby, or in this case, Ariel in a corner!


Stefan said...

Good job. Sadly. Walt Disney also suffers from unfair bashing :(

Hollywood-types are so damn hypocritical. They Bash Walt, but Praise the hell out of Sweeney and Iger

KingsSideCastle said...

The period from the Little Mermaid to the Lion King was really a great period for Disney. I loved the music in all those films.

I totally agree with your opinion of Ariel. Like a lot of Disney protagonist she does have flaws but that's part of her story. She is growing up and making mistakes but she learns from them as do a lot of characters in the film.

On a sidenote. When I watched the Little Mermaid the first messed with my head a bit because a lot of characters in the film share names with members of my family. Trippy!! ^_^ Anyway it's still a really great film and one I enjoyed watching as a kid.

Stefan said...

For the Record, I think Ariel's critics are Dead Wrong.

eotness said...

Fully agreed with you regarding Ariel. And yeah, I have personal reasons for liking and defending Ariel as well: I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism, so my getting around socially back then, even today to some extent, was a very rough challenge for me. I had to struggle to even be able to have decent social skills today. And I have Ariel and Beast to thank as inspirations. And when I hear people bashing Ariel like that, I actually get genuinely angry at them for doing so. And quite frankly, Ariel's a certified badass, kicks butt and takes names, all without even sacrificing her femininity, similar to another character I know and love (ie, Misty from Pokémon.). When watching The Little Mermaid, I never thought even once that the film was a chick flick. Actually, if you ask me, it's about as much of a girl's movie as Metroid and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, heck, Dead or Alive even, were girls games (ie, despite either the main protagonist or a significant amount of the cast being female, they are actually geared to guys just as much as, if not even moreso than to girls), being about as action oriented as a Die Hard movie (in fact, the final version of the movie's ending was taken directly from Die Hard). And you're right, Ariel's definitely not selfish at all. She may have her flaws, but she's not selfish at all. A selfish person would not go out of her way to risk her own life to save her friends, or even total strangers in the case of Eric the first time around. Now, Beast? Kuzco even? Those guys most certainly were selfish. And don't get me started on how right now she's often used as a gag where she's being killed, like how in American Dad she ended up harpooned by Stan during a fishing trip. Or how about in Shrek 2 where she, or at least someone similar to Ariel, ended up most likely outright MURDERED by Fiona during her and Shrek's honeymoon by being fed to the sharks just because she had the rotten luck to take Fiona's place on Shrek due to a wave coming up at the wrong time, and that was treated as a joke.

And unfortunately, the complaints about Ariel dated back to long before Nostalgia Chick (though her arguments were new). Long story short, some idiotic critics referred to Ariel as being "cloyingly sexist" just for her actually WANTING to be with Eric, completely ignoring, of course, that Ariel already dreamed of becoming human well before she even knew of Eric's existence, let alone met him face to face, or the genuinely badass and resourceful moments she displayed during the film. I'd know this because these complaints are ultimately what convinced Jeffrey Katzenberg to radically alter the story of Beauty and the Beast to push the left-wing feminist ideal that's akin to Simone de Beauvoir than to the original tale, and make Belle into a complete jerk in the first half of the film, and even bring in Linda Woolverton to screenwrite that message in. I don't even want to hate on Belle, yet I'm forced to realize she's got inner ugliness in the story. In some cases, there were even more nasty criticisms geared towards her, where they essentially imply that she gave up her family for... well, female reproductive parts, let's leave it at that. I only know this because my film professor at Georgia Perimeter College Dunwoody Campus (which is now Georgia State University Dunwoody Campus) made that explicit, and let me tell you, at the risk of getting into politics, he's left-wing enough to bash the military at any opportunity.

And yeah, Walt Disney unfortunately receives a whole lot of bashing to this day, being called things like a fascist, a Nazi, an anti-Semite, even though none of those accusations held any water.

Regarding Anne Sweeney, I don't know if she has any relation to my mom's side of the family, but whether she is part of my maternal side of the family or not (my mon's maiden name was Sweeney as well), she's a disgrace to my family.