THE LION KING vs. FROZEN

The Lion King Poster  VS.  Frozen Poster

A short while ago, I started seeing a bunch of versus movie videos on YouTube, and a lot of them were Disney movies: old Cinderella (Clyde Geronimi, 1950) versus new Cinderella (Kenneth Branagh, 2015), Beauty and the Beast (Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, 1991) versus Aladdin (Ron Clements and John Musker, 1992), and so on. Yeah, they were pretty odd, but the strangest one, in my opinion, was Tangled (Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, 2010) versus Frozen (Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, 2013). People were comparing these movies? Fans were trying to determine the better one between the two? This was odd to me for a couple of reasons. First, Frozen is better. Second, these aren’t the movies I’d put together. To me, the real competitor of Tangled is The Princess and the Frog (Ron Clements and John Musker, 2009). If you read my review of these movies, you already know which movie I think is the better. Maybe I’ll make a versus post between them later, though probably not. But I digress. The real competitor of Frozen, however, is…drumroll please…The Lion King (Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, 1994)! Right now, the Walt Disney Animation Studios is enjoying the Disney Revival, which is very reminiscent of the Disney Renaissance from the ’90s. The Princess and the Frog became The Little Mermaid (Ron Clements and John Musker, 1989) for today’s youth. Winnie the Pooh (Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall, 2011) is like today’s The Rescuer’s Down Under (Hendel Butoy and Mike Gabriel, 1990). And Frozen is today’s The Lion King. Both movies are incredibly popular, they brought in TONS of money, they’re still memorable, and we’re still singing the songs. But which movie is the best? Which is truly the better complete film? Well, I must admit that The Lion King is my favorite Disney movie ever, as well as one of my favorite films period. But putting personal feelings aside, I’m looking at this from a fair, analytical perspective. I’ll be judging this based on the same categories I review these films: animation, songs and music, romance, characters, and story. That being said, let’s dive in and see which is the better movie. This is The Lion King vs. Frozen!

 

ANIMATION: The animation in both movies is spectacular! I love how animation can transport us into worlds that don’t look like our own, but feel like our own. The way Frozen makes winter look is incredible! This is the kind of winter we dream about – the kind of winter we want to see! I also love how the ice and the snow look. The texture, the weight, and the shape of them is just outstanding! I love it!

To be honest, however, those are the only pieces of animation that really impress me in this film. In The Lion King, everything impresses me! From the first frame, I’m instantly spellbound! Look at how the animators captured Kenya! Look at the sunrise! The sky! The trees! The mountains! The complete landscape! The waterfall! They not only brought the size, scope, and spirituality of Kenya to the film, but they made it a bit more epic by adding mythological elements to the layout. But what really does it for me is the animals! The Lion King has an all animal cast. This means the animators had to really capture the movements and behaviors of all these lions, hyenas, wildebeasts, giraffes, elephants, birds, ants, and everyone else! They don’t just become animators trying to draw animals – the animals are just there! Simba is a lion in this movie, not a cartoon or animated character! The characters are alright in Frozen, but they’re humans – they’re ordinary. Also, they have a sort of plastic texture to their skin; the people look more like toys and dolls than actual humans.. Point goes to The Lion King!

The Lion King - Stampede

 

SONGS/MUSIC: These movies have some of the best and biggest Disney soundtracks of all time! We can’t help but hear these songs in our heads whenever we think of these films. And The Lion King doesn’t just have great and fun songs to accompany the film; it also has an amazing score composed by the great Hans Zimmer to go with it! And again, Lebo M. helped bring the sound of the music to the continent of Africa! We’ve got some fantastic talent behind the music here!

Again, I personally love the songs from The Lion King more. One thing I realized about this film in contrast to other Disney movies is The Lion King doesn’t have one Number One song. Most people would agree the Number One song from The Little Mermaid is “Under the Sea.” The Number One song from Beauty and the Beast is “Be Our Guest,” and the Number One Song from Aladdin is “A Whole New World.” We can name other songs from those movies, but those are the songs most people remember the most. While, of course, Frozen has “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” and “For the First Time in Forever,” we all know “Let It Go” is the film’s Number One song. However, if you were to ask a large group of people to name the Number One song from The Lion King, some would say “Circle of Life,” some would say “Hakuna Matata,” and some would say “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” TAKE THAT, FROZEN!

Also, as my girlfriend pointed out, the you can tell all the songs in The Lion King have a consistent style or genre. They all sound the same. Part of that comes from the fact that the filmmakers and music leaders wanted to capture the spirit and culture of the land this film is set. The style of the songs in Frozen isn’t as consistent. Some of them sound like musical theatre, some of them sound like modern pop music, the ice cutting song sounds like Irish-type music, and the music over the studio logos reminds you of The Lion King anyway. Having said all that, the point should go to The Lion King, right? Well…

While I love and prefer the songs from The Lion King…I have to admit…the songs from Frozen are better. Why? Because they actually do a better job of tying the songs into the story and what’s going on. No, not all of them do that, but, again, they do it better than The Lion King. Songs like “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” “For the First Time in Forever,” “Love is an Open Door,” and “Let it Go” continue the story and tell us how the characters feel. The only songs to really do that in The Lion King are “Circle of Life” and “Be Prepared.” I can make arguments for “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” and “Hakuna Matata,” but it’s pretty obvious which movie utilize the songs more. What can I say? Point goes to Frozen.

 

ROMANCE: Is there really a competition here? I love The Lion King, but I know that the romance in that movie is unnecessary. The story is about coming to age, accepting responsibility, and the care and balance of life…Where the crud does a romance fit in to this? OK, romance is a part of life, but how does it fit into the story the filmmakers were trying to make? It doesn’t!

In Frozen, the romance is much better intertwined with the story. Anna’s romance with Hans is sort of the initial incident that sets the rest of the movie into motion. When Elsa and Anna fought over the sudden engagement, Elsa’s nerves got the best of her, prompting her to run away. After that, Anna’s discovery of true love begins. Not only does she learn the dangers of giving her heart to any random person, but she also develops a romance with Kristoff. I also like that their romance doesn’t end with a marriage or “true love,” but rather an attraction. They’re attracted to each other, they’re dating. All in all, the romance  in Frozen works its way in the story much better than The Lion King. Point goes to Frozen!

 

STORY: OK, I know that I usually follow the romance with characters, but that section actually gave me a hard time. I’ll talk about that in a minute, but let’s skip over it and go to story for now. Both of these films have really great stories! Whereas Frozen is very loosely based on The Snow Queen and The Lion King is…inspired by Hamlet, both films still stand out as unique. But which story is told better? Neither story is told perfectly, there are some holes in both of them; but they’re still good stories, and they’re told rather well. To be honest, this category almost gave me as much difficulty as the characters. I stumbled for a minute, but here’s what it came down to…

One of the main problems people have with Frozen’s story is the reveal that Hans is the villain. It could have been a clever, welcomed surprise twist like the reveal in Wreck-It Ralph (Rich Moore, 2012). In that film, hints were given throughout the film that supported why and how King Candy’s being Turbo could work. It made sense. It was a good surprise. It was smart. In Frozen, however, the surprise twist was random and seemed to come out of nowhere. The reason it doesn’t work that well is because there isn’t anything in the film to support the reveal of Hans as the villain. True, he talks about having 12 older brothers, but what else justifies him being the villain. There wasn’t a villainous thing he did in the film prior to the twist.It offers more questions than it does answers. Was Hans making up his plan all along? Why did he keep Elsa alive for so long when there were several opportunities he could have killed her? When he finally does kill her, why do it in front of everyone? I’m not saying this is a bad twist, but it wasn’t set up that well. It’s like the romance in The Lion King; if the filmmakers wanted this twist to be in the movie and have it work, they needed to work it in the story better.

Ironically enough, we sort of have the same problem in The Lion King. Scar had a perfect opportunity to kill Simba himself right after the stampede. Why the crud didn’t he? None of the reasons I hear ever really hold water, so it does become a plot hole. So, then, if both stories have the same story, is there a worse one? Well, in my opinion, I’d have to give the point to The Lion King. Why? Because in that movie, what you see is what you get.  The film as a whole cares about telling a good story. There’s symbolism in there and everything, but the filmmakers aren’t trying to throw any clever twists at you. In Frozen, they are. One twist works, but the other one, as I discussed, doesn’t. Again, if they wanted the twist, they should have worked it in better. It’s not clever otherwise. Therefore, point goes to The Lion King!

The Lion King - Paw Print

 

CHARACTERS: OK, so the score is all tied up. This category will be the deciding factor; let’s get back to the characters. This section gave me the hardest time because both films have a great cast of characters! I’ll admit it, I enjoy Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Hans, the Duke of Weselton, and Olaf. But I’ll always love Simba, Mufasa, Sarabi, Zazu, Scar, Timon, Pumbaa, Nala, Rafiki, and the hyenas! It is hard! They’re all fun, they support the story, they’re very relatable, and they’re timeless…Then again, are they?

This is actually where I was able to make the distinction. While I believe both casts are going to be timeless and beloved forever, I think the cast of The Lion King is more timeless. The cast of Frozen still feels modern. The language they use and their behaviors reminds me this film was made in the 2010s. Nowhere is this truer than in Anna. Her quirkiness and awkwardness really make her a product of this modern age we’re in now. “This is awkward. I mean, not this – not you. I’m awkward! You’re gorgeous. Wait, what?” You hear so people talk like that today. I’m not saying Anna or any of the other characters will be forgotten 20 years from her, but I do think this makes her at least a tad bit dated. When I watch the characters from The Lion King, I don’t get 1990s. I just see Simba. All I see is Timon. He’s just Pumbaa. They’re just Mufasa and Rafiki. They don’t  seem dated or a product of the ’90s. If it weren’t for that, this section would be a tie, causing this contest to be a tie. However, since the timeless factor rests more with The Lion King cast, I must give it to that film. Point goes to The Lion King!

The Lion King - Characters

 

CONCLUSION: Well, with a score of 3 to 2, The Lion King wins, becoming the better movie! Does that mean I hate or dislike Frozen? Not at all! I really like that film! And if you think Frozen is better than The Lion King, there’s nothing wrong with that either. For me, however, I can objectively and subjectively declare The Lion King as the better movie between the two! COME AT ME!

The Lion King

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MOVIE REVIEWS: Tangled (Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, 2010)

Tangled

As I mentioned before, The Princess and the Frog got people excited about Disney films again. The advertisement for Disney’s next flick also got a lot of people excited. This one is different, seeing as how it’s a CGI film, the ragtime music has been replaced by pop music, and there’s less racial diversity. The films are also similar, however, seeing as how they are princess movies, adaptations of classic fairy tales, and they give us the traditional Broadway musical type of film. Now if you thought I wasn’t looking forward to The Princess and the Frog when it came out, I REALLY wasn’t looking forward to this movie! A Disney movie about a blonde-haired, blue-eyed princess with pretty colors and guitar-playing pop music? Yeah, I’ll pass. My sister saw the movie long before I did, and wouldn’t stop pestering me on how good it was. She and I finally sat down to watch it almost 3 years after its cinematic release, in the summer of 2013. After finally haven seen it, I think the movie is…good. It’s good. I don’t go fan-boy crazy over it like everybody else, but I think it’s good. To be honest, this just isn’t my type of movie. I admit that a lot of things in this movie is good, but it’s just not for me. There are also a lot of things in this movie I just find OK. To be honest, I’m really surprised that this film was a greater financial and commercial success than the last movie! Personal feelings set aside, I think that’s the stronger film! I’ll tackle why I think this film performed better, but let’s be fair and look at this movie by itself first.

ANIMATION: I’ll be honest, computer animation doesn’t excite me like it excites other people. I like it and respect it, but if I wanted to see a Disney CGI film, I’d watch a Pixar film. On one hand, the colors and look of the movie are just too pretty for me. It doesn’t go dark enough for my taste. There are moments we get dark, like when Mother Gothel talks to Rapunzel in the woods, but almost everything else just looks bright and happy. I like brightness and happiness, but it doesn’t balance out as well here – at least not for my taste. One the other hand, though, what I like about the animation is how unique it is. Of course, Disney’s been blending traditional animation with computer graphics since the ’80s; we’ve seen hand-drawn characters interact with computer animated items or in a computer animated environment. Here, we actually get the opposite. The characters are computer animated, and they like in a hand-drawn environment. The backgrounds are hand-drawn. I find that very fascinating! You wouldn’t know this film is part CGI and part hand-drawn, and it all looks well! It looks like one world! It’s great to see that Disney hasn’t lost its touch in unique animation styles!
Tangled - Tower

SONGS/MUSIC: The good news is Alan Menken’s back! After his work on Hercules, his last Disney project was the film that killed hand-drawn animation for a while, Home on the Range (Will Finn and John Sanford, 2004). Instead of being joined by lyricist Stephen Schwartz or David Zippel, here we have a man named Glenn Slater. I am so glad to see Menken working with Disney again! He basically recreated how a song and a score should sound for Disney during their Renaissance…OK, we didn’t hit gold with the Hercules soundtrack, but that’s OK. To be honest, though, I can say almost the same thing for this soundtrack. I can’t remember most of these songs! If you told me the titles to any of these numbers, I might remember them is I think hard enough. To be fair, that might just be due to the fact that I’m not really fond of guitar-playing pop songs. There’s nothing wrong with them if they’re good, but they don’t do much for me. And I don’t see how that type of music fits in the world of this movie. If we want to be…well, for lack of a better phrase, stereotypically White, then yes, this music works. But in a fairy tale that combines action with princess and fantasy, I don’t really get it. With that being said, though, the music alone does not create a bad song. Let’s discuss each of them individually.
1) When Will My Life Begin/(Reprises 1 & 2): I’ll discuss my problem with this song first. It’s boring. I get just as bored as Rapunzel gets from being cooped up in the same environment. I can see how bored she is just fine; I don’t need a song telling me she’s bored. Then I become bored! The only thing more boring than listening to someone singing about how bored they are is that person singing about what they did today. I DON’T CARE! This is the problem I have with a lot of modern pop songs. I don’t care to hear you singing about your daily activities unless there’s substance to it – unless there’s a point. Where is this going? Have you ever asked someone how their day at work was, and they went on and on and on in this never-ending story about information you don’t really care about? That’s this song for me! Now that I’ve gotten that out, I’ll state the positive. As far as what a song is supposed to do in a musical, this song is not bad. We do get some exposition on our environment and our main character. Rapunzel is stuck in her tower all day…All life. She doesn’t really have a life outside her tower. She has a teenage appearance and a child-like innocence. Her world is good, but mundane. She loves life, but at the same time it’s predictable. She’s happy with everything in her tower, but she wants to know what lies outside the tower, in the real world. That’s why I say she’s “stuck” in the tower and not “trapped” in the tower. The term “trapped” would indicate that she’s not happy; this song clearly shows that she is happy. She’s making the best of what she has, but she still wants adventure outside. It’s a decent song.

2) Mother Knows Best: I’ll talk about the good things first. I like seeing Mother Gothel manipulating Rapunzel. I like seeing her trying to convince Rapunzel why the world is a dark and scary place. I was kind of upset before that the song sounded too campy and too happy, but I get it now. Mother Gothel is still trying to come off as the good guys to Rapunzel. She’s still trying to make herself look like the caring, loving, and fun mother Rapunzel’s known all these years. By keeping up the persona, Rapunzel doesn’t have to fear her. That’s rather clever for a villain song…a “villain song,” I should say. I do have some problems with this, though. If it is our villain song, like some people say it is, why does it sound like every other song in this movie? The villain song should be menacing and threatening. This is not. Again, I understand why, but then it is no longer the villain song. Also, is this the first time Mother Gothel has sung this to Rapunzel. I don’t remember the dialogue from the film, but logic would dictate that she would not be singing this to Rapunzel for the first time. Rapunzel just turned 18 – she’s been a teenager for 5 years already! A lot of teenagers (not all of them, but a lot of them) would have just rebelled and left the tower by now! Is this really Rapunzel’s first time getting this song from her evil step-mother? Also, Mother Gothel has a good singing voice, but there are a few times she goes for goofy and silly. And, of course, why didn’t she catch on fire as she was walking down the stairs of candles? For the good that this song does bring, the number is OK.

3) I’ve Got a Dream: I get the joke. Really, this song is one big joke. I get that. It’s a funny joke. However…I don’t think this joke works that well. The joke is, obviously, a bunch of cut-throat and intimidating Vikings have a soft spot for dreams and silly musical numbers. Fair enough. Again, it’s funny; but there’s one important reason this song doesn’t work. Disney songs (and songs in musicals in general) traditionally (should) do 3 things well: continue the story, provide character development, and/or be one huge fun experience. This song doesn’t do any of those things. The story just stops at this moment, so it doesn’t continue. These Vikings’ goals aren’t important at all, so we don’t really get much character development. The song is a fun experience, but it’s not a HUGE fun experience – not an EPIC fun experience. “Be Our Guest,” for example, was a huge number. It didn’t contribute anything to the story or characters, but it was so grand and spectacular that you don’t care. The same can be said of “Under the Sea,” “Friend Like Me,” and some could argue “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” (although I’ll continue to argue that song did give us important character development). They were such grand spectacles through the lyrics, music, vocalists, and animation that they gave their films important identities. If you cut those songs, the stories would have been the same. but the identity of the films would not be what they are today. This song, I feel, could have been removed without losing the essence of what this movie is. It’s not big or grand enough to have that kind of impact on the film. It’s fun, it’s even funny, just not grand.

4) Mother Knows Best (Reprise): YEAAAAAAAAAAAAH MAN!!!!! THIS song has me smiling! THIS is the song I remember the most! THIS is the song I love the most from this film! THIS is the true villain song in the film! It’s intimidating! It’s threatening! It’s daring! It’s bold! I love that even though she’s become darker and harsher in her approach, Mother Gothel still maintains her character. She’s still sly, sarcastic, and witty; but now she’s more commanding and more antagonistic. I love how cruel she is toward Rapunzel. She really talks down to her, regarding why Flynn is with her. “Dear, this whole romance that you’ve invented…” “Why would he like you? Come on, now, really? Look at you! You think that he’s impressed?” Who would say that to their daughter? I also love that this song continues the story! We see an important sequence regarding the story unfolding here. This is what the Disney songs do great, and that is one of the purposes of a song in a musical. This number has a point, there is a reason it is here. We see the story continuing, and we see another side of Mother Gothel. I love this number! I love everything about it! It’s fantastic!

5) I See the Light: …On one hand, I don’t think I get this song. I don’t know if I’m missing something or if I’m thinking about it too hard, but I don’t get it. When I hear it, it makes sense, but I get confused when I watch it. What our couple is basically saying is that they’re looking at the world around them – the same world that’s been there the whole time – with a brand new perspective. Everything seems different, it looks better and more beautiful than it did before. That’s nice, it’s basically our new Disney love song. But I don’t know if I get some of the artistic choices here. Mainly, why didn’t Rapunzel and Flynn start off by singing together (open their mouths and let words come out)? It’s clearly the same voices singing. I know they’re probably thinking to themselves, but they could have been singing to themselves as well – would it have changed anything? Second, how did Rapunzel go from singing about the lanterns in the sky to singing about her attraction to Flynn? I don’t know if that flowed seamlessly in the lyrics. All in all, it’s not a bad song. It’s not as good as the other Disney romance songs, but it’s a decent number as both a stand alone song and a song for the film. Speaking of romance…

ROMANCE: The romance is good. To be honest, I’d probably put it in the same category as Tiana’s and Naveen’s romance; both romances are basically the same. I like seeing the two leads together. There is a charm and a chemistry between them. Part of that comes, of course, from the characters themselves. I don’t want to talk about them in too much detail now, but Rapunzel is basically the Disney female. She’s the princess we expect to get in every Disney princess movie. Flynn, on the other hand, is the person who’s been dragged to a Disney movie. He’s the one who roles his eyes at all the enchanted magic, or the one who questions and challenges everything. That makes the chemistry both unique and funny. I like them ending up together, but the relationship isn’t as interesting to me then. I like Flynn being sarcastic and kind of rude. That’s where a lot of the comedy came for me. The romance is good, though. It doesn’t grab me as much as it grabbed other people, but it’s good.
Tangled - Romance

CHARACTERS: The first time I watched this film, I had the same feelings toward the characters that I had about everything in this review thus far: they’re good, but they don’t grab me in the least. After watching the film again, however, these guys surprisingly grabbed me a lot more than they did before. I sympathized with them, I was entertained by them, and I wasn’t bored by them. They actually were a lot better than I remember them being! Let’s go ahead and talk about them.
1) Rapunzel – OK, so here is our main star. Rapunzel (who has green eyes and not blue eyes) is the pretty, young, blonde-haired, quirky female who wields her frying pan and has a dream…If that’s not the greatest Disney mainstream pandering I’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is…That’s what I thought before I gave this movie a chance. After watching it and thinking more about Rapunzel, she’s actually not that bad of a character. She’s not the most engaging character, but she’s nowhere near bad, either. I know I said in my last review that Disney leads have an annoying habit of rebelling. While I would still like to see Disney move away from that, I can see why Rapunzel would rebel here; it makes sense. She has never set foot outside the tower before. She’s almost 18, and she doesn’t know anything except her mother, her chameleon, and her tower. Not only that, but she believes the lanterns she keeps seeing every year have something to do with her. She has to go see them. Yes, I can see the cause for rebellion. What I like is that, like a good young person – good, not perfect – is that she actually stops and thinks about the results of her actions. It’s shown in a comical matter, but there is a scene that shows her contemplating how her mother would react. She wrestles with whether or not she should return home. I like that. She’s a good person. She’s much better than Ariel, who wouldn’t have given a rat’s butt what kind of consequences her actions would cause…Why do my reviews often slip into an angry Ariel rant?…Aside from all of that, Rapunzel’s OK. She brings action, she’s clumsy, she’s naïve, she’s a romantic (in love with freedom AND attracted to Flynn), she’s passionate, she’s determined – she’s a Disney princess. She’s not bad, but the qualities I mentioned before are what make her interesting to me. I like her.
Tangled - Rapunzel
2) Flynn Rider – I know that’s not his real name, but it’s his title throughout most of the film. There’s some depth to Flynn. He tries to maintain a persona, a reputation. The reason for that is because of what he’s chasing. There’s a lifestyle he wants to have: he wants riches and wealth, he wants to be edgy, and he wants to be a lady charmer as well. His name “Flynn Rider” exemplifies that greatly. Rather than being who he really is, he keeps pursuing the persona of a legend. That’s cool and all, but what makes me drawn to him is how entertaining he is. Like I said earlier, he is like the guy who’s been dragged to a Disney film. He doesn’t want to go on an adventure! He doesn’t want to be stuck with some girl he just met! He doesn’t want to sing! Why in the world is he fighting with a horse? How in the crud does this magical hair work?!? It’s all too bizarre! It’s too cheesy and ridiculous for him to fathom…and that’s what makes it so great! I heard someone once say that Flynn knows he’s in a Disney movie, and that’s really the best way to describe his attitude throughout the first half of the movie. The quicker he can leave this movie, the better for him. I like him stating the obvious. I like his humor. I like his sarcasm. He’s not my favorite Disney leading man, nor do I think he’s the most entertaining, but his entertainment does draw me. I love it! I like him.

Flynn When the kingdom's most wanted?and most charming?bandit Flynn Rider (voice of Zachary Levi) is taken hostage by Rapunzel (voice of Mandy Moore), a feisty teen with 70 feet of golden hair who's looking for her ticket out of the tower where she's been locked away for years, the unlikely duo sets off on a hilarious, hair-raising escapade filled with adventure, heart, humor and hair?lots of hair.  In U.S. theaters Nov. 24, 2010.   ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Flynn
When the kingdom’s most wanted?and most charming?bandit Flynn Rider (voice of Zachary Levi) is taken hostage by Rapunzel (voice of Mandy Moore), a feisty teen with 70 feet of golden hair who’s looking for her ticket out of the tower where she’s been locked away for years, the unlikely duo sets off on a hilarious, hair-raising escapade filled with adventure, heart, humor and hair?lots of hair. In U.S. theaters Nov. 24, 2010.
©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


3) Mother Gothel – YEEEEEEESSS!!!!! I LOVE Mother Gothel! When I made my Top 10 Favorite Disney Villains list, I was actually debating between her and Hades as Number 10. Even after the first time I saw this movie, I still loved Mother Gothel most!…I’m learning more and more that villains are often my favorite characters in Disney movies…Anyway, I love pretty much everything about this lady. I love her actions, objectives, and super objective here. There’s a reason for keeping Rapunzel in the tower. There’s a reason for growing the hair longer. There’s a reason for manipulating Rapunzel into thinking the world is a bad place. On top of that, her character is delightfully entertaining! Of course we’ll see her dark and evil side, but that’s not a character and that’s not all we see. She’s witty. She’s charming. She’s dramatic. She’s delightful. She tries to be nice and pleasant, but if she’s pushed past her boundaries then her short fuse will go out. I love her! I love watching her, and I love being with her! She easily has the best singing voice in this film, voiced by Broadway star Donna Murphy! I love Murphy, and I love Mother Gothel!
Tangled - Mother Gothel
4) Maximus – This will be quick. Maximus is OK. He doesn’t excite me or consistently make me laugh, but he’s amusing. He goes to such great lengths to catch Flynn. Whether he falls from great heights and somehow survives, moves like he’s part bloodhound, or hovers over Flynn with blood thirsty eyes (I gotta try that someday), he will do anything to get the job done. He’s cool.
Tangled - Maximus
5) Pascal He’s decent. He’s not bad, but he is kind of annoying. Clearly he’s just here to be the sidekick/comic relief. I do find it interesting that he doesn’t talk. It makes sense and I like it, but I wonder why the filmmakers chose not to have him talk in this flick. In any case, he supports our main character, so he’s a good guy…But he did kill Mother Gothel, didn’t he? Wow, that’s dark!
Tangled - Pascal

STORY AND THEMES & MESSAGES: The story is the best element about this movie! The set up is brilliant, and the rest of the story flows very nicely as well. I do admire how the filmmakers updated the Rapunzel fairy tale in this way. Again, there’s a reason the girl is kept in the tower all her life. There’s a reason her hair is so long. There’s a reason – a couple of good reasons – she wants to leave the tower. If it were mere curiosity, that’d be one thing. But she has a spiritual connection with the lanterns since they are lifted every year on her birthday. That’s great! It makes sense! Rapunzel’s plan to see the lanterns once Flynn comes in the tower is clear and logical, and the way Mother Gothel returns to an empty tower is also logical. The story, for the most part, is outstanding!
There are a few things regarding the story, though, that I question. I know a lot of people question how Gothel figured out the song that causes the flower’s healing power, but, honestly, we can give it a bit of a pass seeing as how it’s a fairy tale. But here are my questions: 1) How did Mother Gothel get into the palace to kidnap Rapunzel? 2) If the King and Queen were in the same room, why didn’t they try to save their daughter? They sat up in bed and watched an old and creepy Mother Gothel leave. GO AFTER HER! Make sure the guards catch up to her! 3) Is it more than convenient that the guards in the palace had their backs to the crown Flynn took? I know it makes sense, but if they put that many guards in there then the very least they could do was have at least ONE of them facing the doggone thing! 4) In the end, Rapunzel’s tear saves Flynn. Is this the first time she’s learned that? Has she never cried before? Did the magic healing power go into her tears after her hair was cut off? How the crud does this work?! Those are just my questions.
I’m trying to think of what I can say about Flynn’s rebellion speech in the middle of the film. It’s something I’ve been thinking Disney has been saying for years. Is Disney indicating rebellion is a good thing? I don’t know if it is. Granted I’m not a parent yet and I’m not trying to tell anybody how to raise children, but…is this something I want to teach my kids? I understand rebellion. We rebel when we’re young in order to get an understanding of the world around us as well as our own identities. In Rapunzel’s case, she knows nothing about the world, so she’s trying to understand what all is out there and how she feels about it. But is rebellion always a good thing? Let’s look at another character who rebelled: Simba. When Simba was a boy, he deliberately disobeyed Mufasa by going to the elephant’s graveyard. Not only did he disobey, but he also got him and Nala killed. That’s nothing to take lightly or pass off as an innocent mistake; he just put two people’s lives on the line – THREE is you want to count Zazu! Is that really what we want to teach our kids? I don’t know. In the end, I know kids are going to rebel, but I don’t like that mainstream exploits it and says, “No, kids, it’s a good thing! Rebel!” Maybe if it weren’t so exploited, I wouldn’t have a problem. Maybe if the message was, “Your parents have a reason for what they teach you,” and “Talk to your children and share your reasonings as you see fit,” then it would be OK. Am I saying this movie is saying it’s OK to rebel…I don’t know. Disney does exploit rebellion, but, at the same time, Flynn said this to Rapunzel as a way to manipulate her into getting out of this adventure. I’m just talking about why Disney and rebellion bothers me. Yes, characters often rebel for good reasons (like Pocahontas, Quasimodo, Mulan, and Rapunzel), but I still don’t like what kind of message that gives to our society. That’s just me, though.
Often times, as I said earlier, I don’t always get the choice of not letting a character talk or sing. Sometimes it does work. If the King and Queen had talked, or if Pascal or Maximus talked, it’d be a different movie. But in moments like the song sequences, why don’t our main characters move their lips? If Rapunzel sang along in the opening number, what would that have changed? Nothing. Then why didn’t she do it? I don’t know, but I questioned it throughout the film…
OK, so now we have to get into it. Why was this film more successful than The Princess and the Frog? In many aspects, they’re very similar and very different simultaneously. The only real issue with The Princess and the Frog was the story; it was good, but it was too detailed. The best thing about Tangled is the story; and while everything else is good, they’re not very engaging or special. From an analytical point, The Princess and the Frog is a much better movie. So, then, why did this film thrive in popularity? Well, I’ve got several theories. 1) A lot of people were somewhere between in the air and angry that The Princess and the Frog had a predominately Black cast. Yes, race does play into this a bit. It’s not the main factor, but let’s not pretend that EVERYBODY in the world was in favor of it. Many people avoided this film because it featured Black people – because it featured a Black princess. And, let’s be honest, what do you think of when you hear “Black” over any type of entertainment media? “Black TV show,” “Black movie,” “Black music” “Black cast,” “Black people” – are you attracted to those titles? If you are, great! But, again, a lot of people have reservations about them. 2) The music is a huge element in Disney films. When one movie advertises it features New Orleans ragtime and jazz and the next movie says it has pop, which do you think a large mainstream artist will be more attracted to? That’s why it’s called “pop” music…It’s pop…ular. 3) CGI. Computer animated films are grossing huge amounts of money nowadays – even horrible CGI films like The Lorax (Kyle Balda and Chris Renaud, 2012)…I hate Dr. Suess movies so much…But the reality is, sadly, computer animated films are what audiences crave for now. Hand-drawn animation is not as popular as it was. I do hope that changes, though. Wasn’t the animation in The Princess and the Frog just frickin’ amazing?!!! Finally, 4) “Princess.” Both of these are princess films, yes, but The Princess and the Frog has the word “princess” in the title. This makes boys think it’s not going to be for them. There’s nothing a boy can like in a princess movie! It’s too girly and feminine for them. By keeping “princess” and even the main character’s name out of the title of Tangled, Disney was able to market this film to both girls and boys. Apparently it worked. It also worked for Frozen (Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, 2013).
Tangled - Story

CONCLUSION: I’d be lying if I said this is my favorite Disney movie, or these are my favorite Disney characters. However, I do have to acknowledge that what’s good is good. The animation is good. The romance is good. The characters are good. The story is great! The songs are…OK. It’s a good flick. There’s something here that a lot of people can enjoy: the romance, the action, the writing, the comedy, etc. Like it, love it, watch it, listen to it, sing along with it – do whatever you want to do. It’s not a film I’m going to be watching over and over again, and, yes, there are a lot of Disney films I prefer over this one. However, I’m not as bitter toward this film as I once was. It’s good, and I did enjoy watching it.
Tangled - Conclusion

MOVIE REVIEWS: The Princess and the Frog (Ron Clements and John Musker, 2009)

The Princess and the Frog

Let me give you some of my background regarding this film. I was a senior in high school when this was released. When I saw the advertisement for it, I rolled my eyes. I wasn’t annoyed because it was a princess movie or because I felt like I was too old for it. I was annoyed because it was Disney. As someone who didn’t go to movie theaters much, the most Disney I got was the Disney Channel. Back then, they had a lot of really bad shows like Zack and Cody, Hannah Montana, Cory in the House, and Wizards of Waverly Places. I also wasn’t impressed by the advertisement for their live-action movies. In other words, I was not on good terms with Disney! When I saw Disney was releasing a new film, I got annoyed quick. I didn’t care that it was the first hand-drawn film in a long time! I didn’t care if it was reviving Disney animation! I didn’t care if it featured Disney’s first Black princess! I thought this movie was going to suck! Well, I saw the film about a year and a half after its theatrical release, in May 2012; and…I fell in love! I love this film! This is my second favorite Disney film after The Lion King! I love this picture so much! Why do I love it? That’s what this review is going to answer!

ANIMATION: My goodness, Disney’s animation has never looked better! The animation in this film is stellar! It’s gorgeous! I can see why Disney really talked up the animation in its marketing! Look at this film and tell me you don’t want more hand-drawn animation! You can’t do it; it looks too wonderful in this film! The colors really stand out and blend! The lighting is also amazing! Look at the way the water is animated here! Look at how smooth the lines are! I also appreciate the different style they use in the “Almost There” number! They use the artwork of famous artist Aaron Douglas, and it looks amazing! Finally, look at the backgrounds! I know I said in my Tarzan review that the hand-drawn and CGI animation was distracting, but it’s not that distracting here! I honestly cannot tell what is hand-drawn and painted and what’s CG. But it all blends together so well! I believe These characters and the objects and places can live in the same world together. There are some things that distract me, like Daddy La Bouff’s car, but as a whole, everything works wonderfully!
The Princess and the Frog - Animation

SONGS/MUSIC: I really do wish the songs in this film were appreciated more. It’s interesting when I think of how much the songs in Tangled (Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, 2010) where loved (even though they didn’t match with the tone of the film), and these songs are considered bland and forgettable (even though they match perfectly with the film). The songs and the score are brought to us by Randy Newman, whose music and songs can also be heard in several Pixar films, like Toy Story (John Lassester, 1995). I love these songs, I remember almost all of them, and I have such a great time listening to them and singing along with them! Let’s talk about each other them.
1) Down in New Orleans/(Prologue): OK, this song isn’t that memorable. The melody isn’t very fun, and you don’t really remember what Dr. John says during the number. However, it does do one of the things a song should do in musicals. It gives us exposition for our story. This takes place in New Orleans. We hear that in both the lyrics and the music. It’s not a great song, but it’s a nice one.

2) Almost There: This is a great song! It has a great memorable melody, and I have a lot of fun listening to it! This song also does something songs in musicals are supposed to do. We learn more about Tiana and her objectives and motivation. We learn more about, not just who she is, but also why she works so hard. We learn what she’s working hard for. This song shows us Tiana’s character wonderfully, and I enjoy it a lot!

3) Friends on the Other Side: I LOVE THIS SONG!!! This is my favorite song in the movie, and probably my favorite villain song ever! My goodness, this song just OOZES goodness! Keith David sounds great here! The song sounds cool, to match the personality of the villain, but it can also sound menacing. The background vocalists are voodoo dolls – how much more creepy does it get?! We get some exposition on Naveen and Lawrence as well. But one of the main reasons this song is great is because it continues the story. We still see the important events that take place in this plot.

4) When We’re Human: I enjoy this song, but it doesn’t add anything to the movie. Think about it: we already know what Tiana and Naveen are going to do when they become human again – they already told us. Louis never becomes human, so it doesn’t really matter in the grand scale of things what he’s going to do if he becomes human. Then why do I enjoy this song? Well, aside from looking at the beautiful animation during this number, the song is a lot of fun. I like singing the words with the characters. I like the melody. I like listening to this piece. I know this song could have been removed and it would not have changed anything about the film, but I still like it. It sounds nice, and I have a lot of fun with it. I enjoy it a lot! Actually, does it kind of remind anyone else of the “When We’re Human Again” number from Beauty and the Beast?…Just me?

5) Gonna Take You There: I hate this song. This is the only song in the film I cannot stand at all. Like I said earlier, I fell in love with this film about 3 years ago, in May 2012. I must have watched it about 75 times that summer. The first 50 times I watched it, I ALWAYS forgot this song was here. Every time I saw it I thought, “Oh yeah, that is a thing…” After I finally remembered it was here, I got annoyed with it. The characters were already going down the bayou, so now they’re going to sing a song about it?!? The music doesn’t excite me at all, but that’s a personal thing. The song does nothing for the film except make it longer…with an irritating song.

6) Ma Belle Evangeline: I am in love with this song! Oh my goodness, it sounds so amazing! It is so romantic! It is a beautiful, lovely song that can cause anyone to fall in love. I love the words. As you’ll see later, I’m not crazy about Ray as a character (which is part of the reason I hate “Gonna Take You There”), but he does put the heart and passion into this song that makes it so angelic. Again, Newman’s melody and lyrics do a magnificent job of engaging you as well! I love it! It’s awesome! Also, we get to see our main characters fall in love with each other, which is critical for the film; so one could argue that it does do something songs in musicals are supposed to do.

7) Dig a Little Deeper: I like this song. I don’t think it’s the best or the strongest song for the movie or Disney, but it’s still enjoyable. The melody is good, the lyrics are cool, and I remember the number. It also gives us the moral, which, I would argue, does something a song should do in a musical. If done well and strong, a song will help the moral stand out strong. This is good way for audiences to remember the lesson in this film.

8) Friends on the Other Side (Reprise): Anytime I get to hear this song is a great moment for me!

9) Down in New Orleans (Reprise): I really like the reprise of this number a lot better than the main song with Dr. John. Maybe it’s because the instrumental is more upbeat. Perhaps it’s because Tiana is singing it. Maybe it’s because the music sounds happier and brighter than it did before. I don’t know why, but I love this song a lot! It ends the movie rather nicely.

10) Never Knew I Needed: This song was written and performed by R&B singer Ne-Yo. I think this is the movie’s Number One song, which I find very interesting. I don’t know how many people think of this song first when they think of this film. That doesn’t make this a bad song; on the contrary, the song is great! I love it! I don’t listen to a lot of Ne-Yo’s music, but this song really makes me want to change that. His voice is fantastic! The song itself is a wonderful sum up of the romance between Tiana and Naveen. Speaking of which…

ROMANCE: The romance is pretty good between Tiana and Naveen. I really like watching them together. Much like Tarzan and Jane, there’s a wonderful chemistry between these two people. They’re so charming together. As I was thinking of their romance, I thought of Ne-Yo’s song. He says “You’re the best thing I never knew I needed…So now it’s so clear, I need you here always.” That actually does define Tiana’s and Naveen’s relationship, doesn’t it? Tiana’s a workaholic and Naveen’s a party animal. It doesn’t make any sense to me that they would need each other, and I’m sure it made less sense to them. However, after they got together, they couldn’t live without one another. They were willing to do whatever they needed – give up anything in order to be with each other. Now I will say, in all fairness, that the way they realize this isn’t explained that well. I guess it’s explained OK regarding Naveen, but how and when did Tiana realize she wanted to be with the prince? I don’t know when it happened, it just kind of…happened. I didn’t really see the progression for her. That’s just me, though. Maybe I’m missing something. Their romance is still enjoyable, though. I still love watching these two together. There’s still a great chemistry between them, and they are very, very charming. I can tell they’re in love! It’s precious. It’s adorable. It’s not the best Disney romance, but it is faaaaaaaaar from the worst.
The Princess and the Frog - Romance 01The Princess and the Frog - Romance 02

CHARACTERS: Unfortunately, I’m not going to add Dr. Facilier, A.K.A. the Shadow Man, to this list. I already talked about him a lot in my Top 10 Favorite Disney Villains list, and I don’t know what else I could say about him. He’s still the best, he’s still boss, and he’s my favorite character in the movie! Having that been said, let’s talk about some of the other characters.
1) Tiana – I love Tiana so much! Yes, Shadow Man is my favorite character, but that’s not because Tiana is underwhelming at all. Tiana is one of Disney’s best female characters ever! I love her! She’s smart. She’s determined. She’s kind, but she has her limits. Something I noticed is that she does not rebel at all! Think about it, how many Disney leads can you name that have rebelled against someone or something? Whether it was for good or bad reasons, Disney leads have a tradition of rebelling somehow. I don’t like that. But Tiana doesn’t rebel. She knows what she wants, and she goes after it; and it doesn’t require her to rebel against authority or against the rules. Her goals and ambition come from the principles and ethics she got from her parents. WHAT?!? A Disney lead – and a FEMALE at that – who APPLIES the principles and ethics from her PARENTS?!? Mind! Blown! She’s also very hard-working, which is another quality that you don’t see in a lot of Disney leading ladies. In my opinion Tiana is the best Disney princess ever! Why? Because a couple of other qualities about her is she’s smart and she’s quick. She knows how to get herself out of a negative situation, and she knows how to act fast. This is something she’d need to do in a royal position. If the King and Queen are out of commission and she has to step in, I believe she’ll know what to do…I’m not saying she’s the greatest Disney female lead, I’m saying she’s the best Disney princess…But Tiana is boss! And she was voiced by Anika Noni Rose! Yay!
The Princess and the Frog - TianaThe Princess and the Frog - Tiana Again
2) Prince Naveen – Almost half of the Disney leading men in my past reviews have been bland and boring, and more than half of the remaining were just OK. Naveen blows them all out of the water! He’s not boring, not even a little bit! I love watching this guy! He’s so much fun! He’s all about having fun! He wants to play, he wants to sing, and he wants to have a good time. What I like about him is that despite the fact he’s all about fun, he’s not stupid. He’s rather smart. I like the scene where he tricked Louis into giving him and Tiana a ride. He knows how to get what he wants, but what he wants most of the time is to have fun. He wants to have fun, and he’s fun too!…But what’s up with his catchphrase? “A she danza?” What does that mean?
The Princess and the Frog - Naveen 01The Princess and the Frog - Naveen 02
3) Ray…and his family – Ray and the family are the only characters I can’t stand in the movie. They are annoying as crud! I love Jim Cummings, but I can’t stand Ray! Remember how I said the gargoyles from The Hunchback of Notre Dame would be better in a cartoon? I feel the same way about Ray and his family. This movie isn’t a cartoon, it’s an animated piece. An animated piece is classy. It has style and artistic integrity to it. A cartoon is silly, goofy, stupid, and over the top. Ray and his family are cartoons in an animated film. I don’t like Ray’s design, his character, his accent, his sense of humor, his dialogue, his voice – I DON’T LIKE HIM! The only people to be more annoying are his family, like his grandmother. Why the crud does she have old lady hair? Do we really need to give a firefly old lady hair? And why the crud does she have a walker? Did walkers even exist in the 1920s? Even if they did, she’s a firefly! She can fly! Why does she need a walker? I will say that Ray does have some engaging emotional scenes. Like I said earlier, I do like the “Ma Belle Evangeline” song. I actually do feel sorry for him when Tiana tells him he’s only in love with a star…In fact, why the crud is he in love with the Disney star? Let’s be real, people, Evangeline is the Disney star, the “When You Wish Upon a” star…Is that legal? Can he love the Disney star? I don’t know. He’s a good guy, he supports our main characters, he helps move the story along, and I even connect with him a couple of times. But Ray is annoying! As crud!
The Princess and the Frog - Ray
4) Mama Odie – Mama Odie is another fun and interesting character. This is a very different kind of “fairy godmother,” but it’s done very well here. What keeps her both fun and interesting isn’t that she’s a voodoo queen, though that certainly helps. However, if you were to strip that title away from her, you’d still want to watch her. She keeps you guessing what she’s going to do next. You wonder whether or not she knows what’s going on. As a matter of fact, is she even blind? I don’t believe it! But that’s the kind of person she is, she keeps you guessing. I like Mama Odie!…Plus, she’s voiced by Jennifer Lewis! WHAT!!
The Princess and the Frog - Mama Odie
5) Charlotte La Bouff – I love Lottie so much! This character is hi-larious! I love watching her! Almost every time she’s on screen, she makes me laugh! Remember when Lawrence, in the form of Prince Naveen, proposed to Lottie? Do you remember her reaction? She wasn’t excited about being in love, it was about her getting married! That is funny! All she wants to do is marry a prince. That’s all she wants to do. That would be horrible if she didn’t have any other good qualities or if she were the main character (like Ariel…). But her motivation is obviously played up for laughs. She still supports her friend. She helps Tiana anyway she can. She loves her. She just has quirks to her as well. She is incredibly energetic. She loves life to the fullest. She is just a ball of fun and excitement, and I can’t help but love her!
The Princess and the Frog - Charlotte

STORY AND THEMES & MESSAGES: The story is good, but there are some problems with it. Many people have pointed out that this movie creates a lot of loopholes for itself, and…it does. “Tiana turned into a frog because she’s not a real princess.” …What? Royalty can refute a voodoo spell? How does that work? “Lawrence has to marry Charlotte in order for the Shadow Man to get rid of Mr. La Bouff and take over New Orleans.” …Why? Why can’t Shadow Man come up with a plan to do away with La Bouff now? Does he have to wait until the daughter’s married? “Tiana married Naveen, which makes her a princess; thus the two become human again.” …OH! THAT just solves everything, doesn’t it? It makes sense, but it feels like a cop out.
For as many details they give the film (and there are a lot of details, there’s a lot going on here), there are some things I don’t know if the film answers. (1) Why does Shadow Man have to get rid of Daddy La Bouff in order to take over New Orleans? He can’t take over the town now? In fact what is Daddy La Bouff? The movie never answers that question. Is he the mayor? Even then, it’s not like he’s the King. Shadow Man should either take over the town now, or go after something bigger than the city! (2) Right before Ray dies, he destroys some of the shadows by hitting them with the bright light from his…butt (ew). How does that work? How can he do that? What is he even doing? (3) If Naveen is kissed by Charlotte on this certain day before midnight, he and Tiana will turn human because Charlotte is technically a princess. However, when she kisses him, it’s midnight. It’s the next day. Charlotte isn’t a “princess” anymore. Why doesn’t she become a frog herself? Isn’t the whole reason Tiana’s a frog because she wasn’t a real princess when she kissed the prince? Charlotte isn’t a “real princess” anymore either. Why doesn’t she turn into a frog?
I think the reason the story has so many loopholes and plot holes is because, like I said earlier, there are way too many things going on in this flick. I can follow it fine, but there’s almost always something happening on screen regarding the story. The story never gets to breathe. Think back to films like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. They had simple stories that knew how much focus to give to the details. This film has a lot of details to focus on. It’s not bad, it’s just a lot.
Am I the only one who finds it odd that the actual Frog Prince story is used in this film? Yeah, the film opens up with Eudora, Tiana’s mother (voiced by Oprah Winfrey), reading the fairy tale. When Naveen first meets Tiana, he tells her that he believes a kiss from a princess will make him human again because of that story. I find that really odd. Disney has always been known for recreating the fairy tale. When they advertise that this is the REAL version, and yet the film refers to the actual story, that becomes confusing. It’d be like Ursula knowing how to trap Ariel by reading the original Little Mermaid book.
I like that this film actually promotes hard work. Tiana is a great role model because she always believes in working hard for what she wants. Great job, movie!
I don’t think the movie ever says to throw away your dreams for a man or for a woman. I think the film is just emphasizing the power of true love. Tiana isn’t necessarily throwing her dream away when she agrees to be with Naveen. She realizes that she can’t live the rest of her life without Naveen. She’d rather be with him as a frog than have her restaurant instead of him. She realized being with him would make her happiest of all. It’s not that she doesn’t want her restaurant anymore, but she learned that won’t make her as happy as being with Naveen.
I know I said I don’t like Ray (he’s not the most awful character, he’s just really annoying), and I really don’t like his death scene! It comes out of nowhere, and it has nothing to do with anything! It’s unnecessary! However…I do respect it. When you really think about it, this is the first Disney death that allows us to rejoice that a character is in a better place. Think about that. How many Disney films really let us do that? We either cry over a character’s death because they were a great person (Musfasa, Bambi’s mom, etc.), we shrug because we didn’t know the person (Cinderella’s father), or we’re relived because the person deserved to die (villains). But this is the first time Disney tells us that it’s OK. Ray’s in a much better place now, a place where he doesn’t experience pain and grief anymore. I love that message…I hate the scene, but I love the message.
This is Disney’s first film centered around a predominately Black cast, and I think it’s done well. Obviously, that was one of the major aspects the studio was pushing in the advertisement. The film does not insult or degrade the African-American race at all. I know there were controversies before when Tiana the waitress was going to be Maddy the maid, and that was rioted (as it should have been). Some people take issue with the fact that Disney’s Black princess was a frog for most of the movie, or that the film didn’t have Disney’s first Black prince. I guess I can see why people would get upset over that, but I hope no one’s screaming “racism” over it. This goes back to what I said in my Mulan review. People will always be upset about something, even if there’s no need in being upset about it. If Tiana were another White princess, I’m sure no one be upset. Ariel was human for most of her movie, and no one said it was fish-ist (I know that’s not a thing). I’m not saying I don’t see why people are upset about this, but it’s nothing to get upset over. Is this the worst portrayal of African-Americans from Disney? Crud no! Let’s remember Disney gave us racist crows AND laborers from Dumbo (Samuel Armstrong, 1941), primates from The Jungle Book (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1967), and the black fish from The Little Mermaid (Ron Clements and John Musker, 1989). This film is fine! It’s great, in fact – especially given Disney’s track record of representing African-Americans! Part of what makes that great is that the characters here are not Black first. They’re people first! They are relatable to everybody! This movie rocks! Let the children have their fairy tale!
The Princess and the Frog - Stars

CONCLUSION: I adore this movie! I love it so much! I love the characters, I love the songs, I love the animation, and I love the romance! Even though the story has some issues, I love the story as well! I am upset, again, that this film isn’t as popular as it should be, or that it wasn’t as much of a financial success as the studio was hoping for! Why the crud not? This picture’s great! In fact, why was Tangled the more successful film? That’s a good movie, but this picture is definitely better! I have my own theories, but you’ll have to look into my review of that film to read them. In any case, this movie is fantastic! This is definitely the Little Mermaid of this generation! This is the film the made people get excited about Disney again. The colors, the return to the classic Disney style, the beautiful hand-drawn animation, the return to the fairy tale adaptations – it just speaks Disney! People got excited to see the next Disney film after they saw this! They felt as though the Disney we got during the Renaissance had finally returned, and it did not disappoint! This is a wonderful and beautiful film!
The Princess and the Frog - End

My Top 10 Disney Villains

Disney Villains
I’ll admit, it took me a long time to really appreciate Walt Disney animated films. I saw some of them as a kid, I liked them OK, but I always thought to myself, Where are the Muppet videos? After seeing a web series special called “Disneycember” (check it out on YouTube), I acknowledged these films as more than just popular entertainment for audiences or jobs for employees; I saw them as art and as a cultural phenomena. Not only did I quickly learn why these movies mean so much to so many people, but I also became a bigger fan than I previously was. Because of that, I began analyzing the formula a lot of Disney films have. As you all know, most of these films have a villain. I figured I’d share who my top 10 favorite villains are. Before I do so, keep the following in mind: 1) This is a list of my favorite villains, not the best Disney villains – there is a difference. 2) I still haven’t seen half the Disney films, like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (William Cottrell, 1937), Alice in Wonderland (Clyde Geronimi, 1951), or The Great Mouse Detective (Ron Clements, 1987). This may be one reason why your favorite villain(s) may not be on this list. 3) This is, as I said, my favorite villains’ list. I’m not saying you have to like any of these villains. I’m just letting you know which villains I like the most. With that being said, let the countdown begin!

Number 10: HADES from Hercules (Ron Clements and John Musker, 1997).
Hades Hades - Shakes Hercules' Hand
It took me a while figuring out who my tenth favorite villain would be. It finally came down to Hades. First of all, he is, in my opinion, the only good thing about Hercules! If you like this movie, that’s fine; but when I saw it for the first time last year, I was completely underwhelmed by it. The characters didn’t engage me, the songs are forgettable, and I don’t like the story. Hades definitely shined, though. He’s funny, clever, devious, and cunning. Secondly, I love his design! That picture above of Hades taking Hercules’ hand is absolutely great! That’s when both the animation and Hades show their true colors, and it is amazing! If Hades had won, I probably would have liked this movie a lot more. As it is, Hades is a great character!
FAVORITE LINE: “We dance, we kiss, we schmooze, we go home happy. What do you say? C’mon!”

Number 9: KING CANDY from Wreck-It Ralph (Rich Moore, 2012).
King Candy
I’ll be honest, I did not expect to like Wreck-It Ralph simply because it’s a Disney movie. But once I saw it, I was blown away! One of the reasons for this unexpected feeling is King Candy! The main reason I love him so much is because he’s the only Disney villain I know who’s evilness was a mystery to the audience upon his introduction in the film! That’s rare! Usually, other characters are blinded to the villainy taking place, but the audience can easily tell which character is the villain. Here, it takes a while for us to learn King Candy’s reasons for his actions. I love the back story he’s given – it was so perfectly blended in the story! And, of course, the character himself is a very interesting character. He’s charismatic, but his evilness will inevitably be revealed! This candy is definitely sour and bitter!
FAVORITE LINE: …I don’t have one yet. It’ll come later…

Number 8: PRINCE JOHN from Robin Hood (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1973)
Prince John 00 Prince John 01
How can you not enjoy Prince John? He’s such a classic funny villain! He’s a child who pouts and whines when he can’t have his way. The only difference between him and the children watching this film is that he’s a king, and he can take his anger out on an entire kingdom. The question I always asked myself was why does he want to make the citizens of Nottingham poor? I know he wants to be as rich as he can be, but he knows that his people are poor, and yet he taxes them an arm and a leg anyhow. How cruel can he be? Not only that, but after he takes all their money away, he puts them in jail for not being able to pay their taxes anymore! My word, what’s his problem? Despite his greediness and cruelness, however, he will resort back to his childish antics. He is a lot of fun!
FAVORITE LINE: “EGHHH! Mommy!”

Number 7: YZMA & KRONK from The Emperor’s New Groove (Mark Dindal, 2000)
Yzma and Kronk 00Yzma and Kronk 01
Anyone who is familiar with this movie knows that these two characters MAKE the film! They have got to be the king and queen of funny villains! It’s ironic, though, because in all honesty Yzma is probably the only villain. Kronk just follows her and does what she says. What makes these two stand out, obviously is the comedy. The filmmakers went as far as they could to make these two as funny as possible. You wouldn’t expect this type of movie or these characters from Disney, but the studio proved that they could make it; and they made a great funny movie! Often times, you kind of want the villain to win in a Disney movie if the lead character is anything less than good, or if the villain is unbelievably good. Here, I want the villains to lose because that’s where the best comedy is found in the movie. Watch Yzma’s expressions when something goes wrong. Look at Kronk, who is often the cause of Yzma’s demise. These two will have you split your sides laughing throughout the entire film!
FAVORITE LINE: “Pull the lever, Kronk!” *Kronk pulls a lever; Yzma falls down* “WRONG LEVER…!”
AND
“He’s gonna lead you down the path of righteousness. I’m gonna lead you down the path that rocks!”

Number 6: SCAR from The Lion King (Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, 1994)
Scar 00Scar 01
In my opinion, a villain has to do one of two things to have successfully done their job: they have to either make the audience love them or hate them. I mentioned how much I love the villains listed above, but I legit hate Scar. Why? Because HE KILLED MUFASA!!! That’s right, don’t act like you didn’t fall in love with Mufasa in the first third of the movie! He’s not only a great and powerful king, but he also became the best father Disney has ever known!…And Scar threw him off of a cliff…The douchebag…That’s not the only reason Scar is on this list, however. Unlike most Disney villains, who use magic and spells to get them what they want, Scar used his intelligence. He thought of a plan and implemented it perfectly. He knew just what to do, just what to say, and how to manipulate everything for his own diabolical purposes. Not only that, but he was willing to kill his own brother! I know I talked about him killing Mufasa already, but let’s move away from the fact that Mufasa is a great king and father; he’s Scar’s brother! Scar is willing to murder his own family to get what he wants. This is one bad kitty!
FAVORITE LINE: “…As far as brains go, I’ve got the lion’s share. But when it comes to brute strength, I’m afraid I’m at the shallow end of the gene pool.”

Number 5: GASTON from Beauty and the Beast (Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, 1991)
Gaston 00Gaston 01
Gaston, much like King Candy, is a character you wouldn’t expect to be a villain. If this were any other movie, he’d probably be the hero. This is what makes him a great character; he doesn’t start out as a villain. In the beginning of the film, he’s just an egotistical, self-centered jerk. His story arc is interesting because, as I discussed with my brother a few weeks ago, it’s his pride that causes him to become a villain. All the people in the town are so used to him getting what he wants, and yet Belle rejected him in front of everyone. He’s ashamed and publicly humiliated, and he doesn’t know how to take “no” for an answer. What’s ironic is that he could have any woman in the city – they all throw themselves at him. The only one he wants is Belle. Not only is he the type of character who would be the hero, but his motivation and objective are different than those you would normally see in Disney villains. Gaston is a gem.
FAVORITE LINE: “Here in town, there’s only she who is beautiful as me!”

Number 4: SHERE KHAN from The Jungle Book (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1967)
Shere Khan 00Shere Khan 01
There are two main reasons why I enjoy Shere Khan: 1) He is very proper and distinguished. He’s a dignified creature. You respect him, not just because he’ll rip you to shreds if you don’t (although that’s a good reason, too), but also because he’s respectable. The way he holds himself and the way he treats other people – you’d want to be with someone as classy and sophisticated as Shere Khan. 2) He is frightening! The characters built him up big time before his appearance in the movie – and we don’t even see him until half way or two-thirds into the movie! When he does arrive, he’s menacing! He’s vicious! He’s not afraid of anyone, thus no one intimidates him! It intimidates you how fearless he is! Shere Khan is one of Disney’s proudest villains.
FAVORITE LINE: “…You should also know that everyone runs from Shere Khan.”

Number 3: FROLLO from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, 1996)
Frollo 00Frollo 01
I don’t know where to begin with this man! He’s a murderer, a slaveholder, a pervert/rapist, a liar…and I’m sure he holds more titles that are causing him to break other Commandments! The reason this is great is because of the complications it gives him. He does all of these wicked deeds, not because he necessarily wants to, but because he doesn’t see the wrong in it. He convinces himself and others that everything he does is OK because God wants him to do it. Does that make him a good guy? No, he’s a hypocrite. However, I would argue that he’s not necessarily evil. I think he’s corrupt. For whatever reason, he thinks that all of his actions are holy and righteous – that he himself is holy and righteous. Most villains would admit to their sins as long as they get what they want; but he believes he has a spot in Heaven for being an upright man. It’s really sad and depressing when you think about it. However, his corruption gave The Hunchback of Notre Dame an edge that Disney didn’t really have before. For that, we love him!
FAVORITE LINE: “It’s not my fault, if in God’s plan; He made the Devil so much stronger than a man!”

Number 2: URSULA from The Little Mermaid (Ron Clements and John Musker, 1989)
Ursula 00Ursula 01
Oh my gosh, I am in love with Ursula! I mean it! If she were a living, Christian human being whose sole purpose was not taking over the underwater world, I would marry her! I am in love with her personality! She’s not just a bland villain who’s evil for the sake of being evil. She’s sassy, she has attitude, she has a style and elegance to her. She’s over the top like a Broadway star, but not too over the top that it’s annoying or unbearable. I know I said I’d marry her if she weren’t evil, but I do love how evil she is! She deceits, she lies, and she has shriveled up souls living on her floor and in her cupboards! That is awesome! Also, as I’m sure I’ll post later, I really can’t stand Ariel; I do not like her at all. Because of that, this is one of the times I’m rooting for the villain to win in the movie. Ursula is a lot of fun, and her “Poor Unfortunate Souls” number is my favorite song in the movie! I love it, and I love her!
FAVORITE LINE: “C’MON YOU poor unfortunate soul! Go ahead, make your choice!…If you want to cross a bridge, my sweet, you’ve got to pay the toll. Take a gulp and take a breath, and go ahead and sign the scroll. Flotsam, Jetsam, now I’ve got her, boys! The BOSS IS ON A ROLL! This POOR UNFORTUNATE SOUL!”

And my Number 1 favorite Disney villain is…

SHADOW MAN from The Princess and the Frog (Ron Clements and John Musker, 2009)
Shadow Man 00Shadow Man 01
My word…I just love this guy so much! I absolutely love this movie and our lead character, but the Shadow Man is such a great and fantastic villain, he still becomes my favorite character over Tiana! First of all, HE’S FRICKIN’ COOL!! Look at the style of his movements. Listen to how elegant his speech is, the way he delivers his dialogue. Watch how he interacts with the other characters – it’s just too cool! Second of all, when you watch him you’ll notice how animated he is. His movements are so big, quick, and expressive. A great example of this is when he’s talking to the other spirits and shadows, and he says, “Now we’re cookin’! We’re gonna find ourselves a frog!” He is so lively, and that is throughout the film! Third of all, I love how deliciously evil he is! Listen to how he talks to Tiana in their confrontation scene towards the end. He uses her own words against her; he tempts her to do what she knows she shouldn’t by convincing her it’s the right choice to make. The way he talks to her makes him sound like the Devil – that’s such a great villain! Fourth of all, Keith David; HELLO! Fifth of all, I love his death scene; it is amazing! It’s somewhat of a bittersweet moment for me because, as great of a scene as it is, I don’t want to say good-bye to the Shadow Man! Sixth of all, I LOVE HIS SHADOW!!! That’s such a great idea; his shadow is alive, and it affects everyone and everything around him by messing with their shadows! That is a genius concept! Relating to that, I know that I said earlier that Scar’s a great villain partially because he has no powers. However, the powers really serve Shadow Man here. There’s nothing he can’t do! He can alter the things and people around him, chance appearances, perform fantastic card tricks, and he can do so many other wonderful things with his magic! Last and finally, in my opinion, Shadow Man is the perfect villain. Why? Because the other villains I named were all the cause of their own downfall. Whether it was their pride, the fact that they weren’t looking at the death coming near them, they slipped and fell from great heights, or whatever the reason, they caused their own demise. The Shadow Man did not cause his downfall. If it weren’t for the other characters who altered his plan, he would have won. For example, if Tiana wasn’t roped into the situation, she wouldn’t have broken the talisman, and Shadow Man would have been running New Orleans. Despite his eventual demise, Shadow Man is definitely my favorite Disney villain!
FAVORITE LINE: “Aren’t you tired of always living on the margins, while all those fat cats in their fancy cars don’t give you so much as a sideways glance…?”

I’m sure you all have you favorite villains, characters, and movies. Leave a comment at the bottom and share your thoughts. Let me know what you think of my list and reasons; I’d love to hear from you. God bless you all, and I love you! BOOYIKA!