Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Princess and The Frog

The Princess and The Frog is a remarkably clever film, with interesting details and metaphors. For those who speak French, did you notice the puns? There are couple, among them is the character Dr. Facilier ( facil means easy french). When Tiana's father said don't take the easy way out, who knew he meant it literally. So Dr. Facilier = Dr. Easy, how ironic.

Previous Disney films have been known to contain mixed messages implied towards young women. It is true that these movies were created in a different era, and Disney has been trying to head in the right direction. What are interesting are the metaphorical representations of the characters Charlotte and Tiana.

Charlotte is a metaphorical representation for Disney’s previous films in regards to women. Charlotte a product of fairytale culture, she is a woman who is fixated on marrying a prince; and like all previous Disney characters she is a kindhearted person, and a loyal friend.

The protagonist Tiana is Disney's representation of a more modern woman. She is hard-working, driven, filled with passion. In the film, Tiana's goal is not finding Prince charming, but to accomplish the dream of opening a restaurant. Tiana conjures up the female role models of the 90s; strong career women who are willing to go above and beyond to make their dreams come true. As Tiana says, “I don’t have time for messing around”.

The two characters are representations of two extremes, Charlotte represents old Disney, Tiana represents a modern 90’s women. Where is the happy medium? Enter Prince Naveen. His character is a relic of the past, an old-fashioned playboy who is lazy and has no work ethic. Despite all this, he is a valuable character in a way that he brings two important lessons to this film. 1) To learn to live in the present moment this is reminiscent of the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. 2) That true love is something that inspires you to change to be a better person. Prince Naveen is the unlikely instrument that is used to point out the flaws in 90’s women work ethic. It is wonderful to have a dream and goals, but one must never lose sight of what’s important in order to achieve them. We are just starting to learn this as a society.

The film is reflecting of our current state mind. Disney may not have created the female figure representing 2010, maybe that’s because we as a society are just coming to terms with the past two decades. What is important is the larger message that is being sent. As Mama Odie said, We all need something. Prince Naveen needed to learn to stand on his own two feet, Tiana needed to learn to live in the present moment and not lose sight of what's important, and Charlotte will hopefully learn that you don't need to a prince to be happy. It’s Disney's attempts at portraying humanity, that we’re a kaleidoscope of people who have our good points and our flaws that we all need each other to learn and grow as people.

I want to personally say it was pleasure see a 2-D animated film from Disney after so many years. I think that it's about high time that Disney returns to its 2-D animation roots after a long hiatus.

TY to Tomm Moore for inspiring me to write this.

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