The Princess and the Frog Review
Like generations of children growing up, I was a big fan of Disney movies, particularly the cartoons. Films like the “The Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty & the Beast, (my personal favorites) were all so wonderfully imaginative, with their eclectic cast of characters, highlighted by great music and supported by solid plots and strong story lines. However, as I grew older, and started to better understand the subtle life lessons incorporated in the films, I couldn’t help but feel that a unique perspective was missing from the Disney lineup.
In my head, I saw an American story; a narrative that touched on the class disparity in this country, but celebrated the spirit and dedication of its people. I envisioned a story where the heroine was beautiful, strong and independent, but needed life to happen before she and others would realize just how special she truly was. And because I grew up watching Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Belle and others, I unapologetically wanted my new Disney princess to resemble the women that inspired me to want to write the story in the first place – in Disney’s latest family classic, “The Princess & the Frog, I got my wish and so much more.
The Princess & the Frog tells the tale of Disney’s first African-American princess, but that’s really only part of the story. The setting of the film takes place in New Orleans, La, which provides the perfect backdrop for a family adventure consisting of music, Mardi Gras, voodoo magic, unique dialects and of course, New Orleans cuisine. Further, it highlights the importance of family, community and friendship. There was a particular scene in the film where the heroine, as a little girl, made her first pot of gumbo, and it was so good that instead of her family just having it all to themselves, they shared it with all of their neighbors. I smiled because that’s the America that I know and reminded me of specific events from my childhood.
For years, Disney has expressed in song that, “When you wish upon a star…anything your heart desires will come to you,” but in the film, this sentiment was taken a step further. The message - wishing for a dream was only half the battle, the other half required hard work and determination. In other words, the real “magic” behind a wish is the effort you exert to make your dreams come true.
I loved the stories and life lessons ascertained from the film. Walt Disney Corporation, a company that has made billions on selling the dream now offers that life is no fairytale. Somewhere along the way, you will experience disappointment, sadness and sometimes the unexpected loss of a friend. During your travels you will encounter people that will not always have your best interests at heart. You will be faced with decisions that will challenge your morality and all that you believe in, and there will come a moment when you will have to make a choice between “what you need and what you want”. But through it all, if you set a plan to succeed and persevere through the tough times, anything your heart desires really will come true.
Adults should see, The Princess & the Frog, because for an hour and a half it will take you back to your childhood when you still believed in the fairytale. And parents should take their children to see this film because it is Walt Disney once again doing what they do best, while at the same time doing something that they have never done before.