Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Prince Naveen: You know, waitress, I finally figured out what is wrong with you. Princess Tiana: Have you, now? Prince Naveen: You do not know how to have FUN. There. Somebody had to say it. Princess Tiana: Thank you, 'cause I figured out what your problem is too. Prince Naveen: I am... too wonderful? [the branch Tiana was holding smacks him backwards] Princess Tiana: No, you're a no-count, philandering, lazy bump on a log. Prince Naveen: Ahaha... [fakes a cough] Prince Naveen: KILLJOY. Princess Tiana: What'd you say? Prince Naveen: Ah, nothing. [fakes another cough] Prince Naveen: STICK IN THE MUD. Princess Tiana: Listen here, mister. This stick in the mud has had to work two jobs her whole life while you've been sucking on a silver spoon chasing chamber maids around your - your ivory tower! Prince Naveen: [glances away] Actually, it's polished marble. ~From Disney's The Princess and the Frog I'll admit it; I'm a sucker for Disney princess movies. I tried to take my kids to see "The Princess and the Frog" a few months ago but it was sold out. We ended up having to see "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakel;" which will likely go down as one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I'm still embarrassed for Wendie Malick, but I digress as usual. Disney released "The Princess and the Frog" last year to surprisingly little fanfare; especially considering that the movie features the first black princess. Based loosely on the novel The Frog Princess, the movie follows the story of a young waitress named Tiana who dreams of opening her own restaurant; a dream she inherited from her father. But achieving that dream isn't easy in 1920's New Orleans no matter how many job Tiana works or how many jars of pennies she saves and her dream is in danger of slipping through her fingers. Naveen, a handsome prince from Maldonia, arrives in New Orleans looking for a wealthy bride. Charming, but lazy, Naveen has been cut off from his inheritance and he's looking for a woman to fund his extravagant lifestyle. And the perfect woman appears in the form of Tiana's best friend Charlotte, a wealthy heiress who has been dreaming of marrying a prince since childhood. It doesn't take long for Dr. Facilier, a voodoo master, to eye Naveen and his put-upon servant Lawrence as a means to use them both to get at Charlotte's money. By casting a voodoo spell on Naveen and Lawrence, Dr. Facilier turns Naveen into a frog and gives Lawrence the appearance of the young prince and promises of wealth and importance if he'll cooperate with his devious plot. A series of misunderstands brings Naveen and Tiana together and Naveen convinces Tiana to kiss him in hopes of breaking the spell. But the kiss, rather than turn Naveen back into a human, turns Tiana into a frog. "The Princess and the Frog" is very old-school Disney. The plot is something of a boiler-plate with the spunky female lead, the slightly clueless male lead and a host of talking creatures, but it still works. Stylistically it reminded me a lot of "Hercules," (the musical numbers featuring the Muses comes to mind) and it seemed like Disney remembered what made it's previous films so enjoyable. Tiana is a great character for little girls; right up there with Belle and Mulan (my personal favories). Determined to succeed through hard work, Tiana faces challenges head on and never looks to anyone else to make her feel complete. And while it wouldn't be a Disney princess film without the romance, Tiana never has to sacrifice a part of herself to get her prince and I like that. Like all Disney films it'll make you laugh and maybe even jerk a few tears out of you and it's a genuinely sweet story. This will definitely end up on my list of favorites.