The Princess and the Frog Review: Disney You Went Too Far

I’m unapologetically on a soap box for this one.

Do you know how much I wanted to love this movie?  Really love it and not just for my kids sake but for mine?  I LOVE Beauty and the Beast.  I LOVE Aladdin.  I LOVE Little Mermaid.  I still have the Pocahontas cup I collected from Burger King round about 1993.  I’ve been glad to watch Beauty and the Beast 25 times straight with my girls and happy to take them to the play at Disney.  I wanted so much to like it.  I wanted so much for my girls to love it.  I loved that they are old enough to remember opening night and I wanted so much for them to buy the movie on DVD and watch it over and over.  But on the way home I declared to my girls I was sorry but we would not be buying it.  I’m feeling disappointed and let-down by Disney.  And here’s why…

Here’s the thing you have to understand.  I’m conservative but I get the fact that there is good guy/bad guy thing in Disney movies.  Ursula always kind of scared me but it’s easy to explain she’s just mean and octopuses aren’t really like that and it’s all fake.  Jafar always was just kind of stuffy to me.  Gaston was just full of himself and rude.  Even the witch in Cinderella can easily be explained away because there just aren’t witches like that for real.  But the bad guy in this movie?  Was just a guy and he was downright evil.  And I do mean EEEEVIILLL.  My problem with this movie boils down to the fact that the evil was just too evil. I’ll have to give you some background of the movie to understand but bear with me I don’t think I give away any huge spoilers.

The movie takes place in New Orleans.  The prince from another country has been cut off from his family and has come to America to live the good life.  Tiana is simply the daughter of hardworking parents with a dream to own a restaurant.  The prince is taken in by the bad guy in the movie Dr. Facilier down an alley into wait for it…a VooDoo shop .  The entire scene is standard Disney where the bad guy gets his scene/song.  Dr. Facilier reads the prince’s tarot cards and paints this grand picture of what his life could be like if he’d just make a deal with him.  The prince, still greedy and wanting to live the high life again, agrees.  The doctor then uses voo doo on him which is what eventually turns him into a frog.  It may not sound too bad on paper but you don’t just get the idea of voo doo..the words are literally written on the walls and it’s mentioned a few times by the doctor and the tarot card readings are the center of attention of the scene.  Emma closed her eyes on her own because the scene was so scary.  It just dripped with evil.  That’s really the only way I can explain it.  My sister Heather was there and I looked at her at the end, feeling very uncomfortable and said I didn’t like that..she mouthed Me either!

The movie went on and I have to say the good parts were good.  But intertwined were these scenes with the doctor that made me very uncomfortable and to me were unnecessary. At one part, they go see Mama Odie, another voo doo doctor in the bayou who has a good message to them and refuses to turn them back to humans so they can “dig a little deeper” and find what they NEED (he needs love, not money and she needs someone to share all her hard work with) and not what they want.  But in the midst, she is using basically witchcraft to look into the future to see what that might be that they need.  So even the person pointing them towards good is using witchcraft to do so.

At one point, Dr. Facilier needs reinforcements and goes to see some sort of almighty evil voo doo mask and agrees to hand over all the souls of New Orleans for them to torture if he’ll just release some more demons to help him find the prince.  They agree and these evil spirits are running rampant to find the frog.

And at the end, Dr. Facilier actually has a voo doo doll of the man he’s trying to harm and has a needle, getting ready to stick the voo doo doll.

All of it was just TOO MUCH.  I did not feel good about the fact that I had to walk out of a DISNEY movie, a CHILD”S Disney movie and even THINK about voo doo and tarot cards.  It was very unnecessary and disappointing that Disney felt the need to tie those themes in so heavily to the movie.

I GET that my kids are just kids.  I GET that that gave me the opportunity to talk about these things that I feel are evil.    I GET that my girls aren’t going to run out and start witchcraft. I GET that the voo doo and tarot cards were something that they BAD GUYS were doing.  But when kids watch something over and over, those things become comfortable and familiar and honestly, I just don’t think it was appropriate for them to be learning about them at their age  from a Disney movie.

All that said, I don’t want to totally bash the movie.  There are many redeeming qualities about it.  They were very clear through Tiana that hard work and love and family are important.  It was clear that how you look doesn’t mean as much as who you are on the inside.  The movie was very funny in parts, sweet in parts and just plain beautiful in parts.   Tiana, in fact, is the one that ended up smashing the voo doo necklace and saying “it’s not right”.  I applaud them for that.  I really do.  But again, why should a Disney princess be fighting against a voo doo doctor to begin with?  I think I would have even been ok with a “generic witch” casting a “generic spell” on them to turn them to frogs.

As a conservative parent, I feel it’s necessary to tell parents to proceed with caution.  You may not feel that it’s necessary to talk about to your kids about it but I did.    Even as an adult, one that loves books about vampires and werewolves and even one that loves other Disney movies I was UNCOMFORTABLE watching it and I honestly don’t plan to see it again.  Which is a shame.  Because Tiana is a lovely princess and the moral lessons are worthy.  Walking away though, I just can’t seem to wipe the uneasiness from my gut.  I just can’t.

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Comments

  1. Interesting. I absolutely hear you. I’ve wondered about the voodoo thing b/c voodoo is more “real” than other “magic” we’ve see in previous Disney movies.

    I’m definitely going to see it before I let my daughter see it.

    Thanks for the insight!
    a
    .-= oh amanda´s last blog ..All I’ve Done Today =-.

  2. I have not seen it but from what your saying I felt the same way the first time I watch The Mike Myers version of Cat in the Hat! Now that the kids are older, oh course its funny, but when I saw it the first time , my daughter was a preschooler and thought it was too raunchy (the verbage and inside jokes they used) for young kids.The jokes were not in good taste for a Dr. Seuss book.

  3. oh shut up disney mom. The last thing we need is for children to be sheltered and shielded from the world and have Disney produce “safe” generic crap.

  4. Yeah keeping a 5 and 7 year old innocent is asking WAY too much. What was I thinking??

  5. I felf the exact same way. Thirty-minutes into the movie, I escorted my two daughters out of the theatre and grabbed a refund at that. The manager even concurred with my thoughts about the introduction of witchcraft and other sorcery type garbage displayed in this film. :0(

  6. I agree with Amy’s review. I felt very uncomfortable with the movie due to the witchcraft, voodoo, evil spirits, and demons that were in it. I won’t be buying it for my daughter when it comes out on DVD. The good parts were good, and there were good morals in it, and the movie would have been enjoyed immensely, if there had just been a regular bad guy rather than actual evil that deals with the devil and the other side, that they kept mentioning in the movie. The spirits were very disturbing. As she said, it was not a “feel good movie” after it was over. We were really looking forward to a new disney princess movie like the others they had put out previously.

  7. Upsate NY Mom says:

    I agree…
    I saw it with my kids this week-end. Had no problem with the prince being Mediterranean (I’m in an interracial marriage…so what?!) & loved Tiana’s strength. I DID have a BIG problem with the AMOUNT of Voodoo in it. Yes, you expect Disney movies to have magic & witches. But this was way, WAY over the top & completely unnecessary – it would have actually been a better movie without so much of it. Why does THIS movie have to take the witchery/villian so much further than the other Disney films? A detailed Tarot reading, a voodoo doll, a talisman with blood in it, demonic symbols & shadowy demons flying around the screen, a song about “talking to my friends on the other side”…uh-uh. When it comes out, I am NOT having this DVD in my house as I do some other Disney movies, and unfortunately, not recommending for anyone to see. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)

    I just know I’m gonna get lambasted for this & some folks are going to think I’m some religious fanatic, (although I consider myself balanced & have enjoyed other Disney films with the little bit of expected & tolerable magic), but this was just way too much in-your-face all the time and OUT of control. I just have too much respect for God’s Word and the warnings therein.

  8. “What”, I’m just curious, but did you actually read what you typed before hitting the submit button?…what an idiot.

  9. Upstate NY Mom says:

    “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because you are no part of the world…on this account the world hates you.” – John 15:18,19

    “Happy are you when men hate you…” – Luke 6:22

    So…thanks for making my day!

    (Oh, and I didn’t write those…you’ll have to actually read the context of those verses to see who did…and who also wrote Deuteronomy…guess they’re the “idiots.”)

  10. Upstate NY Mom just to be clear Heather was calling the 3rd commented named “what” an idiot not you :) . She’s my sister and was unhappy with it too.

  11. Upsate NY Mom says:

    oops – yes, duh, “what” was in quotes…sorry!

  12. Well, Lilo and Stitch used voodoo dolls as well… not saying that you have to agree with it, but it’s all in there.

    I do think you’re reading a bit much into it. VooDoo is a part of New Orleans culture, and yes, there were good ones as well as bad ones. Ursula was a sea witch, Snow White’s step mother was attempting murder, and there are evil spirits/faries in Sleeping Beauty. I’m just perplexed at how a generic magic spell is any worse than a label.

  13. @Shell, my answer to that is sea witches and fairies are not really…voodoo is something that is practiced by humans and real. That’s the difference to me. Just too real.

  14. I appreciated what you had to say, Amy. I felt very much the same way. For me personally, it was an interesting film as I have recently been reminded that light always penetrates darkness and not the other way around. So when the “good witch’s” light balls blasted holes in the evil spirits, I thought that was perhaps accurate of a true principle at least. As for my daughter seeing the movie, I was not pleased at all and she didn’t like it. I wish I had looked into it before going to see it. All I knew was that it was a Disney movie and a girl turned into a frog – funny, right? Too bad for all of the evil.

  15. Melanie, I agree that I like when the lightness penetrated the darkness. They did at least portray that the evil was evil.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Meet My Family – 1st Grade Style =-.

  16. "doing research before taking my child" says:

    I have to say, I was either way about the movie before I thought to check out other’s responses. Thank you Amy for making it clear at how much “voo doo” is portrayed. I am a christian step mom and want to make sure I’m not the one to introduce anything that evil to my new daughter. I realize that sheltering our children is obviously obsurd now days, however any steps we can take as parents not to be a part of it is always a step in the right direction. Thanks again, and God Bless.

  17. whatthedisney says:

    i think if it was ‘generic spells and such’
    this whole blog would be on how disney doesnt have any new ideas to put out,so,dont diss disney on trying something new.besides,this princess(READ:PRINCESS,NOT MOVIE) was one of the best,cause they actually thaught a lesson how looks dont matter and such. i mean,the most of the other disney princesses all met their prince cause they were pretty,and could dance(cinderella),sing(sleeping beauty)or in ariels case,cause she was so darn pretty the prince just wanted her.so i thought it was quite good.
    the voodoo thing was quite unsuitable,though,i mean,voodoo,fine,but spirits and blood and whatnot,umm..a bit overboard for kids,teens,then maybe,but little girls..probably not

  18. WOW is all I can say,, I am right there with you, I love Disney movies, they have a great feel , cute music,, characters, and the color and animation is awesome. I was walking into this movie ready to love it and to see a NEW classic Disney movie.. I was excited. I was under the assumption I will buy this movie someday when comes out , the whole 9. Anyways. Lets’ just say, within the first 20 min or so of the movie, myu kid already had her head covered so she didnt see or hear the screen, she was freaked out. The Facilier or whatever his name is, WAS OVER THE TOP> I agree, all disney movies have a villian, a witch or sorcerer or bad guy,.,, this one was TOO MUCH by far. A wicth over a boiling pot is bad enough but leaves to imagination. This guy straight up had tarot cards, singing a song “I HAVE FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE!” hmmm, what does that mean, we allll know what that means. ok.. and there was a bunch of voodoo dolls and they were dancing as if it is cute? The same guy had a voodoo of bug daddy (john goodman) creeepy! Then like she brought out the voodoo man had to go to his spirits/masks for help when his plan started to unfoil, omg, so bad.I don’t know why they included this into this what could have been an awesome film , I will not go into the racist aspect, I am sticking to convo about the voodoo, right now, that was my major issue. I will not be watching this again, nor buying it simply for that alone, I am sooooo disappointed! :<

  19. Jenn Tollison says:

    Thank you , Amy for your review bc I would have hated to take my neices to see that just to turn around and walk out. I would not want them to see something like that and I totally agree with you. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a disney fanatic and I think that every parent feels that if its a disney princess movie you should be able to take your children or in my case neices to a “disney” movie and you wouldn’t expect to have to turn around an take them out. To “What” I agree with Heather…Did you actually read what you typed before you pressed enter on your keyboard. Because that was a very ignorant comment.We all have to do what is best for our children and wellfare and yes voodoo is out there and it is real but when they are this young and impressionable I feel the need to protect our children and in my case again…my neices. I feel there’s nothing wrong with that…yes they will find out about it one day but that day doesn’t have to be today. Its the same reason I wouldn’t take them to see a horror movie at such a young age at the movie theatre. I love a good horror movie, that doesn’t make me unchristian or wrong bc the difference is , is that I’m an adult, I know its not real, that it cannot happen but as much as you explain this to your children before you take them to a horror movie at a movie theatre you haven’t even seen yet, and you tell them its not real that doesn’t stop them from being scared. Kudos for you Amy for posting this blog. And thank you for the insight bc I am sure my brother and his wife would agree, I don’t think we will be letting the girls see this one until we see it first ourselves. Thank you! :)

  20. Erika Wilson says:

    Thanks for your movie review. I still haven’t taken my four year-old to see it yet for exactly the same reason you discussed. I knew there was a witch doctor in the movie from the preview, and I was by no means comfortable with my little one seeing this. Based on your review, we won’t be going to see it. I just feel torn about it, because I really wanted to support the first black princess.

  21. I just saw the movie last week and couldn't agree more.

  22. I just saw the movie last week and couldn't agree more.

  23. I just saw the movie last week and couldn't agree more.

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  1. [...] felt like the movie deserved a review since I lambasted Princess and the Frog for all the eeevil.  Tangled deserves a review for how GOOD it was.  I would definitely put this up there with my [...]

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