Get out the popcorn! I’m going to curl in bed with The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast for old times sake. Disney’s retelling of the children’s classic The Princess and the Frog was a cosy reminder of my childhood. Catchy Broadway tunes, 2D characters, and of a course, a Princess, a Prince and a happily ever after.
But times have changed since Happily Ever Afters came along, and Disney is going with the flow as well. Princesses no longer lie around waiting for their Prince to come give them a kiss (remember Sleeping Beauty?) and they no longer have fairy godmothers to save them. Now they’re hard-working ladies who think for themselves.
Tiana, a waitress at a beat-up restaurant is working to fulfill her father’s dream of buying a dilapidated building and converting it into a restaurant. She finally gets her wish when her best friend Charlotte (the town’s local Paris Hilton) holds a giant party to welcome a Prince and hires Tiana to cater.
Sadly she is outbid and finds out she needs more money to get her building. Meanwhile, said Prince — who longs for freedom from being royalty — gets caught by the local Shadowman, who, in a catchy song and dance, proclaims he has friends on the other side to help him take over the town. He turns Prince Naveen into a frog and turns the Prince’s butler into the Prince instead.
The frog prince, who is desperate to find a Princess who will kiss him and turn him back, hops into Charlotte’s room and thinks Tiana, who has changed into her Princess costume, is the Princess and puckers up. Surprise! Tiana is turned into a frog instead.
Both go on an adventure through the rich New Orleans bayou to find Mama Odie, a Cajun voodoo lady, to turn them back. And like all Disney films, they pick up two companions, a trumpet-tooting alligator and a Cajun firefly who’s in love with a star. And as all Disney tales go, frog and frog fall in love, while singing, of course.
Tiana is charming as Disney’s new Princess. The first ever African-American Princess has the spark of a real woman who works hard for what she wants. She gives us working girls out there hope that there might be a happily ever after even for the most pessimistic of females. This Princess is able to charm little girls into looking up to her. In one particular scene where Tiana is tempted to give the Shadowman his magical talisman, one little girl in the cinema screamed out “No! No! Don’t give it to him!” amidst chuckles from the adults.
The magic of this Disney film isn’t just in the storybook cliches, but it’s also in the rich New Orleans settings where the bayou is rich in jazz, the Blues and delicious gumbo. The Cajun accent is hilarious as well and gives more heart to the film.
Without a doubt, this movie isn’t just for the kids, but serves as a great reminder on why heart-warming, 2D, family films will never die.