Most of you will probably not know “Kiss the Girl” from Peter André, but it was one of the theme songs from Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID and for a long time one of my favourite songs. Ah, the good old days when we were young and in love. However we are not talking about this Disney classic, but about THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG. One of the latest movie from the studios most of us know from childhood. So is this movie a true classic to the genre or is this just another ENCHANTED (or do I dare to say ENCHANTED part 2?).
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG tells us the story of how the princess got changed into the frog, when trying to kiss the cursed prince. This is a version not many of you probably may know. The intro of the movie tells the classic version, where a princess kisses a frog which changes back to a handsome prince. They get married and live happily ever after. This movie however tells the story based upon E.D. Baker’s novel THE FROG PRINCESS, which was inspired by THE FROG PRINCE from the Grimm brothers. So this time when the “princess” kisses the frog (prince) she is turned into a frog herself.
Now from a Disney perspective this version is something different than the classic stories. The company tried to do the same with stories like ENCHANTED and with the more recent ALICE IN WONDERLAND. But does this actually help the genre? And better yet, does this change make THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG still worthy to be another Disney-princess-classic?
The movie is set in New Orleans during the Roaring Twenties and tells the story of Tiana. A hard working girl trying to save up money for her own restaurant, a dream her father also had. So to achieve this, she works like a slave trying to realise her dream. If I stand correct she works double shifts with 2 different jobs and all seems well when she finally is able to make the down payment for a abandoned factory. Only her dream gets shattered when the real-estate men tell her someone else is willing to pay full cash for it…
Of course – this being Disney – it is at this moment that fate brings her prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) in his cursed frog form. This broke ass prince made a deal with the Voodoo doctor Facilier (Keith Davids) only to realise he has been tricked. It is here the adventure really starts when Tiana kisses Naveen, only to be turned into a frog herself. They embark on a journey to restore their body, follow their dreams and to (eventually) fall in love. – You did not see that coming right? They were the only two black people in the entire movie! – During their adventures they also have to escape some hunters, shadow spirits and endure a strong psychological test from Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis). Of course they do not have to do this all by themselves, they get help from a Cajun firefly Ray (Jim Cummings) and a trumpeteering alligator Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley). Put these characters together and you get yourself a diverse and interesting group.
As stated above, the movie is set in New Orleans during the Roaring Twenties, which brings us to the music. The movie is completely shot like a full Broadway musical. This fits perfectly with the way the story is being told. Add the great Jazz music and you got yourself one swinging Disney movie. To understand what I mean, just watch a short song from the movie below:
So this brings us back to our original question: “Is THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG a true Disney classic?”
– we got a poor girl *check*
– we got a poor girl with big dreams *check*
– we got a charming prince *check*
– we got good vs. evil theme *check*
– we got a movie full of “wise lessons” for young and old *check*
– we got great music *check*
These points deem this movie to be a Disney Princess classic. Also not to forget, with THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG Disney returns to the classic roots of 2D (with their last 2D movie HOME ON THE RANGE dating back to 2004!) and take a great step versus the controversiality with Tiana being the first black princess in the history of Disney story telling.
So a true Disney princess classic? I wholeheartly say yes.