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YMMV / The Princess and the Frog

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  • Acceptable Targets:
    • The hillbilly frog hunters are presented as villainous versions of The Three Stooges. Laugh at their stupidity.
    • The Cajun fireflies are stereotyped with missing teeth and being "simple". Ray's subplot makes him look like a Cloudcuckoolander, though the whole thing is about him being a firefly and has nothing to do with his ethnic group. And of course, that worked out for him in the end.
    • Averted with most of the white characters. They're noticeably wealthier and more privileged than Tiana and her family, but they're not depicted as arrogant. Hell, Charlotte is a better friend to Tiana than her nameless black friends in the beginning.
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  • Accidental Aesop: The movie simultaneously tries to shoot for "don't neglect your personal life for a goal" and "what you want isn't always what you need." However, Tiana simply doesn't want Naveen badly enough to feel her heart torn over him until quite late in the movie, and when she does, she's only briefly conflicted. Dr. Facilier offering her her dream on a platter is far more tempting. Thus, a fair moral would be "wants are powerful, important things, and there will be times when you're painfully torn over what you want in life. You may or may not be able to have both, but the main thing is that you don't step on anyone else to get there."
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Are the Friends on the Other Side legitimately evil or actually a case of Dark Is Not Evil, orchestrating a massive Batman Gambit for the main character’s good and give Facilier what’s coming to him?
      • This could actually fit really well... some of the Loa are known for helping the hard-working underdogs of society against the "rich fat cats." When Facilier takes advantage of Naveen, Charlotte and Big Daddy, it's probably okay with them, but when he starts picking on Tiana, it becomes a whole different story. (And once Naveen makes the choice to get a job to help her, he becomes an underdog as well...) No wonder the Friends don't listen to Facilier's attempts to placate them after Tiana breaks the necklace!
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    • Did Charlotte overpay Tiana for the beignets because she's a reckless spendthrift or because she wanted to help Tiana and knew her friend wouldn't accept handouts?
    • Did the Fenners really meet someone willing to outbid Tiana or did they lie about it out of racism? The latter seems more likely as the tall thin one said a woman of Tiana's Background.
  • Anvilicious: Tiana herself is a walking anvil with the message "remember to work hard". She drops the anvil practically every ten minutes into the movie. Then she herself is hit with a countering anvil; no, Tiana, "Dig a little deeper" does not mean that you work even harder than you already are. The whole song is about countering it, that sometimes you need to look past what you want to understand what's important.
  • Awesome Music: Lots of jazz and zydeco (a seldom-represented genre in movies), befitting the New Orleans setting. Courtesy of Randy Newman, no less!
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Tiana herself with regards to if she's a good character or not. The Nostalgia Critic called her "the best female lead since Belle." Others like the Unshaved Mouse found her a Flat Character who suffered from too much Positive Discrimination.
    • The poachers. Their existence is foreshadowed, but they still feel disconnected from the rest of the story and contribute little to nothing to the overall plot. It boils down to either a few minutes of gratuitous slapstick, or the scene that made Naveen realise that Tiana wasn't a complete stick in the mud, and made them like each other more.
    • Ray, depending on who you ask, is either an obnoxious stereotype or a fun and helpful character.
  • Broken Base:
    • Back in 2006, Disney fans were not happy when it was announced that Randy Newman would be replacing Alan Menken as the composer of the film. After the film was released, the reaction was more mixed. Some thought that Newman's jazzy tunes fit the movie's setting very well, others still wish that Menken had stayed to produce the less generic songs he's known for.
    • Ray's death. There seem to be accounts of movie audiences breaking down sobbing or breaking down laughing or saying that it was too dark in equal numbers.
    • Some viewers feel that the film should have been a more realistic (or at least less optimistic) depiction of the Jim Crow-era American south, saying that, while not quite Politically Correct History, it's too much of a fairy tale depiction to take seriously. Of corse, other viewers are quick to point out that it's supposed to be a fairy tale.
    • Whether or not the "work hard to achieve your dreams" is an anvil that needed to be dropped or a dead unicorn Aesop. The former argues that the entire Disney Princess franchise required it since the earlier princesses were passive Distressed Damsels who got saved by handsome princes and whisked off to better lives. The latter argues that the earlier princesses had gone through their own struggles (as the classic three had grown up in poverty prior to becoming royalty) and still had to earn their happy endings too.
  • Cargo Ship: Ray the firefly and Evangeline the evening star until Ray dies and becomes a star next to Evangeline.
  • Cliché Storm: Yes and no. It harkens back to the traditions of the Disney Renaissance (spunky heroine, stylized fairytales, comic relief characters), but is conservative in its use of cliches that could be associated with all of the things this movie is (first traditionally animated Disney movie in five years, first American princess, first Black princess, first explicitly 20th century period piece).
    • The setting very much so, pretty much every cliche associated with New Orleans and Louisiana in general appears.
  • Complete Monster: Dr. Facilier, the Shadow Man, is a "very charismatic" conman and voodoo sorcerer who employs his demonic "Friends on the Other Side" for his own ambitious ends. Facilier tricks Prince Naveen into giving him his blood, cursing the prince into the form of a frog, while roping his greedy valet Lawrence into posing as the prince to marry into the inheritance of New Orleans' wealthiest sugar baron Eli "Big Daddy" LaBouff, ensuring Facilier can murder LaBouff and Naveen after to secure the fortune for his own. Plunged deep into debt to his "Friends" with his soul at stake, Facilier sinks to his lowest when he offers up the souls of New Orleans' citizens to his demonic "Friends" to glut themselves on, and even cold-bloodedly kills Ray the firefly when he poses an obstacle to his plans. Defined by his thirst for power, even Facilier's elastic, unmistakable charm can't disguise the monster he truly is underneath his conman facade.
  • Crossover Ship: Odette/Dr. Facilier seems to be pretty popular. Understandable, seeing how her backstory is similar to what Facilier does to the main characters.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Dr. Facilier. "He was very charismatic!"
  • Ear Worm:
    • It's hard to pick one with such a good soundtrack, but "Friends On the Other Side", "When We're Human", and both versions of "Down in New Orleans" get particular mention.
    • "Dig A Little Deeper"! Mama Odie's voice actress was even backed up by a real church chorus.
    • "Ma Belle Evangeline". The song is so heartwarming and sweet!
      • Also from Ray: "Gonna Take You There". It was short but very catchy.
      • Especially when linked with good memories; this song was played daily from the Mark Twain Riverboat at Disneyland, at least during November '09, making it a permanent reminder of Disneyland.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The fandom absolutely loves Charlotte, probably due to her sweet nature, loyalty to Tiana, and subverting everything you'd expect from a beautiful rich girl. Also for being absolutely hilarious.
  • Evil Is Cool: Again, Dr. Facilier. Hes got a cool and unique design coupled with an absolutely glorious performance by Keith David. Plus is just so charismatic with a great Villain Song as well.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Facilier is this according to the fangirls (and some fanboys). Well, what did you expect? Keith David is voicing him.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In a previous Disney animated feature, The Lion King, Timon once said that the stars in the sky were 'fireflies that were trapped in that big blue-ish, black thing.' Ray, a firefly in this movie, was killed by Dr. Facilier and turned into a star in the sky.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • When Facilier shows Naveen his future and changes around the images on his cards, "XVI" shows Naveen in front of a tower with his pockets turned out, and "IX" shows Naveen with a bride and her father with treasure around them. In the Tarot, the sixteenth card is "The Tower", representing a sudden crisis or disaster, and realizations of falsehoods, and the Minor Arcana card "Nine of Coins/Pentacles" refers to someone who has achieved fortune through hard work. Lawrence's card, meanwhile, is the Ten of Wands note , which portrays an over-burdened person.
      • The XV card (Naveen with two beauties on either side) is the Devil (Naveen making a deal with a devil-like figure for the pursuit of material gains. The card that Facilier hands him as he sings "It's the green that I see" in Naveen's future looks like it's marked 0, the traditional number for the Fool - the very first card of the Deck, which signifies a new beginning and adventure.
      • Given that it's magic, Facilier's deck isn't very consistent with depicting the Major and Minor Arcanas. Decks usually use Roman numbers for majors and spelled-out numbers for minors, but the IX card (interpreted above as the Nine of Pentacles) in a typical deck would be The Hermit, which doesn't fit Naveen's journey at all.
    • Ray's lover, "Evangeline", is a reference to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem of the same name, which chronicled the expulsion of the French-speaking Acadian (Cajun) people from Eastern Canada before their migration to Louisiana. The poem is widely considered the unofficial national epic of the Cajun people, so it's quite fitting that the very Cajun firefly Ray would fall for a woman of that name.
    • One of the stipends of Voodoo Magic is that you cannot actually cast magic on yourself, only on others, such as Facillier does with Lawrence and Mama Odie demonstrates with Juju. Another is that the power is not yours, but borrowed or traded for, making it genuinely dangerous to fall into debt. Facillier falls into debt in his use of power, while Mama Odie is much more restrained in how she uses magic, only using it sparingly.
  • Girl-Show Ghetto: The movie did okay at the box office for Disney, but not nearly as good as their previous animated films. Disney determined that this trope was the reason and was rumored to completely shut down adapting fairy tales into movies. For Tangled's marketing, they completely downplayed the fairy tale-ness of the movie, put the male hero character front and center, and marketed like a Dreamworks comedy film. The advertising brought a whole lot of backlash, but in the end it paid off as Tangled more than doubled what Frog did; Disney took the same tact with the formerly-named The Snow Queen, rechristening it Frozen and giving it a similar marketing strategy as Tangled, right down to using the same music for its TV spots as the other film.
    • It's funny when you realize that arguably, The Princess and the Frog is among the least stereotypically "feminine" Disney Princess movies, alongside Mulan and Moana - it features a very menacing villain, a road trip plot, a great deal of slapstick humor, strong leads that aren't romantically interested in eachother at all at first... In comparison, Tangled is a girlier movie, with less peril, less Nightmare Fuel and more "princess"-stuff.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • A while ago, some guy named Terry Pratchett wrote a novel called Witches Abroad, whose third act was set in a fusion of the Disney's Magic Kingdom and New Orleans, the plot of which involves voodoo and a prince who's really a frog...
    • In The Thing (1982), Keith David's character calls out the others for believing in "voodoo bullshit". In this film, he plays a voodoo doctor.
    • Tiana and Lottie are a black woman and a white woman (respectively) living in the racially discriminated time period but are very close friends. Awfully similar to Minny and Miss Celia from The Help, huh? Bonus points for Lottie having short, curly blonde hair, a liking for the color pink, and a thick Southern accent.
    • Charlotte "Lottie" LaBoeuf is obsessed with princesses and dreams of one day becoming a real princess. Prince William and Kate Middleton's second child is a princess named Charlotte!
    • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo (who rivals Facilier as one of the most popular Disney villains) dies by falling into a river of molten copper, symbolically being plunged into the fiery pit. In this film, Facilier is pulled kicking and screaming by the Voodoo spirits into the underworld. In other words, he is literally being dragged into hell.
    • Speaking of The Jungle Book, Louis Armstrong was originally going to be cast as King Louie, but was instead replaced by New Orleans native Louis Prima. Luckily, Louis Armstrong was mentioned in this film taking place in Louis Prima's hometown!
  • Just Here for Godzilla: A lot of people's appeal for the film comes less from the plot and characterization (which, while not outright terrible, are considered somewhat lackluster by some compared to other Disney films) and more from it being traditionally animated in an era in which those kinds of films are so rare.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Yeah, like Disney is going to kill off the lovable animal sideki—wait, what? What?!
  • Love to Hate: Dr. Facilier is considered a very cool, fun villain with a great Villain Song and powerhouse performance from Keith David. He's widely considered one of the best things about the film (along with Charlotte).
  • Misaimed Fandom: While Lawrence and Dr. Facilier have understandable reasons to feel bitter about their lot, living in the service or shadows of "fat cats in their fancy cars"... some viewers miss the mark about this NOT being an excuse to use magic to try to lie, cheat, steal, trick, and murder their way into money. There are not a few that go so far as to say they should have completely gotten away with their scheme from beginning to end, even though it would have ultimately resulted in destroying the lives of countless people, none of whom would deserve it. The fact that Facilier decided to target the nicest rich man in New Orleans, who gives huge tips to the people who work for him and treats the black persons working for him with respect in the 1920s, doesn't help his cause. He was also ready to sell the souls of all the people of the town to his Friends of the Other Side in order to enlist their help.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Facilier offering every living soul of New Orleans to his "Friends" in exchange for their cooperation is so much worse than his previous evil acts, that it might be considered the moment that makes him irredeemable.
    • Or it might be when he kills Ray the firefly by crushing him with his foot.
  • Narm: Ray's death is either one of Disney's biggest and most shocking Tear Jerkers or it's so hammered in and over the top that it becomes hilarious.
  • Narm Charm:
    • It's almost too easy, to the point of cliché, that Ray ends up as a star alongside Evangeline. And yet... it's sweet, and it's fitting, and it works.
    • The preceding scene can also count, if you don't consider it plain old Narm. Ray gets a drawn-out death scene, after being stepped on, and is given a viking funeral in which he's sent out on the bayou in a leaf boat. The entire scene is ludicrous, but is played completely straight, and works strangely well.
    • During the "Ma Belle Evangeline" dance, when Ray sings "Look how she lights up the sky", and Naveen looks to Tiana and sees a very cartoony sparkle in her eyes. And yet, it's just too adorable a moment to feel awkward.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Mama Odie has about 15 minutes of screen time, but steals the show when she first appears.
    • To a lesser extent, the hillbilly frog hunters.
  • Retroactive Recognition: One of Naveen's animators is Benson.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Working hard is important, but so is love. Neglecting your personal life just to work hard is going to leave you unhappy.
  • Squick: Mama Odie greets her pet snake Juju with several kisses. On the mouth. With tongue. The others' reactions are understandable.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Tiana’s friends at the beginning, who complain about her working all the time instead of having fun on occasion, are portrayed as insensitive, but let’s be honest—consistently excluding oneself from social activities with one’s friends does tend to put a dent in one’s relationship with them. The film seems to take their side on this when Tiana learns her Aesop, though the friends aren't seen again.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Lawrence could have been a much more interesting character if he had received more development. When Facilier shows him his tarot readings, we learn that he has a pretty decent Freudian Excuse for his back-stabbing, as he was pushed around by everyone in his life, including his family and the prince. And in one scene after that, he actually offers to give his amulet back to Facilier and not go through with his plan. But none of that comes up again after those scenes, after which he passively goes along with Facilier.
    • Dr. Facilier's issues with his Friends on the Other Side would have made a perfectly good story on their own. Dr. Facilier is basically Disney's version of Dr. Faustus. He had unimaginable demonic power at his fingertips, and all he could think to do was scam a butler and get some money. When his debt is finally called in, he begs for "just a little more time." Indeed, one of the movie's most prominent criticisms is that the villain was underplayed.
    • In the same sense, Facilier's personal Living Shadow minion turned out to be a conceptually impressive hit, which makes it a big shame that in the movie proper, the Shadow ends up doing little more than acting as an extra pair of hands.
    • Tiana and Facilier appear to know each other, or at least know of the other. However they don't actually meet until the climax of the film. No attempt is made to give the two a connection beforehand, making it rather odd when Facilier offers Tiana a Deal with the Devil just like with Naveen (and there it was a little more justified, since Naveen was new in town and didn't know Facilier - whereas Tiana knew exactly who he was).
  • Ugly Cute: Ray, oh so much.
  • Values Resonance: Over-prioritizing and working yourself to the bone can narrow your life down to your work, with little room for your own happiness. Ten years after the movie was released, where there's more pressure for young millennials (especially those with creative aspirations) to find jobs and stay financially afloat in an increasingly competitive market, the movie's message about having a balance of work and play manages to feel pertinent.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: Tiana. With Naveen as the love interest clearly needing to learn An Aesop, a charismatic villain and entertaining side characters, Tiana mainly falls into a sort of Team Mom role. Her only flaw is that she's a workaholic, so she spends most of the movie teaching the Aesops rather than learning them. Notably the villain's plot has very little to do with her, making her a bit of a Pin Ball Protagonist too. The confrontation between her and Facilier is the first time that they meet in the film.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Zig-zagged, in that it won a crowd, but not necessarily the intended crowd.
    • On the one hand, Disney banked on this film to decide if they could continue producing hand-drawn animated features in an era dominated by CGI. While it received glowing reviews, it wound up getting released during a crowded movie season against Avatar, Sherlock Holmes (2009) and (of all things) Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, humbling its financial success (its intake, along with licensed merchandise, was closer to that of The Emperor's New Groove or Meet the Robinsons than any of their "renaissance" films, meaning it did okay). As a result, John Lasseter's "every other movie is 2D" plan got off on a bad start and, after similar results with Winnie-the-Pooh, flopped outright.
    • On the other hand, it succeeded at everything else. Its positive reception did re-establish Disney's prominence in the animation industry, and began what many call the "Disney Revival", which continued with the roaring successes of Wreck-It Ralph and especially Frozen. Tiana, being the first Disney Princess since Mulan twelve years prior, helped kick off a successful revival of princess movies which returned with a vengeance (in more ways than one) proper with Tangled a year later.
  • The Woobie: Tiana undergoes a lot during the movie which makes you feel sad for her.
    • First, she loses her father, whom she was very close to, at a pretty young age.
    • Then she works herself to exhaustion with her two jobs.
    • As a result of her hard work, she is able to make a bid on a building so she can have the restaurant she always wanted... but she's shooed away from this by the seller for no particular stated reason (though worse, it's heavily implied to be because of outright racism/discrimination).
    • Then she has a Hope Spot when Charlotte decides to hire her for her party and she meets Frog!Naveen who offers to help her if she kisses him. Instead of this working out, she gets turned into a frog herself, and then has to fight for her life because she and Naveen (as frogs) are being hunted.
    • Even when they finally get to Mama Odie, they can't be turned back into humans.
    • Then just as she's starting to get some romantic feelings for Naveen, the latter seems to be going to marry Charlotte instead of her. Which was in an effort to turn Naveen and Tiana back into humans... but again, doesn't work out.


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