A young expert compares Disney's sprightly new heroines with their regal rivals.
Fri Oct 24 2008
Photographs: Walt Disney Studio Home Entertainment
My wife and I used to debate the nature-versus-nurture argument regarding toddler obsessions, until our three-year-old, Hannah, discovered the Disney stable of princesses.
Her fixation arose overnight: After seeing a sticker of The Little Mermaid's Ariel, Hannah asked, "Who's that girl with the fishy tail?" By the next day, she'd adopted a philosophy of WWJD—What Would Jasmine Do? It's that genetic predisposition that Mouse Ears Inc. is counting on as the company unveils Tinker Bell, a pixie-dust-fuelled prequel to Peter Pan that, in addition to starring Peter's four-inch sidekick, offers up a whole gaggle of diverse fairy gal pals. The question remains: How do they stack up against the original Walt's Angels? Here's one toddler's analysis.
A water fairy, voiced by Lucy Liu. Slightly ditzy; perfect for budding marine biologists.
David She's kinda like Ariel, isn't she?
Hannah Yeah, because she's a water girl. But Ariel has red hair, Daddy. Silvermist has long black hair, like Jasmine and Mulan!
David She sounds like Mulan.
Hannah [Pause] Yeah, but Mulan also dressed like a boy. And she had a prince. And she wasn't silly. Silvermist is silly.
David Do you like Mulan or Silvermist better?
Hannah [Pause] Cinderella.
David Cinderella wasn't an option.
Hannah What's "option" mean?
A garden fairy, voiced by Kristin Chenoweth. Sassy and Southern; think Belle's DIY attitude with Ariel's red tresses.
Hannah It's Ariel!
David That's Rosetta.
Hannah Oh. But she has red hair, just like Ariel. Maybe she's Ariel's sister?
David I don't think so. Would you say she's like Belle?
Hannah Yeah. They don't have any meanness.
David Could they be friends?
Hannah Daddy, be quiet! I'm trying to watch!
A light fairy, voiced by Raven-Symon. Optimistic and sunny; imagine Sleeping Beauty's sweet disposition with Pocahontas's striking looks.
David What do you think of Iridessa?
Hannah [Excited] She's my favorite!
Hannah [Rolling her eyes] Because she makes rainbows.
David Do you like Jasmine or Iridessa better?
Hannah [Thinking] Can Jasmine make a rainbow?
An animal fairy, voiced by America Ferrera. A role model for kids who pine for Cinderella's ability to command a menagerie and have Jasmine's wild streak.
Hannah She's talking to the birdies!
David Yeah, she can talk to animals.
Hannah She's my favorite.
David I thought Iridessa was.
Hannah Yeah, but Fawn is my new favorite!
No introduction necessary. Voiced by Mae Whitman (Nights in Rodanthe). Hannah Tinker Bell gets to save spring. She's the hero.
David So who's better, the fairies or the princesses?
Hannah The princesses have true loves, but the fairies are all friends. So maybe the fairies.
David That's a good answer.
Hannah Can I watch it again, please?
Tinker Bell is out now.