The Question(s) That All Disney Princesses Should Ask

[Do you need to say SPOILER ALERT for a movie that came out in 1994?]

Derek: “Arrange the marriage!”

Odette: “Wait…”

Derek: “What? You’re all I ever wanted! You’re beautiful!”

Odette: “Thank you…But what else?”

Derek: “What else?”

Odette: “Is beauty all that matters to you?”

Derek: “I-I…uh…What else is there?”

-Swan Princess (1994)

We’ve all had it happen.

You watch your favorite kid’s movie as an adult and are mind blown by all the innuendos, adult humor, and moments like the scene above that you innocently missed as a child.

Maybe it’s just me being overdramatic, but I literally had to tell someone about this scene when I saw it again. I can’t say that Disney doesn’t have its share of strong willed princesses (along with the more stereotypical ones who’ll, I don’t know, make a deal with an evil sea witch to trade her voice for legs in the hopes that she can make a man fall in love with her in three days).

But, I was still very surprised to see Odette basically say, “Wait a minute! WHY do you love me?” I mean it’s kind of an important question when getting married. Granted, I do like that the two knew each other most their lives beforehand. Usually, Disney princesses are willing to tie the knot within days of laying eyes on each other.

[Background Note: If you’ve never seen the movie, Odette’s father, King William, and Derrick’s mother, Queen Uberta, (both only had one parent which seems to be a common trend in Disney movies) introduced them to each other as children in the hopes that they would get married one day and bring their kingdoms together. So, “every June until September” they would spend time with each other, even though they hated one another.]

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One of my favorite aspects of the scene was the fact that everyone acknowledged just how idiotic Derek’s response was to Odette’s question. Later on, one of the characters even said, “You should write a book. ‘How to Offend Women in Five Syllables or Less.’”

What I didn’t like was how King William responded to his daughter’s question in a later scene. He said, “I-I just don’t understand…What else did you want him to say?” Come on pops…I know you were eager to expand your kingdom and all after spending like 10 years pushing two kids to fall in love with each other (quite generous considering that they could have just made them get married), but he couldn’t deny that Derek’s words were not exactly romantic. Far from it in fact; they were pretty insensitive.

Derek later admitted that he didn’t know how to say how he felt about her, so he wanted to prove it to her instead. And, of course, he did at the end when he saved her from the clutches of the (cue the Mermaid Man voice) evil Rothbart, who put a spell on Odette to force her to marry him so he could take control of her kingdom.  Though having someone kill your dad doesn’t exactly make you want to walk down the aisle with them.

Overall, I enjoyed seeing the ups and downs of their relationship (again as an adult). Not too many Disney princesses would even ask why their prince was in love with them.  But if they did, I’m still sure that they’d still have something better to say than Derek.

Young_odette_and_Derek

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One thought on “The Question(s) That All Disney Princesses Should Ask

  1. I really like your analysis! Although this film is distributed by New Line Cinema and made in a different studio from Disney, you are 100% correct about Disney movies needing to change their romantic formulas. “The Swan Princess” had a dynamic plot that let the viewer gain respect for Odette since she knew her self-worth and had the confidence to be upfront with Derek about their relationship. It was not love at first-sight but love that blossomed after both sides got to know each other better. As always, wonderful entry! I look forward to more )

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