Arts & Life

Unprecedented ‘Princess’ falls short

Disney’s newest film, “The Princess and the Frog,” takes on a classic fairy tale that is sure to grab audiences’ attention with its modern twist. But have no fear, for those who enjoy the traditional happily ever after ending, this movie has it all.

Movie directors Ron Clements and John Musker’s decision to make the “The Princess and the Frog” in 2-D is sure to bring back fans of Disney classics. The hand-drawn animation expresses an authenticity that many present computer-generated images simply do not have.

The movie, based loosely on the classic story, “The Frog Prince,” will take fans back to the styles of “Snow White,” “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty” without the feeling of it being a rehash of its predecessors.

“The Princess and the Frog” revolves around a simple working-class girl — who becomes the first African American Disney princess — named Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) from New Orleans, whose dream is to one day open up her own restaurant in the center of the French Quarters.

Instead of waiting for a fairy godmother to come make her wish come true, the 19-year-old heroine expresses that the idea of wishing upon a star is not her style and the only way to succeed is to work hard.

Disney attempts to break the stereotypical female role by making Tiana the strong, independent woman she appears to be in the beginning of the movie.

The effort is short-lived as Tiana reverts back to the traditional princess role as the damsel in distress when she meets a frog, Prince Naveen of Maldonia (Bruno Campos).

When realizing that the money coming in from her two jobs isn’t enough for the restaurant she wants, Tiana agrees to help turn Naveen back into a human by kissing him if he promises to give her money to make her dream come true.

Not only does it seem like Tiana surrenders her independence at this point, but also finds that her agreement with Naveen backfired and that the kiss had transformed her into a four-legged green amphibian.

Disney’s typical cookie-cutter love scenes begin to appear during Tiana and Naveen’s journey back to their human selves.

Tiana seems to contradict her own values of hard work by slowly letting go of her independence as she begins to rely more and more on her prince.

It seems that while Disney initially tried to incorporate a valuable life lesson through Tiana’s strong will to succeed, the message weakens when Tiana’s final success becomes dependent on how much Naveen does for her.

Falling back to old traditions of a princess in need of her prince isn’t surprising. After all, it’s Disney. Despite dissatisfaction with the plot, the upbeat music would make anyone want to dance.

Musician Randy Newman who scored the three “Toy Story” movies as well as “A Bug’s Life” and “Monsters, Inc.” creates an upbeat soundtrack that will keep audience entertained.

By incorporating the sultry sound of the saxophone with the lively trumpet tunes, Newman brings the 1920’s Jazz Age to present time.

Newman delivers songs with short, catchy tunes and lyrics that are easy to follow. The only shortcoming is that the music barely makes a dent in the audience’s memory. The song is over before it begins, leaving viewers wanting more.

I would see it again despite the holes in the character development. It’s a Disney film, intended for innocent children who just want to be entertained.

Tiana and her friends will surely attract children of all ages, so scoot over girls, there’s a new princess joining the club.

“The Princess and the Frog” opens in theatres nationwide tomorrow.

 

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