The Princess and the Frog

Just got back from seeing it with my wife, we don’t have kids. We both really enjoyed it. It was nice seeing classic Disney animation and a return to fairy tales. Also, the villain was awesome.

Loved it. Went alone because my daughter didn’t want to see it. Witch doctor lady was great. Raymond the Lightning bug was terrific.

It felt really…Disney to me. And it took me a while to get my ‘disney hat’ back on. All of the cartoons today are so…different. You know? Like, just getting used to talking animals again was a job. And, I also had to get used to those over expressive eyes and faces that can sometimes annoy me.

But I was all in, and loving every minute. The song playing when the villain lures the Prince and his assistant into the voodoo room to trick them…that scene was hot. Also loved the scene of Tianna dreaming about her restaruant.

ETA: Man, what is that Disney magic? What* is *it? All of the great movies out lately, from awesome classics like The Incredibles, to just flat out great films like Wall E, they all seem to lack that certain magic that makes the kids in the theater gasp and squeal and giggle. Disney still has it though. Whatever it is.

Just got back from it. My feelings about it are mixed. It’s very nicely animated – the character design and rendering is better than even some of the “classics” from the 90’s. The villain is a lot of fun, as is Charlotte, Tiana’s friend and rival. It’s definitely a step in the right direction and a huge improvement over Home on the Range, the last Disney cell-animated feature.

The script however, isn’t great. The dialog is very on-the-nose, even for a kid’s picture. The plot is too complicated, and there are way too many characters. Often an interesting bit is introduced and then dropped instead of being developed into something deeper. Afterwords my wife commented that it felt like it was wound too tight. It’s like a drawing by someone who grips his pencil too hard – precise but stiff. The production team hits their marks, but it’s missing some of the fun and confidence that just pours off the screen in the best Disney productions.

It’s definitely exciting to see Disney doing cell-shaded animation again, though. And I hope its a big enough success to convince the animation team to play it a little more loose the next time out.

The shout-outs to Disney fans are nice. I particularly liked the jazz band at the end called “The Firefly Five Plus Lou”, which is a pun on “The Firehouse Five Plus Two”, the name of the dixieland jazz band that the Disney animators had during the 50’s.

I just got home from seeing The Messenger, Invictus and The Princess and the Frog. All three very very good movies. I am so not a Disney person (unless it’s Pixar) and haven’t seen a lot of their biggies like The Lion King, Alladin, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Pocahontas…the list goes on.

But this is pretty wonderful, and I’m glad I saw it. You just fall right in love with Tiana from the first few minutes, surprising to me, considering that I didn’t like her at all in the previews. She’s going to be a very VERY VERY popular Disney Princess! The colors, the animation, (most of) the characters and the music is all fantastic. I definitely want to see it again on the big screen.

Just got back from seeing it. I really liked it. The worst thing I can say about it is the music was a little bland. Nothing really grabbed me and made me want to sing along or dance, which is surprising given the setting!

However, I thought the animation was just beautiful - gorgeous enough to provide the musical scenes with punch regardless of the music. And I liked the characters - started rooting for Tiana before the opening credits started, and absolutely loved Ray. I also liked that Charlotte wasn’t evil.

I have to say, I also think it’s about time little black girls have a Disney princess they can look at and see some of themselves. When the ads for this first came out, I paused and was like, "Surely there’s been a black princess before . . . " but when I went down the list, there were White girls with every hair color, Asian, Arabic, Native American but no black princess. And I think they did a pretty good job of balancing a certain amount of historical realism with the required Disney-esque happiness.

I thought it was really good! I want to see it again.

Saw it this past weekend. Daughter loved it. I liked it a lot. I did think the middle of the movie was not so good, though. The opening, all of the intro and exposition, even the beginnings of the action, I thought were really nicely executed and I liked the music a lot. Then the second transformation happened. And it felt like the writers said, “well, now they’re frogs, and we still have half a movie to fill before the finale, so… uh… what now?” And they just filled the space with some generic pulled-from-every-movie-ever adventure scenes. I thought the sequence with the three hillbilly frog-hunters was particularly cliched. Whole thing picked up again at Mama Odie’s and was fun through the end. Just thought the middle could have been punched up and made interesting on a level with the beginning and end of the film, which would have elevated the whole enterprise from good to very good or even great.

It’s not slime!

It’s mucus.

Surprised this thread isn’t longer. Anyways, generally positive but mixed feelings from me on this one. On the positive side, gee New Orleans and its surrounds are pretty and interesting! What a great setting for a fairy tale. And the animation does it justice: nice to see Disney back in form with their 2-D animated movies. The story is pretty good, Tiana is a winning lead, and the villain (and especially his demon shadows) are sufficiently scary.

Not as good: was it just me, or was the plot a bit…confusing? The villain’s motive isn’t clear early enough, the mixed identity stuff is confusing (like when Tiana thinks she sees Naveen getting married on the Mardi Gras float - why didn’t she know that wasn’t really him?). The three hunters were a waste of space. The music…the first two or three numbers were good (the villain’s song and the one where Tiana is dreaming about her restaurant), but after that things fell very flat, and the “Evangeline” number was just terrible. Newman gets the sound right, but he’s a pretty bad lyricist, at least for musical theater purposes. (Why didn’t they ask Alan Menken?) Mama Odie could have been put to better use (she’s a voodoo priestess, but all she does is offer some inspirational baloney about looking deep inside yourself?)

Speaking of…I don’t think Disney movies used to be this blatantly moralistic. Did they? I don’t mind morals in stories, but it’s better when they come out naturally rather than being flogged to death. How many times in this did we have to hear “You know, wishing on a star only gets you half way - you have to work hard to achieve your dreams!”? Too many. Kids movies don’t have to impart life lessons. Sometimes it’s okay just to show some action and magic and wish fulfillment.

Anyways, I listed more negative than good, but at the end of the day the movie still charmed me. Anyone else?

Agreed. SWMBO is from New Orleans, so she had been dying to see it.

I got the impression that they were scared of creating a traditional Walt Disney era princess who simply waits about for luck and a handsome prince to come in and marry her. Especially with having her be black, anything less than 100% pro-active and hard working could risk complaints by feminists or anti-racism fanatics. “Women can save men, too!”, “Black people -aren’t- lazy!”, etc.

Yep. It’s 2010 now, not 1950. Thank goodness.

It didn’t work. I read that there are complaints that because she was inspired by her father to cook (a woman’s job, no less), she’s “following in a man’s footsteps” and “dependent on a man for her dreams.”

I didn’t object to her being pro-active and hard working; I objected to the blatant way they kept pounding it into our head (which maybe was part of their over-cautiousness…?). Like, can’t we just see her being hard-working? Every time they said it it just diminished the point.

Right, and the New York Times says…“The prince, disappointingly if not surprisingly, becomes not only Tiana’s salvation but also that of the movie…”

I haven’t seen it, but can’t strong feminist women do traditionally women’s work (cooking, teaching, etc.) and be inspired by men without losing anything? What would satisfy these people? Making her a welder who dreams of building her own homes who was inspired by her lesbian aunt?

We saw it a week ago and liked it, but I can’t help but notice the similarities. The Prince, with his French accent and “of course I’m great and romantic” attitude, seems so much like Pepe le Pew in a Frog Suit. And an oversized bayou alligator that doesn’t want to eat people, but wants to perform New Orleans Jazz? Didn’t they have that in Cats Don’t Dance?

Mulan and Pocohontas both are. Beauty and the Beast is as well. Disney has gotten a lot of flack for their princesses…and they really can’t make everyone happy. The traditional Disney princesses - Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) are very passive creatures (they are 1950s and before).

The post 1980s princesses are far more spunky, with brand new morals! But Disney they’ve had problems getting it right. Ariel is a sixteen year old girl who fundamentally changes who she is for a guy she’s never even spoken to. Belle, an intellectual fighting for her father, gets into a relationship with an abuser, but “loves” him out of it. Each successive princess gets evaluated under the criticism levied on the previous ones.

Well, in Disney’s defense, these are problems associated with the original source material. The only way to get around that is to not have made those films.

But they *did *choose that material and make those films. If they’d chosen to make a story out of Patient Griselda they’d get flack for that too. By selecting stories from a time and place when women’s roles were muted (at best) they are going to get characters that do not match what society expects.

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