Disney's (Severely) Neglected Princes
When one thinks Disney, one thinks of 'Once Upon a Time', fairy tales and magic castles, Princesses under evil enchantments, and true loves kisses. It is in this way that each of their stories began, with the words, 'Once Upon a Time'. I know. You're thinking that I'm talking Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and the like. Not in the least.
I'm here today to tell each and every one of you about the most neglected characters in the history of Disney. No, I'm not here on behalf of the Villain's Guild either; they have supporters enough to last them forever. What's that? Who's left? You can't think of anyone? What a shame. There would be no Snow White if her Prince never came. Ariel wouldn't have legs if it weren't for Prince Eric. And what about Sleeping Beauty? Princess Aurora would have slept forever if Prince Phillip hadn't done battle with Malefiecent and kissed the Sleeping Beauty from sleeps sweet embrace. Yes, that's right. I am here today in support of Disney's (severely) Neglected Princes.
Their stories, and film fans, disregard them severely in one way or another. This is most supremely evident in three cases by way of their names, which are as follows: The Prince, Prince Charming, and The Beast. The first two are left in the dust when compared to their female counterparts - Snow White, and Cinderella. Beside having no names, they have little to no story behind their characters and only occur in their stories by necessity.
Some of you would have me for a slanderer. You would say, but it really isn't their story! It's Cinderella's or Ariel's. I say in reply, that is only because of negligent story editors, and a sexist focus on little girls interested in fairy tales come true and sparkling dresses in many-coloured hues. The Disney Princes have as much right to their respective stories as the Princesses have.
Officially, there are eight Princesses, but I will address the issues of seven - Snow White the Princess of Hope, Aurora the Princess of Beauty, Cinderella the Princess of Dreams, Ariel the Princess of Wishes, Belle the Princess of Knowledge, Jasmine the Princess of Freedom, and Pocahontas the Princess of Harmony - and their counterparts, only five of which are princes to begin with.
Foregoing the aforementioned, the other Disney Princes of note (of the four left to be mentioned, only two are real Princes - Prince Eric, and Prince Phillip.) are not as forgotten as others.
True, Princes Phillip and Eric are not a complex on the whole as Ariel or Aurora, but we watch Phillip grow from a boy to a man, and Eric... well he has a nice name, a pretty face and a good heart, but he's rather gullible, despite his bravery.
Aladdin becomes a Prince eventually, and is by far the most well rounded, whole and complex Prince in all of the wide and magical World of Disney. He even appears as the title character in three movies and a spin off T.V. series. Even still, dressing in Princely garb does not a Prince make, as he well finds out in his first feature film adventure.
The last 'Prince' is... well... not a prince. At all. Ever. He just happens to be the better-liked counterpart of Pocahontas, an official Disney Princess (this is despite the fact that she would never have (historically) inherited her 'kingdom' from her father. It would have passed to the uncles and then aunts first, and then on to their brothers and sisters, etc).
His name is Captain John Smith. Although, technically speaking, Pocahontas ends up with John Rolfe, Smith is still accepted as her counterpart. No one in their right mind actually liked the direct to video sequel of that classic Disney Renaissance film. Although Rolfe has a pretty face and nice hair, there is no chemistry between the Indian Princess and her chivalrous aristo choice of husband. It wasn't her fault that John Smith had to go and get shot, but there'd be no heart-wrenching ending to the timeless classic otherwise.
So now that we are through with the attended Princes, we beg of you to listen to us on the behalf of those three less fortunate.
We begin with the Prince, as he is so simply and aptly named in the Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. He is the hero on the sidelines in this film, where seven little men have more part in it than he. At the end of this classic, the Prince kisses the little Princess awake, alive, and breathing. That is about all he does other than sing and ride his horse. Because of his minimal part in this, the first classic Disney animated, he is left without a back story, a significant part, and no name to speak of. He is simply, the Prince.
Snow White's savior is not the only one condemned to this horrid fate. Cinderella's Prince Charming really wasn't charming at all! As credited, he is simply the Prince, and his father, the King, only calls him, 'My Boy'. No one is quite sure how the name 'Charming' was added onto this Prince of France's title. (He only is credited once as Prince Charming in a video game that features him, I believe it is a Final Fantasy Edition. I forget which.)Point being, he, like 'The Prince' before him, has been neglected. He has a little more of a story, and appears in more of it, but for the all-important role these two Disney Princes play in the lives of their damsels in distress, they are wholly overlooked by the story editors as being un important except for one thing - to eventually rescue their corresponding damsel.
This last Prince's story is little different than that the other two. He is a title character, has a complete back-story, is hardly ever human, and ultimately is the one who needs the saving in the end. This Prince is older than Cinderella's. He might even have been an ancestor of Prince Charming, for this is another Prince of France. Without any family to speak of this Prince would have become the Crown King of France after his marriage to the most beautiful Belle. In credits, he is referred to as the Beast/the Prince. Here again is that age-old disregard for the Princes of their films.
While the Beast has a rather full back story and is the second most prominent figure in the film, his Princely visage lacks a royal name to accompany his Royal status. However, as the movie's whole plot revolves around his character, Disney rectified their grave mistake, and announced that the Beast is really Crown Prince Adam of France( also sometimes known as Vincent, but I like that less, it isn't Disney enough, and well, it wasn't Disney to begin with!)
He, of all, deserves the recognition that was formerly withheld from him. His 'name', perhaps a better term would be alias, is in the Title of the Film! It is hard to believe that, even though he is only human for several minutes at the climax of the film, he was never given a proper name. Unlike to previous two Princes discussed, he has a major part in his Story, for it is his story, as well as Beauty's. I find it hard to believe that Belle wouldn't have wanted to know her Lover's name. How extraordinary that Cogsworth, Lumiére and the other servants only ever refer to Prince Adam as 'Master' or 'the Master'!
Whether Disney storywriters are just singularly sexist or merely negligent, it is obvious that Disney has long made the mistake of forgetting the Royals. Disney films are for boys, as well as girls. This disregard for the prominently good male characters is a little disorienting. If one looks into child's psychology, it is possible that a complex could occur in young boys that watch Disney films. They have become increasingly geared towards young girls.
Little boys want to save princesses too, it is in their nature. Well, they will, whence they stop thinking that all girls have cooties and that it is funny to place a toad on their heads or crickets in their shoes... The point is, boys look up to the male characters, and by abandoning it's male heroes in favour of damsels in distress in order to make money out of female oriented films, Disney is abandoning those little boys.
Sure they have Hercules, but he is egotistical and all brute strength, and Phoebus, again pretty boy with muscles(these two don't really count, they have no official counterpart), John Smith, loyal and brave and Aladdin, arguably the best male role model for boys in Disney's ever popular animated classics, but they loose more lessons than they gain from these others. And the lessons are valuable ones at that.
So now that you know of their plight, help us here at The Neglected Princes and Co. to give these handsome heroes the honor that all young men deserve - A Name!
This is dedicated to my personal favourite of the aforementioned forgotten Royals, the Crown Prince Adam of France, later the King. His soft voice rings with the truth of his statement - 'It's me!" - to his Belle (Princess and Crown Queen of France). I will not forget your beautiful auburn locks and your ice blue eyes. They will haunt me with their stare forever.