So why is Disney so popular, anyway? Even among us college kids, each new Disney movie sparks interest, whether it ends with controversy, derision, or awe. Well for one, the music in their movies continues to be not only beautiful, but it has become inspirational and awe-provoking at times. It also provides a lot of clarity either into other cultures than our own or into relatable individual and group mindsets of our own era or those long gone.
“I’m malicious, mean and scary/ My sneer could curdle dairy/ And violence-wise, my hands are not the cleanest./ But despite my evil look/ And my temper, and my hook:/ I’ve always yearned to be a concert pianist!”
One of my favorite Disney messages is this: Dare to Dream. Although this is certainly something Disney has promoted all along, from a poor young girl being swept off her feet by a prince in Cinderella to young girls battling pirates in Peter Pan. Still, one of my favorite songs they use to push this idea either on children or adults, through story of course, is from a film that came out just about seven years ago. That is, the song “I’ve Got A Dream” from Tangled.
“Yep, I’d rather be called deadly/ For my killer show-tune medley!/ (Thank you!)/ ‘Cause way down deep inside/ I’ve got a dream.”
I particularly love this song because it breaks stereotypes about masculine culture and goes to show that you never know what someone might be passionate about or interested in. The song starts by Rapunzel attempting to rescue Flynn, her guide to the kingdom, from a bunch of ruffians and thugs by demanding whether they’ve ever had a dream. They’re obviously surprised by this, showing that they are used to the stereotypes that lead them to behave the way they do in or against society. When she gives them the chance to express themselves, not only do they like her more, but they also prove to be happier people and better citizens in the future, let alone trustworthy and loyal friends.
“I’ve got a dream!/ He’s got a dream!/ And I know one day romance will reign supreme!/ Though my face leaves people screaming,/ There’s a child behind it, dreaming./ Like everybody else:/ I’ve got a dream.”
Even Flynn Rider is disguised from society from his true self because he fears being ridiculed and understands society’s expectations of him, defying them enough to become a social outcast in order to obtain his dream of wealth, but conforming to them enough to want to be thought of as a cunning and handsome person.
“Tor would like to quit and be a florist./ Gunther does interior design./ Ulf is into mime, Attila’s cupcakes are sublime./ Bruiser knits, Killer sews, Fang does little puppet shows/ And Vladimir collects ceramic unicorns!”
Thus Flynn ridicules Rapunzel’s optimism and the dreams of the other thieves, feeling insecure himself. However, during his time with Rapunzel he learns to see the error of his ways and that by sharing his true self with her, Max, Pascal and the other thugs, he can become a happier person.
“She’s got a dream!/ He’s got a dream!/ They’ve got a dream!/ We’ve got a dream!/ So our diff’rences ain’t/ Really that extreme!/ We’re one big team!/Call us brutal, sick, sadistic, and grotesquely optimistic!/ ‘Cause way down deep inside/ We’ve got a dream!”
I think this is Disney’s way of saying that living your dreams, or at least experiencing them rather than hiding from them, is important in life to make us good people. It also challenges male stereotypes and social class systems by stating that despite appearances, these characters are not that different from each other and are able to be good friends. I agree, which is why I love this song so much.