The Princess and the Frog

Posted on 30 May 2010. Filed under: Book Reviews | Tags: , , |

I was sent this movie to review and asked a friend to come over with her young son as my kids are in the wrong demographic and I wanted to get a young person’s take on it.

This movie was loosely based on The Frog Prince originally written by the Brothers Grimm. You know the story line with The Frog Prince…prince turned into frog and needs princess to kiss him to turn him back, yes? This movie was rather turned around and I liked it. The prince is turned into a frog and needs a princess to kiss him to turn him back, which is fine, but there aren’t any princesses around and the girl he thinks is a princess, isn’t. She kisses him anyway and is turned into a frog, this is the story of how they’re turned back into humans. While looking for a way to change back into human form they make some friends in the form of Louis, an alligator and Ray, a firefly.

Every good Disney story needs a villain and Keith David obliges with the voice for Dr. Facilier. There are also shadows who can attack the humans and the animals, there’s other animals helping the frogs and some lovely singing. Anika Noni Rose does the voice of our heroine, Tiana, and has a lovely singing voice. Bruno Campos voices our hero, Prince Naveen and Oprah Winfrey voices Tiana’s mother, Eudora.

There are a number of issues dealt with in this movie. It’s okay to have a dream, but wishing won’t make it come true, you really need to work at it. What you need is not always what you want. Other issues they deal with are death, funerals and a concept of heaven.

There is a little violence. Some is rather slapstick, in that Prince Naveen gets slapped flat with a book, twice, with a book titled, The Frog Prince. Some men are hunting frogs for their legs and there is some violence there until one of the frogs starts talking, at which point the men row away at top speed. When Tiana is a frog she is grabbed by the shadows and my friend’s young son was rather frightened by this scene.

Other things you need to know about this movie. It’s set in New Orleans in the 1920s and the hero and heroine are not white, they are both coloured and Tiana is patronised quite severely due to her gender and skin colour. We both looked at each other with pleasure as it is such a change to have both lead characters of colour.

Yes, I liked the movie. I found it quite enjoyable, it was really good to see stereotypes challenged in a way that young kids can understand. I liked the songs and the animation was nicely done.

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John Carter of Mars

Posted on 5 September 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

It’s interesting how the future can hang on a decision. I was recently in email conversation with the fabulous Jody Lynn Nye and she mentioned John Carter of Mars had been close to becoming animation back in 1936. The animator at the time was Bob Clampett and you can find some footage hereof his early work on the project. It’s fabulous and really captures the essence of John Carter as I’d visualised him when I read it as a child. Pixar have taken over the project a mere 76 years after Bob Clampett was steered away from Edgar Rice Burroughs work towards Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. John Carter of Mars as portrayed by Pixar will be released in 2012 with the incredibly busy Willem Dafoe as Tars Tarkas, Taylor Kitsch as John Carter and Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris.

In hindsight I can understand why they did Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs instead of John Carter. At the time they tended towards the mainstream and tried to please the masses. Science fiction was very much on the fringes of society (a theme I’ll be exploring in the future when I start looking at pulp magazines) and much harder to accept so it would not have gone down as well if they had done John Carter instead of Snow White. I can’t help wondering what would have happened if Walt Disney had given the ok to finish John Carter. There are a number of possibilities and considering the enormous influence Walt Disney has had on the movie industry and on the world as a whole it would probably have made major changes to society.

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