June 13, 2010

frog princess

finally watched the Princess and the Frog tonight. it was okay. i was a little disappointed, but i somehow think it might be because i'm coming at this movie from an adult point of view and if i were a kid again i'd eat it up and love it as much as i did the other disney movies.

of course i was happy disney finally made the leap and did a black princess. about fucking time. she's really hot; i'm kinda sad she's a frog for most of the movie, heh. but i did like the designs of the frogs. all the character designs were pretty good. i especially like Dr. Facilier. just watching him made me want to draw him. definitely one of the best disney villains ever, i think. i was bummed though that they make his magic come from voodoo and hoodoo and all these real things instead of just making him magic or whatever. but they also make Mama Odie, the "fairy godmother" character practice voodoo too, but for "good," which i guess is supposed to even it out...but i dunno. to me it seems a little insulting to take real religion and beliefs and traditions and turn it into some bad witch/good witch shit in a kids' movie.

i also didn't like the music, but knowing that the music was going to be done by Randy Numan, i went into it expecting not to like it. i think disney's golden age of good musicals is past and they should just give up on the musical thing. unless they can get the same musicians/writers who did the music for the little mermaid, beauty and the beast, aladdin, and the lion king, it's probably going to suck. but the music isn't that bad, it was tolerable. just nothing really catchy and memorable like from the older musicals.

the main thing that bothered me is that i feel like this movie suffers from what so many disney movies suffer from: too many stupid, pointless, comic relief sidekicks. in every disney movie, no matter the subject, no matter how light or serious, there has to be this added fluff of at least two extra characters tacked on, whose sole purpose is to be stupid/cute and "funny," and the movie could really go along more smoothly without them. in this case, it's Lewis the trumpet-playing gator, who reminds me a little too much of the singing alligator from All Dogs Go To Heaven (now that i think about it, this whole movie had a kind of Don Bluthe-y vibe to me...but maybe it was just the New Orleans setting), but i guess he's kind of charming in a way and not too terribly annoying. but then there's Ray, the cajun firefly brought in mainly to make cajun bayou redneck jokes. admittedly his character is somewhat endearing, but i became infuriated when he died. it totally threw off the whole pace of the movie and derailed it to me. this stupid firefly dying is treated with a melodrama no other disney character in history ever received, not even Bambi's mom.

but there were plenty of good things that make it worth a watch. i really liked that Tiana and Naveen were content to stay frogs together and got married as frogs. I really liked that Tiana was maybe the first disney princess to have dreams and ambitions that didn't involve romance or getting married (except maybe Belle?), although she ultimately decides that "true happiness" means getting married and starting a family in adition to owning her own business. disappointing, but it's a fairy tale, after all. i really love the character of Lottie. she's comedy relief done right. i love the jokes that come from her southern belle airs. she's also interesting because to me she's like a throw-back to the old traditional disney princesses: pretty, blonde, white, rich, and marriage-minded. i think it's interesting that they have this traditional disney princess archetype to further offset how Tiana is different. the prince is even SUPPOSED to marry Lottie, the archetype, but instead chooses Tiana.

oh, and of course it's BEAUTIFUL. really superb animation, but i especially loved the backgrounds. and even though i didn't like the music, the scenes that accompanied the musical numbers were very vibrant and eye-catching; sometimes gratuitously so, but eye candy is eye candy. so all in all, i wouldn't consider this up to par with, say, the little mermaid or anything, but it's definitely a hell of a lot better than disney's sad, last few traditionally-animated ventures (hunchback of notre dam and that stupid cow movie come to mind). or that's my two cents, anyway. i'm really looking forward to the new Rapunzel movie and hope that it doesn't suck.


samax said...

great post!
I have a 1 year old daughter, so I bought this on sight. It was okay... I agree with most of your comments. My favorite recent Disney joint is Lilo and Stitch (the feature... I haven't really watched the teevee show). It struck a perfect balance with all the elements (i can ramble endlessly about Lilo and Stitch!).

anyways, I felt Princess and the Frog was kind of clumsy, but had many nice elements too. I agree that the depiction of voodoo and cajuns in the movie shows a real lack of sensitivity. Particularly for a movie that takes place in New Orleans and is guaranteed to be watched by cajuns and people who believe in voodoo.

ross said...

haha, "mellow-drama"? is that like casual, laidback melodrama?

Kaylie said...

samax: i really enjoyed Lilo and Stitch too! i really wish disney could make another film up to par with that. Princess and the Frog kinda hit the mark on certain aspects, but it also got quite a few things right. i'm also a little bummed that it didn't deal with racism at all and skirted around it, but on the other hand, maybe it was for the best.

ross: you're such an ass. XD i wrote this while barely awake, and that's what my spell checker suggested when i typed "melodrama." haha wtf??

samax said...

I can see why they would avoid dealing with racism. It's way too easy to put your foot in your mouth!