Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Princess And The Frog

Image Source: Walt Disney Pictures

At long last, about 75 years to be exact, Disney has created a fairy tale that centers around African-Americans that you can see, not just hear! The highly anticipated "The Princess and the Frog" is finally here! That means enough brown paint and pencils were acquired to give little black girls a Disney character that looks like them. "Oh happy day!"

No diss to Mulan, Pocahantas, Jasmine, Ariel, Snow White, and the others, but there ain't nothing like having your own! Princess Tiana fills the obvious void and thanks to great promotion, "The Princess and the Frog" will be a successful part of the Disney princess franchise forever.

The Story

Tiana dreams of one day having her own restaurant in the heart of New Orleans' Jazz Quarter. Everyone in town knows she's got a culinary gift, but few believe she'll turn her dream into a reality. So she diligently works two jobs, sacrifices time with friends, and saves her money to buy her first property.

Her childhood friend is the spoiled, exuberant Charlotte (Remember Sandra Dee?). Her father, "Big Daddy" LeBouff, is the wealthiest man in town and hires Tiana's mother, Eudora, as a seamstress. When they were little girls Eudora read the fairy tale of a princess kissing a frog and turning him into a prince to them while she worked. Little Charlotte loved the story, Tiana not so much, especially the kissing the reptile part.

Fast forward some years. When news spreads that the handsome Naveen, Prince of fictitious Maldonia, is coming to town to enjoy the jazz scene, Charlotte thanks her lucky stars. However, what Charlotte doesn't realize is that her shining prince is not exactly what he seems. The prodigal heir has been cut-off from his family's wealth and once in town gets involved with Dr. Facilier, the local voodoo practitioner.

Seeing an opportunity to worm his way into the LeBouff fortune, Facilier turned the Prince into a frog and his manservant, Lawrence, into the Prince. In order to break the spell, Naveen must kiss a princess. Seeing Tiana at Charlotte's costume party dressed beautifully as a princess, he convinces her to kiss him with the promise that once he's human he'll buy her a restaurant. What results is something a trip to the clinic won't cure. Pretty, brown Tiana is now a green, slimy, frog. Can you say "rrrrribbit"?

There's nothing more beautiful than green love, but how will Naveen & Tiana become human again? The answer lies with the old, blind conjure woman, Mama Odie, who lives deep in the Louisiana Bayou. Strangers to the Bayou the green couple acquire two friendly guides, a toothy, horn playing alligator named Louis, and a near toothless firefly with an illuminating derriere, named Ray. Together they face the dangers of the Bayou to reach Mama Odie's.

What happens next you'll have to see for yourself! "The Princess and the Frog" is a wonderful animated movie experience if you're a youngster or just young at heart. The musical performances especially capture the essence of New Orleans flavor along with Firefly Ray, whose Cajun accent is as thick as your favorite gumbo. The producers, actors, and animators did a wonderful job in keeping everything authentic to the city.

"The Princess and the Frog" opens December 11th. Earlier this week I went to a special screening on the Disney Lot with Digital LA. SeeEnjoy the slide show.

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