There have been a lot of switcheroos behind the scenes to make Princess more PC, but the rumble in my tummy says that the (mostly white) critics will be picking it apart scene by scene. So far just the trailers are getting people talking. I agree with /Film's Brendon Connelly that the character of the firefly, who seems to be obsessed with his big, glowing butt, is one of the more troublesome characters. Movieline is concerned about Mama Odie the witch doctor, while Katey Rich over at Cinemablend "is tempted to give it a pass." And Jezebel has quite a few discussions about the movie, like why it took so long for Disney to make a black princess, why she spends most of the movie as a frog, and many other dialogue-generating questions.
Let's not even begin to discuss the questionable video game that lets girls "play & move to music, cook New Orleans cuisine, and try on multiple outfits with Tiana & her friends," and "collect Mardi Gras beads to trade for new dresses, fabrics, ingredients and recipes." Sigh.
Plenty of talented black actresses were gunning for the part of Disney's first leading lady of color (the role eventually went to Anika Noni Rose, who was nominated for both a Grammy and a SAG Award for her work in Dreamgirls). And Oprah, that arbiter of all things good that makes Middle America's white middle-aged ladies feel okay about voting for Obama and reading The Color Purple, is in it. I can just see some Disney exec chomping on a cigar and thumping his fist on his desk, red-faced, yelling, "But Oprah is in it! Oprah!"
So the real question is, as much as feminists shudder at yet another Disney princess on the big screen and people of all backgrounds cringe at the voodoo daddy, the hilarious crocodile named after Louis Armstrong, and so much more, will it make its target audience -- young African-American girls -- happy to see themselves finally represented on the big screen?
Take a look at the trailer and talk back. Am I being an overly sensitive PC weenie, or is there something to it that makes you feel uncomfortable too?