Saturday, January 9, 2010

Princess Frog: part 4: The Film As A Whole:

I thought the movie

was mediocre. I feel with the Disney track record, the film could have been so much better than it was.

I felt like Tiana was a frog for most of the movie and that kinda took the fun out of her being a princess. I don't remember any other princess movies where the main character wasn't even herself for most of the movie.

I felt like if the film was better written and if they had taken more time with the story like they do with their other films, that Tiana had the potential to shine. One of my hang ups was the film was set in New orleans during the 20's which was a time when racism was a very real thing and I feel like to avoid the race card being a factor they fell back on Tiana being a frog for most of the film and then having her hang with her animal friends as a short cut to get around burning any bridges. Lets face it, if Disney had done a movie with all black characters they would have isolated their audience cause all the characters would have been African American.

So they had to do something to keep the movie fun and non confrontational. I mean heck just watching the film they never even really mention what race Naveen actually is. There is no back story what so ever on who he is and where he comes from. He just kinda shows up one day.

I felt the film could have been just as good if it were set in modern times because then the creatures would not have had to tip toe around historical and racial boundaries. Heck I think it could have been very creative if it was even set in the future.

Picture this, I average Af am family living in a futuristic world where the girl has a love for old southern culture and wants to have a restaurant ran in the old fashion traditions passed down through her family. I prince from another galaxy arrives in town looking to marry the presidents daughter ( and best friend to Tiana) and but his technologically advanced companion has other ideas so once he arrives he turns the prince into a frog and disguises himself as the prince. Tiana finds the frog and is forced to help him get his identity back. Tell me that doesn't have the potential for some good ole sci fi action and some interestingly colorful characters.

Anyway, I am going on and on, but I think there were other options for creating the black Disney princess that could have been more fun and way more creative then what was released while relieving fear from critics about the film being racially offensive and what have you. Plus they couldn't have gone wrong with a Sci - Fi flick lol.

In the end I felt like Disney resorted to pulling ideas from a bunch of their old films and mashing them all together to make a movie. I didn't feel like the film had anything about it that had not already been done in the past aside from the use of African American characters. I felt that the theme of working hard to get what you want in life was a little unrealistic for this day and time where american values often back fire on people no matter how hard they work. For example all the people that are out of work that have been on there jobs 25 years or more, but got a bad deal cause of the economy.

I also feel that though they made an effort they still resorted to the use of stereotypes to define the characters personalities in the film. Like the single mom raising the family, the smooth talking player turned marriageable man. Not to mention. Who gets married at 19 anymore? There were just a lot of things wrong with the movie that honestly made it lame to me. I men the story literally takes place over night! The film just felt rushed and not well thought out in terms of story. I am sure it will make plenty of money, but it was a downer in terms of Disney's triumphant return to 2D Animation. I can understand taking creative liberties but the movie was just to shallow and unrealistic to me. It was like they just needed a reason to sell some toys so they threw something together really quick.

That being said don't let my feelings ruin a movie for you. This is just one chicks opinion.

The real end.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Princess Frog: part 3: Music?

Ok I never really liked Randy Newman. I think it is funny that of all the amazing talent out there that could have done music for this film that they chose Randy Newman.

There is a skit from Mad TV where one of the guys impersonates Randy Newman that really says it all.

The song about Going Down the Bayou was in fact one of the worst ones in the film in my opinion because they literally sing the same thing over and over. I just don't feel like the movie would have been any different if it hadn't been in the film.

Other than the song Tiana sings "Almost There" about her career in the beginning of the film I didn't think the others were all that memorable.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Frog Princess: part 2: Characters

Ok I want to give a short critique of the characters in the story. I felt some characters were blatant st

ereotypes created for the sake of a laugh. It made me feel not much effort was put into making worth while memorable characters that really had something to offer the audience aside from the same old song and dance.


Her character and character design are cool and sweet. I like that she is working to pull herself up by the boot straps, and that she is a strong lead with a very smart personality.

But, I think she actually acts out of character by fallin

g for the prince because they literally fall in love in less than one night and not to mention when they are first together she doesn't even like the prince all that much cause sh

e sees him as a free loader. In fact, I almost feel like the only reason she falls for the prince is cause he falls for her first.

I think all her costumes are nice, my favorite is the flapper costume.

Prince Naveen:

Ok first off, his design isn't bad but his all around personality is very week. I can't really find any redeeming qualities about the character. at different point in the film I feel like he changes personality. And where the hell is Maldonia? I am sure it may be a real place but there is no background given on this other than he is a prince and his parents forced him to leave home and go out and do something for himself.

In fact, his whole purpose of going to New Orleans is to meet a rich girl and marry her cause mom and dad cut off his trust fund. Later in the film when he and Tiana are interacting you can see why Tiana d

oesn't like him that much cause he comes across and a selfish, self absorbed player that doesn't know how to do anything for himself. In fact there are several instances in the film where he basically lets Tiana do all the work and expects her to wait on him while he does nothing. That kind of irritated me. Yet for some reason in one night he redeems himself and Tiana falls in love with him.

I know they tried to make Naveen a different race or, what ever, for the film, but he may, as well, had been black. I felt like they still ended up using the lazy black guy stereotype in a round about way. But that is

just my opinion. In the end lets just say I wasn't in love with Naveen.

Charlotte "Lottie" La Bouff:

I actually loved her character. I heard a few people say she was annoying but I feel like she played a key roll in keeping the movie from being to deep and depressing. Her character really brightened up the film and gave you a break from Tiana's circumstances. I felt Tiana's character was very serious and kinda down and Charlotte added some balance to that with her bubblyness.

I also really liked her character design. She reminded me of a teenage Darla DImple. (Cats don't Dance a amazing and underrated film) minus the bad attitude and wanting to rule the world.

At the end of the film when she realized she wasn't going to be a princess and instead turned herself to supporting Tiana as being a Princess it made me feel like Charlotte was a genuinely good person and that she was Tiana's best friend. In a since it surprises me that Charlotte and her dad were not helping Tiana to realize her dream by helping her family from the start because they didn't come off as selfish rich folks.

With that in mind it would have made Tiana's struggle to have her dream come true kind null and void because she could have easily been supported by her child hood friend and then just paid them back. Maybe I am over thinking this. I guess it would have defeated the purpose of her becoming a princess and we would have had a completely different story.

Ray The Cajun Firefly:

Ok I am sorry but this was one of the absolute ugliest character designs ev

er. There was nothing appealing about the design what so ever. I felt like that kept me from being able to enjoy his characters role in the film in any way. I didn't even feel bad when He died. I w

as just thinking thank God they got rid of that ugly ass bug.

I got the impression they were trying to do what Hiyao Miyazaki did in Princess Mononoke when all those little tree spirits were guiding them through the forest except these fire flies were loud and unpleasant as they sung out loudly about "going down the bayou" to get to Mama Odie's house. I honestly would not have missed this character if he wasn't there.

Louis, a jazz-singing alligator:

This character reminded me of a cross between the gator from All Does Go To Heaven and one of the gators from Fantasia. Only difference was they were more interesting and smarter that Louis.

When they first encounter Louis I actually thought of Baloo the bear in turns of personality. They even have the fun song as the frogs sit on his back and they ride down the river just like in Jungle Book. After that though his whole personality changes and he becomes more like the cowardly lion than an alligator. His bad since of direction and scaredy cat personality really just made him a through away character in my opinion. I think if they had given him the personality of the fire fly and left the fire fly out all together I would have really liked him. But they didn't.

One scene that was intended to be funny was him falling in a patch of plants that had thorns and stuck to hims butt. the the fire fly proceeds to pull them out. Yeah that scene was WAY too long and not funny.

Mama Odie:

honestly I was expecting this character to play a bigger roll in the film when they originally brought her

up. like maybe they would had her actually help them fight the bad guy or something. Instead she just sang a song about how if tiana and naveen hook up they can both become human and when they didn't understand her double talk she told them to do something else. She only comes back at the end of the film when they have there frog wedding.

Frog Hunters:

The only reason I am mentioning these characters is cause they totally changed the films feel about mid way through. All of a sudden I felt like I was watching a warner brothers cartoon with the stupid hill billies trying to catch the rabbit. they to were very ugly and unappealing in design and I felt like there was no real purpose for them in the movie except to try to get a laugh. The played no real role in progressing the plot of the film and after they were gone they never came back.

Doctor Facilier, aka "The Shadow Man:

I actually thought he was an interesting villain. I really liked his character design and he was by far more interesting than Naveen. I really enjoyed the special effects as well but as I watched I couldn't help but think of the both Scare from lion king and medicine man from El Dorado and his magic tricks.

It didn't take away from him though. I enjoyed his animation the way he moved and his voice as well. I wish he had had a little more development though cause it wasn't till very late in the film that they reveal his motives for turning naveen into a frog. He basically wanted to marry the fake Naveen into charlottes family so he could get there money and use it to take over New Orleans.

My question is why didn't he just impersonate Naveen himself instead of getting Naveens companion to do it. Especially if he planned to Kill the companion anyway. I didn't see how having Charlotte marry the fake naveen and then killing the fake naveen afterward with a voodoo doll made since cause how would he have access to there fortune if he himself was not apart of the family. Even ursula in The little Mermaid had the balls to out right marry the prince herself. She didn't have anyone do the dirty work for her.

Lawrence, Prince Naveen's companion:

I really have nothing to say about him cause Like I said before The shadow man didn't really need him in my opinion. I think he was a throw away character.


there are some other supporting characters in the film but I have no opinion of them really so that is it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Why I didn't like the Princess and The Frog.

I decided to write up a nice little LONG blog about the Princess and the Frog. I am breaking it up into a few pieces because it's a pretty good length. The reason I decided to do this is because I feel many people out there will be willing to say they like it without really analyzing the story. Many people will just write this off as another kids’ movie without looking at some of the underlying reasons why they might choose not to let there kids see this film. I feel like sometimes in our society we get conditioned to just accept what is being put out there as good even if honestly it has a lot of things wrong with it.

Do not read this if you care about spoilers.
I wanted to see this movie just because of the hype around this film and the idea it is the first Black Princess. After watching it, I didn't feel like this was a film that even the people creating it really believed in or cared about. One reason for that is I felt like i was being rushed through the film. I felt it jumped quickly from one sequence of events to the next. On top of that, I felt there were a lot of stereotypes running through the movie that really were not necessary to the progression of the film. I don't care if the creators thought it was funny, I honestly didn't.

I am breaking my review up into parts. I will start with the basic plot and a summer of the movie.
Ok so Tiana is a young black girl who's mom is a seamstress and the film opens with Tiana and her mom at the home of a rich white family making a dress for the Charlotte a young debutant that wants to be a princess. the mom is reading the story of the frog princess to them.

When Tiana and her mom return home her dad is there and they are sharing gumbo with the neighbors and preparing her for bed. As the scene ends they are looking out the window wishing on a star and the Tiana sees a frog and screams and runs out the room. when she comes back in she is now a grown women and she is coming in from work only to get ready to leave and get ready to go back to work.

Tiana is trying to save money to someday realize her fathers’ dream of opening a restaurant. On the same day Prince Naveen arrives in town and Charlotte and her dad come into the restaurant where Tiana works and announce it. They give Tiana money to cook stuff for the party they are having, which Naveen is invited to, and Tiana is now able to use it as a down payment on the building she wants to have her restaurant in. But, she is told by the owners that if she doesn't have the entire amount of money in full they will sell it to someone else.

That night an evil witch doctor called The Shadow Man takes Naveen and his companion to his show to read there fortune where the prince gets attacked.

Back at the party Tiana is very sad and after falling and ruining her dress her friend Charlotte takes her to her room and puts her in one of her princess outfits to where at the party instead. Then Charlotte leaves the room because a fake version of Naveen has finally arrived Tiana walks out on the balcony where the real Naveen, now a frog, is sitting there. He tells her she needs to kiss him to turn him human and Tiana turns into a frog instead.

They leave the house and end up in the bayou where they meet a alligator that wants to be a musician. The alligator tells them about a voodoo woman, Mama Odie, that can turn them back human and they set off to see her. On the way they run into a fire fly that tells them they are going the wrong way and he gets all his fire fly buddies to lead them in the right direction.

On the way they run into some nasty hill billy type hunters that are looking for frogs so they can have frog legs for dinner. the fire fly helps save then. As they travel over night the prince starts to fall for Tiana cause he likes her personality. when they reach Mama Odie, she sings a song about how they need to look inside themselves to get what they need and she basically through this song gives this hint that if he wants to be human him and Tiana should get together but they don't really get all the double talk and so she tells them that he needs to kiss Charlotte before 12 am that night while she is the princess of the Mardi Gra and then both of them will turn back to being human.

in the mean time Charlotte is under the belief that Naveen’s companion that has been convinced to marry Charlotte. He is wearing a voodoo charm that make him look like Naveen with Naveen’s blood in it but if they blood dries up he turns back into himself. They plan to have the wedding at Mardi Gra that night and him and the shadow man make a plot to get frog Naveen back so they can refill the voodoo charm with his blood.

Back in the bayou the gator, fire fly and the 2 frogs board a river boat that will get them quickly back to the city. Naveen decides to make a ring and propose to Tiana but he gets to nervous. Naveen is then swept away by evil spirits to take him back to the voodoo guy. Tiana and everyone gets off the boat and heads to Mardi Gra where they see the fake Naveen about to marry Charlotte and Tiana runs away. The fire fly consoles her and then flies up to the float where he finds the prince in a box. He unlocks the box and the frog prince grabs the fake Naveen and they fall off the float. The fire fly steels the voodoo charm and takes it to Tiana.

Tiana runs away with it and gets chased by the shadow man and the fire fly tries to stop him and gets stepped on. The gator later finds the firefly. the Shadow man trying to cut a deal with Tiana and she refuses and then Tiana brakes the voodoo charm.

The evil spirits then attack the shadow man and they kill him. Charlotte shows up looking for Naveen when he see the frog prince and he tells her they need to kiss before midnight because that is the only way to turn them human. There is only 5 minutes left before midnight and Tiana tells the frog that she is in love with him and that she can't live without him and charlotte agrees to kiss the frog without marrying him but then the bell rings and it is too late.

The gator shows up and tells them the fire fly was hurt and the fire fly tells them he wants them to be together before dying. They have a funeral for the fire fly and then they look up in the sky to see she is a bright shining star and now he is with the love of his life, another star.

Tiana and the princess are married by the Mama Odie and when they kiss they both turn human because the reason that Tiana turned to a frog in the first place was that she was not a princess but now that they are married she has become a princess.

They take Tiana’s money and rush to buy her building and the building is remodeled and they turn it into a night club restaurant and every one lives happily ever after.

The end.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Black Women and Hair

In many cultures hair is considered to not be all that big a deal. In India people even have a religious ceremony where they go to temple and have all there hair shaved off. People come from all over the country to do this by the thousands.

But for Black women, their hair can be there lively hood. It can determine everything from their mood that day to whether they like who they are or not. If you ever see a black women with a big thick head of Bone straight hair down to there back side. It is highly likely that it might not be growing out of there head. But, I guarantee you they will wear it like it is and you won't know any different.

I remember when I was a little girl, I use to take a long scarf or even a baby blanket and tie it around my head and walk up to my mom proclaiming how long a beautiful my hair was. The hair issue is something that runs so deep inside us like roots into our mind and body. So much so that women will pay for there hair to be done before they will pay their rent.

What is so funny, is that many women from other cultures could care less about the hair that grows out of their head. It isn't even much of an issue for them unless they are highly into fashion or something like that.

The reason I like to bring this issue up is because from time to time I like to drench myself in knowledge so that I can better take care of my own hair. I am even a slave to the concept of having long beautiful flowing locks, but the difference is I have learned to embrace the beauty of my natural hair texture. Trust me it took a lot of work to get to this point mentally.

I have been growing my hair about 4 years now and on several occasions I had to literally cut it so short you could barely twist it. Yesterday I spent much time on the phone explaining this to my sister. That my now shoulder length hair took me YEARS to grow. She just knows I left home with relaxed hair in 2005 for school and came home with a head of non chemically treated in 2008. She tells me I have good hair, but little does she know I would love to have her hair thickness and coarseness because mine is VERY VERRY THIN. I had to explain to her, it doesn't happen that over night you just know what to do.

After spending like 26 years of my life with staightened hair (started on chemical straightening at 2-3 yrs old) I had no idea what to do when it stated growing out. I started dying and frying it and at one point just let it be a total mess because it got so frustrating to do up keep on my hair. In fact, it was my friend Britney that helped me to better understand what to do. She is Lithuanian/Portuguese and has naturally curly hair. She was the first person to show my what kind of brush was going to work in my hair. Believe it or not it actually matters.

Winter 2007

This picture is from October 2008, I year and some months have gone by since then and it is getting longer.

Present hair length.

My sister dear is in her 40's. Imagine the adjustment for her. Lets just say old habits die hard. I am still trying to get her to stop combing her hair with rat tail combs while it is dry.

Anyway, the other reason for this blog is, many just don't realize how far back this problem goes. I found this video online. It is a featurette looking at how black women veiw themselves in society even back to childhood.

I like to visit different hair blogs and I ran acorss some really great articles on Black Girl With Long Hair. One of them talking about how, because of slavery African American people are still yet to reclaim our identity and be proud of who they are. The funny is so many people, both Black and White really like to pretend it didn't happen, but it still seems to plague black culture even to today whether it be in relationships or just plain ole hair. I think it is insane.

Please take a look at the video and enjoy. It is a little shocking.

I also wanted to share the blog of one young lady that is battling hair loss due to learning the hard way how to take care of her hair. Her blog is called Creamy Crack.

I hope you guys have a blessed day.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Creative Co Working 2

So I went online and I found some links to website for co working groups. They are located all over the US. Some are even for designers and people that work in games. I even found a location in Kansas city that rents space to people with great purks!

Located in the heart of the Crossroads Art District and the heart of the River Market, OfficePort KC has shared office space.

OfficePort KC @ Crossroads: 208 W 19th

OfficePort KC @ River Market: 500 Delaware

Amenities include:

T1 Internet service
Virtual service telecommunication package
Printing, faxing and scanning services
IT support
Intranet service
Herman Miller furniture
Conference room with AV equipment
Large meeting rooms
Shipping and receiving services
Kitchen with Roasterie Bar
Office ports for 1 to 10 people
Private offices for up to 4 people.
Affordable, open-ended leasing.
Free access to JavaPort.

I thought I would share some of the links for those that had an interest in the topic on other examples of this.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pre Orders now available!!

New book coming out soon you can Pre-Order here. Book showcases African American Artists artists from all over the US. Book was created by John Jennings and Damian Duffy.
I am very excited to be apart of this project I hope you will take a little time and see what it is that Damian and John are working on on there blog

Arie's Sketch Dump