Gone are the fair-skinned, blonde beauties like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty that were once Disney standards.
In the same year America swore in its first African-American president, Disney is introducing the first African-American Disney princess.
“I think it’s good and bad,” said Alvie Bender, a sophomore. “It’s great that there’s a black princess, but it took over 55 years for it to happen.”
Directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, the Oscar-winning directors of “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” the film is set in the French Quarter of 1920s New Orleans. The free-spirited and jazz-loving Prince Naveen of Maldonia comes to town and makes a deal with the evil voodoo magician, Dr. Facilier, who turns the suave royal into a frog.
Naveen mistakes the beautiful Tiana, voiced by “Dreamgirls” Anika Noni Rose, for a princess and begs for a kiss to break the spell. The fateful kiss takes an unexpected turn when Tiana turns into a frog, forcing the two to embark on an adventure through the bayous of Louisiana in search of the benevolent voodoo priestess to make them human again.
In true Disney fashion, the quest is not complete without a trumpet-playing alligator and a love-sick Cajun firefly. Keith David, John Goodman, Oprah Winfrey and Oscar-nominated actor Terrence Howard round out the rest of the cast.
When “Home on the Range” was released in 2004, Disney executives announced that the film would be the studio’s last 2-D animated film, making way for the more commercially and critically successful CGI animated features of Pixar.
“The Princess and the Frog” marks the distinguished company’s return to the hand-drawn animation we’ve grown up with in classics like “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King.”
The “Princess and the Frog” will be released in theaters on Friday.
Dana Cassidy can be reached at email@example.com.