The Walt Disney Company will return to the classic, hand-drawn animated feature in 2009 with The Frog Princess, the whimsical tale of a girl named Maddy living in New Orleans. Not only does the film mark a return to traditional animation, but it also introduces the first black heroine ever to star in an animated Disney film. The company plans to add Maddy to its successful Princess division, an extremely lucrative product line featuring eight princesses from past Disney films and targeting young girls ages 3 to 8. The film will also pay tribute to the recently hapless town of New Orleans, showcasing its contributions to American culture through Randy Newman-tinged jazz music.
The aptly timed tribute to New Orleans notwithstanding, the introduction of a black heroine seems a bit late. At over eighty years old, the Walt Disney Company should have taken this step years ago, not only when realizing their Princess profits were perhaps lacking some African American dollars. However belated, the film parallels a unique time in US history – the strong possibility of either a black or female president in 2008. Whether or not this was Disney’s intention, a return to hand-drawn animation, with some diversity thrown in, can only be a good thing. Keep checking FilmCrunch for all updates on The Frog Princess.
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