I Rewatched These 6 Disney Movies as an Adult, and I Have Questions
I was absolutely thrilled when Disney+ became a reality back in November 2019. I finally had access to all the animated Disney films from my childhood in one place and no longer needed to worry about whether or not they’d be “going back into the vault.” The last thing I expected when cycling through my favorite films – including Hercules, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and The Lion King – was that I’d finally pick up on plot holes I’d missed as a child. This left me with a lot of questions about character motivations and relationships, but it also had me viewing certain characters like Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Ariel from The Little Mermaid in a completely different light. Here are the six Disney films that left me questioning everything as an adult.
The Little Mermaid (1989)
It wasn’t until I graduated college that I began to view The Little Mermaid in an entirely different light. I remember growing up and identifying with Ariel, wondering why her father was so mean about her being in love. Then, it all changed and I suddenly began thinking that Triton was a lot more levelheaded than I first believed.
First off, Ariel is 16 years old, so she needs to calm down about a boy she doesn’t even know. Second, it’s clear from her signing Ursula’s contract that Ariel has the ability to write. This begs the question: why doesn’t Ariel just write out her thoughts to Eric? Ursula’s contract looks like paper to me, and yes, she uses a magic fishbone as a pen, but it’s the same concept. Also, is Eric just an idiot? Suddenly Ariel can’t speak and he’s completely forgotten what she looks like?
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
It’s weird that watching Beauty and the Beast as an adult has me rooting for Gaston. Granted, this has more to do with Luke Evans’s portrayal in the live-action version, but I digress. A lot of the questions I had for the animated film were answered in the live-action version, like “Why do the villagers not remember there’s a big castle in the woods?” and “How old was the prince when he was turned into the Beast?”
I probably shouldn’t be too hard on Belle, particularly if I take into account the logistics of running a farm. But you’re telling me she didn’t have a single friend in the ENTIRE town? Or she couldn’t ask her father to take him with her on these trips to the fair he travels to each year? Plus, while I get that the Beast is, well, a beast, if he’d just been more transparent with Belle or chilled out about the whole rose-stealing thing, the movie might’ve been much shorter.
I have so many questions when it comes to Aladdin. Outside of recognizing the racism as I’ve gotten older, none of Jasmine’s decisions truly make sense. Where was she headed in the middle of the night? We don’t see her until the market the next day, so where did she stay? Did she find a random alley and sleep there, or did she just wander the streets of Agrabah? And what was her endgame? You can’t seriously tell me she knew what she was going to do once she left the castle if she didn’t even know what money was or how one pays for items.
Then, how did the guards who see her every day not recognize her just because she had a hood on? I get why people didn’t recognize Aladdin in his Prince Ali getup, because that involves magic, but Jasmine’s is essentially a Clark Kent situation.
The Lion King (1994)
I don’t claim to be an expert when it comes to the mating habits of lions, but it’s clear that we only meet two male lions at the beginning of The Lion King. This begs the question: who is Nala’s dad? Is it Mufasa? If so, then Nala and Simba are half-siblings and the entire love story is, well . . . gross. If her father is Scar, then they’d be cousins, which isn’t any less gross, to be honest. I suppose the third option is that her father is a lion we never meet, as it’s made very clear that Mufasa and Sarabi are monogamous.
One of the biggest questions I had regarding Pocahontas is why doesn’t Pocahontas give Kocoum a chance? Nakoma knew what was up. While he might be serious on the outside, it’s clear he is willing to die for Pocahontas. Maybe if she’d actually gotten to know him versus making assumptions, she’d have thought differently. She certainly gives John Smith a chance, and that involves Grandmother Willow’s magic or some other spirit in order for them to be able to speak to one another. Yes, I realize Pocahontas is based on real people and Disney could only take so many liberties, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t have questions.
As a child, I certainly tried to duplicate her waterfall jump. Luckily, I only did it in the family pool rather than off a cliff. Why did they keep that in there knowing children would want to duplicate it? Surely a jump from that height would’ve killed her, or at least had her struggling once she came out of the water.
It never really made sense to me why the other kids are so mean to a young Hercules. I mean, sure, he is different, but he’s also strong. What kid wouldn’t want him on their team for . . . gladiator games, I guess? Then again, my knowledge of ancient Greek team sports isn’t great, so perhaps that’s why they were mean – they were jealous.
The other thing I’ve always wondered: just how old is Megara supposed to be? We know Hercules is 18, as it’s part of the Fates’ prophecy, but we never learn Megara’s age. Is there an age gap? Because she certainly acts much older. Then again, all of the Disney princesses have somewhat concerning age gaps with their princes, so maybe it’s a good thing there isn’t a true canon age. Although if we go off of the 1998 Hercules TV show, they are of similar ages, as Meg shows up as a teen in one episode titled “Hercules and the Aetolian Amphora.”