From The Hollywood Reporter

‘Princess’ reigns at weekend boxoffice
Disney’s animated film pulls in $25 million

By Carl DiOrio

Dec 13, 2009, 01:11 PM ET

Updated: Dec 13, 2009, 02:25 PM ET

Disney’s animated feature “The Princess and the Frog” leaped into first place in the domestic boxoffice with an estimated $25 million weekend performance roughly in line with pre-release expectations.

I went to see The Princess & the Frog this weekend. I wasn’t the only single person there, and I was thrilled to see so many little Black girls with their parents.

As for the movie, I really liked it.

The animation was terrific, and it was so good to see ANIMATION again. Nothing against PIXAR or any of those other companies, but there’s something still soothing about watching beautiful animation. Tiana was a beautiful intelligent child that grew up to be a beautiful, intelligent woman. I loved that she had 2 loving parents that supported her dreams, and saw that her talent for good food WAS her gift.

Tiana was a terrific choice for a Princess. She was relatable because, well, she was a BLACK Princess, and I don’t mean her skin color. Her story was something many of the adults could relate to in the audience. She was told by her parents that if she had a dream, she had to work hard for it, because it just wasn’t going to come to her because she wished upon a shining star. So, Tiana became single-minded in her pursuit of what she believed was her goal – to own her own restaurant. It was what drove her; why she worked numerous jobs. How many Black women grew up having parents to tell them that they better ‘ get that education if you want to accomplish something for yourself’. Tiana didn’t have a formal education, but you could see that she took the craft of cooking seriously, and did what she had to do in order to improve her skills.

When she got close to her dream, of course, this is the point in the story where the bottom falls out for Tiana, and she makes a decision based on desperation – to kiss the Prince that had turned into a frog. She does it because she wants the money Naveen is promising her for her restaurant. But, it backfires, and she turns into a frog herself.

Now, this is part where I thought I would have a problem with the movie – that Tiana spends so much time as a frog. But, the truth is, the animation and story, and the voicing done by Anika Noni Rose, never let me for one moment forget that this is Tiana – whether in human form or not. To be honest, I think NAVEEN being a frog is the reason why I warmed up to his character. I wasn’t feeling the non-Black Prince in the first place, and Naveen is a shallow, spoiled playboy with few redeemable qualities at the beginning of the movie. I don’t know if I would have seen his transformation into a suitable partner for Tiana without HIM being a frog.

As for the villain in the movie, yes, he’s Black, but have you ever known any WHITE voodoo people in the movies? Disney balances this out by having the ‘good’ Voodoo person in the movie also be Black. IF you’re going to do a story based in New Orleans and need a way to explain how humans can turn into frogs, voodoo is the reason of choice in the movies.

Then there was a criticism of the toothless firefly, that seemed to be ‘ simple’, but turned out to be wise beyond his years, because of his faith and love.

In the end, Tiana got what really mattered – true love [wouldn’t be a DISNEY movie without that theme], and because of that, she got her other ‘material’ dream too – through hard work. Naveen was worthy of Tiana, and was a changed better man because of it.

I totally enjoyed the movie, and can’t wait to watch it one day with Peanut.


In the end, isn’t this who Princess & the Frog is for?

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