The Princess and the Frog (spoilers within)

Seeing The Princess and the Frog was kind of a big deal for me. Not because she's the first African-American Disney Princess... I don't really care about stuff like that (did we make a big deal when Jasmine or Pocahontas hit the scene?). It was a big deal because - excluding computer generated movies - it was the first animated Disney movie I've seen in the theater since 2002, and the first musical Disney movie I've seen since 1994.

More so than that, I'm not a Disney Princess person. Ariel and Belle are the only ones I really like. Other than that, I really could not get into them*.

Tiana, however, is easily the most awesome Disney Princess created, and the movie was amazing.

The Story: The Princess and the Frog is loosely based on the novel "The Frog Princess" by E.D. Baker. Disney's interpretation tells the story of Tiana, a young New Orleans girl who vows she will never need a prince and will instead open a restaurant with her father... something easier said then done. Obsessed with her dream, Tiana becomes the very definiton of "all work, no play", working 2 jobs and pulling double shifts to afford a down payment for her restaurant.

It seems her hard work finally pays off when her best friend - Charlotte LeBeouf - pays her big bucks to cook at a ball she is holding in honor of Prince Naveen. Little do they know, the 20 year old, superficial, gregarious prince was tricked by the "Shadowman" - a local voodoo/palm reader - and turned into a frog.

Tiana's world is turned upside down when she is tricked into kissing the frog version of Prince Naveen, and is turned into a frog herself! Naveen and Tiana then head deep into the Bayou in search of Mama Odie to have the curse reversed. While on their journey, they encounter many characters like Louise - an alligator that plays a mean jazz trumpet - and Ray, a firefly that is in love with a bright star he's named Evangeline. Naveen and Tiana also learn a lot, not only about each other, but about themselves, and ultimately learn the difference between what you want, and what you need.


There is so much about this movie that made me love it.

The New Orleans setting was absolutely to die for. Something about the accents made me love the characters that much more... and the characters themselves were so loveable! Naveen very much reminded me of Ezio Auditore... a huge play boy that you hated, but couldn't help but love at the same time. Tiana was perfect as well. You felt all her pain, wanted so badly for her to succeed, since she was working soooo hard. The Shadowman was a very classic Disney villain, very much like Scar or Ursula. He was delightfully dastardly and and wonderfully wicked. Louise and Ray were both wonderful additions to the cast as well, and for some reason I found myself connecting very much with Tiana's father. Even Charlotte was great... annoying in a loveable way.

The music is easily my favorite in Disney history with, of course, a few exceptions**. I love jazz, and am greatly impressed with how they kept the magic of the music alive while still supplying the audience with the showtune-esque numbers Disney is known for. Such gems as "Dig A Little Deeper", "Almost There", and "When We're Human" are all shining spots in this movie. But most noteable is The Shadowman's number, "Friends On The Other Side". This song could hold its own against such numbers as "Be Prepared", "Poor Unfortunate Souls," and "Kill the Beast".

But the best thing about this movie, in my opinion, is the message it sends. Unlike a number of older Disney films, the love story (stories?) in this one is much more pure*** and the life lesson is a far better one to follow. It stresses the difference between what you want in life, and what you need. It teaches you that you can't get what you want simply by wishing on a star, that if you want your dreams to come true, you have to put in a bit of old fashioned hard work.


The one downside to this movie is the Shadowman is a little too dark and evil, to the point where he's scary. I'm 21, and some of the shadow creatures he summoned freaked me out, I can't imagine what they do to the kids. There are a number of scenes that can freak kids out, from the end of "Friends On The Other Side", to the shadow creatures, to the talking with the Voodoo Masks. There's just a lot of dark, evil, scary things that may scare children.

So, overall, I give it a 9.5 out of 10. Wonderful wonderful movie, but the scaring children potential is kind of silly, seeing as it's directed at children.

*I've said before that Pocahontas is my favorite Disney Princess, and that's true, she is. But only because she's an Indian like me. I don't care much for her movie. Like I discussed with someone today, tell the children all the little fairytales you want, but don't dork up history.
**The exceptions of course being The Lion King and Mulan... it's really hard to beat Mulan.

Tiana and Naveen fall in love with each other while they're frogs. Naveen has been cut off from his inheritance due to his party all night lifestyle, and Tiana is a waitress trying to make ends meet. They have virtually no money. And they fall in love as frogs!! Not to mention, Naveen realizes he's in love with Tiana when Mama Odie tells him to dig deep and find out what he needs in life. He feels like he needs her! And he's willing to marry Charlotte to get Tiana the money for the restaurant and thus help her realize her dream, because he loves her so much. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I love love LOVE that. And how Tiana abandones her dream when she realizes that Naveen loves her, and that she loves him... so beautiful. "My dream won't be complete without you." *tears*

The most amazing thing to me was when they decided to stay as frogs, that it was okay because they were in love, and would be alright as long as they could be together. There hasn't been a Disney love story that pure since Beauty and the Beast.

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