Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The Princess and the Frog (a review?)

As Disney Princess films go, I was pleased with the contemporaneity and twist on an old fairytale. The girls were largely enchanted - but of course, speaking of Enchanted, any Disney Princess film has that gem to live up to these days, and can't help but suffer by comparison. Add to that too many points where belief needed to be suspended in terms of social realism - would a rich southern white girl really be best friends with the poor black daughter of the woman who makes her dresses, for example? - and even the mouth-watering selection of New Orleans dishes featured in the movie couldn't save it falling a little flat.

But my main concern is the heavily featured presence of frogs in the film. Don't panic, I'm not frog-ist. But I'd hope I'm not racist, either. And I'm confused as to why, after all the (positive?) publicity about the film featuring Disney's first African-American princess reduces her to a green-skinned cipher, so that the audience's screen time looking at those African-American features is remarkably short compared to all the Disney heroines that have gone before.

And finally, like others have noted, the soundtrack could have done with an Alan Menken vibe - soaring ballads & more hooks - or even something even more jazzier; the Randy Newman music just wasn't great.

Oh. And what was all that gubbins about the star Evangeline & Ray the firefly's devotion to her? Pure hokum designed to wring every last bit of trite sentiment possible from an otherwise thin story - and yes, it brought a tear to my eye but I'm a crazy hormonal woman right now.

And - I'm presuming New Orleans wasn't ever actually like that, even pre-hurricane devastation. A pretty good advert for it, all the same, even if the race issues were ridiculously downplayed.

I think I'm done! Might I also just add, that we viewed the film in a faded, small movie theatre in a tired seaside resort. There was no blaring speakers, no overcharging for snacks, the kids were provided with special red cushions so they could see above the seatbacks in front, and best of all, they could play on the amusement arcade before and after. And a good time was had by all :-)

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