A few days back, it was revealed that Disney was retooling their animated Repunzel feature to be geared more towards boys. Their logic? The Princess & the Frog was a financial disappointment. Apparently, boys did not want to see a movie about a princess. Personally, I think it is because boys just do not like frogs. You know how boys hate frogs and alligators and other stuff that dominate the film. Disney has a lot of money invested in their Princess Franchises, but now they are looking at how to make those films more Boy Centric. So, how was Beauty and the Beast such a success? It is all about Belle. The male leads are not the focus of the film. It’s really all about Belle. And families went to that in droves. I worked in a movie theater at the time. And little boys were exiting as thrilled with the experience as the little girls. It was a family experience.
Instead of trying to pander to little boys, maybe Disney needs to focus on good films that appeal to all genders and ages. People of all ages and genders seem to love Pixar movies. Instead of worrying about getting one segment, how about bringing the family together? Furthermore, it is so very tragic that Disney is so willing to chuck young girls under the bus.
And now that I have seen the Princess and the Frog? I think it is a shame it wasn’t a greater success. Tiana is a great Disney Princess. She is her own agent, she has active dreams beyond getting a man (and the film pokes fun at that with Tiana’s rich childhood friend obsessed with finding a prince). She is a terrific role model for young girls, one of the best in the Princess line.
Frankly, it was refreshing to see a movie where white people were strictly background or supporting roles. Of the humans, the biggest roles are people who are not white. And I also liked that Tiana and her family did not look like white cartoon characters with tans.
The setting of New Orleans also really worked for me. It’s really the closest thing to a folk tale like magical place in America. The music was quite strong (especially boosted by the terrific singing of Anika Noni Rose). And hand drawn animation! It looked excellent on Blu-Ray. It would be a crime to see this return to the hand drawn animation given up on.
I am very confident in recommending this film, it was a fun musical adventure, with likable characters. Sit down with the kids and watch it. I suspect your boys will like it as well.
While it was not perfect, it was a stronger film than I expected and there is a lot to appreciate. Plus? Keith David makes any movie better.