Tuesday, December 22

Princess and the Frog: Negative Review

With all the controversies before surrounding this movie, even with the re-writings, the movie still has plenty of negative stereotypes. The movie basically is about Tiana, a girl whose only dream is to make a big restaurant in honor of her father, who died in the war (presumably World War I). Prince Naveen of a unidentifiable race and fictional country, is a lazy playboy who has been cut off from his money and needs to marry Tiana's rich girlfriend Charlotte. The villain, the voodoo Shadowman turns Naveen into a frog and has his servant pretend to be Naveen and marry Charlotte--in order to kill her Big daddy and take over New Orleans and give it to the demons he has a debt to. Complicated Disney villain, eh? As for the stereotypes, there are redneck hunters, most of the swamp animals have less than three teeth, the sniveling fat white British butler who betrays the Prince, and the Cajun speak is unauthentic.

I went to see the movie with my friend who lived in New Orleans and she only said, "That's real," only once, and that was the slums where Tiana lived. For a movie that centers around African-Americans, they spent most of the time as frogs and there are heavy metaphors, slapping you in the face. Every time anyone sees the frogs, they scream and want to smash them, the two protagonists as frogs feel discrimination personified. Mama Ode is the epitome of the Mammy stereotype, a blind voodoo priestess. The songs are not that great, not catchy, except for the one part in her song where she goes "Mama Ode told you so!", I wish the song was called that. The only song that has stayed in my head is Tiana's, "Almost there." I don't like how Tiana has to get married in the end to order to be a princess.

All the princesses have had to get married, Cinderella was a commoner that got married & became a princess; Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) was a princess but had to get married; Jasmine (Aladdin) was already a princess but had to get married--got married in the third movie; Belle (Beauty & the Beast) was a commoner who got married to be a princess; and finally, Snow White is the only of the main Disney Princesses that didn't have to get married to be a Princess. S0, yeah I don't like how Tiana had to fall in love and get married in order to be happy and get her restaurant. Tiana works hard to get her restaurant---and the villain offers her the restaurant in exchange of the Princes' blood, he reminds her of the opposition she's had--one of the brothers she is buying the property off of says, "of your background," either to be construed as a nice way to say 'race' or 'poor.' So times Tiana even brings out the sassy black woman attitude. The main villain is a voodoo priest, the only major Black character in the movie that isn't dead is the Shadow Man. He uses voodoo dolls, demons, spirits, and blood; he even kills one of the characters.

Ray the firefly is ugly, but maybe to teach kids to make friends with ugly people. The alligator Louis is forgettable. Ray falls in love with the star Tiana and Charlotte make wishes to and spoiler alert--he dies and becomes a star, blegh, I could have gone without that. Most of the scenes with the leads as frogs are boring and obviously to build their relationship but are flimsy. Maldonia is a fictional country and Prince Naveen speaks a made up language an is voiced by a Latino. Also the white people are stereotypes, John Goodman plays Big daddy, a 2-d Southerner with no complexities. Tiana's rich friend Charlotte can be construed as a bimbo at first, but she is more than that, she is a true friend, the only positive in the movie is that if though she is a rich white girl, she doesn't forget her childhood friend Tiana and comes through for her in the end. It's not like I am looking for failures in the movie, it's just concerns and it's funny how disney writers have to fall on these things, Ron Clements & John Musker are great writers and they probably didn't notice this.