Disney Goes Black, Will They Ever Go Back?
If you went to see UP this weekend you may have noticed the trailer for the latest in fine Disney 2D animation. Yes, I know. It has been a long time since Disney did a GOOD 2d animation.. or a good movie for that matter. The Pixar stuff doesn't count since it's Pixar. They're batting 1000 right now.
What will surprise you more is that it's not the typical Disney Princess type of film you're used to seeing. Let's roll the trailer!
Congratulations Disney on Princess and the Frog, your first revolutionary socially progressive non-white film! I'm sure this will get all the media attention and not create a race issue at all. Hell, there's already some folks complaining that setting the movie in 1920's new orleans was racist because of katrina.
Just imagine all the day to day indignities, insults, institutional prejudice and the subcurrent of violent behavior that came with being black in the south in the 20s that this movie will absolutely never even hint at.
Though God forbid we present our nation's racist past to kids in an accurate way. Let's get another Princess going. Disneyland didn't have enough of them to cover all the parks. Then again, if you've been to New Orleans Square in the last six months or so, you'd see a Queen of mardi grai singing. Betcha five bucks that she gets a Princess make over after this film comes out.
The scary thing is that this is set in Louisiana. The 1920s was one of the high periods of lynching in the US, and it was concentrated in the cotton belt places like Louisiana. Then again, Splash mountain was basedo n Song of the South but makes no mention of Uncle Remus. Zip a dee dooooooo dah zzzzzzip a dee ay!!!
So let's take a look at the lead black Princess:
And the frog-turned-black "prince" looks like this:
I've seen white surfers that are darker than the prince. Is he suppose to be a black guy? I guess I can lean towards the impression he was a mixed-race cajun dude. Acadians, French Quarter and everything sort of guy. Don't you worry, folks. I'm sure the characters will talk black.
I'm thinking that maybe this weill be like that one part from Fantasia for two hours. As a black man I identify with the male hero in this movie (Ok, I'm not black) I just don't see the point of relating to the character on the sole grounds of skin color. I think it has to do more with the character themselves and the situations they are placed in.
If you ask me, and I know the only thing that Disney ask me for is to give them more money when my annual pass is up for renewing, They should have stuck with the early concept art if they wanted to do this in a responsible manner. For some reason the hair just bothers me most of all on the newer one. It seems like it'll be a lot tougher for the paid worker at Disney to get into that. Even worse than putting on the flippers as Ariel.
I actually like the one on the left, the flapper style would fit this a lot better than shoehorning another tiara into the picture in hopes to sell more at one of the many Disney Princess shops in the park.
On further reflection, this movie seems to be about a young black woman's quest for cultural identity. The frog represents the white cultural superstructure as it presents itself to the alien mind - outwardly repulsive and seemingly incompatible with the negro way of life, but holding a promise of great reward and prosperity for those who "see the light" and acknowledge their cultural inferiority by submitting and/or degrading themselves.
The Soundtrack by none other..
Replace slavery with bestiality, the white plantation owner's son with a lightskinned mulatto dressed in colonial clothing, and the cultural heritage of the American negro with absolutely nothing, and you have a wonderful new movie that works actively to push race relations back to how they were 150 years ago
It's not like this is Disney's first venture into the world of racial situations. Look at Song of the South. Oh wait, you can't. Disney self-censored itself there. I guess you can look at Fantasia. You know, that one scene where they had a slave.. oh wait, they also cut that out. Guess this Cracked list is going to need some updating soon.
I guess it's ok to be racist when it's being spewed from the mouth of a Cat. Like this situation from The Aristocats?
Yeah, I had a good laugh when I re-watched that agian at how insanely racist that was.
Maybe all these concerns can be put to the side. I mean, I hope the full movie has more authentic jazz from Randy Newman like in the teaser