Sitting in the dark theater to see the new Harry Potter flick last night and the trailers came on and the first film to be previewed was an animated film from Disney called “The Princess & The Frog”. It appears to be a movie about an African-American princess from New Orleans who kisses a frog and is turned into a frog. It looks to have musical dance numbers ala “Mary Poppins” and villains ala “The Little Mermaid” and lots of bayou ambiance ala “The Rescuers”. And I have to ask…why?
First off, this is old school animation. I’m not saying its a dead format but the animation that I saw looked very flat and single dimensional (which is essentially what cel animation is). Not good considering today’s technology allows for so much more depth and vivid imagery. I can’t imagine anyone over the age of 2 will find it to be interesting.
Secondly, it became fairly obvious to me that this was Disney’s attempt at having an African-American princess in its arsenal of sales. I would imagine that with the kind of popularity that the Princess line generates, it makes fiscal sense to have a princess for everyone. I mean, you have Mulan & Jasmine & Pocahontas representing for those minority groups, why not have an African-American princess, right? And I can’t argue that it WILL be good to have a representative for little girls everywhere who have been wondering why a princess of their race doesn’t exist. What I will argue though is why Disney apparently slammed together a film that looks like a third rate straight to DVD release instead of doing something classy? I mean, seriously, this film just looks like a retread of so many OTHER Disney films and the trailer looks terrible!
I am of the mindset that even the Mouse House needs cash flow, so for them to release a cel-based animated film once every 5 years or so is understandable. They get some movement at the box office and then the big deal is the DVD release. The last good non-Pixar animated film that Disney released, in my opinion, is “The Lion King” from 1994. Since then, films such as “Pocahontas” & “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” have become tediously boring movies with substandard animation and a lack of imagination. And this film doesn’t look to break out of that mold.
I guess I am just disappointed that Disney, with all of it’s creative ability, can’t come up with a better idea for a film to represent an entire population of little girls. It has been too long for them to represent with a new addition to such a popular line and to see what they came up with is a huge disappointment. It’s almost embarrassing really. And it just goes to prove that anymore it’s all about the money…even for the most magical company on earth.