Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Princess and the Frog


This morning we went off to a Family Movie Event: the new Disney movie called "The Princess and the Frog."

This movie has the distinction of being the first-ever Disney movie to feature an African-American heroine, named Tiana. The movie is a takeoff on "The Frog Prince." This time, when the girl kisses the frog, instead of him turning into a prince, she turns into a frog.
It was the first movie Nicholas had seen in the theater. I'm not sure whether he was scared or simply tired...a few times during the movie, he requested that I "turn it off"!
I loved the way this movie poked fun at previous Disney movies--it opens with a little pampered girl dressed up as a princess, being told the story of "The Frog Prince," with a little African-American girl wearing a tiara. The princess's room is full of fancy-attired dolls in princess dresses...all white. Tiana's mother is a seamstress, and she's been hired to make multiple princess gowns for young Charlotte (or Lottie). Tiana and her mom soon leave and take the streetcar home, where Tiana makes gumbo with her dad (the movie is based on New Orleans).
Tiana dreams of opening her own restaurant someday. I was hoping that Disney might break its formula of having a parent die, but no luck there. Where it does depart from formula is that although Tiana gets her prince, she doesn't go off to the castle to live happily ever after. She goes to work, pursuing her dream.
I loved the music, animation, and local color of the bayou and the jazz. Wonderful characters such as Ray the firefly, Louis the gator, and Mama Odie, a voodoo priestess, enrich the movie.
The film brought me tears on a couple of occasions. The first time was at the beginning, when I was hit, hard, by the fact that this is the first Disney movie--ever--in which African-American children can really identify with the heroine. Tiana is a spunky, compassionate, and clever heroine. (I especially appreciated that fact, since we know a Tiana with those very characteristics.)
It ranks up there with my other Disney faves--"Lilo & Stitch" and "Mulan." That's me--I always go for Disney with a twist.

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