Back when Disney announced that its first foray back into hand-drawn animation would be The Frog Princess, a story about Maddy, a young black girl working for a spoiled white Southern debutant who was helped by a Voodoo priestess fairy godmother to win the heart of a white prince, many of us had the same reaction: "Wha-huh?" Followed fairly immediately with: "I don't know if that's the best idea." It looks like Disney has finally come to the same conclusion. Britain's The Independent is reporting that Disney has trashed everything from the character's name (who some say was too close to sounding like "Mammy") to the villain's race to the title.
Yes, the new Twilight film comes out on DVD today, but there's actually something bigger than that coming out. A pivotal moment in the history of mankind that only comes along once in a blue moon, and has the potential to affect future generations for decades to come. That's right, it's the newest Disney Princess.
Look out, San Diego Comic-Con -- this past weekend, Disney held their own convention in Anaheim, and it had more Disney-related celebrity panels and announcements than you could shake a stick at. While a lot of the show was simply fan service -- merchandise, collectible pins, a look at new theme parks and attractions in the works, a Miley Cyrus concert -- there were actually a lot of great announcements about upcoming movies, and we thought we'd run down some of the bigger ones below.
Disney released information about some of the future animation projects it has on tap. Most of the offerings seem to be cashing in on previous successes, or relying heavily on old stand-by stories. On the one hand, it's easy to see why: If you spend four or five years making something, you want a sure thing. On the other hand, there's something to be said for laying a foundation for the future. If they don't start up more in the way of new franchises now, what will they have to fall back on five or ten or fifty years from now? Sooner or later, someone's going to lose the keys to that "Disney Vault" and they'll have to come up with something to do besides re-releasing all their old stuff every few years.
Planned for a 2012 release is Cars 2. The kids you took to see the original might have their driver's licenses by then, so you can make them take you to the movies for a change. Then ditch them and sneak into the movie you really want to see.
If that doesn't make the passage of time seem like its's zipping past your eyes like the pictures in a flip book, try this one: Coming in 2010 is Toy Story 3, in which little Andy from the original is now heading off to college. Like too many other movies, this one will also be produced in 3D. Ken is the newest character. Is Ken still on the outs with Barbie and crashing on Andy's couch? If there's not some kind of joke about being anatomically incorrect in a 3D world, I'll be torn between being disappointed and relieved.
Slated for release next year is The Princess and the Frog, which is banking on two separate Disney traditions: Familiar fairytales are an easy sell and young girls are prone to falling in love with complete strangers and/or talking animals.