THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG

A series of promotional packages designed to hawk Disney’s The Princess and the Frog to its core demographic were broadcast during The Princess Protection Program TV movie on Sunday evening. As is always the way with these things, they found their way to YouTube. See all five embedded below the break.

What’s most interesting, at least if you’re not that fussed about The Princess and the Frog (though, in fact I am – I’m really quite fussed about it) is the mild controversy surrounding one newly unveiled character.

Today, both Movieline and CinemaBlend have questioned the representation offered by Mama Odie, a “fairy godmother” character. Movieline propose that Odie is an offensive stereotype, in the vein of Aunt Jemima; CinemaBlend contest that they don’t see the issue. What side will I come down on?

Well, I’m not worried about Odie at all. Beyond the most obvious, she doesn’t seem to hew so closely to the stereotype at all. Perhaps more worrying is Ray the Cajun firefly who seems to share some of his constitution with those hideous ‘Twins’ caricatures in Transformers 2.

But I’m still only a little worried about Ray. I don’t think Disney are about to make a serious misstep here. They’ve been keeping Song of the South in the vaults for a good while now, scared of the inevitable controversy and stockroom wrecking that its (well deserved, wrongly denied) release might cause. I don’t think they’d be cooking up another film to effectively do damage in its stead. Animation is produced slowly enough, and under enough scrutiny – and in this case, by folks smart enough – that any creeping prejudice would surely be sniffed out. I’m expecting anything that looks stereotypical here to possibly be subverted, or at least contextualized, in the finished film.

There’s some fun, fluffy material in these clips. Don’t expect to learn the secrets of animation or cinematic storytelling, just expect to pick the bones of these videos for the juicy little hunks of new material.

Mama Odie is unveiled in the second clip.

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