Since the beginning of semester, I have been hearing constant arguments throughout campus about which Disney Princess is best. Indeed, every time I entered the library, I heard friend groups squabbling over the most beautiful and empowering princess. As such, I have taken it upon myself to rank them according to the role they played in their respective stories & as well as their general demeanor and appearance.
Note: Anastasia was not included because she was not produced by Disney Studios.
Recently, I tried to rewatch “Sleeping Beauty,” and I fell asleep after 30 minutes. Although Aurora may be beautiful and kind, she is unforgivably boring. Her three crazy fairy godmothers inject some much needed energy into this film, but other than that, it’s a pretty drab storyline with an uninspiring princess to boot. Also, I’m still not sure if the movie title describes its so-called heroine or the person watching it?
13.) Snow White
Ugh. Snow White is dreadful. Her entire storyline details her life as a domestic for 7 men. She cooks and cleans for them, all while wearing hideous clothing and singing boring songs. She is one of the least empowering princesses, and she scared generations of children away from apples. Pass.
The best Disney/Pixar films include colorful, entertaining storylines that quietly convey inspiring and sentimental messages. Although “Brave” may accomplish the former, it fails horribly with the latter. Merida is an obvious and one-dimensional character with whom viewers fail to connect. In addition, Pixar’s attempt to make a “strong female” is about as subtle as a sledgehammer. I’d almost rather watch Snow White. Almost.
“Pocahontas” has a mixed legacy among viewers. It was the first Disney Princess film to focus on a historical figure, yet critics contend that it misrepresents her story and promotes harmful stereotypes. In addition, the character of Pocahontas is largely forgettable. Although it does feature great animation and enjoyable music, the conflict between reality and narrative leaves Pocahontas towards the bottom of the heap.
10.) Elsa & Anna
“Frozen” is probably the most overrated Disney film of all time. I made Elsa & Anna a packaged deal, because frankly, I just don’t care about them enough. The film itself is unique and features terrific music, but their characters are ultimately derivative.
I don’t have a lot of respect for Ariel. She made the wrong choice; who in their right mind would (temporarily) sign away their voice to Ursula? I know she is half fish but COME ON, Ariel! Plus, Prince Eric is almost as dull as Aurora! If you’re willing to make a huge sacrifice, at least do it for someone with depth, like Aladdin.
“Tangled” is one of Disney/Pixar’s best modern animations – Rapunzel’s hair is U N B E L I E V A B L E. In addition, they add charming and contemporary twists to a classic fairy tale. The character of Rapunzel is also a cool chick; she’s tough and isn’t afraid to dream big. Unfortunately, “Tangled’s” storyline simply isn’t as memorable or emotionally resonant as the rest of the films in Disney’s catalog.
Disney came out swinging with “The Princess and the Frog.” The 1920s setting and jazz music are inspired choices that thrill young and old moviegoers alike. Tiana is a worthy heroine who is not only incredibly beautiful, but also very hardworking. Unfortunately, the nature of the story, with her romantic interest existing largely in frog form, renders it a less effective love story.
As a film, “Moana” is a delight to watch; Disney/Pixar continues to craft heartfelt storylines with jaw-dropping animation. As a Princess, Moana is vivacious and courageous, and she demonstrates a depth of character rarely developed in animated features. These positive attributes earn “Moana” a strong placement among Disney princesses.
Often forgotten, Megara is a straight up badass. She is one of the sultriest Disney Princesses, yet she also possesses unbeatable wit & charm. In addition, she initially refuses to submit to Hercules’ affections, belting out a spunky track entitled “I Won’t Say I’m In Love,” differentiating herself from other Disney Princesses.
“Cinderella” is a classic. Few can deny the impact that this film has had on society’s consciousness. From the fairy Godmother to the evil Stepmother, “Cinderella” is replete with iconic imagery. As a character, she possesses an unparalleled sweetness and a dazzling whimsy. Plus, let’s admit it: Cinderella has the best dress of any Disney Princess, hands down.
What an inspiration. With “Mulan,” Disney was able to craft an empowering story with an amazing heroine that seemed both necessary and natural. It is a testament to Mulan’s character that calling her a Princess almost seems like a demotion. How cool is it that if you can’t decide between an action flick or a Disney Princess movie, you can satisfy both desires with “Mulan” ?!
Of all the Disney couples, Jasmine and Aladdin are perhaps the most perfect for one another. For animated characters, their chemistry is unparalleled, in no small part due to Jasmine’s spirit. As a character, she is one of the fiercest Disney Princesses; she defies her father and is willing to give up all her wealth and status in order to marry for love. Plus, she has a pet tiger!! Overall, “Aladdin” is one of Disney’s most complete, magical features.
Belle is, and likely always will be, the best Disney Princess. She is the most compassionate and kind of all the characters in Disney’s catalog; her deep empathy for her father and the Beast make her seem like more than a mere animation. In addition, she loves to read and uses her intelligence to get out of difficult situations. Furthermore, she isn’t afraid to clapback at Gaston with insults that go over his head like when she called him “primeval.” Yep, Belle is the best.
I hope you liked this list! Do you agree? Who is your favorite Disney Princess?
This article was written by Executive Editor Alexa Secrest ’20.