Disney became a part of everyone's childhood with its animated kid-friendly movies with a message. It made many stories popular and continues to do so with these classics now being green-lit for live action remakes. Disney found inspiration everywhere – folktales, fairytales, history, and mythology.
Many Disney movies feature a similar storyline featuring a princess and a charming prince who in the end live happily ever after. We're glad Disney brought cultural stories to a wide audience of children from around the world, but when you compare the two, it's obvious the original versions were 'Disney-fied'.
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast is based on a French fairytale. In the original version, the prince is changed into the Beast because he doesn't want to marry his governess, who turns out to be an evil fairy and is the antagonist of the story. The villain in Disney's version is Gatson, who's not there in the main fairytale. The original Beast is also much nicer than Disney's grumpy, short-tempered one. While both have the message about inner beauty, Disney's version does make for a better movie.
The original Hans Christian Andersen version of this tale is much darker. The witch chops off the mermaid's tongue to take her voice and turn her into a human, Ariel's legs always hurt on land, the prince rejects her, and she jumps off a cliff into the sea, becoming sea foam. The Disney version takes a lot of liberties with the story and the prince manages to fall in love with her and she overcomes all obstacles to live happily ever after.
For this movie, the Disney version is much more suitable for the modern audience. In the original Chinese tale, Mulan dresses up as a man to go to war so her father wouldn't have to join the army and returns to become the demure woman she was. Disney has her returning empowered and with a strong sense of identity. With its feminist message, we almost don't mind the addition of Captain Li as the love interest.
While this story has many versions over the years, Disney's is the tamest and the most popular one. In the most grisly version that exists, when the princess falls into a deep sleep, her father assumes that she's dead and abandons the house. The prince who finds her doesn't give her a true love's kiss to wake her up but instead gets her pregnant and she wakes by the birth of twins.
Pocahontas was based on a real historic princess of a Native American tribe but is filled with inaccuracies. John Smith was actually very arrogant and insulted her father rather than having a close relationship with Pocahontas as Disney implies. She got abducted by another Englishman, John Rolfe, who married her and when she sees John Smith in London, she hates him.
Which of these Disney versions surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments below.