Grading the Disney Princess Magazine Covers Part 4

Continuing out look at a series of magazine covers featuring the Disney princesses as created by the Petite Tiaras tumblelog, (previously parts 1, 2 and 3), we’re onto the final post.

Tiana in Vanity Fair

Yet another one by Conde Nast, Vanity Fair describes itself as:

a cultural filter, igniting the global conversation about the people and ideas that matter most. With a dedication to journalistic excellence, brilliant photography, and powerful storytelling, Vanity Fair is the first choice and often the only choice for the world’s most influential and important audience. From print to the social stream, big screen to smartphone, Vanity Fair is the essential arbiter of our times.

So VF basically proclaims that it’s the best magazine in the world. End of story. Although is Tiana the right character to grace the cover?

Perhaps focusing in on the “igniting the conversation” part of the description, Tiana herself was stirring debate long before she made it to the big screen. Notable for being the first African-American “Disney Princess”, there was much debate about how the character would turn out, and whether it was simply corporate pandering for the sake of political correctness.

All that was dispersed when the film was released, and although it didn’t light the box office on fire, Tiana was praised as a character with much integrity.

Overall, it’s a B+

Rapunzel in Teen Vogue

Although we’ve already covered Vogue, Rapunzel gets a turn in Teen Vogue:

Influence Starts Here. This simple mandate sets Teen Vogue apart. Style-conscious girls everywhere know there’s only one source for relevant fashion, beauty, and entertainment news communicated in a sophisticated tone with the power of the Vogue brand.

Confused? It’s basically marketing speak for “hook ’em when they’re young”.

Compared to Snow White, Rapunzel makes a much more appropriate character for Vogue simply because she is much closer the typical teenager of today, and as a result fits right into Teen Vogue’s target demographic.

Right from the off, it’s clear that the pink is very apt, even if the film itself used lavender instead. All of the stories seem appropriate too.

Overall: A-

Megara in Marie Claire

This magazine bills itself as:

…a compelling media destination that combines provocative features and outstanding fashion to inspire every woman who wants to think smart and look amazing.

That’s probably a bit brief, but I did have to grab it from the Facebook page.

This is perhaps the blandest cover of the lot, but that’s because Megara a a character is quite unique from the others. She’s a bit of an anti-hero in many ways and that makes any “stories” that would be relevant to her not ideal to the front of a women’s magazine.

Other than that, I think style-wise, her own unique style is something that would probably better suited to Harper’s Bazaar or even Jalouse.

So point’s for effort, but ultimately, this cover gets a B- but only because Megara herself is a tricky character to place.

Character Sundays: Megara, Hercules’ Madam of Mystery

Something I haven’t realised in the year and a half I’ve been blogging daily is that I really do like looking at characters. I know for some, the animation is the most important part of a film, but for me, it’s the characters that can make or break everything. So, from now on, all Sunday posts will be character studies.

For me, the character of Megara is by far the most intriguing and ultimately the most interesting of all the characters in the film. It’s almost a shame she’s only a supporting character!

Today’s post is a partial re-post from June 2010 when I took a look at the characters of Disney’s Hercules.

Megara is our damsel in distress, although her distress is much more complex than at first sight. She is the romantic interest of Hercules although it takes a while for her to return the favour. Her relationship with Hades is revealed (too late in the film in my opinion) as one that she deeply regrets and results in her desire to help Hercules clashing spectacularly with her obligations to Hades. She is a character constantly in crisis and swings wildly between the Rock that is Hercules and the hard places that is Hades. She is a girl who was placed all her trust in two men (her former boyfriend and Hades) and ends up being betrayed bitterly by both. All of these aspects combine to make Meg the most interesting character in the film. Even though she is infinitely more flawed than the hero, it is she who we sympathize with the most.

As interesting a design as Hades is, it is the females in this film where the character design excels. Staring with Meg, who is an interesting mix of sharp edges and curves. Not being the typical Disney image of womanhood works in Meg’s favour. her clothes are plain, she is bereft of jewellery and her face is rather small.

That being said, the way Meg displays her emotions through her movements is unique in the film. She walks with a certain amount of contempt, perhaps because of the former rejection. There is no suggestion of promiscuousness, but rather that everyone except herself can see her beauty. Her eyes play a critical role in this as she often narrows them when talking to someone but opens them wide to show astonishment or happiness.

Meg holds herself in a way that suits her status as a betrayed person. Her arms are often folded and she tends to keep them to herself, with the exception of the garden scene and accompanying song where she lets herself feel much freer as she experiences the closest thing to happiness for the first time in a long time. Ultimately, Meg is the plain Jane girl that manages to capture the heart of the hero through a winning combination of both beauty and her character. Her design is a similar winning combination that emphasis that beauty is more than skin deep.

Why I’m A Sucker For Mysterious Characters

I’m not quite sure why, but I have an affinity for characters that are somewhat mysterious or secretive. That’s not to say I like characters who are double agents or who conceal themselves for nefarious purposes. Oh no, it’s the shy characters or those who are hiding something out of necessity that I find the most intriguing.

Take for example the poster below:

Via: flickr

Yes, it is Jenny Wakeman (or XJ-9) from the Frederator series My Life as a Teenage Robot. Notice how she is in silhouette, which adds even more mystique to her figure, as if the shadow is concealing something about her character, which of course it is (hint: she’s a robot).

There are plenty of other example throughout the animated universe, too many in fact, to list here. However they inhabit various places in TV shows and films, from protagonists to sidekicks to members of the supporting cast.

They add a lot to any show or film for a simple reason: they make the audience think.

Mysterious characters represent a discord with their surroundings of which other characters may or may not be aware of. In any case, the audience is almost compelled to put the pieces together or to speculate on the reasons behind such circumstances. Much the same as Lisa Simpson mulling over the enigma that is Nelson Muntz and why that make him even remotely attractive.

This is the key to why I find them so interesting, they give me something much more than the performance on-screen and in so doing, increase my enjoyment immensely.

Another great example is Megara from Disney’s Hercules.

A wonderfully complex character who hides a secret from the hero that is hidden for much of the film. we are forced to guess the reason for her connection to Hades for quite a while as we are kept guessing her motives. Only once they are revealed do we see and can appreciate the complete character for who she is.

Initiating thought within the audience is a key way to maximize their enjoyment. Mysterious characters are a superb way of doing that because they allow for the audience to both connect with the and to ponder the character in a way that is outside what is presented on-screen.