film 7 of 8

The Princess and the Frog

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 16, 2015

There we were, avoiding this latest Disney concoction like crazy. What’s wrong with us?—it’s fun! And nice too. Let’s look for alternatives, and condemn corporate practice, and all of that other healthy contrarian stuff. But if the product provides a profit for the producer, and simple, familiar, reassuring pleasure for the patron, who’s to complain? Of course the tired formulae are all in place, but as three chords I/IV/V show, the old thing, gussied up a bit, is sometimes as good as new.

It seems to me that the film’s correctness objective—let’s have a black Disney princess—is both laudable and admirably executed. Just as important as the ethnic perspective, there’s class and region too. With all of those structural Disney clichés, all those tics and mannerisms, we could well see The Princess and the Frog as a homogenization of that diversity. I guess that’s true, or it could be. But there’s an easy solution to that problem. Read, watch, do heterogeneous things. Seek and find the particular. When you do so, you can happily enjoy efforts like this, which now stand as an affirmation of common ground in the midst of all of our difference. Trial, transcendence, solitude, union. Well done!

I like Jim the firefly. There’s a bravery to his whole character trajectory that’s a little bit more than just mechanicals (cf. Midsummer Night’s Dream) sentimentality. Ideology and its entrapments, but also myth and its consolations. That sorceress is also some humdinger.