16 May 2011

Why Disney's Still Got It

I recently finished watching the Princess and the Frog. And it has renewed my faith in Disney.

Don't get me wrong, I love Disney. Its storytelling, its morals, its good guys always beat bad guys. It also has a reputation (with a foundation) of anorexic princesses, unobtainable female role models, and stereotypical, fairy tale roles. And while I am lucky to have a mental filter so that I can appreciate the good parts of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and the Little Mermaid, this past year has really shown me some of the effects of having Belle and Ariel as your only female role model. Can I hear it for the Paper Bag Princess, please? Ella Enchanted (book not movie), anyone? But Disney's learning. Here are some of the things I liked about The Princess and the Frog:

Tiana spends over 3/4s of the movie as a frog. And while she is a more slender frog then the Frog Prince, there is nothing anorexic about her. In fact, several hillbillies try to capture her for frog leg stew.

There is no "some day my prince will come" song. Her dream is to open a restaurant (girl after my own heart). Her main relationships, before the plot thickens, are with her mother, father, and (sort of) friends. Her problems are with saving money and balancing time between work and play, not that an evil family member is making her life horrible. Can we say relate-able character? 

Tiana's friend, the rich spoiled Belle with the rich doting father, does not end up being an angry jealous villian. She supports her friend, and when she realizes she's in love, she gives her kiss, "no strings attached". More friends should be true like that.

The main villian character is visibly controlled by a dark force. Its not one guy that wants to kill and demolish and just pure evil. Which I think is more realistic: someone who has an inclination that is strengthened by a dark force until they can't control it, and it ends up (in this case literally) eating them up.

It takes place in the Bayou.

Crocodiles have personalities, and are not only good or evil.

The song about digging a little deeper. Because we all need to do that. Plus, that blind lady rocks.

French Accents.

Cool time period.

The man is helping with the restaurant at the end.

Its in original animation. To heck with the 3D crap.

The blonde-blue-eyed princess stereotype was not followed.

The mother isn't evil.

The term "Man-catchin'" is used.

All in all, a good movie. Disney, you've still got it.