On November 23, 2009, I had the opportunity to attend a private screening for ‘Princess & The Frog’. As soon as the movie started, I was captivated. With the movie taking place in New Orleans, I noticed that Disney had gone back to their original hand-drawn animation, fairy tales, and musical numbers. I knew I was in for a treat.
The movie stars Anika Noni Rose as the voice of Tiana, Bruno Campos as the voice of Prince Naveen, Keith David as the voice of Dr. Facillier, Jennifer Lewis as the voice of Mama Odie, Jim Cunningham as Ray the Firefly, and Oprah and Terrance Howard as the voices of Tiana’s parents.
Everyone knows the story in which a princess finds true love by kissing a frog that turns him into a handsome prince. However, in this rendition, the girl still kisses a frog, but the outcome is different.
Tiana is not the typical princess. She daydreams about personal success, and a thriving business, not of far away kingdoms and castles. She treasures her mother, and holds her father dear to her heart, and believes she can achieve her ambitions if she works hard enough. Tiana has no time for romance and barely enjoys life, which some say is her downfall.
Prince Naveen comes to town from his far off kingdom in Maldonia. He’s spoiled, irresponsible, has irresistible charm, and a love for jazz music. Prince Naveen meets up with the devious smooth operator Dr. Facillier, who works his magical spells, and uses his mysterious, menacing, and dangerous charm, to get what he wants and make a connection to “friends on the other side.’
Dr. Facillier winds up wreaking havoc on both Tiana and Prince Naveen, which they have to get themselves out of, while embarking on a wonderful journey. This allows them to meet some friends along the way including Louis the swamp hipster, Ray the Firefly and Mama Odie, the 197 year old magic queen.
In all seriousness, this is a movie that you WANT to take your daughters to go see. I feel like Anika did a great job as Tiana.
I recently had the chance to sit down with Ms. Rose and talk to her about the film. We spoke about how she felt when she landed the role. “I can honestly say that this is a dream come true for me. Since I was little kid, I wanted to work for Disney, and I didn’t need to be the princess. I would have been a tick or a flea!”
In response to the fact that some may think this movie is racist, Anika says: “I am not a blog reader, sorry. I once read a blog that hurt my feelings so bad and I was like ‘Ooh, don’t need to read that!’ I also haven’t read the reviews because I feel like you run the risk of becoming ether so clumped up that you cant touch the ground, or so hurt that its hard to see the goodness in something. At some point, I will read the reviews when all is said and done. Im really, really, happy about what I’ve created and I want it to stay that way. I don’t want to be brought down. I’m very proud of this.”
We are proud of you, too. Go see the movie this weekend!
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