Even this cynical, princess-wary mama fell in love with the hip story, the engaging characters, the fantastic jazz, big band, and cajun-infused soundtrack, and a whole lot of references to beignets. And most of all, the clear, powerful message that wishing on stars only gets you so far–hard work takes you the rest of the way.
(Thank you for that Disney; you just made my job a whole lot easier.)
Considering how much pressure was probably on Disney to do right by
their first African-American princess, I’d say they nailed it. Tiana makes for a strong, contemporary, self-actualized lead. If your
girls need to pick an animated princess as a role model, I’d
say this is a good one. She could kick Ariel’s scaly butt
In fact the script
strikes just the right balance between the historical reality of being Black in jazz-era New Orleans and trademark
Disney Magic. Oh, and humor. (Props to screenwriters Ron Clements, John
Musker, and Rob Edwards.)
The story borrows a lot if its beats from The Wizard of Oz – a group of misfits on a perilous journey to meet the one person who can help them figure out whether what they want is what they need. But it feels so original, and so well produced, you can sense John “Pixar” Lasseter’s deft hands all over this. I was particularly struck by how spot-on perfect the casting is; you will spend your time enveloped in the story and not trying to figure out which celebrities they got. Although the talented John Goodman, as always, is impossible to miss as Big Daddy, the actual scene-stealers are names you probably don’t know at all.
Plan on seeing The Princess and the Frog twice; if you spend as much time watching your kids’ faces as I did, no doubt there’s something good that you missed.
More like this, Disney. More, more! –Liz