Prince Naveen is the New Aladdin
The moment I flew back home from my holiday trip, I promptly convinced my boyfriend to watch Disney’s The Princess and the Frog in the theaters! It has been a long time since I’ve watched a 2D animated film from Disney in an actual movie theater. I don’t even remember which movie I did see last! (Might have been Atlantis…) I suppose it would also just be repeating what a million other people have already expressed if I say I am happy to see good quality 2D animation on the big screen from Disney again. Even though people give them a lot of poop for “ruining” classic fairy tale stories. Though I find that point of view a bit narrow minded because I don’t think there should be restrictions when it comes to telling or re-telling any type of stories.
Either way, I enjoyed Princess and the Frog immensely. It is not my favorite- Aladdin, The Lion King, and Treasure Planet are actually my favorite films from Disney- but it was so much fun to watch!
Putting aside all the controversies that attached itself to this film (all the accusation of racism on Disney’s part, etc.), there is nothing threatening about this movie. It is a definite turn to the “modern” princess as the main female character, Tiana, lives in a more present and realistic time than the other Disney princesses. We are presented with her childhood in a lower, middle class African-American family in the South. As an older, young woman, her struggle is not against an evil stepmother, but to work hard and save money to make her own dreams come true (no fairy godmothers here!).
Although, a Disney fairy tale film would be lacking without the presence of magic! Instead of making the story simple, when Tiana kisses the frog (Prince Naveen cursed by the antagonist who dabbles in dark voo doo magic), she also turns into a frog instead of turning the Prince back to his human form!
Tiana fights her own battle throughout the movie, making friends… but not relying on someone else to break the curse. Even in the end, she owns credit for winning the final battle.
Some have reviewed the movie negatively because it doesn’t “compare” to the classic Disney animation. I think that is an unfair judgement. Yes, nothing that Disney makes now will ever hold up to their older movies… but that was a different era. Disney is adapting to the new generation of entertainment for a younger audience. The classic formula is still there, but it was changed creatively to bring us something completely new! Any type of creativity shouldn’t be expected to remain stagnant. This movie is a breath of fresh air from the previous Princess movies and I think it holds up on its own- just like its Princess.
Keep that chin up, Disney, and I hope this will be the re-start of a new generation of animated films!