The evening star is shinin' bright. So make a wish, and hold on tight. There's magic in the air tonight, And anythin' can happen...
The 49th animated feature of the Disney Animated Canon, as well as the first since 2004's Home on the Range to be traditionally animated. It's inspired by the novel The Frog Princess, E. D. Baker's take on the classic fable "The Frog Prince," and written and directed by Disney staples John Musker and Ron Clements. It is also notable for introducing the first black and first American Disney Princess into the official line-up. note Pocahontas doesn't count since the US did not yet exist at the time the movie took place.In 1920s New Orleans, 19-year old waitress Tiana struggles to earn money in order to get her own restaurant - a dream she and her dad shared before he passed away. Things seem to be turning around when the handsome prince Naveen comes to town, prompting Tiana's rich friend Lottie to pay her lots of money if Tiana will cater at the party Lottie throws for Naveen. Unfortunately Lottie is not the only one interested in the egocentrical prince, as an evil voodoo sorcerer named Dr. Facilier manages to trick him into a Deal with the Devil and replaces the prince with his transformed manservant. Naveen is turned into a frog and requires a princess' kiss to lift the spell. Mistaking Tiana for a princess at Lottie's party, he asks her to kiss him. Tiana, disillusioned because her attempt at getting the restaurant failed, reluctantly agrees to kiss Naveen if he pays for her restaurant, but there's a twist - since she's not a princess, the plan backfires and she's turned into a frog as well! As Tiana and Naveen have very different outlooks on life, they have a hard time cooperating, but they're forced to bond together and embark on a journey through the lush bayou of Louisiana to find the mystical Mama Odie who can lift their spell. While they are joined by Louis, an alligator jazz enthusiast, and a Cajun firefly named Ray, Dr. Facilier is hot on their trail, intent on using Naveen's blood for further nefarious purposes.For almost a decade, Disney had been firmly entrenched in the growing 3D/CGI movement; a Disney exec announced that Princess would be a long-overdue return to the animation tradition the company maintained for over fifty years. Randy Newman composed the songs for a film that harkens back to the age of Disney where music played as much a character as the actual cast members themselves. The film is also in large part a love letter to the city of New Orleans, a town even Walt Disney himself considered to be the most magical city in the world. The end result was a film that was beloved by critics and easily equaled the greats of the Disney Renaissance. Unfortunately, it was only a massive financial success (Disney was hoping for an overwhelming financial success), coming out in the same year as Avatar. To add insult to injury, the critically-panned Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel beat it in the box office, as well. However, Tiana being an official Disney Princess solidified that the film would be a major money-earner through merchandise and the parks.The Princess and the Frog got three Oscar nominations (two for Best Song, the third for Best Animated Feature).Before adding examples, note that tropes pertaining to the more sensitive political issues (gender and race) have been moved to the analysis page.
Adipose Rex: Big Daddy's only king of the parade, but he is also basically in charge of the town so he counts.
Adorkable: Naveen provided the page quote just because of how adorably awkward he becomes trying to propose to Tiana.
Affably Evil: Dr. Facilier may be trying to capture all the souls of Louisiana for his evil friends on the other side but, as Prince Naveen admits, he is very charismatic.
It's likely that almost no one in New Orleans knows the real Dr. Facilier, since someone can be seen taking a deal from him at the beginning of the movie. That said, on the outside he is very persuasive, attractive, and a good communicator, so it could be assumed he tricks people this way on a regular basis, to satisfy his evil shadow-friends.
Always Check Behind the Chair: This trope usually only applies to video games, but pay attention to the wallpaper behind Dr. Facilier's chair during his Villain Song, particularly when his shadow first passes over it. The pattern turns into skulls and crossbones.
American Accents: Most of the accents sound more Dixie than Yat, though Tiana uses "y'all" as a singular noun, which is more of a Yat tendency.
Ray has a Cajun accent. Who Dat!? His voice actor, Jim Cummings, actually lived in New Orleans before he began his voiceover career, where he worked constructing Mardi Gras floats alongside actual Cajuns. This explains how he was able to pull off the difficult accent.
Angel Face, Demon Face: Naveen again. He starts off the movie as a smarmy pretty boy. By the end of the movie, there is that subtle change to the artwork to indicate that he has grown from the experience into a better person than he started out.
Animal Stereotypes: averted heavily. Louis, the alligator, is a Gentle Giant. The inversion is more evident in Mama Odie's pet, Juju; a gentle, loving snake that takes care of a blind old lady who uses him as a pole and a bridge, among other things.
Animal Talk: Once Naveen and Tiana are turned into frogs, they are able to understand and communicate with other animals, first noted in a very brief encounter with Charlotte's dog, Stella. Interestingly, they can still talk to regular humans as well.
Awesome Moment of Crowning: When Tiana and Naveen marry while in their previously incurable frog forms, they kiss and are transformed back into humans. Mama Odie reveals that when Tiana married Prince Naveen she became a princess, and Naveen kissing her as a princess lifted the curse!
Beauty Mark: Charlotte puts on a fake one when "Naveen" finally shows up to the party.
Be Careful What You Wish For: Naveen wished to be "free", and becoming a frog certainly feed him from his old responsibilities — "You just wanna be free - hop from place to place!"
Also, pay careful attention to when Dr. Facilier is doing the cards. "...and when I look into your future it's the green that I see..." Shortly after which Naveen was turned into a frog. His happy, instrument-playing rich-boy appearance on the card is also surrounded by what appears to be a lily pad...
The Bechdel Test: Passes. The movie contains four prominent female characters (Tiana, Charlotte, Eudora, and Mama Odie), Tiana has at least one conversation with each of the other three, and her discussions with Eudora and Mama Odie are not specifically about men.
Beleaguered Assistant: Naveen's butler, Lawrence. It's no wonder he teams up with Facilier to impersonate the polymorphed Naveen and marry Charlotte LaBouff, daughter of one of the richest men in New Orleans.
Berserk Button: Facilier's "friends" lose all patience with him after he lets their talisman break.
Fearing this fate, threatening to break the talisman also works as this for Facilier. He loses his cool with this twice: first with Lawrence (but he recomposes himself), and then with Tiana (who succeeds in destroying the talisman). He also kills Ray for trying to break it.
Blatant Lies: As could be expected, Dr. Facilier specialized in these.
Dr. Facilier: That's an echo, gentlemen. Something we have here in Louisiana, a little parlour trick, don't worry.
Blood Magic: Dr. Facilier gives Lawrence a talisman that disguises him as Naveen, but it only works with Naveen's blood fueling it.
Book Ends: The movie begins by showing the Evening Star, then fireflies flying down from the night sky onto New Orleans. The movie ends by showing fireflies flying up from New Orleans into the night sky, encircling two Evening Stars.
Brilliant, but Lazy: Naveen. He's a polyglot, seems pretty decently educated about scientific facts (frog biology at the minimum), and can adapt impressively well to being a frog for a guy that has spent his life being waited on hand and foot.
Butt Monkey: Lawrence. Even when he gets what he wants, it still doesn't work out.
California Doubling: At points in the film, the sounds of the bayou sound awfully like the The Australian Bush...
Can Not Spit It Out: Naveen attempting to confess his love for Tiana and propose to her. Justified because Naveen never expected to fall in love. Even coming to New Orleans to marry, he had only intended to marry for money, not for love. Plus, although he bragged about his romantic peccadilloes, he had never taken any of those dalliances seriously. And then there's the fact that if he does finally spit it out, he'll break his deal to marry Charlotte and doom Tiana to a life without realizing her dream of owning a great restaurant.
Career Versus Man: She doesn't choice one as much as she acknowledged that she wouldn't be happy without both of them. Also, the man in this case is 100% supportive of her career even at his own expense and in the end, she gets both.
Catch Phrase: Naveen exclaims "Achidanza" when surprised or impressed, a Maldonian word meaning "cool" according to some of the Disney tie-in books. Fun fact: The word bears a striking resemblance to "accidenti", an Italian interjection that's used more or less in the same way.
Carnivore Confusion: Louis the 'gator does not want to eat frog-form Tiana and Naveen unlike his fellow alligators. His stated preferences are for New Orleans cuisine —human food. Meanwhile, despite being driven to eat bugs, Tiana and Naveen manage to keep their tongues away from Ray once Tiana cooks them all some swamp gumbo. Louis even lists frog legs as something he'd like to eat (not that Naveen and Tiana should really care, not being real frogs and all).
Celebrity Voice Actor: Surprisingly averted for a Disney film with the cast mostly being made up of character actors and actual voice actors. A few cameos aside, the biggest names in the cast are John Goodman and Oprah.
Emeril Lagasse is in there too, as a crocodile who yells "Bam!" a lot.
Chain of Deals: Dr. Facilier turns Naveen into a frog so he can get Naveen's disgruntled valet Lawrence to disguise himself as Naveen to woo and marry Charlotte. Once Lawrence marries Charlotte, Facilier will kill Charlotte's father and take heirship of the LaBouff family, and promptly take control of New Orleans via the disguised Lawrence as well as take all the LaBouffs' wealth. And after all that, he'll promptly offer the souls of all the people of New Orleans to his "Friends on the Other Side".
"On you, little man, I don't wanna waste much time You've been pushed around all of your life - You've been pushed round by your mother, and your sister, and your brother, And if you was married — you'd be pushed around by your wife!"
Circling Monologue: Dr. Facilier does this to Tiana when trying to convince her to give him back the talisman that turned Naveen into a frog.
Mama Odie. She falls asleep mid-conversation, kisses a snake repeatedly on the mouth, and changes topics almost mid-sentence. But she also moves the plot towards resolution better than anybody else in the movie.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Dr. Facilier wears a black Baron Samedi-esque outfit while Mama Odie wears white, which is the traditional color for voodoo garb. This also fits with the way they represent shadow and light respectively. Purple, traditional hallmark of comic book villains, is part of the Doctor's costume and no one else, even though it's one of the standard Mardi Gras colors (Purple, Green and Gold). The person who wrote the color script made a conscious decision to include the three Mardi Gras colors: Facilier has purple in all of his scenes (since, of the three colors, purple is the most "unnatural"), the scenes in the swamp with frog Tiana and Naveen are green, and Mama Odie's scenes are awash in gold.
Tiana, after the "Dig A Little Deeper" sequence, in which Mama Odie explains that you have to find out what you NEED to do, not WANT to do, and she asks Tiana if she understands. Tiana's answer: "Yes! I need to dig deeper, and work even harder to get my restaurant!" [[Facepalm Mama Odie's response is something the internet knows too well].
Louis makes the exact same mistake, though he also gets the point later. It's more understandable since the song wasn't directed at him.
"I could use a little help." "Oh. I will play a little louder!"
Cool Old Lady: Mama Odie. "Not bad for a 197-year-old blind lady!" And she doesn't look a day over 190. She's likely based on Mam'zelle Marie Laveau, the New Orleans voodoo queen whose real life modern day followers believe to be either alive or a very active spirit.
Covered in Kisses: Naveen, courtesy of Charlotte, though it doesn't do any good after midnight.
Creator Cameo: Directors Rob Clemens and John Musker appear on a Mardi Gras float tossing beads. Walt Disney himself appears at the parade, and in the ending watching the wedding procession and as a customer at Tiana's Palace. The directors also appear in Doctor Facilier's villain song. If you look at the Floating Masks behind Naveen's chair, two are barely recognizable caricatures.
Creepy Doll: As Dr. Facilier is being dragged away by his "friends", some of them take the form of voodoo and rag dolls.
Curse Escape Clause: Only a kiss from a princess will release Naveen from the frog curse. This comes with two twists. First, Charlotte temporarily qualifies as a princess because her father was voted king of the Mardi Gras parade. Second, after Tiana and Naveen give up on turning human and just get married as frogs, Tiana qualifies on the technicality that she's married to a prince.
Dame Not Appearing In This Trailer: Charlotte LaBouff, at first. She did make an appearance in the last trailer, causing some people to call shenanigans due to the movie featuring a "blonde princess" as well as a black one. See Never Trust a Trailer, below.
Dance of Romance: Naveen teaches Tiana how to dance after she teaches him how to to mince.
Dark Reprise: "Almost There" gets a short reprise after Tiana loses the restaurant.
The creepy undermelody of "Friends on the Other Side" is reprised when the Shadows grab Naveen to take him back to Facilier.
And once more, with gusto, when the Friends decide Facilier has used up all their good will - a rare example of a villain's tune being used against him.
Likewise, "Friends on the Other Side" revisits a line from "Down in New Orleans":
Down in New Orleans:Get everything you want/But lose what you had Friends on the Other Side:You got what you wanted/But you lost what you had!
The melody of "Almost There" also is reprised (albeit slower) when Facilier begins his Circling Monologue.
Don't forget the somber reprise of "Evangeline" that's played during Ray's funeral.
This is also Facilier's method of choice. It's apparent that he can't just kidnap the Prince by force, his magic will only work if he gets Naveen to make a deal with him first (although Naveen of course has no idea what he's really agreeing to).
Death by Irony: Dr. Facilier. His "Friends" get so upset with him that, when his talisman breaks, they decide his soul is as good as any other, and drag him to hell.
Disappeared Dad: It is suggested that Tiana's dad died at some point between her childhood and teenage years, perhaps while fighting in World War I, since at one point we see a photo of him in a WWI-style uniform on Tiana's dresser. Not only is he wearing a uniform, but there's a Distinguished Service Cross on the frame. Since that's a step below the Medal of Honor, Tiana's dad probably died doing something significant.
Dish Dash: Tiana's waitressing skills include being able to catch and carry flying plates full of food stacked on every available extremity and her head.
Naveen eventually picks this up too, dancing around Tiana's restaurant with loaded trays
Disney Acid Sequence: Played with; "Friends on the other Side" is actually depicting supernatural events that actually happen, but is still freaky as all get-out. Especially that one bit with Facilier's face.
"Almost There" is a straight example, as it's an Art Shift into Tiana's fantasy of her restaurant.
Disney Death: Ray the firefly gets stepped on, and it looks like he's been killed. This being Disney, you might suspect it's just a Disney Death. And later, near the very end, it turns out that, yay, he's still alive! But then he dies for real. Yes, Disney itself subverted the Disney Death.
Dramatic Drop: Blink and you'll miss it. Naveen almost buried in gold coins during "Dig A Little Deeper" but the he turns and sees Tiana, and he drops the coin he was left holding after Mama Odie rescued him and pointed him at Tiana.
Dramatic Sit Down: Tiana sees fake Naveen ready to marry Charlotte. She runs into the French graveyard and sits down on a tombstone, completely depressed.
Dramatic Necklace Removal: Lawrence rips the voodoo talisman from around his neck. Facilier ties it back on later, though, and Lawrence never tries it again.
Dueling Movies: Disney released The Princess and the Frog against 20thCenturyFox's Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakel and Avatar. Disney fans as well as non-Disney animation buffs question on how Disney made a big mistake.
Due to the Dead: Tiana wants to honor her father's memory with the restaurant. At the end, she and Naveen attend Ray's funeral.
Establishing Character Moment: How do we know Facilier's not a nice man? It's not the outfit or the Living Shadow, but his first customer on-screen. Man suffers from male pattern baldness, so Facilier hits him with a magic powder that grows a full head of hair...followed by the rest of his body.
Word to the wise; when the creepy voodoo man says he sees 'green' in your future, do not assume he means money. Similarly, Lawrence probably assumes Facilier is speaking figuratively when he says he'll make him "Exactly the man he always wanted to be").
The Curse Escape Clause: In order to be freed, the affected victim has to "kiss a princess", but technically, a "princess" can be anyone who is married to a prince...even if said marriage just happened and the prince in question is also the one affected by the curse.
Having your "friends" drag you to the "Other Side" is not a nice way to go. Dr. Facilier is the first, and only Disney villain to, quite literally, be Dragged Off to Hell kicking and screaming.
Plus, Ray being stepped on. Really not the kind of thing you expect in a Disney film, especially with it ultimately subverting the Disney Death trope.
Fashion Dissonance: A couple outfits look like they raided the costumes from Cinderella, though it should be noted that the pimped out clothes we see are costumes or magically generated. Tiana's blue princess dress actually belongs to Charlotte, who was both rich and completely obsessed with being a princess from time of childhood. Charlotte gives it to Tiana after Tiana's own simple, High Middle Ages maiden costume is ruined. The characters' street clothes are a bit more accurate for the time period.
Subverted with Louis. While he's shown to have a poor sense of direction (Something that Ray points out all alligators have), he is skilled in trumpet playing for an alligator who has never taken any formal music lessons.
Played straight with the largest of the frog-trappers.
Foil: Rich, spoiled, princess-wannabe, desperate-for-romance Charlotte in contrast to level-headed, workaholic Tiana who couldn't care less about marrying a prince. In a twist, Charlotte is not the Alpha Bitch; she's Tiana's best friend, and likable in her own right.
Also, Prince Naveen and Facilier have racked up loads of debts and are running out of time to pay...
Tiana and Naveen are both offered their greatest dreams by Facilier, for what seems to be a small price. Their responses are quite different...
Food Porn: Your mouth will be watering by the end of the breakfast-serving montage in the diner. It seems that everyone, even the non-transformed animals that you would think wouldn't be accustomed to eating human food, is in love with the gumbo and beignets covered with honey and powdered sugar that Tiana makes. Tiana is indeed a Supreme Chef.
Foreshadowing: "You just wanna be free; hop from place to place. But freedom... takes green!" (As it turns out, he's not talking about money...)
Fourth Date Marriage: The relationship Tiana and Naveen create is the typical speed for a Disney movie.
Friend or Idol Decision: Dr. Facilier offers to give Tiana her hopes and dreams in return for his voodoo pendant. He makes the mistake of reminding her that her father never reached his dream... Because not only does she realize that her father was still a happy man, thanks to his family, but it reminded her that she always believed in working hard to reach her goals.
Genre Savvy: Tiana, Charlotte, and Naveen are all familiar with the fairy tale in question, with the girls willing to try kissing the frog to solve the problem. Also, Facilier knows enough about a Deal with the Devilto be very worried about what will happen if he fails to please the shadow demons. The only one who could actually harm his friends (besides Mama Odie) was Ray. Instead of gloating, he takes care to kill him on screen.
Good Witch Versus Bad Witch: Though they don't technically directly do battle, it's assumed that Mama Odie is aware of Facilier's dark doings with the shadow demons. At the very least, she knows his reputation enough to accurately surmise that the shadows that attacked Naveen just before she turned up belonged to Facilier.
Go Out with a Smile: Brave Ray, who survives being stepped on just long enough to see that Tiana and Naveen have declared their love for each other. This makes him smile to his tearful companions before he finally fades.
You may think the movie's going to end with this, but Tiana refuses to take Facilier's offer of the easy, magical way out. In the end, even after she marries Naveen, and he reconciles with his filthy-rich family, it's still her money, the coffee cans full of the cash she scraped together from her tips from three jobs, that gets her that building. All it takes is a stare from her new alligator best friend to get those bankers to accept the original offer. It's possible the extra money is only used to help fix the place up, but even then Tiana and Naveen do all the physical labor by themselves.
However, Tiana's dad fits this trope because he worked just as hard as Tiana but never got the mill himself.
He's Dead, Jim: We see Ray give his last words and close his eyes for the last time, but then the shot pulls back and we see his firefly light flicker then finally fade out, removing any hope that this was a Disney Death.
While deliciously suave, Facilier seems like a standard Disney villain until Facilier seemed genuinely frustrated and bitter with his lot in life, (likely due to being black in 20's New Orleans). This is likely what sparked his original deal with his "Friends", and after that just dug a little deeper each time... This gets obvious when he is convincing Lawrence to follow his Evil Plan, saying how he (Lawrence) should be tired of being in poverty while the big shots only get richer and richer. The expression in his face pretty much tells that he wasn't speaking much about Lawrence as he was about himself. He was supposed to be a Creole, and hence an ethnic minority to boot. Free African Americans and Creoles of mixed ancestry would have been lumped in under Jim Crow laws after the Civil War. The LaBouff family were probably Creole too, but would have been considered "French" and white. Facilier also had economic motives as well as racial ones. New Orleans is run by a capitalist white patriarch, and [[spoiler:by turning everyone into souls for his "Friends" to collect, he's equalizing everyone—no more class system. The undertones are clear because he teams up with Lawrence, who is obviously unhappy with his role as a servant and would like to move farther up the totem pole.
Naveen also seems like a smarmy, cheesy "no-account, good for nothing" as Tiana calls him, but he displays resourcefulness, adaptability, scientific knowledge, and multilingual knowledge, plus a willingness to learn. To say nothing of his musical talents, which enhanced his image as a himbo. Combine this with the fact that a lot of his behavior is used as a mask to hide deep insecurities about literally not knowing how to do anything for himself due to his parents spoiling him most of his life and then kicking him out and he almost goes straight into Woobie territory
Charlotte, despite her lifelong dream, takes about a second to decide to kiss Naveen with no strings attached for Tiana's sake. She may be The Ditz, but she doesn't have to think before sacrificing for her friend. Not only that but, when the kiss doesn't work, she seems genuinely upset and repeatedly tries to make it work.
After Tiana's accident at the party, Charlotte immediately leaves Prince Naveen on the dance floor to help Tiana clean up and change her dress. She also offers Tiana a ridiculous amount of money for beignets. This may just be Charlotte having no concept of the value of money, but it gives Tiana enough cash to buy her resturaunt. This is also a Character Establishing moment. It would not have been unthinkable at that point for her to have reamed out Tiana, and demanded more of her "man-catching beignets", but being a true friend, promptly took her leave, helped Tiana get herself cleaned up, and loaned her one of her dresses. She may be spoiled, and not exactly deep, but she knows what's truly important to her.
Ray appears at first to be a stereotypical hillbilly-type. He turns out to be one of the most insightful, caring, and helpful people in the group. He's also competent, which goes a long way when the first two things he does are untying Naveen and Tiana (after Louis's well-meaning attempt made things much worse), and pointing out that Louis had been leading them in the wrong direction. The rest of his family (who also appear to be hillbilly-ish as well) are just as helpful for the brief amount of time they do show up, helping the group find the way to Mama Odie's home.
Mentioning Hoodoo and giving themselves an escape hatch in the next line—"I've got things I ain't even tried." Facilier isn't stuck on any one tradition; he'll work with anything and anyone that can give him power.
It's a step in the right direction that Disney also made a 'good' Voodoo priestess dressed in the traditional white, since Voodoo is usually seen as only something evil in Hollywood Voodoo.
Facilier makes use of Voodoo dolls, usually the only known object in Voodoo but the use of this object is only used in Louisiana Voodoo. So that is again a thumbs-up for Disney.
They also intentionally tried to avoid using actual religious symbols because they didn't want to offend anyone who practiced Voudou in real life.
Naveen has no reservations about following a shady guy with a skull on his hat down a dark alley, and when the floating voodoo masks start singing and the shadows start moving things around, he's obliviously enjoying the show with a big goofy grin on his face. This is lampshaded when Tiana comments about Naveen "messing with the Shadow Man", for which he responds, "He was very charismatic!"
Lawrence; when it comes to shaking hands and actually sealing the deal, Naveen is the one who looks doubtful and hesitates for a moment- whereas Lawrence digs right in, complete with a greedy look on his face.
Impoverished Patrician: Naveen reveals that while his family are Maldonian royalty and quite wealthy, they have cut him off and he is penniless. The reason Naveen came to New Orleans in the first place was to find and marry a girl from a rich family.
Inexplicably Awesome: Dr. Facilier and Mama Odie are both this, since they are both eccentric and have awesome Voodoo powers, but their backstories of how they got them are never explained. It's heavily implied that Facilier sold his soul to his "Friends" on the Other Side and has been racking up a considerable debt with them by promising more souls in his place, all in exchange for more power. Whether the Friends are Loa or demons or Satan is never made explicit, however. Odie's case is almost definitely more benign, but goes unexplained and plays the trope fairly straight.
Tiana: Listen mister, this "stick in the mud" has had to work two jobs her whole life, while you've been sucking on a silver spoon, chasing chamber maids 'round your ivory tower. Naveen: ...Actually, it was polished marble.
Its Always Mardi Gras In New Orleans: Justified in that Naveen's visit instigates the plot, and it would make sense that he'd choose to travel there in time for the festivities. Also, the Mardi Gras king is a plot point.
It Was With You All Along: Naveen always had the potential to make a princess to break him from his curse...after all, as a prince, any woman he marries qualifies as a princess. Of course, him being a Handsome Lech was about as big an obstacle for marriage as the whole frog curse.
I Want Grandkids: Tiana isn't almost there until she pops one out, at least according to her mother.
Right before Naveen proposes to Tiana, it occurs to him that she will never be able to afford her restaurant unless he keeps his promise to marry Charlotte and reward Tiana for helping him when he's rich again. He unselfishly abandons the sincere proposal and resigns himself to his fate.
In a more platonic sense, Charlotte. The one thing she's wanted more than anything else is to be a real princess, and because of the aforementioned marriage plan, she could get it, yet because Tiana's her best friend and it's Tiana that the real Naveen really loves, Charlotte doesn't even hesitate to go along with the kissing plan in an attempt to get them human, together, and happy.
"I Want" Song: "When We're Human", "Ma Belle Evangeline", and "Almost There", although the latter is more of a "I've Just About Got It" song.
Jackass Genie: Dr. Facilier, naturally. Especially since Naveen never actually made a wish. He went in to get his fortune told, but Facilier knew he was looking for money, i.e. 'The Green', and, when the deal was sealed by a shake of hands, Faciler promptly gave Naveen his OWN interpretation! Lawrence also did not get quite what he expected; Facilier told him he'd "be the man he always wanted to be", but he probably didn't realize that would mean literally becoming the Prince.
"... I hope you're satisfied! But if you ain't, don't blame me! You can blame my friends on the other side! Hahahaha!"
Then his "friends" chime in, just to twist the knife:
"You got what you wanted! But you lost what you had!"
Jail Bait Wait: At the end of the movie this is what Charlotte (possibly jokingly) plans to do with Naveen's 6-year old brother. (Considering she also is the first to catch Tiana's thrown bouquet, it's very likely a joke.
The Jeeves: Though equipped with a British accent and clearly more level-headed than his master, Prince Naveen's pompous valet, Lawrence subverts this. It's made obvious from day one that he completely envies and resents the young prince.
Jerk Ass: The two real estate broker brothers, revealed as such by both their choice of costume and how they treat Tiana. There was also Buford, the short order cook, in the beginning of the movie, who mocks her dream of opening a restaurant.
Just So Story: Stars are indeed the ghosts of dead fireflies. Looks like Timon was right after all.
Living Shadow: Dr. Facilier has one that functions as his sidekick and an entire army of them "from the other side".
Lotus-Eater Machine: Dr. Facilier attempts this on Tiana in order to get the talisman back. It almost works.
Love at First Sight: Averted. Tiana and Naveen encounter each other, briefly, early in the movie when they are both human. She is visibly unimpressed and he gives a "can't win them all" shrug.
Love Epiphany: During the Dance of Romance when Naveen sees the stars shinning in Tiana's eyes.
Mad Eye: invoked. "I was starting to think that wishin' on stars was for babies! And - an' crazy people."
Magic A Is Magic A: Facilier explains to Lawrence that he can't use his voodoo magic on himself and needs him to pull off their identity theft scheme. This is why Mama Odie is noticeably more powerful than Facilier (she uses her magic to help others, rather than herself, so she naturally has more of it), zapping the shadow creatures away effortlessly while Facilier has to rely on his friends on the other side to do most of the magic, and when they turn on him, he's as powerless as any mortal man.
Mama Odie: Gumbo, gumbo, in the pot. We need answers...whatcha got?
Magic Pants: Surprisingly averted; Tiana's dress visibly doesn't transform with her. Though, when she changes back, the movie pulls a King Triton by having her magically clad in lily pad clothing, and Naveen gets a lily pad-like suit upon turning human as well. While it would made for really funny anecdotes, Mama Odie wouldn't let them transform without clothes. Plus it's a standard opportunity for a Disney Pimped-Out Dress. Like they would pass that up.
Make a Wish: Like some other Disney flicks, it focuses on wishing on a star; unlike other Disney flicks, it explicitly states that you have to work hard to get what you want, too, and it's left ambiguous as to whether wishing on a star really make wishes come true, or if it's just a coincidence. Well, it is until the end; after Ray becomes a star, you get the impression Evangeline the wishing star is actually pretty powerful.
It's clear that the Friends on the Other Side are the real power behind Facilier.
Also, Facilier himself clearly plans on being this once Lawrence marries Charlotte and takes over Big Daddy's role as head of the city's most influential family. Which would make it the spirits behind the man behind the man pretending to be another man...
Manic Pixie Dream Boy: Naveen, although Tiana has more of an influence on him than traditional for this trope. He still manages to help her come out of her shell during their adventure.
Dr. Facilier's name is a play on the French word ""facile", for "easy", indicative of how he always offers "the easy way" out to his clients (or how he tries to take it for himself).
"La Bouffe" in French means "The Grub" as in "food". Appropriate for the Big Eater father...
Ray also, to an extent, as in "ray of light", reflecting his optimistic attitude. And how he attacks Dr. Facilier's friends.
Also "Evangeline", since it's the name of a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem about a woman looking for her lost love. It's also the name of a parish in Louisiana. Specifically, "Evangeline" is meaningful in that the Longfellow poem is about an Acadian woman looking for her lost husband after they were separated in the expulsion of Acadians from their homeland that started in 1755. Some Acadians migrated to Louisiana after this and over time became known as Cajuns. Of course, Ray is a Cajun firefly, so the name of his true love is ethnically significant.
The very-briefly-seen character Beau...a moth who functions as a bow-tie.
Tiana is also an example; her name literally means princess, probably referring to the fact that she was the princess that could break the spell all along.
A Minor Kidroduction: The movie begins by showing Tiana and Charlotte as children being read the source material of the movie by Tiana's mother.
Missing Mom: Charlotte has a father who dotes on her shamelessly, but we never see her mother and it's never mentioned why she's not around.
Mistaken Identity: The reason Tiana's kiss doesn't solve Naveen's frog curse problem. She isn't really a princess when she kisses him; Naveen just assumed she was because of her outfit. She points out it was a Masquerade Ball.
The beginning of the film seems light-hearted, relaxed and friendly but by the end it's clearly sentimental.
Another example occurs during/after the "Ma Belle Evangeline" sequence. We have a beautiful, slow, romantic song while our two protagonists dance together...and then Naveen gets snatched away by the shadow demons and is dragged away screaming while the others try to save him.
A short example just before the BLAM, combined with a great use of a beat and a scene cut.
Naveen and totally on purpose! According to the commentary, they were down to three options for Naveen's voice so they gathered together female members of the crew and asked them to pick the most attractive voice.
My Instincts Are Showing: While Naveen attempts to satisfy his Frog Form's taste for insects when he gets hungry, Tiana tries to resist her own tongue rebels against her.
Named After Somebody Famous: Louis is obviously named after Louis Armstrong, and this is even Lampshaded when he mentions him first and foremost among the people he wants to surpass in the world of trumpet playing. Also consider that that they live in Louisiana, named for King Louis XIV. The comparison goes as far as the animation itself. See this image◊ for comparison.
Never a Self-Made Woman: Weirdly narrative example: it's obvious to the viewer that Tiana gets her dreams through her own hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance, but every character who knows about Tiana's father attributes her success to his influence. At least one reference to Tiana's father being the source of her hard-working nature is made in every song she participates in, and in the end, she has to realize that her father wasn't just a hard worker, he was a family man too in order to learn her personal lesson.
Never Recycle a Building: Tiana's father sets his sights on an abandoned mill as the place to set up the restaurant he dreams of starting. Not only was the mill empty for some time before he announces this, it remains empty for another ten years or so, while Tiana grows up and saves the money so she can buy the mill for the same purpose after her father dies. One of the things that kicks off the plot is that as soon as she tells the men selling the mill that she's able to afford it, she's informed that someone else just happened to outbid her on it. Given the warehouse's long-abandoned state and that the sellers are jerks, fanon has taken to the notion that Tiana was simply lied to about the competition.
[spoiler:Never Trust A Title: Tiana not actually being a princess is a major part of the plot. On the other hand, she becomes one, and Charlotte is theoretically a princess.]]
In the third trailer, a line was added in with Mama Odie telling Tiana that "all that matters is what's under the skin". Not only does this line never appear in the movie, but it is in no way related to the moral that either Tiana learns or that Mama Odie is attempting to teach.
In the same trailer, it emphasizes that it's "the kind of magic that can only happen when you wish upon a star". "Wishing upon a star" is 100% contradictory to the moral of the story, which is that while wishing (determination) takes you part of the way, you still have to work for what you want.
Overall, Disney did an excellent job making this movie look like something it isn't in the TV spots, putting emphasis on butt jokes, fart jokes, and Louis and Ray at their goofiest.
Nice Hat: Dr. Facilier sports a very nice hat indeed.
Nice to the Waiter: In a very literal example, Charlotte and Big Daddy La Bouff. They're a bit oblivious to Tiana's problems and come across as airheaded socialites sometimes, but their kind treatment of servants and workers shows that their hearts are in the right place.
Nonindicative Name: Tiana only becomes a princess by the last minute of the film, and she is, by occupation, a waitress whenever she's in the company of Naveen in frog form. One could say the title refers to how she becomes a princess.
No Self Buffs: The Shadow Man's magic won't work on himself. He even gives us the page quote:
Faciler: Fun fact about voodoo, Larry... can't conjure a thing for myself!
No Sense of Direction: Louis was distracted by the geography...a-and the topography, and the choreography!
No Sympathy: Averted - Charlotte shows real concern when Tiana accidentally falls into a table full of "man-catching" beignets, taking Tiana upstairs to fix her makeup and change out of her messy costume. Charlotte doesn't even expect Tiana to make more beignets to replace what she ruined. All of this is on top of the fact that she had been busy chatting up the prince when it happened and left him without a second thought; Spoiled Sweet indeed!
Obviously Evil: Tall, freakishly thin, likes skulls and crossbones, has a shadow that moves independently of the one casting it...
Oh Crap: Dr. Facilier, when his "friends" show up to demand payment... after their talisman gets broken. The way they surround him makes it very clear what the price they demand is, and it isn't long before they get it. You just know you're in trouble when your Villain Song gets a Dark Reprise. Just take a look at Facilier's face at the 24-second mark. Even though he was going to offer the city as a buffet to his "friends", you still feel pity for what's about to happen.
Only Known by Their Nickname: Dr. Facilier's name is only said once (by himself) in the movie. The other characters refer to him as "The Shadow Man". Tiana even calls him it to his face once.
Pretty in Mink: A few of Charlotte's princess dresses have a bit of fur trim, and she wears a dark pink boa when telling Tiana about the Prince's arrival. Tiana herself imagines herself in a white fox wrap with her white dress during her "I Want" Song. The temptation dream at the end gives her the same dress and wrap.
Princesses Prefer Pink: Invoked and averted. Charlotte wants to be a princess, so she favors pink, due to this trope. Tiana favors green and blue when she becomes an actual princess.
Pintsized Powerhouse: Tiana and Naveen as frogs against the frog hunters. Also Ray the firefly against Dr. Facilier's shadow demons at least until Dr. Facilier intervenes and kills Ray by stepping on him.
Pretty Freeloader: Best summed up in a line that was understandably cut from the film:
Naveen: I do not take advantage of women... I only give them pleasure.
Product Placement: Both in the animation, and given a line but justified in that we are talking about Louisiana hot sauce for gumbo. Besides it's such a household name that a lot of people don't realize it's a brand in the first place.
Tiana: Hit it hard with two shots of Tabasco, and it's the bee's knees!
Properly Paranoid: Facilier knows damn well what happens if you make a Deal with the Devil you can't keep. So much so that he loses it when Lawrence threatens to destroy the talisman. When Tiana does destroy the talisman, we get to see that Facilier had some damn good reasons to be so protective of it.
Dr. Facilier: Don't you disrespect me little man! / Don't you derogate or deride!
Really Gets Around: Strongly implied for Naveen, as strong as one can imply in a G-rated movie. He even says at one point that he has dated thousands of women. Unfortunately, it's when he's trying to propose to Tiana.
Real Life Writes the Plot: More like "Real Life Sets the Entire Project Into Motion", the reason Disney made this movie in the first place was so that they could put a princess in the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland, the part of the park which didn't have one at the time.
The Renaissance Age of Animation: The film is clearly an attempt to make a film with the style and quality of writing and music of the mid 90's Disney. They even brought back writers and producers from Aladdin and other such films.
Rhyming With Itself: The song When We're Human rhymes "right" (as in "my right arm") with "right" (as in "correct").
Rich Bitch: Charlotte is a refreshing subversion. Though she had a privileged and spoiled upbringing, she's actually a nice person. See Spoiled Sweet below.
Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Subverted. Naveen is pretty resourceful for a guy who's been turned into a frog. But the idea behind the trope is why his parents cut him off from the family fortune. Charlotte plays it straighter. Two big fistfulls of money is what a catering job costs, right?
Road Trip Romance: The traditional gender role are reversed, with Tiana having the experience and skills to guide on the journey, while the Naveen more or less tags along. The end result is the same. Disney used this plot again in their following animated feature.
According to the newspaper Big Daddy reads during "Down in New Orleans", it's 1926. The date is a left ambiguous: the front of his newspaper says "Friday, April 25, 1926" (actually a Sunday), the back says "Friday, July 16, 1926", and none of the real events the headlines are referring to (including Mardi Gras) actually took place on either of those dates.
Early on in the film, when Young Tiana and her mother board the trolley, a man is seen in one of the front seats reading a newspaper with the headline "Wilson Elected". It was Wilson's second term in office; he won the U.S. Presidential Election of 1916, dating the prologue as exactly ten years before.
Worth noting- Mardi Gras can NEVER take place in April. It can only occur between early February and early March. This is because Mardi Gras is Fat Tuesday; the day to run through all your excess before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. (Lent being the extended period of time prior to Easter Sunday). For a Mardi Gras to take place in April is to have an Easter in June (or maybe even July).
Shadow Discretion Shot: Played with, and Played for Laughs. It looks like Big Daddy is going to give Little Charlotte a stern talking to because she's so spoiled, but then he produces a puppy out of nowhere!
Ray for Tiana and Naveen. Eventually Louis and Ray have become Team Tianaveen. Mama Odie doesn't take long to join in. Charlotte wanted to marry a prince for more than half of her life, and even she thought Naveen should marry Tiana. It's easier to list by the end of the movie who isn'tshipping those two.
Dr. Facilier's pushes for the (disturbing) Lawrence/Charlotte ship, going so far as to bet his talisman and soul on it.
harlotte's dance scene with 'Naveen' closely resembles the dances Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty had with their Prince Charmings. The reason for these dances being duplicated in previous films was to save time and money but this time it's deliberate.
When Ray goes up to be a star with Evangeline, it brings to mind the song in Peter Pan, "The Second Star To The Right".
The guy dressed in an octopus costume who pours out his drink(s) when seeing the commotion being caused by two frogs is very reminiscent of The Aristocats, where a guy pours out his wine after seeing a mouse chase a bunch of cats (when really the mouse was trying to catch up with them.)
Disney chief John Lasseter, the Pixar head whose brainchild it was to bring back 2D animation, insisted on setting the film in New Orleans. When he found out Disney Renaissance directors Clements and Musker had never been to The Big Easy, he paid them to visit the post-Katrina city three times. Their research strongly influenced the plot as well as the look: Tiana's character was based on a person they met who dreamed of opening a restaurant.
The music (by New Orleans native Randy Newman) is also extremely location-specific and culture-specific.
Shrinking Violet: Ray thinks Evangeline is one of these and that is why she keeps her distance.
Simpleton Voice: Although Darnell (the big frog hunter) talks like this, his vocabulary is surprisingly more expansive than that of his father and brother, with the use of words such as "insolence" and "suspicious".
Sissy Villain: The creepiness of Charlotte being seduced by a guy in disguise is downplayed by making Lawrence as Naveen extremely effeminate.
Slapstick Knows No Gender: Played with. None of the female characters run into any slapstick, least of all Tiana... as a human. When she's a frog, all bets are off and everything is Played for Laughs - in fact, within her first few minutes as a frog involves a madcap, slapstick rich chase sequence.
Raymond, who from his appearance and mannerisms looks like he's missing a few brain cells, but is one of the more competent characters in the film.
Mama Odie seems completely senile at first, but she's very wise and clever - she just went a little strange from all the voodoo.
Smug Snake: Dr. Facilier is charismatic because he is so sure of himself.
Soul Jar: Dr. Facilier's amulet, though not granting him immortality, still fits since he sold his own soul to the Friends on the Other Side for the source of his powers. [[spoiler:You break it, you bought it!]. *
vThis is a legitimate Voodoo fetish. A skilled bokor (witch for hire) can trap souls in a ouanga (spirit talisman) to fuel his own magic. However, he can only hold onto the spirits for so long, because all souls belong to Bondye (the one true God) and have to go back to him. It's still considered dark magic because you're interfering with them going to the afterlife.
Southern Belle: Charlotte's southern accent and high class mark her as such.b
The Southpaw: Tiana is meant to be left-handed, as a Shout Out to her voice actress, Anika Noni Rose. (Close viewing, however, reveals that she's more ambidextrous than anything else).
Spoiled Sweet: Charlotte, Tiana's best friend since the two of them were small children. She's shallow and spoiled but still willing to give up her dream of marrying Prince Naveen to give Tiana her chance at true love. Heck, she's the freaking trope picture!
The firefly's name is Ray which would be an Incredibly Lame Pun except for the fact that he's the most hopeful and bright-spirited character in the cast, and he embodies the name even more after going on to his reward as a star beside the evening star.
Dr. Facilier's name is a pun on "Easy" which references The Big Easy, but also ...one who makes things easy. Lawrence takes him up on that offer, and finds to his dismay that taking the easy way is not the same as the right way. The core Aesop of the movie is "Work hard to Earn Your Happy Ending, because wishing can only take you so far. The villain of the movie is a magician who relies on his friends' magic to accomplish his goals. What better name for the villain than Dr. "Person Who Makes Things Easier"? Especially since he promotes this attitude to others. The title "Doctor" is descended from a medieval title denoting a license to teach. Dr. Facilier doesn't just take the easy way, he tries to teach everyone else to take it too.
Tiana's name is one letter away from Tiara. Hmm... Her name also literally means "Princess".
Louis is a jazz playing alligator. "Gator" was a slang term for jazzman in the 20s. To be more specific, Louis is a trumpet playing Gator, combine that with "gator" being a slang term for a Jazzman and you get a multi-layer reference to Louis Armstrong. These are far from the only similarities the two share.
A throwaway line at the masquerade party was Big Daddy calling one of the party goers "senator". Said party goer was in a devil costume.
Talented Princess Regular Guy: Genderflipped: Tiana is tough, hardworking, and a great cook, whereas Prince Naveen is unable to take care of himself. This is downplayed since he plays the ukelele and speak three languages.
Talking Animal: The transformed Prince Naveen and Tiana. As frogs, they can understand other animals. It's a little inconsistent, though, as regular people can also understand Louis.
Louis is a bit unclear, people react to him but he never actually SPEAKS to other humans.
Tarot Motifs: When Doctor Facilier reads Naveen and Lawrence's fortunes. We clearly see The Fool, Three of Pentacles, and the Tower in Naveen's hand, while Lawrence is almost a replica of Ten of Wands. And it's not overdone, and it works! Although the Eye of Horus on the back of the cards is a bit confusing. You'd think it'd be a bit too late for Facilier to try to get protection from evil.
Tempting Fate: An entire musical number of it early on- "I've climbed a mountain, I've crossed a river, and I'm almost there!" You may wanna check your map again, Tiana.
Throw It In: In-universe: the rest of the band playing at the Masquerade Ball assumes the drummer is starting in with some jazzy improv, and follow suit. The drummer was actually trying to strike a frog with his drumsticks.
Through His Stomach: Tiana reminds Charlotte of this, and Charlotte orders her food for the ball.
Title Drop: Sort of, the titular princess is not an actual princess and she only becomes one for about 1 minute of the screen time. The frog is also (of course) not an actual frog, but a prince.
One of the last few online behind-the-scenes featurettes uploaded before the film's release gave away Dr. Facilier being dragged away by his Friends on the Other Side to his death.
There's also at least one trailer showing that Frog!Tiana, not Human!Tiana, smashes the talisman.
Two scenes might be more suspenseful and/or made great reveals if 1.they didn't show Louis in any trailer, with the contrast with the vicious frog-eating alligators introduced beforehand and 2.they didn't show the wedding scene where they turn back into humans!!. Though the latter might be justified, since Disney films are somewhat predictable.
Trick Dialogue: Ray overhears Naveen practicing a proposal to Tiana, but believes he's trying to move in on Evangeline.
Also, when Naveen translates Ray's endearments to Evangeline for Tiana.
The Unfought: The "Friends On the Other Side". Arguably justified in that, once they got what they wanted (Facilier's soul), they had no more reason to harass the heroes.
Unfunny: Tiana, occasionally. Her status as such is actually something of a plot point - in the end it's not because she doesn't have a sense of humor or fun, it's because she's filed away that sort of thing in order to focus on her ambitions.
The Unintelligible: Two-Fingers, one of the frog-hunting rednecks, speaks with mumbles and grunts. Darnell and Pa have no trouble understanding him, though. In some scenes, he's only speaking very quietly rather than unintelligibly.
Unusual Euphemism: When Naveen crashes the Mardi Gras wedding, Charlotte exclaims, "Cheese and crackers!"
Visual Pun: The realtor who makes a remark about Tiana's "background" was in the back-side of the horse-suit. That's right, he's the horse's ass.
Or they could be a donkey, making them a Jackass.
Voices Are Mental: Averted, though in an odd way. When Lawrence is impersonating Prince Naveen, his voice is noticeably higher than his normal one. This makes sense, as Lawrence speaks with a very different accent from Naveen.
Warts And All: Naveen to Lawrence. Boy, does he regret it. Amusingly, Naveen asks Tiana if she loves him, "warts and all", making it more literal than figurative "warts and all"
Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Tiana and Naveen. Early in the film, they both think that they're better than the other. Naveen believes himself to be superior to Tiana because he is a debonair and optimistic prince, while she is a pessimistic & cranky waitress. At the same time, Tiana thinks that she's above Naveen because he's a lazy, good for nothing philanderer, while she has tirelessly worked hard for the things she wants in life. Hence, the throwing of insults begins.
With Friends Like These: Pardon the pun, but Facilier's "friends" from the other side promptly take his soul once he defaults on his loan.
With This Ring: Naveen, on realizing he's fallen in love with Tiana, fashions a ring for her out of champagne cork wire and a Mardi Gras bead.
You Have Failed Me: An explanation for Dr. Facilier's final fate. With the talisman broken, the plan he'd sold his "Friends on the other side" on, promising them the wayward souls of New Orleans, was now impossible. He tried to tell them it was a "minor setback (to a major operation)" and they were... unimpressed.
You Need a Breath Mint: Ray complains of Louis' breath while the latter is trying to revive him from having nearly drowned.
Ray:I'm fine. But your breath done near killed me to death.