Here's a short and quick article about the controversies that have surrounded and will continue to surround Disney's new film, months before the public has even seen the final cut of the film: Does Disney's 'Princess and the Frog' Deserve the Controversy?
Many of the articles I've seen so far have been more biased than this one by Kevin Polowywhich I consider much more even-handed.
Are the criticisms warranted? Or are the reactions excessive? Depends on how you look it at. There are some reasonable questions being asked: In a film set in 1920s New Orleans, where most of the characters are black, why isn't the prince? Why make the princess clearly culturally definable, yet the prince ambiguous? After 70 years of white princes, doesn't the black community deserve a prince to call their own? (And no, we count neither Prince Akeem nor the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in this argument.)
But at the same time, shouldn't we credit Disney for diversifying their portfolio and promoting interracial relationships? Won't this scenario help teach our kids about racial tolerance? Aren't we all just overreacting here? After all, this is an animated movie for kids about people who transform into frogs; the main characters even spend most of their screen time as reptiles. So should race even be an issue here?
I'm admit I'm curious as to the choice of princes for the film, racially ambiguous is a questionable choice. Should we say, boo, no black prince from Disney yet? Or hooray for tolerance of interracial couples? Very, very curious.
Then again, I'm fascinated with the entire interpretation of the story. Disney isn't known for sticking to the originals very well, but this one perhaps wins the prize for their most wildly interpreted fairy tale.
In the end, I am curious to see how well the movie does at the box office and with merchandise sales. I imagine they will be fairly strong although I wonder about Christmas sales since the movie isn't getting a nationwide November release. I'm not understanding all the marketing choices for this film, to say the least.
In the end, I predict those who always support and love Disney will continue to do so and vice versa with those who don't worship the Mouse House. So far, I'm most surprised there aren't more non-Disney Frog Prince related books and such being released to ride the Disney wave.
Either way, I expect lots of conversation. The article I reference above is just a few days old and already has over 1,500 reader comments on it.