New Disney princess movie sounds pretty good

I wasn't going to bother going to see the new Disney cartoon, "The Princess on the Frog," first because Disney's campaign to turn princesses into pure little-girl-crack is tiresome-verging-on-offensive, and second because it looked like a trite and opportunistic way to bring in African-American viewers.

But Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams has me convinced. This sounds like a damned good movie. Maybe I'll take the kid to see it.

Tiana takes the princess role a step further -- she's not just Disney's first African-American to wear the crown, she's the first one with a regular job. (Unless you count Mulan's gig as a warrior.) She also, like "Ratatouille's" Remy, makes the case for great food as a social leveler and the cornerstone of a good life. Tiana knows that food "brings people together" with more reliable results than even voodoo.

But the strides here aren't just for princesses. Those Charming Guys of bygone days have traditionally been even less interesting than the ladies they rescue. Campos makes his Naveen such a cocky player that he doesn't stop seducing even when he's turned green and asks for just one kiss ... "unless you beg for more." He's a spoiled rich guy who needs to grow up, and the movie is just as much about his journey as it is about Tiana's.

And what a felicitous spot to take that journey. The Crescent City, in all her late 19th-century glory, shines like a jewel here: an enchanted, lively, multicultural town full of bright blossoms and infectious songs. As they say in the movie, "Dreams come true in New Orleans." Randy Newman [ed: ugh], who wrote the score, does a bang-up job of paying tribute to the city's rich musical heritage in a series of colorful, trippy numbers. There's a jazzy Armstrong-like song (featuring a crocodile named Louis), a gospel-tinged showstopper, a zydeco throwdown, and a boogie-woogie paean to the town sung by Dr. John [ed: that's more like it].
"The Princess and the Frog" is Disney royalty


  1. It might be worthwhile to see the film with adults, or even better older kids, first.

    Wholesome rep notwithstanding, Disney cartoons can be a pretty intense experience for really young kids. Especially for novice movie-goers.

    A college buddy took his niece to see Beauty and the Beast, and the wolf-chase scene literally scared the shit out of the tot.

    * * *

    That said, I was impressed by this review as well.

    1. Bluth produced some of the best animation in the 80s/early 90s, what’s wrong with looking Bluth like?

      As for Disney, there’s many things I don’t like about their practices, but when broken down to an individual level, I do like Lasseter and respect that the “3d man” has re-established 2d animation when it was killed off at the company. This movie looks a little rough at the edges based on the trailer, but I think I will support the film in order to support the rebirth of a 2d dept.

      1. Yes, that’s what pleased me too – that pretty much the first thing John Lasseter did when he took over was to re-establish the 2d animation area.
        Because it’s really important that the skills here aren’t lost to future generations. Kind of like what Richard Williams tried to do with The Thief and the Cobbler – which is a flawed masterpiece, but which was always doomed, because you really do need to be a global capitalist monstrosity to be able to maintain those sort of quality levels (at least and still be able to produce something in a reasonable period of time.)

        I doubt I will get to see this in a cinema though – a single, 40-something male going to see a U certificate animation? Yeah, because that’s not suspicious in any way. Which is a depressing comment on our society, really…

  2. The fact they are advertising a childrens movie in car insurance commercials has turned me off to the whole thing.

  3. So, there is certainly a fat-lipped alligator moment, eh?

    I’m somewhat against this movie, though, on the grounds that Disney essentially took another fairy tale from the public domain, to which they try their hardest to NOT contribute back to.

  4. The trailer really rubbed me the wrong way. I kept thinking about how the animation looks so hokey and old-fashioned compared to even something like the Tinkerbell straight to DVD. Like black people finally get a Disney movie but it looks like it is from 1991. I am curious if they are going to market this like a normal Disney movie or an African-American film.

    Also the caricature of voodoo looks degrading and inaccurate from what I have seen of real Vodou.

  5. Gah…

    Checked out the trailers on YouTube.
    I don’t like it… A sanitized “New Orleans” just when movies like “Gangs of New York” and “Interview with a vampire” put some decent realistic image on those times…

    Really, I wish somehow I could take over the Disney Company…

    (I mean for grandiose wishes, I’d rather just have one of my ideas go good and run with the money to the tropics, but really)

    For the sake of humanity, I’d love to take over the Disney company…

    For instance, how about apologizing to Victor Hugo for butchering the Hunchback of Notre Dame and instead fully animating “The Man who Laughs”? – BUT – include just enough ‘cutsey’ and the same types of commercials to get the kids coming in…

    And, for REAL “Adult” fare, I’d have Tinkerbell and the “Faeries of Pixie Hollow” (Gah, choke!) meet the faeries from a Japanese artist called “Kondom” aka the “Bondage Faeries”!!! It’d have Phil and Pamela cornering Tink in an alley with handcuffs and whip, “Want to PLAY, pretty pretty!?” With a disclaimer, “Sorry kids, but this Faerie cartoon is for grown-ups!” Imagine when the “Disney Princess”, “Daddy! Buy Me!” girls get (younger brother, nerdy boy at school) a kid to download that movie for them, having every single other piece of Pixie Hollow stuff on their walls… Then curled up in a ball shaking, like from watching the earwig as labia weight stuff…

    Last, and not least, I’d have “The thief and the Cobbler” restored to full original script – accompanied by a making of William’s original movie “The Mullah Nasrudin” in the neo-retro style.

    I imagine by then I’d be hiding in the vault Walt’s allegedly frozen in, to avert casual attempts to kill me. To avert major attempts to kill me, I’d put “Larry Flynt” in the will should misfortune befall me. “Think Phil and Pamela meeting Tink is bad? Let’s have this nice man named Chester M. move next door to Lilo…”
    -Actually, I’d propose all three from hiding, with the Flynt threat, and let them talk/scream me out of the first two, leading to #3 being implemented.

    But I would try for a more “Adult” themed animation division – though TriStar – since the generation of people growing up viewing Anime and ‘outsider’ stuff would be more accepting. Like having them at long last animate ERB’s “Barsoom” which they’ve had the rights to and done NOTHING with for decades. Then Bakshi and if he’s still able, Ellison, could be re-hired and we’d have an “Underground Comix” resurgence by animating The Freak Brothers, Mr. Natural and “Cheech Wizard” to make up for the Bode/”Wizards” issue.

    Playing “The Cards” right, I wouldn’t bankrupt the company doing things like this. They are like Microsoft, a 900lb Gorilla on Viagra that can F*ck whoever they want and still stay tops. The slight hit on sales due to edgy stuff would be made up for by not hiring celebrities and advertising in bizarre excess and the real ‘edgy’ movies in a market of slush would be a boon nowadays.

    1. I don’t like it… A sanitized “New Orleans” just when movies like “Gangs of New York” and “Interview with a vampire” put some decent realistic image on those times…

      Believe it or not the brothels, gangs, drugs and public urination didn’t play well with the target audience of 7-year-old girls.

      Before you go off on anti-Disney rants like that you might also want to look up which studio produced “Gangs of New York.” (Hint: Miramax is a division of Disney.)

  6. Lest we forget… this is Disney of the MPAA. The DMCA. The endless copyright extensions for Mickey Mouse. And the abomination of the ACTA treaty.

    And you’re foolish enough to give them your money? They deserve to destroy the Internet, if such are their opposition.

  7. I sort of have a problem with Disney feeling the need to make the black princesses role as a human limited (I expect she’ll be a from most of the time, and, in a sense, raceless), and also the fact that her regular job is as a maid. Then the voodoo caricature…

  8. It seems like it’s only ok that the princess is black because she spends most of the movie as a frog. And the bad guy is a voodoo priest, which kind of disparages an entire religion. I think in their attempt to seem less racist, they’re being just as racist as ever.

  9. When Steve Jobs , John Lasseter and Pixar, sort of took over Disney a few years ago, one of the things that happened was a bunch of people from Pixar, “the Brain Trust” went down to Disney with the intention of setting up a brain trust down there.

    I heard (from my cousin who works at Baskin-Robins) that it was like walking into a school full of severely abused children.

    But they did it and now there is some sort of creative team at Disney, their own Brain trust that focuses on story and has ratcheted down the emotional abuse of the animators.

    That said, the first film produced under this new order was “Bolt”. Which I didn’t see but neither did I hear a lot about it from critics.

    The trailers for Princess looks, not great, but maybe it will be something special, or at least a stepping stone that leads to films that will be.

  10. Should the first line really say

    “The Princess on the Frog,”

    And not “The Princess and the Frog,” ?

    First one has a whole different meaning in my book!

    1. And while Cory is fixing “The Princess on the Frog,” he can change his “both” to “bother”. Soon it’ll be a clear sentence!

      Although I did stumble over “little-girl-crack” the first couple of times I read it…

      1. Yeah, I’m still stumbling over ‘little-girl-crack’ now.

        Wait, let me rephrase that….

        Actually, I originally thought Cory was talking about Disney’s trick (Brit slang: crack => trick) of trivializing grown-up princesses by turning them into little girls. But he must in fact mean that Disney’s princesses are as addictive as crack as far as little girls are concerned.

        The trailers look pretty good though imo. Also, it doesn’t look like there’s much screen time given to the actual human princess; it’s mostly a froggy re-enactment of The Lady And the Tramp. It even includes a recycled version of the spaghetti gag.

  11. It is actually a pretty good movie, but the one to look out for is “Waking Sleeping Beauty”, the new documentary by Don Hahn (Producer of Beauty and the Beast).
    It tells the story of those heady years from ’84 to ’94 at Disney animation, from the beginnings of the 2nd Disney golden age through the crash and burn that followed Lion King. Amazing early footage of talents like John Lasseter and Tim Burton in the trenches at Disney as the studio decides how to rise above dreck like the Black Caldron and how the egos of Eisner, Katzenberg, and Roy Disney ultimately brought it to an end. (As well as the deaths of Frank Wells and Howard Ashman.)

  12. To Anonymous@9: In the original pitch, she was a maid named Maddie, but due to feedback that the name and the role hewed too closely to some negative stereotypes, they changed her to a waitress named Tiana. She is actually working in a diner, and saving up to start her own restaurant.

  13. ofgs. Disney, for better or worse, has consistently pumped out the highest quality animations out there, bar Pixar.

    No, they’re not great, or appropriate, or desirable – but, my friends, they have the field.

    Does anyone actually imagine that Disney is there for anything except profit anyway? I personally detest the mechanised ploughing up of the fields of dreams I formed as a child in Disney’s company, but it’s gonna happen really.

    I’m just, quite upset about all of this.

  14. FYI, in the first Tinkerbell direct to DVD movie, turns out Tink is a hacker/maker.

    She comes right out and says it:

    “I’m a tinker, and tinkers fix things. That’s what we do.”

    And then she does it, too!

    Damn Disney for making a hacker/maker/creative role model for little girls! Damn them to hell!

  15. I’m very excited by this movie. It’s a return to form for Disney on many levels… a return to hand-drawn animation, a return to classic musicals, and a fresh look at the princess stories that’ve been their bread & butter (but have been saccharine-sweet for way too long and in dire need of a bit of sass). Plus there’s the whole biracial romance thing to make people blink.

    I actually dig the idea of Randy Newman; who could be a better choice to score a movie set in ’20s New Orleans?

    And of course I already see people alleging racism due to there being an alligator in the movie. An alligator?

  16. The only reason to use an alligator is clearly an attempted evasion of any association with any human creed. Only people who’ve sucked on bongs too long turn green, and no-one sympathises with them.

    So it’s actively recognising and isolating race as a problem, which is as bad as having, oh I don’t know, an Indian husband for a black princess.

    Plus, all green creatures symbolise racial hatred. Spend some time on and you’ll see what I mean.

    At some point in the movie I’ll wager the alligator is called a greenback, which will indicate a perverse, festering capitalistic drive designed to twist childrens’ minds.

  17. I doubt I will get to see this in a cinema though – a single, 40-something male going to see a U certificate animation? Yeah, because that’s not suspicious in any way. Which is a depressing comment on our society, really…

    The fact that you feel that way means you have engaged in the nonsense. Bring a friend if you’re paranoid, otherwise buck up and act entitled. You are.

  18. “she’s not just Disney’s first African-American to wear the crown, she’s the first one with a regular job. (Unless you count Mulan’s gig as a warrior.)”

    Wait, Mulan was African-American?

  19. Randy Newman = ugh? Someone needs to get some of his 70s albums, methinks. Start with ‘Sail Away’ (1972).

  20. Hey, I like Randy Newman. Dr. John is cool too, but come on, raggin’ on Randy Newman, that’s uncalled for…

    1. You have to admit, “Randy Newman [ed: ugh]” is a beautiful line no matter how you feel about that particular lucky bum.

  21. ah, c’mon – I’ve only seen the TV commercial and even I can tell that the alligator is a callback to the alligators in The Rescuers, which were of a line from the crocodile in Peter Pan and the alligators in Fantasia. Acknowledging their past while building the future is the sort of thing we’re supposed to encourage, isn’t it?

    and to try to shame Disney for being a media corporation trying to mess with copyright length opens up the question of what movies, books or music can you buy that doesn’t “encourage” the anti-copyright behaviors of a media corporation? I recognize that Disney has been a leader in that fight, but they aren’t alone.

  22. Economic boycott is not really the way to make the copyfight point. Actually, the way to make it and still be true to its principles is to download and watch anything you think might be interesting, then buy a theatre ticket for the ones you liked. If you’re generous, you could then give that ticket to someone else in hopes of converting them to your tastes.

    Yes, Cory has a bit of residual childhood love for Disney, but it doesn’t stop him from calling them out when they misbehave (for the most part)

    Congrats Chris Tucker, you have done the (nearly) impossible and piqued interest in a direct-to-DVD Disney! (at least for me!)

  23. Having seen the trailers to the movie a Family Guy quote comes to mind “Now that’s good old fashion family racism”. Only thing missing is singing crows.

    1. What sort of racism do you see in the movie, demidan? Throwing that word around is pretty touchy, especially when referring to a movie with no visible racism whatsoever except for what you’re bringing to the party.

  24. “because it looked like a trite and opportunistic way to bring in African-American viewers.” They’re trying to make their first African-American protagonist!

    If they do it, then they’re pandering. If they don’t do it, then they’re guilty of having all-white or mostly white characters (even ignoring Song of the South, the black crows of Dumbo and other stereotypical portrayals).

    They absolutely cannot avoid criticism no matter what they do. During production, they already received criticism over the princess’s name, the fact that she’s set up with a Hispanic prince love-interest (as if it’s too scary to show an African-American male in a loving relationship, so they have to soften the deal by showing the princess with a lighter-skinned man).

    Here’s how I predict it will go down: critics will pick out dozens of details that they interpret as racist. Parents and kids will watch it in their usual numbers. A year from its release, no one but academics and hardcore activists will remember what all the complaints were about.

    1. You make it sound so meaningless [and your note about the light-skinned male is right not]. But I think you’re too-easily dismissing the effect of criticism.

      I’d note that Disney changed the lyrics to the opening song in Aladdin based on Arab-American community concerns – not a huge deal, but not nothin’, either. And, of course, as we saw in the way that Disney subsequently embarked all employees on THREE YEARS of sensitivity training, after which Pocohantas was a much better “race/ethnicity” movie, criticism affects how the NEXT movie is framed, too.

    1. We gotta listen to a reptile do Loo-iss Arm Strong? Talk about ethnic slurs…

      If it was an ape or a crow or some other animal that has been traditionally used to convey negative stereotypes of black people then I’d see your point. But an alligator? If that’s some kind of racial reference then I just don’t get it.

      Louis Armstrong is a cultural treasure. Making a musical set in New Orleans that didn’t pay homage to him in some way would be a crime of omission.

  25. While I agree that this film continues Disney’s reactive move away from the terrible stereotypes and problematic gender roleplay which typified its work for much of the last century, I cannot agree that they’re likely to end up “there” yet with this movie. The students in my high school Media and Society class have been studying this impending film in the context of cultural “Disneyfication” for the past few weeks; yesterday, they took their unit exam, and their last question was to predict the outcomes and effects of this movie based on the trailers and images on the Disney website. Among other things they noted:

    1. Tiana has no accent, and if we change ONLY her nose and her skin color, she looks like any other modern disney princess. He lips are thinner than those of her parents; her eyes are still huge, making her more infantile than the other characters around her. As such, despite her admittedly solid and feminist backstory, she seems to be a bit ethnicity-less and immature – like making a Barbie doll with a darker color of plastic and calling it a triumph. Meanwhile, the characters with the strongest ethnicity, as in Aladdin, are still either the bad guys or the fairy godmothers – magical “negros”, all.

    2. The Prince suffers from a nice extreme case of “Prince Charming”, it’s true. But if that’s the case, learning humility in the end MAY only mean toning down the charm, not replacing it with more empowering, truly gender-desirable characteristics. He’s still rich, for example, and he’s still from a made-up fairy tale land, and though it is surely Tiana who will save herself, if the prince is still able to seed the money to [we assume] help her open her restaurant at the end of the movie, isn’t the super-rich nature of the prince still part of the foundation of living happily ever after here? I’d hope his power is lost as part of the end – a sacrifice to help Tiana truly be the empowered one in the relationship – but I’m not holding my breath on this one. The Prince can’t change all THAT much – even if he changes by the end a bit, his character may end up reinforcing a “sugar daddy” ideal after all.

    3. The movie stereotypes various archetypes of white people drastically – something that seems harder to notice given the african-american focus. But it’s still not good.

    4. The food as life thing is a good point. But if it’s still the woman’s lot to be the food-provider, then despite the surface “serve, preserve, and change the culture” role of the restaurantier here, this is still a subtle reinforcement of the homemaker archetype – the woman as provider of food.

    That said: I LOVE the idea of a pre-Katrina New Orleans as a fairytale land; it fits the American psyche SO well.

    1. I saw the movie a few days ago in an advance screening:

      1) Tiana has an accent just as strong as most of the other characters in her age group in the film (older generations have thicker accents). Also, the reason villains and secondary characters have more “racial” features is because villains are designed with more extreme and “grotesque” features. Main characters are drawn to be appealing, pretty, and clean-faced without lots of wrinkles, detailed noses, ears, jaws, etc. Try comparing Scar and Simba in The Lion Kink. Scar is not “more racial” – he’s been drawn to look more menacing, with sharp points, wrinkles, exaggerated features. In this film, white-skinned secondary characters/comic relief are just as exaggerated as black secondary characters (ie: Charlotte and her father, the 3 rednecks in the swamp).

      2. Not to spoil the movie but the Prince has no money, and gets a lot of character development – in fact, it’s blatantly pointed out in the film that he’s a lot more mal-adjusted than Tiana, and needs to work harder to become a better person. I won’t give away any more plot details here, but I will say that he does NOT provide any money for her restaurant at the end. He learns to work hard and enjoy it. That is a major plot point.

      3. If this movie stereotypes anything it’s southern people, not necessarily white people. Yeah, there’s a lot of southern stereotypes and cliches in the film, no denying that. But I wouldn’t say that these are all negative stereotypes. At most the comic relief rednecks were a bit much but they’re essentially the Three Stooges..and they’re villians.

      4. Tiana learned to cook from her father, who wanted to be a chef.

  26. Really surprised by the Randy Newman comment, especially in a post that reveals someone rethinking a negative preconception.

    I would have pegged you for a Newman fan, considering the literary quality of Newman’s pop songs, especially his unreliable narrators and dialogue lyrics. His affinity for New Orleans — down to the oom-pah lines in his pop and orchestral music — make him perfect for the project.

    I wasn’t looking forward to the movie (until now), but I had hoped to hear Newman’s score regardless.

    1. There is a story told about an exchange between a British Minister of Parliament and an admiral that occurred after the fleet had evacuated the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk in World War II.

      It goes:

      MP: Why did you risk the fleet? Without them we are defenseless!

      Admiral: We can rebuild the fleet in thirty years. We can rebuild the tradition in three hundred.

      Reputation is much like tradition. And Disney hasn’t even *started* rebuilding theirs. I don’t think I’ll bother waiting three hundred years after they finally get around to starting the rebuild process.

  27. Word, Jordan. New Orleans local here as well saying i’ma give this one a shot, an i’m no Disney apologist, or even a fan for that matter.

  28. Brit slang: crack => trick

    Huh? Crack (or craic, in Irish/Scottish), means fun. I can’t think of an instance of it meaning trick. But I’ll happily be informed otherwise.

    Also, I thought the “little-girl-crack” line was hilarious. A lot of little girls (American ones, mostly) go mad for princesses.

    1. Back in the late 70s — yeah I know, that’s like before the dawn of civilization — when I lived in the UK midlands, the expression ‘That’s the crack’ was used a lot. It meant that’s the way to do it; that’s the way to solve the problem, that’s the right way to proceed. It’s pretty much equivalent to how the word ‘trick’ is used (according to Jones) in the now famous phrase ‘Mike’s Nature trick’, ie as a clever technique to achieve a particular end.

      FWIW I always assumed this meaning of the noun was derived from the verb: as in to crack a problem, to crack a safe.

      There’s nothing about this usage in urban dictionary, and it’s hard to find examples using google because they’re drowned out by literally millions of other more common meanings of this phrase, but here’s one recent example, so apparently it is still current. And the poster is obviously British (he lives in a ‘flat’, uses the expression ‘400 notes’ to mean 400 UKP), though I don’t know what part of the UK he comes from.

  29. “Drms cm tr n Nw rlns.”

    gh Pls, cld w stp wth th glrfctn f Nw rlns?? cty blt blw s lvl btwn tw lrg bds f wtr gt fldd fv yrs g. Wht srprs! Y wld thnk wth ll th rndng f grmnts vr Nw rlns snc Ktrn tht w hd lst Mnhttn r Sn Frncsc.

    hv hd th bd frtn t vst Nw rlns ftn vr th lst tn yrs. t hs lwys bn flthy crm rddn cty tht mst srly b th mst vr-rtd trst dstntn n mrc f nt th wrld.

    t blws my mnd tht ppl by rpln tckts nd s vctn tm fr th prvlg f gttng stpd drnk n vrprcd, wtrd dwn drnks srvd n gnt plstc cps frm fw rn dwn bldngs n Brbn St.

  30. I almost never comment on typos but the “The Princess on the Frog,” on the first sentence makes it sound like Disney is finally returning to the REALLY traditional school of fairy tales some of the above commentators seem to be favoring.

    Thanks for the great review link, I’m finally looking forward to the film.

  31. I thought stereotypes where a staple of Disney toons. Make it simple and easy to understand for the under 5s.

    It’s not racist or sexist or whatever it’s just simple.

    It’s for kids, they don’t learn anything bad. The white kids get less scared of the black kids etc.

  32. I’m probably going to see it as I am pleased to see that is is 2D animation. I love what Pixar and other creators have done with 3D of course but I never saw it as a necessity to ‘retire’ 2D art. Both formats ought to be exploited as valuable media.

    However, I am annoyed at the prospect of sitting through yet another ‘Broadway musical’ style. Disney has been pumping out the loud, vibrato sing-song style since ‘The Little Mermaid’ (it was relevant then because mermaids are believed to sing). It’s all good but does EVERY single feature has to be done that way?? The singing takes a lot of time away from what could be additional plot or character development. Disney needs to stop turning every single animated flick into a sing-along, noisy bonanza. Sometimes, you need to vary your storytelling recipe just a bit.

  33. I’ve been excited about this since I first heard Lasseter was bringing back traditional animation. There’s no winning this one – race in America equals controversy. Bravo to them for going back to their roots. I hope the story is as good as the animation looks.

  34. Wasn’t there a fuss earlier in the year about how the princess’ features were ‘too black’ ? Now she looks ‘too white’?


    Hard to form an opinion without having seen the movie, but I think Disney will be damned if they do and damned if they don’t. For instance, there is criticism over the prince not being black himself, but if he was, I’m sure people would say it is Disney’s way of saying that blacks should only marry among their own kind.


    But since I can’t put myself in an African-American’s shoes, I’ll stick to more familiar themes of outrage and take offense at Disney’s campaign to make people believe that Europe consists only of France and England.

  35. MisterFricative, apparently it is still current. And the poster is obviously British..

    Well, I’m Irish, living in England, so I can assure you it’s still current, but I’ve still never heard that usage. I’ll add it to my colloquial-vocabulary though, and see if it ever comes up.

    When we say it, we ask “what’s the craic?”, rather than state “that’s the crack”. And we would mean “what’s going on?” or (in a literal sense) “what’s the fun?” Or as a description of a good time to come “a bit of craic”.

    However, I can totally hear your version used as a response (after some explanation) to the original question.

    A: “What’s the craic?”
    B: “We’re all going to die. That’s the craic.”
    A: “Oh :(”

    On urbanDictionary, try the spelling craic, even thought this is not the original spelling you reference, it is how the word has come to be spelt (even in Britain) these days, perhaps as a differentiator to all the other meanings of crack you mentioned. (number 7 is a good definition, others are a bit Irish-centric)

    And how about the OED :)

    craic, n.

    Fun, amusement; entertaining company or conversation; = CRACK n. 5c. Freq. with the.

    [The English word was apparently introduced from Scots into Irish English via Ulster in the mid 20th century and subsequently borrowed into Irish.
    ‘Within Irish, the word was popularized by the phrase ‘beidh ceol, caint agus craic againn’, lit. ‘we will have music, chat and crack’, the catchphrase of the Irish-language television programme SBB ina Shuí, running from 1976-83.
    It is unclear whether Scottish Gaelic craic is [from] Irish or [from] Scots, and whether the use of the English form craic in Scotland is after Irish English or Scottish Gaelic.]

    [< Irish craic (1968 or earlier) < English CRACK n. (see CRACK n. 5).

    crack n. 5c. Anglo-Ir. Fun, amusement; mischief. Freq. in phr. for the crack, for fun.


    1. Yeah, I don’t think this meaning ever really gained much traction outside of the fixed expression ‘that’s the crack’. I don’t think, for example, that I ever heard it used with this meaning in the question form (‘what’s the crack’).

      I took Cory’s meaning in the OP to be an extension of the fixed usage. The whole sentence is quite hard to parse, and it took me a while to arrive at the intended meaning of ‘pure crack for little girls’.

      My guess — I have no data on this — is that the fixed expression with the trick/method/technique/procedure/solution meaning probably evolved completely separately from the now very common ‘craic’ meaning/usage, and that probably it was also regionally isolated (Birmingham, yes; London, no; elsewhere I don’t know), and that before very long it was completely buried under the two far more common meanings that appeared, ie crack as in cocaine, and crack in the ‘craic’ sense. (Not to mention ‘crack’ in the software sense.)

  36. “New Orleans is too idealized!”
    “The princess isn’t black enough!”
    “They make fun of voodoo stereotypes!”

    boyhowdy and his class is a great example of what’s wrong with education. Smart, but not wise. For your next class, have your students pull archetypal themes from Geico commercials, and mention how offended you are by the abusive representation of geckos and Australian accents. Don’t get me started on the cavemen.

    Many of you seem to be the type who find criticism for everything in life. You’re apologetic and guilty of everything good in life, and quick to lash out on anything and anyone more than unremarkable.

    Tiana has no accent? She doesn’t sound black enough for you? What do black people sound to you? Plus she doesn’t look black enough? You think black people should have big lips?

    It’s a Disney movie, not a cultural zeitgeist. Get over it. Additionally, preloading your students with a bias by contextualizing your class with a “Disneyfication” theme is at a minimum academically disingenuous, and at worst…

    1. What’s “wrong” with education? The conceit of Disneyfication is academically sound and well-studied; see, for example, the concept of neoteny as illustrated through the continued de-evolution of both princess characters and , and compare it to the way in which pre-teens have become sexualized. No accident, there. See, as well, the Mickey Mouse Club origins of modern popstars. Or, heck, the marginalization of Pocohantas and Mulan on the Disney Princess web page, where they are relegated to the outer edges of the canon.

      More generally, the assumption that developing minds take cues about behavior, values and identity from mass media – the idea that mass media has meaningful and oft-unhealthy or suspect messages – seems pretty well pat. Our course is modeled on the required prerequisite for all film and communications classes at the largest State University in MA; no defense, for sure, but certainly if nothing else, the academy has a lot of substance to back up their evidence on their side of this one.

      But to believe that Disney, like ALL media, does not both reflect and REframe/teach cultural values is to insist on a blind spot. Does it help to note that my students are predominantly black and hispanic, that most of them couldn’t explain the difference between race and ethnicity when the course started, and that in all cases, the concepts noted came from THEM, though I reframed them for more formal analysis once they came up? That the concept of “critical consumption” is an accepted goal here at boingboing, and critical means finding out where our cultural assumptions come from? Or do you just not think cultural archetypes and norms have any effect on development in a community with no parental role modeling, and in which character identification is fast becoming fetishistic?

      I love Disney, and plan on seeing this movie with my kids. But let’s not pretend that entertainment media has no norms, nor that those norms have no effect on the Western self, especially on formative minds. Burying our critical gaze in the sand when we approach the things we love does no one good.

      And off-the-curve me no false logic in response, neither. Your three initial statements parody my thoughts beyond their original meaning, and misunderstand the point; you can own the voodoo stereotype, but I find it a perfectly acceptable vehicle for a magic in this movie. We study what the kids will find most relevant; if I were teaching this to olders, we’d study cultural satire media, from South Park to Beavis and Butthead, not as role MODELS, but to get at what they themselves ridicule, and explore why it is worthy of it. But these are nineth graders, with degraded critical skills from years of bad education, and thus no ability to “do” satire – yet. Geiko Cavemen and Aussies are silly counterexamples, red herrings at best – they’re outsiders to my kids, and we’re studying THEM, and their own minds.

  37. You don’t happen to mean knack, do you?

    I happened to mention it to a Northern lass, and she suggested it. Not to insult your memory at all, but it would make perfect sense if you said “that’s the knack.”

    Apologies for this conversation going on this long, I will now shut up :D

    1. Fair question. But no, it was definitely ‘crack’. I know the word ‘knack’, but I never heard anyone use the expression ‘that’s the knack’. I think the meaning would be different anyway: knack denotes the skill that a person has in executing a trick/technique; crack denotes the trick/technique itself.

      For ‘that’s the crack’, try asking a Brummie who was alive in the 70s.

  38. After reading the previous comments, I have to wonder if anyone here is an Orleanian…
    As a proud Orleanian, I am thrilled that the film has been made, and in traditional animation! TradAnim is fitting for a city built upon history. The designs and the characters are a love letter to my city. Upon the opening of the new Disney exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art (my partner and I were first in line!) one piece of background art displayed the depth of research the animators did and literally brought me to tears.
    As for the assertion that the film is somehow demeaning or condescending to African-American audiences, it should be noted that the African-American community has been asking for a princess of color for decades. There has also been rumblings in the press about Ray, the firefly being a derogatory black stereotype. For the record, Ray is a Cajun firefly through and through. I know plenty of Acadians and Acadiennes of all colors with the same accent and mannerisms.
    I also take exception to the commentaries about a “sanitized New Orleans.” The world depicted in TP&TF is not that far from the reality of New Orleans in the 1920’s. Though the destruction of Storyland was still rather recent, and drinking and carousing always a favored pasttime with a segment of the populace, these things were certainly not discussed in proper company of any color. I have often wondered why people around the world only view my city as a haven for vice. There is so much more in our history and lives here in The Crescent.

  39. Anonymous @#31:

    I was surprised at that line myself.

    I was more surprised that I actually enjoyed the film. I was channel surfing when I came across it on the Disney Channel, stopped for a bit to admire the CGI and got caught up in the story.

    It’s actually a pretty decent story, there’s some laugh out loud slapstick, some pathos, and some pretty darn good 3D CGI animation.

    And for the PC crowd, the diverse “ethnic” faries are voiced by the “right” people, the Asian fairy is voiced by Lucy Liu, the Black fairy by Raven-Simone, etc.

    Yes, there are the inevitable songs, and yes, Tink learns an Important Lesson about Believing In Herself, yadda yadda yadda.

    Still and all, the VERY hackeresque resolution to a Very Big Problem, a problem solved by brains and creativity and NOT magical powers or a deus ex machina solution.

    Oh, and check out the “eyeglasses” one of the male fairies wears. That one had me exclaiming out loud, “I’ll be damned! That’s brilliant!”

  40. My questions is “Why do the 1st Black Princess has to turn into a Frog?” None of the other Princesses created by Walt Disney turned into an animal. What’s up with that!

  41. This was a triumph for 2D animation. I was able to see this wonderful movie with 13 of my friends most of them animation students here in New Brunswick. It’s so encouraging for them to to see that 2D is far from dead, and can still hearken back the old magic that Disney’s famous for. All of us were thrilled at the engaging plot and the humour and charm we got. Surprised too with the lukewarm reviews we’d heard before seeing it the day after it opened. Possibly the best work they’ve done since Sleeping Beauty. The music and songs were a treat. I can’t say enough good things about it. Take your inner child to the movies and your adult self will thank you!

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