Romance, man. I don’t even.
Look, maybe I’m playing up to the lonely writer stereotype (is that a thing? is it an attractive thing?…. la…ladies?), but I’m not a huge fan of the typical romance plot you see in movies/books/comics/pretty much everywhere. It just feels shallow and very, very fake these days. I guess this means I’m not romantic?
Eh, never had the dreamy eyes for it anyway.
Now, the obvious counter argument is, “Seriously? You’re writing a story where one of your main characters is the hologram of a castle’s AI system, and you’re going to lose your suspension of disbelief on true love? What kind of monster are you?”
Well, when you put it that way… yes, actually. One of the reasons why I want to write this screenplay is because the typical Disney love plot drives me up a wall, hissing like the meanest member of your grandmother’s 30 cats. I can point to two reasons why:
1) Speed. Oh, you met someone two days ago and want to get married? Yeah, that’s gonna be good. Because when people pull those kinds of shenanigans in real life, it’s totally sane and always works out. Sure.
2) Characterization. What about Eric gets Ariel feeling all tingly? We never find out. Was it his skill at dancing that drew her gaze? The fact that he was royalty? The mysterious allure of something forbidden? The fact that her cave was running out of space and there was no way a merman would ever let her hoard her stuff? Why did Snow White fall for Prince Charming? Outside of his name, of course. Falling love could be a huge character moment– what the protagonists see in each other can be powerful and really lends credibility and believability to who they are.
Now, recent trends in Disney movies have abated these problems somewhat– both Tangled and Frozen end with their protagonists not getting married, but with a kiss and the vague promises of a future date. Yes, Rapunzel eventually marries Eugene, but we get the important line at the end of the film– “And after asking, and asking, and asking, [she] finally said yes.” (Replacement mine, I don’t want to write extra to spell out the joke).
However, both these films still don’t satisfy me on the characterization side of things. We get vague hints of it in Tangled, but it still kinda feels like the love by default sort of Disney standard. Flynn gets characterization through his emerging love for Rapunzel (he finds that what he was looking for was more than just money, freedom or adventure), but, honestly to this day, I’m not really sure why she falls for him.
I think most of her ‘falling in love’ is wrapped up in the kingdom montage, after all, her line to Mother Gothel is, “And… I think he likes me.” (Emphasis mine). Very importantly, it’s not “I think I like him.” She takes longer to come around, and that’s probably why I like the movie so much. But we still never really learn why.
See previous posts about my rant on Frozen— it’s very love by default.
Anyway, despite the fact that it might be racist, I’m a pretty big fan of the film overall. Yes, I know that the action slows to a crawl when they get to the swamp. Yes, Randy Newman is not my favorite composer.
How can I still really like it? Because Tiana and Prince Naveen have one of the most character driven love stories in all of Disney’s cannon. I mean, their love plot still moves way to fast (I think it’s a three day meet-greet-marriage? Certainly no longer than a week). Both of them are willing to do far, far too much for someone they just met. I know.
But, Prince Naveen mincing random bullshit he found for Tiana is a more touching moment than anything in Frozen. Tiana looking at the Shadowman’s vision of her father and realizing what he truly stood for is chilling just to write about.
Both characters have flaws, and it’s only seeing someone else without those flaws do they realize what they’re missing in themselves. Tiana is not only a strong character in her own right, but it’s her hard work that foils Naveen’s carefree lifestyle. It’s Naveen’s focus on actually smelling the roses that shows how Tiana is missing out on so much more in the world.
That’s brilliant characterization! And the movie sticks it in front and center, so you know it was the intent. By falling in love with each other, the pair learns something about themselves– Naveen is able to find someone that makes him truly happy and Tiana realizes what her father’s dream truly was.
The movie eventually trips on it’s own feet and gets rather sappy towards the end, and again, the fact that it ends in frog marriage makes me facepalm, but in the middle? That is a love story for the ages. That’s what love is all about.
That’s how Luna and Ivan should fall in love. Both characters are both on the run– Luna is running from her future and Ivan is running from his past. Its their falling in love that drives the character change that lets them find the courage to face their problems and make the hard choices.
Hold on, writing about my screenplay is inspiring me to write my screenplay. Brb.