Monday, December 14, 2009

Film Review | The Princess and the Frog

Because of my love of Disney, I went to the theatre to watch The Princess and the Frog. I was not exactly sure what to expect, but I was certain that it would be entertaining. I was looking forward to the return of songs, the more traditional appearance and hopefully a great film. In order to review this film though, I am forced to give away some spoilers, so I am giving the grade before the jump in case you plan on seeing it and would like to be surprised.

So, the animation of The Princess and the Frog was phenomenal. At one point, the more realistic imagery gave way to a sort of vintage poster cartoon look that was creative and still flowed with the rest of the film. The songs were fun and well-composed. I especially enjoyed the music, which is good considering this takes place in New Orleans. The storyline is solid. It keeps you entertained and pulls at various emotions. You will feel angry, sad, happy, scared—it's really well executed in that sense. Kids and adults will enjoy The Princess and the Frog and can probably expect to add it to their movie library when it comes out on DVD some time next year.

Grade: A-

So, this particular Disney princess received a lot of recognition because she is the first black princess. The company had to make lots of changes to be politically correct—for example, the title was changed from The Frog Princess to its current name. I respect Disney's decisions, but I wish they didn't have to make these changes to please people that probably could truly care less—they just want a reason to complain.

The first issue that many people had was that Tiana was not a princess. I don't understand what preview anyone else was watching, but nothing said explicitly that she was royalty. She is not the first Disney princess that was not a born princess. Belle was the daughter of a poor inventor (and became a princess at the end of the film). Cinderella was not a princess until she married her prince. In fact, only Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Ariel were princesses. While Jasmine was a princess, that was Aladdin's story, not hers. So, I am confused by everyone's disappointment. I think that it was good that she became a princess after falling in love with a prince.

I read an article that said voodoo played too big a part in the film. I actually think it was a decent way to create a compelling villain. The Shadow Man had a cunning that is comparable to Jafar—also a similarity to their use of a kind of "dark magic/art". In fact, many Disney villains have thrived off of some kind of craft—Ursula and Maleficent to name a few. While the use of voodoo in this film might be scary for some or just upsetting due to beliefs, it helped the storyline and made it better.

Overall, I think that people judged this film harshly for no reason. They wanted the fact that Tiana was a black princess to be something that it truly did not need to be. I honestly feel that Disney had a great idea and they executed it well. If you have the opportunity and time to see The Princess and the Frog, I would definitely recommend it to you.

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