Disney adds another princess

Brittany Doyle

We’re all familiar with Snow White, Mulan, Pocahontas, Belle, Ariel, Aurora, Cinderella and Jasmine. Growing up in the ’90s, our generation was fully immersed in the Disney princess era.

Snow White may have been the first princess on the silver screen in 1937, followed by Cinderella in 1950 and Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) in 1959, but the Disney princess craze was at its best between 1989 with the introduction of Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” and 1998 when “Mulan” came onto the scene.

We grew up watching Belle avoid Gaston and fight to save her father from the Beast, Jasmine ride on the magic carpet with Aladdin and Pocahontas fall in love with John Smith.

Disney first got the idea to capitalize on the collection in 2000 when they began producing Disney Princess products, like costumes and books. Since then, the craze has persisted among the younger generations.

Now, 11 years after “Mulan,” the most recent princess movie, Disney is adding another character to the ranks of “Disney Princess.” Princess Tiana, the protagonist of “The Princess and the Frog,” will be the first African-American princess in the collection.

Tiana, a 19-year-old waitress living in New Orleans, aspires to become a chef and restaurant owner. But when the evil villain Dr. Facilier transforms the charismatic Prince Naveen into a frog, the Prince must find a princess to kiss him and turn him back into a human.

Tiana, despite the title, is not a princess, and upon kissing the frog she is transformed into a frog as well. Tiana and Naveen must voyage through the New Orleans bayou in order to find the good Voodoo Priestess, Mama Odie.

Traditionally, princess movies take place a long time ago in a place far, far away, but this is an original American fairy tale, bringing a new element of familiarity and relevance to the world of Disney princesses.

The film is presented in all hand-drawn 2-D to resemble the original Disney Princess movies, and is, as the others were, a musical. But with the advent of Pixar and 3-D movies, will “The Princess and the Frog” receive the attention it would have were it produced 10 years ago? Preliminary reviews believe it will dazzle audiences as well as the originals have.

Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard and Anika Noni Rose of “Dreamgirls” (as Tiana) lend their voices to the film’s leading characters, while the soundtrack, released on Nov. 23, features jazz, blues and gospel sounds. The soundtrack was written and composed by Academy Award winning composer Randy Newman. The parts individually hold much promise, and their sum should not disappoint.

While the originals are still celebrated, and everyone undoubtedly has his or her favorite princess, the era of the Disney Princess is far from over.

Princess Tiana in “The Princess and the Frog” will find a way into our hearts and our collections, not only for the sake of nostalgia and posterity, but also for the genuine quality the movie promises to deliver.

The movie opens tomorrow, so if you’re looking for something relaxing to do on Reading Day, head to the movies to relive your childhood fantasies.