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Arcade in the Sky Blog: The Princess and The Frog

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Princess and The Frog

I'm a very laid back fellow who rarely 'anticipates' movies. I just let movies fill into the theaters at their own pace, and if I have time to see them, all the better. But growing up with Disney's Golden Age with flicks like Beauty and the Beast, I couldn't help but anticipate their first hand-drawn animated movie in years.

I must, however, start by stating what this is really all about; having a black princess. The 'Disney Princess' like is a major cash cow for the company, and they love to play out the different types of princess' they have, the red-head in Ariel, the brunette in Snow White, the Asian in Mulan etc. IF ONLY they had made a movie with a black princess back in the golden age! Think of all the extra appeal the Disney Princess line would have now! And they had actually made a movie set in Africa during this time! They must REALLY be kicking themselves.

And so, here we are back at the drawing board making a new animated feature and its about a black princess. I had a lot of trepidation about this going in, but I was happy to find that this is one of the best movies Disney has ever made.

Without going into spoiler territory, I will say that the plot and pacing of the film is excellent. The fact that John Lasseter is executive producer probably helped. The fact that the Pixar Story Team got a special note of thanks at the end of the credits probably didn't hurt either. Having the same writing/directing pair from The Little Mermaid is probably what made all the difference.

What makes this movie so good is the content. It has a lot of great stuff in it, visuals, music, ideas and relationships, and it never slows down for a second. I'm going to see this multiple times in the theater and buy it on DVD as soon as humanly possible.

NOW, I will go int Spoiler Territory:

I'd like to go over some of my favorite parts of the movie, just to give testament of how wide its breadth is.

1. Race relations. Setting the movie in New Orleans give a perfect excuse to have a black protagonist, yet they don't get bogged down in animosity. Tianna has a rich white girl for a friend-an annoying one at that-but they don't go as far as making her a villain, which would be the easy route.

2. Journey to Oz. The characters take a funloving journey and meet oddball friends, but they don't have to wipe them from existence when its over.

3. They kill a character. For a family film, this takes balls.

4. John Goodman has a cameo.

5. Good music. Its OK to break into song in this world, but they feel never the need to take it more than a verse or two, just to sell a soundtrack album.

6. The Prince. Disney princes have been tragically wooden. With the exception of the Beast, they have had no characterization, leaving the princesses also hollow by association. Here the prince is along for the whole ride.

I could go on, but I've got a ton to do today. I hope everyone sees this film!
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