Risky Regencies

Romance Disney-Style

How was everyone’s holiday? Here it was good but very cold (and still getting colder! I am sooo ready for springtime). I had a great time burrowing in with new books and DVDs, working on the WIP (did I mention it’s due in February? Yep, 3 1/2 weeks away), dressing my Poodle in her Snuggie for Dogs, and eating candy. But I did manage to make it out to see a couple of movies, including the totally adorable Princess and the Frog.

This probably won’t surprise you, given my deep love for things like Hello Kitty and bright pink shoes, but I am a Disney movie fanatic. Beauty and the Beast remains my all-time favorite, not only for its sheer gorgeousness but because Belle has brown hair and likes to read books. Princess and the Frog isn’t quite Beauty and the Beast great (for one thing, the songs aren’t especially memorable, plus it’s hard to beat the Beast as a hero), but it is very charming. Roger Ebert called it “sprightly and high-spirited” which is a very good description.

The setting of 1920s New Orleans is stupendous, one of the best I’ve seen in a Disney movie. But what’s a Disney fairy-tale without great characters? Tiana and Prince Naveen fit the bill very well, and one thing I was struck by is how romance novel-esque they were (except for the being frogs part. That might be a bit hard to pull off, even for a paranormal author!). Tiana is the most self-sufficient and independent of all the Disney “princesses.” She works two waitress jobs to save for her dream of owning her own restaurant. She is focused and hard-working, and she takes no nonsense. But this is also her weakness, as she never slows down to enjoy life or the people around her. She doesn’t stop to consider love.

Prince Naveen is exactly the opposite. His character arc is not quite as well-developed as Tiana’s, but at least he has one, unlike, say, Cinderella’s prince. His whole character was being handsome and owning a castle. Naveen has been cut off by his royal parents for being a fluff-off party boy. He just wants to enjoy life, and has never worked at anything. Now he has to either marry a rich girl or (gasp!) get a job.

You see how this is fitting together? They each have strengths (and weaknesses) the other lacks, and their journey to discover this fact, from dislike to love, is wonderful. When Naveen decides he will get a job (or 2 or 3!) to get Tiana her restaurant, you know its true love–if they can defeat the evil, scary villain and turn back into humans again. Plus Tiana has some great clothes, always very important. I especially liked her streamlined, flapper-ish wedding gown at St. Louis Cathedral.

This is one of the things I enjoy most in writing romance fiction. Creating 2 characters and discovering what it is that makes them perfect for each other. What is it about them that will enable them to not only fall in love, but stay in love through all life’s trials? Though none of my characters have ever been turned into amphibians before!

Did you see The Princess and the Frog? What did you think? And who are some of your favorite romance novel (and Disney movie) pairings?

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Elena Greene
12 years ago

We’ve had colds over here, so we haven’t gone. But after this review, I must get the kids out there.

BTW Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney as well. That fairy tale appeals to me more than any other and the Beast is so much hotter than most of the Disney pretty boys.

Amanda McCabe
12 years ago

But the Beast turned into a pretty boy in the end!! (though I told myself his personality is still just the same, LOL)

I think your girls would really enjoy it. There were people of all ages in the theater when I saw it and everyone was having a wonderful time. (including one little girl in front of me, who wore a Princess and the Frog dress, carried a Tiana doll, and knew all the words to the songs. Obviously not her first time…)

As well as the main couple, the secondary characters were fun, too (especially Tiana’s exuberant friend Charlotte–she was a riot!)

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
12 years ago

I too adored this movie and thought Naveen was quite cute for a Disney Prince and I agree he had more of an arc for a Disney Prince since the Beast. After seeing this movie, I wanted to hop on a plane to New Orleans, go to Cafe du Monde and eat some beignets! B&B is also my favorite Disney movie, although I thought the Beast was better looking as a beast than a prince!

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

I’ve just had a revelation! My first love of romance came from Disney movies–Cinderella, probably…or Snow White. I can still remember being horrified that my father wanted to take us to see boat races on the Potomac rather than go to the last day of Lady and the Tramp.

My daughter’s first movie was the re-release of Snow White. She was almost 3 years old and we sat in the back on the aisle, which was good because everytime the wicked witch appeared, she had to go to the bathroom!

Later when she was older we went to see The Little Mermaid. In fifth grade, she sang a solo from the movie in the school concert, a piece from A Part of Your World. She never sang around home so I never knew what a beautiful voice she had. Still brings tears to my eyes….

I wonder if she’d go with me to Princess and the Frog…

12 years ago

Mine is Beauty and the Beast as well. They had to overcome wounded hearts and be willing to let go of the pain to reach out and grab hold of love. There’s always a second chance for love.

12 years ago

They don’t tell you this in the parenting manuals, but one of the great pleasures that come with having children is that you get to go to all the Disney movies. Jeremy, my oldest, loved Mulan, and as an adult he still loves strong women. Noah, my middle one, loved B&B, both for the music and for the story of winning against seemingly overwhelming odds (which for him, as a child with a congenital heart defect, was reality and not just a fairy tale). Michael, my youngest, liked the bright colors and bouncy stories. I loved them all: the older ones from the 1930s for the beautiful animation and later ones for humor (Robin Williams as the genie in Aladdin) and romance (B&B). Definitely want to see the latest one, even if I don’t have a young child to go with.

Amanda McCabe
12 years ago

“I wanted to hop on a plane to New Orleans, go to Cafe du Monde and eat some beignets!”

LOL, Elizabeth! I went out and ate gumbo after I saw the movie. 🙂 It definitely made me want to visit New Orleans again!

Diane, you should definitely get your daughter to see P&tF with you! It was so much fun, and it brought back such great memories of all the classic Disney movies I love. (I got the “Snow White” DVD for Christmas, and loved watching that one again)

Susan, it’s good to know that side effect in making children watch Disney movies is they grow up to appreciate (or be!) strong women! This is one reason why I don’t really understand people who protest little girls playing with Disney princess products. Sure, the dresses are fluffy and pretty, but have they ever SEEN a Disney film? The heroines are always smart, kind, and even independent–and they often save the prince…

Cara King
12 years ago

I loved Princess & the Frog, too! Lots of fun, gorgeous painted backgrounds, and a heroine with spirit but also human qualities. (Even as a grown-up she’s grossed out by kissing a frog prince!)

My favorite Disney film might just be A Little Mermaid… It’s not perfect (I think the prince is rather boring, and I hate his clothes), but I think I love the music and the underwater animation so much it wins for me. But I love Beauty too! (Menken and Ashman were the best Disney songwriters ever…)


12 years ago

Haven’t seen a Disney movie in a long time since I didn’t much like Beauty & the Beast (the Beast’s human form was totally fug – ruined it!), but I’ll see this new one when it’s on DVD. It looks interesting and different. Anyway, favorite Disney couple are Robin Hood & Maid Marian – my favorite Disney movie, actually!

Keira Soleore
12 years ago

I didn’t see the movie but Wee did. Best part? “When she kissed the frog and they both turned into frogs. He’s supposed to turn into a prince.” And she’s sporting a southern accent. Suddenly, everythin”s drivin’ her crazy! Given that this was her first in-theater movie, it was a success.

Hubby didn’t fall asleep. That’s his review.

Megan Frampton
12 years ago

I don’t think my guy will want to see the Princess and the Frog, but back in the day, we watched all of the Disney movies–him for the cartoon aspect, me for the romance.

Like you, I love Belle. And I also thought–and yes, I know this is weird–that Tarzan was hot, even Disney-fied. Odd to have a sizzle of lust on seeing a cartoon, but there you go.

I liked the Beast more pre-makeover, btw, too.

Jane Austen
12 years ago

My favorite Disney movie as my brother Oreste will attest to is The Little Mermaid. I made him watch it so many times that he has nightmares and sometimes facebooks me with random lines. It’s pretty funny. I also remember talking on the phone with my uncle in Denver while both of us were watching Under the Sea and the movies were in complete sync. It was a random phone call and unplanned. Pretty cool. I don’t mind Disney movies for the most part, but I do hate the vault. I think it’s just stupid to take movies away. I also hate Disney for copyright. I might be talking to the wrong group here, but I know the National Archives want to preserve some decaying movies and music by making preservation quality copies for preservation purposes only, but can’t because of copyright rules, which mostly come from Disney. (I know it’s the US government, but Disney is a big lobby and every time Mickey is about to pass out of copyright somehow the laws magically change). I have not seen the Princess and the Frog, but I am curious to know how certain people feel about it considering there was such a fuss that Disney had not had a black princess before. I wonder if people have an issue with her not being a princess in her own right, but a smart, hardworking woman. I’m not saying a person can’t be both, but I can really see people turn this into a racial issue. Perhaps I’m too much of a cynic and have over analyzed everything. Maybe I should just enjoy the story and stop researching and looking for hidden meanings in everything.

Cara King
12 years ago

Jane Austen, I agree with you on copyright. IMHO there’s a huge difference between vigilantly protecting author rights, and preserving corporate profits on a property 80 years old purely for the sake of the corporation.

Oh, and there are plenty of Disney princesses that didn’t start out as princesses…Belle, for instance! And Mulan. And Cinderella!


Amanda McCabe
12 years ago

I hadn’t heard that. I think almost all the Disney princesses were not actually princesses themselves–except Ariel (who was a princess of the sea!) and Aurora. She was a princess, right? She just had to hide in the woods with her identity a secret. Was Snow White a princess?

“And she’s sporting a southern accent. Suddenly, everythin”s drivin’ her crazy!”

LOL, Keira!!

Louisa Cornell
12 years ago

I haven’t seen this one, but I know I will. I LOVE Disney Princess movies and I always have. I don’t know if I can pick a favorite. I love Beauty and the Beast, of course. But I also love Cinderella and Snow White. And The Little Mermaid is my favorite when it comes to the music. Great songs!

Jane Austen
12 years ago

Well Jasmin was an actual princess and if we were going with main characters as royalty I think you can count Simba too since he really was a prince. I’m on the Disney site now to see the others and have to say that it loads really slowly if it’s for children. I can’t imagine they’d have the patience for it. And what about Pocahontas? I haven’t seen the Disney version, but know enough to know they changed the story….was she an Indian princess in the movie? She was the Chief’s daughter…that’s kind of like princess right?

12 years ago

I agree, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is the best of the Disney movies. That is my favorite plot line anyway and the songs really are great. (My oldest daughter’s favorite is Disney’ ROBIN HOOD – she is 36). I haven’t made it to see the movie yet, but I will at some point.

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