If you read my previous post you know how excited I was to see this movie.
First, let me tell you what I DID like. I thought the animation was fantastic (as always with Disney) and really enjoyed the Southern theme. The music was heavily influenced by old New Orleans Jazz… which I loved. The majority of characters were charming, funny and quite likable as was the general storyline of hard-work, dreams-come-true and finding true love in a happily ever after sort of way.
With that being said, I was actually kind of shocked in regard to the darkness of this movie. I am very aware that voodoo is a well-known part of the New Orleans culture. I knew from the movie trailers that a spell of sorts had turned the prince into a frog, however, I did not realize how much emphasis was going to be placed on voodoo itself. For example, there was a whole song about having friends “on the other side” (referencing evil spirits)… during which there were very dark hellish images and demonic spirits. At one point, the voodoo villain makes a deal (with what I assume to be the devil… it was the leader of the spirits) to give the lost souls of the city over to him in exchange for him sending his evil spirits to capture the frog… so he could get more of the frog’s blood (which he wore in a vial around his neck) to keep the spell alive. Which continued on to show the evil spirits overtaking the frog. Voodoo dolls, tarot cards, fortune telling, talking masks, shadow people, spells, graveyards… all reoccurring images throughout the film. It was overtly evil (which was accurate to what it was trying to portray) but simply put, completely demonic.
I really did not expect something like that from Disney. As I sat in the theater, I was continuously questioning whether I would allow my future children to see this movie. Being in a theater full of children, I kept trying to rationalize that these kids probably see these spirits as “monsters”. After all, the underlying theme for most childrens’ movies is good vs evil; children are used to seeing villains, monsters, witches, etc. (that sort of thing didn’t phase me as a kid… but Scooby-Doo monsters was as scary as it got for me) So seeing an animated demonic spirit probably would not register to kids. Right? But it registered to me… and it just made me feel weird about the movie. As an adult, I don’t see how images like that get a G rating. I don’t think it is suitable for young children.
After the movie was over, I discussed with my husband that I was kind of taken aback by Disney making a children’s animation about demons. Part of me was bringing it up so he could assure me that I was overreacting. But he completely agreed. I don’t want to give away the ending (as if you couldn’t already guess what happens at the end of Disney movie haha) but it wasn’t as if “Good” was the victor (skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to be spoiled)… The devil killed the voodoo guy and brought him to what you can assume to be hell. Which allowed the frog to live. In that climax moment, the devil took on the role of hero for eliminating the voodoo guy, thus, eliminating the capture of the frog. It just didn’t sit well with me.
There was also a second voodoo practitioner, an old woman. She was portrayed as a very fun-loving, light-hearted character with oracle-like wisdom. She had a pet snake (again, evil undertones) which was her “helper”. You never quite sensed evil from her; she was likable and “good”. She helped the frogs. (and just so happened to practice voodoo on the side. minor detail.) Her part in the movie led you to believe that some voodoo is bad and some is good. Kind of like the wicked witch and the good witch on the Wizard of Oz. Both had magical powers, however, most people are perfectly comfortable with Glenda (the good witch) practicing her magic. I guess the same logic could be applied to this character.
I don’t know.
It was just weird. I felt weird through many parts of the movie. And I wish I didn’t. Rather, I wish Disney would have left the voodoo details a little more vague and a little less accurate. I just don’t feel like that is an appropriate topic to be discussed through what is supposed to be a light-hearted animation. There should be a moral to the story… and I guess it is either a) don’t mess with voodoo or b) if you do, don’t make any deal with the devil that you can’t keep.
Because of that, I was disappointed. I’m not trying to convey that it is “wrong” to go see it, I just want to give y’all a little more information (than I had) to make an informed decision…especially if you are taking your children. I’m not scarred by it, but I wouldn’t buy it when it comes out on DVD. Which is a tremendous disappointment considering how much I enjoyed the main characters, setting and music.
To sum it up, there are many good, entertaining, wholesome parts of this movie. But, in my humble opinion, I don’t think I am going to be the only one walking out of the theater feeling a little uncomfortable with the excessive emphasis on evil spirits or the depth in which they delved into voodoo.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go bathe myself in the Bible.
Wondering how many children (and perhaps myself)
will have nightmares tonight courtesy of Disney,
PS… if anyone else saw this movie, I would love to hear your commentary. Did it bother you at all?