Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Dec. 10, 2009

A welcome kiss for Disney

by Mandy Xu, News and Entertainment editor
Over 70 years ago, "Snow White" broke the boundaries of film. Not only was it the first full-length color feature in motion picture history, but it also created a magical legacy that would capture hearts around the world. Unfortunately, there has been over a decade's hiatus in Disney's magic, with the last Disney Princess movie, "Mulan," released in 1998. Nevertheless, on Dec. 11, "The Princess and the Frog" is sure to continue the Disney lineage, as well as cross some lines of its own.

Traditional Disney animation is back with "The Princess and the Frog." <i>Picture courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios.</i>
Traditional Disney animation is back with "The Princess and the Frog." Picture courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios.
This enchanting animation will be the first of the Disney Princess franchises to feature a black leading lady. The writers at Disney created the right character at the right time - a Disney film starring a dark-skinned princess has been long overdue. The Disney Princess movies of the 1990s paved the way to increased diversity, with Middle Eastern Princess Jasmine in "Aladdin," a Native American Pochahontas and a Chinese Mulan. However, there was never a black Disney Princess. With the inauguration of President Obama and the confirmation of Supreme Judge Sotomayer this year, the nation is obviously eager for change. The new millennium is the perfect period for a new princess to take the crown.

The positive aspects of the Disney tradition are also thankfully here to stay. In a culture accustomed to gimmicky 3D films, "The Princess and the Frog" is a true gem. These days, Disney's traditional formula has been replaced by ostentatious special effects in films such as "G-Force and "Chicken Little." The classic 2D animation in the "Princess and the Frog" is refreshing, and relies entirely on the director's competence in creating entertainment instead of the manipulation of effects. The artists working on "The Princess and the Frog" even went back to basics. They utilized pencil and paper to hand draw the scenes before scanning the sketches into computers, according to the Animation World Network.

In "The Princess and the Frog," Disney also wisely returns to the musical style that prompted successful Disney Princess classics. The light-hearted, catchy songs have been sorely missed by film watchers who lived through Disney's golden age in the '80s and '90s. The new film is sure to bring back old memories.

"The Princess and the Frog" shows that aged traditions will never die. Following in the footsteps of the great films before, "The Princess and the Frog" will soon take its rightful place on the Walt Classics throne.

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  • anon on December 10, 2009 at 11:03 AM
    Great article! I have only one criticism, however. "The light-hearted, catchy songs have been sorely missed by film watchers who lived through Disney's golden age in the '80s and '90s." The 80s were hardly the golden age for Disney. The golden age didn't begin until The Little Mermaid, which was released in 1989. Calling the 80s a "golden age" for Disney is rather misleading.

    But that's just some small nitpicking. :-)
  • C on December 10, 2009 at 11:52 AM
  • asdf on December 10, 2009 at 3:20 PM
    I really don't understand why there HAS to be an african american disney princess. Nobody should be keeping score, they are just characters. I love disney movies and the disney princesses, but I never looked at the princesses and thought oh man, none of them look like me. something must be wrong with me!
  • hold up wait a minute (View Email) on December 10, 2009 at 5:21 PM
    Mulan's not a princess. Maybe she's counted as one by Disney, but she's not a princess by birth or by marriage. Kind of a cop-out, if you ask me. (More importantly why do all important leading ladies in Disney - not Pixar - animated movies have to be princesses?)

    Then again, she's the only one of the crew who redeems them at all, atm, I guess we should let her stay...
  • aren't we forgetting someone? on December 12, 2009 at 12:58 PM
    I feel obligated to say that while Disney is breaking the race barrier now, they broke the species barrier back in 1994 with Nala in The Lion King. After all, she did "marry" a king and is therefore a princess by marriage. My cat loves her.

    Stupid joking aside, great article Mandy. I'm excited to see this movie!
  • PSF on December 14, 2009 at 7:47 AM
    I must note that, out of all the Disney "princesses", I loved Tiana the most. Her character really stood out to me because she actually had a concrete idea of what she wanted in life and understood she had to rely on hard work to achieve her goals =)
  • latina on December 22, 2009 at 6:22 AM
    now we need a latina! lol
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