Tuesday, June 30, 2009

NEWS: Princess and The Frog Behind The Scenes Featurettes Sparking Controversy?

On Tuesday, Disney hit the interwebs hard with five, count 'em, five new behind the scenes featurettes for their upcoming return to 2-D animation, the Princess and The Frog. However, one thing that they may not have expected, was the apparent buzz created around these videos, and what seems to be some sketchy views on race, particularly in one new character.

Thanks to /Film for the heads up!

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?

Having seen the videos, the one I'm least worried about is the one that is sparking all of the controversy. To be honest, I don't think Disney is THAT dumb, to go complete Transformers 2 on us, by throwing in random racial stereotypes. However, if there is a character that is cause for pause, it's Ray. Ray is the most reminiscent to the afformentioned Twins from Transformers Revenge of The Fallen. /Film sums up how I feel about these two controversial characters rather well.

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.

I couldn't have said it better. Disney has done this type of thing before, and they are ones to be a little touchy about race. Not only do they have the impossible to find Song Of The South, but along with others, most famously changed a lyric in the opening tune of Aladdin, which the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee found unacceptable. Disney has done this before, but have been quick to either clean it up in post production or just get rid of the character, or in Song of the South's case, the film as a whole.

You can watch all five videos HERE.

What do YOU think about this news? Do you think this is even important, or just something brought up by the interwebs?

Go see something good!

1 comment:

  1. i think the world needs to grow up a bit. honestly. i watched the videos, they aren't terrible. stereotypes are there for a reason--and that's because there are people out there (more than one mind you) who fit 'the mold' and a generality is made. this film is set in new orleans. of course there are going to be some characters who make heads turn... but wouldn't it be just the same if you went down there? Disney always has really colorful characters, these are just some more of them. from what i saw of the previews, there are plenty of outstanding characters to outshine such so called "offensive representations".

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