Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Princess and the Frog

A lot has been written about The Princess and the Frog, the first hand-drawn animated film from Disney in quite awhile, the first African-American star in a Disney animated film. I won't rehash all that, but I just wanted to give you some thoughts about the film.

I liked it a lot. The color palette of the film is wonderful, and it totally takes you into the New Orleans of old. However, and I thought this was kind of ironic: the African American little girl, Tiana, only appears for a little bit at the beginning and the end. Mostly we see Tiana as a frog. Yes, that's right. Along with the "handsome" prince, who, as a frog, started the whole mess when he asked her to kiss him to break the spell.

And I also thought it was interesting that race became an issue only because they didn't want race to be an issue. Her childhood playmate obviously stops playing with her because, as they grow up, they're of different races. But Disney wants you to believe it's totally a class thing. Not between rich and poor, but rather between the working hard and the lazy. By doing this, Disney totally drew our attention to the whole race issue.

Anika Noni Rose has an amazing voice, and nuance, and after this and her prominent role in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, I'm confident we'll see a lot more of her.

Despite the above "issues," I think the movie works really well, and the moral of the story a true one for little girls. This little girl-who-grew-up gets the man, but only on her terms. And hallelujah for that.

Thumb's up.


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