Why Princess and the Frog Doesn’t Bother Me

Posted on March 3, 2011

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It really doesn’t. It was actually one of the loveliest movies I’ve watched in a long time. I could stare at the backgrounds for hours, and watching it fills me with a simple joy. I love it.

That being said, Beauty and the Beast, in that way of irrational fan-love, is still my favorite Disney movie–even though, according to my idea of what relationships should be, The Princess and the Frog is a much better movie. Instead of a perfect girl and a flawed guy, we have two equally flawed people who meet each other, learn and grow, and finally get together because they’ve realized they benefit from each other, that this person not only makes them happy but encourages them to develop as a person.

People may hem and haw about Tiana, the first black princess, is also the first princess to emphasize hard work. If they do, they are ignoring the main point it makes about Tiana’s hard work: it’s important, but other things are just as important. In my mind, Tiana’s story is more about balance. After all, in the end, she gets her restaurant, and it’s still by hard work and determination. She just has a much more balanced life in regards to love and friendship.

Yes, that’s what I like about her. Tiana is not perfect. She’s smart, feisty, and determined, but she’s also quick to judge, set in her ways, and strangely timid in any area of life that isn’t related to waitressing or cooking. Unlike Belle–as much as it kills me to admit it–she is a well-rounded, developed character. (If her arc’s a little simple–eh, it’s a kid’s movie. From Disney’s point of view, we should be stunned they gave her character at all and didn’t just design her for maximum marketability.)

Similarly for Naveen. His flaws are certainly emphasized more: he’s greedy, fly-by-night, and a womanizer, but he’s also kind, generous, and surprisingly honest with himself. He’s neither totally good nor totally bad, but a mixture of both, like real people are.

And, just like real people (ideally, at least), when these two come together, they manage to lift each other up, past their flaws, and realize their potential. Naveen straightens out; Tiana loosens up. And the rest is history.

I might watch Princess and the Frog and wish they had slowed things down. I might wish Alan Menken scored it (not that there’s anything wrong with Randy Newman–I just really love Alan Menken). I might wish they had thought of a better ending than ripping off Anastasia. But this is one Disney movie I can watch without ever feeling bad for shipping the couple, and that is a wonderful thing.

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