Walt Disney first made commercial success in 1929 when he released "Silly Symphonies," which featured well-known characters like Micky Mouse, Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Pluto. Now decades later, we're familiar with Disney's entire franchise of animated families -- everything from classics like "Lady and the Tramp" and "Cinderella" to the more recent films like "Frozen" and "Moana."
Growing up in the '90s, I watched and re-watched every princess movie ever created. I wasn't a dresses and tiara girl, but I was a huge fan of the songs in both "The Little Mermaid" and "Cinderella." To this day, I will still claim them as my top two favorite Disney films. While most parents are fine leaning into the Disney franchise, my mother was not; and it wasn't until 10 or so years ago that she admitted why:
PARENTAL DEATH and/or EVIL STEP-MOTHER.
She quickly listed off a few of my favorite films and easily proved her point. If you don't believe me, take a look at the list below:
"The Little Mermaid"
- Ariel has no mother & an evil witch
- Cinderella has no mother & an evil step-mother
- Peter Pan has no parents
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarves"
- Snow White has no parents & an evil witch
"Beauty and the Beast"
- Belle has no mother and the Beast's mother died of sickness
- Pinocchio has no mother
- Bambi's mother is killed in the first scene
"The Sword in the Stone"
- Art has no parents
"The Jungle Book"
- Mowgli has no parents
- Aladdin has no parents and Jasmine doesn't have a mother
- Pocahontas has no mother
"The Hunchback of Notre Dame"
- Quasimodo's mother was murdered
- Tarzan's parents are eaten by a leopard
"The Emperor's New Groove"
- Kuzco's has no parents
"Lilo & Stitch"
- Both Lilo and her sister Nani's parents are killed in a car accident
- Nemo's mother is killed in the first scene
- Elsa & Anna's parents are killed in a shipwreck
- Linguini has no mother
"The Fox and the Hound"
- Tod's mother was murdered by a hunter
- Rapunzel is kidnapped and raised by a psychopath
Maybe Disney has just found a formula that works, but it's no wonder why teens struggle and fight with their parents as they're growing up. From a young age, Disney movies have shown us that our parents will eventually leave.
Regardless of whether or not Walt had legit mommy issues, I'd still argue that the proof is in the pudding here. Nine times out of 10 you can guess the main characters' backstory before the opening scene hits.
For those of you that are huge Disney fans and may not have noticed this issue, I apologize if I tainted your view.
I will admit that there's been a slight turnaround with keeping both parents around (re: "Moana"), but I'll still go to my grave believing that the majority of future Disney films will have some kind of parental complex or issue.