The Princess And The Frog

The Princess And The Frog is the return of traditional animation by Disney. The film is Disney’s own take of the fairy tail, The Frog Princess, but with a new twist. The story is about a young African American girl named Tiana. All she has ever worked for in her life was to make enough money for her own restaurant. She wishes upon a star for her dream to come true. The interesting thing is, the fairy tale of The Frog Prince actually exists in the films world and the characters are aware of it. So after making her wish upon a star, she sees a frog and sarcastically questions if she needs to kiss him to turn him into a prince. Since it is a talking frog, she finally grudgingly agrees to kiss him. Since this is a twist on the original tale, instead of the frog becoming a prince, Tiana herself becomes another frog. The story continues from there in the classic Disney animation style of the two going on an adventure while meeting new friends along the away.

I think Disney did a very good job at creating the characters of the film. They are not the stereotypical fairy tale or classic Disney characters that we are use too. This is the first Disney Princess film in a very long time to feature the Princess with a mother. Out of the eight former Disney Princesses, there has only been a single Princess with both a mother and a father. The past five Disney Princesses only had a father and no one ever mentioned a mother. In this film, Tiana actually starts with both parents until her father passes away. After his passing, Tina’s motivation is living up to her fathers dream. Which is a very strong motivation for any character. The princess himself, is actually very poor. Trying to get rich again is his motivation. This seems very shallow and negative at first, but this allows room for his character to grow and change is ways and become a more dynamic character. I even teared up during a very sad moment during one of the final scenes of the film. I was completely surprised and still unable to think of another one of Disney’s animated films to have same emotional rich plot point in the film.

Not only is The Princess And The Frog a return to traditional animation, but also the classical idea of it being a musical. I had almost forgot completely about the idea of singing in an animated film. It was very rare for any animated film over the past decade for a character to brake out in song and dance. This film featured many songs, maybe too many. I am not a fan of this musical style of animated films any more. It might of been fun when I was a kid, but I enjoy a more traditional way of telling a story now. Instead of a character braking the flow of a story by singing their feelings and motivations. The only saving grace was that it just reminded me of all my favorite classic Disney films and their song and dance numbers of my child hood. I actually enjoyed the very first song, because the character’s did not stop what they were doing to sing and dance to it, instead the music was just background music during montage like sequence. I hope Disney loses the complete musical style format, and instead make it more subtle background music.

A very important note is that, spoiler alert, Tiana does becomes a princess. This means she is the first African American Disney Princess. There had been so many Western European Princesses, a Middle Eastern princess, a Native American Princess, an Asian Princess, and even some kind type of Fish Princess. So after already having the majority of races, and even a fictional one, it was finally time for Disney to have African American Princess.

Since The Princess And The Frog is brand new, of course it is missing the nostalgia factor of all the classic Disney animated film. But I can easily see how a young generation and generations to come will classify this film in the same nostalgia category that my generation and I do for Aladdin and The Lion King.

Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire

This isĀ  easily one of the most depressing films of the year. Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire is set in 1987 and focuses on the troubled life of a young African American girl, Claireece Precious Jones, played by Gabourey Sidibe. Precious has many problems and issues in her life. I rather not spoil the problems because they are the basis for the entire film. Also, there are too many to even list, as more issues arrive and they build on top of each other through out the film.

One of the most prominent problems is Precious’ abusive mother, played by Mo’Nique. Her mother is one of the most evil characters in cinema history. The scariest part of her character is that, unlike many other cinema villains, there are people like her in the real world. The majority of the film is hard to watch, but all scenes featuring Mo’Nique are truly stomach turning. She was supposed to be a hated character so of course I was impressed by her acting. Along with the acting skills by the rest of the cast. Especially how they were all able to make themselves look so ugly and almost unrecognizable.

During emotionally scarring moments in Precious’ life, she day dreams. In these dream sequences Precious always places herself in a different better life. I felt that they were completely disconnected from the rest of the film. I understand that she used the day dreams as an escape from something completely horrible but what was shown was a completely different tone from the rest of the film and I did not enjoy them and felt they were unnecessary.

The film is, once again, unrelatable to me. I had troubles connecting with a young African American girl with so many problems. I did feel sorry for Precious. Very sorry for her and for anyone who would have to experience only a single one of her issues in an entire life time. This is what makes the film so difficult to watch. Not only do you have visually watch a character in a film experience so many problems, but you are also forced to realize that there are many people in the real world with the same issues.

I am becoming depressed by just writing the review and thinking back on the film. Since the film was unrelatable to me and I had a hard time watching it, I have to put this film as my least favorite film out of the 10 Best Picture Nominees. If you did not already know, Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire is in fact actually based on the novel Push by Sapphire.

The Blind Side

I am not into sports, especially football, but The Blind Side is not that kind of film. Football is just the rails that this movie rides on to tell a powerful moving true story. The Blind Side is about the football player Michael Oher as a young high school boy struggling at life. He is an African American who had an impoverished upbringing and no safe place to live. Everything gets turned around one day when he meets Sandra Bullock‘s character and she slowly integrates him into being part of her the family.

I originally was not interested in The Blind Side at all because I am not into sports films. It turns out that there are only two or three different scenes in the entire film where football is actually played. The overwhelming majority of the film deals with character development and the struggles of Michael Oher as he finally become part of a family.

I did enjoy the film and would recommend it to others but it is on the lower half of the list of my personal favorites out of the 10 best picture nominees of 2009. Sadly there is nothing really more to say about the film, which might be its problem.