Did you just run over to your calendar to make sure that this is indeed 2009? Well I can hardly blame you considering the amazing superstitious nonsense vomited forth by these "critics".
At first I thought it must be a joke, but no, they are completely serious.
As evidenced by this review from Hollywood Jesus. (No, I am not making that name up!)
I also want to mention that the spirituality in this film is pretty dark, even for a Disney film. The villain sings a song about his friends "from the other side" making it very plain this isn't just magic that's being used but the powers of hell and its minions. This is serious stuff, and the light-handed manner that it was often handled with made me a bit uncomfortable. One should never lightly toy with the spiritual world, especially the world of demons and their dark powers. Having a show-stopping Broadway-like song about dalliances with dark forces in an animated movie may make it seem like doing such things is really no big deal; not something I want my kids to pick-up on.
Truth is playing around with such spiritual forces is extremely dangerous, be it voodoo, black magic, Ouija boards or whatever, a truth that is highlighted at the end of the film as the villain discovers the evil forces he thought he was in league with and was in control of were really the ones in control of him. Let's just say playing with "friends from the other side" didn't end well. I'm glad that the consequences were shown, but I still feel all of that was a bit too dark and extreme for this kind of kid's film.
This warning comes to us from a site called Christian Spotlight on Entertainment.
I do not personally recommend “The Princess and the Frog.” Practicing any sort of occultic magic is directly against God and is labeled as an abomination throughout Scripture. This movie displays that voodoo magicians hold all the power of both good and evil. A PG rating would have been more appropriate; I strongly advise that younger, undiscerning children not be allowed to see it. For older children, however, “The Princess and the Frog” might serve as an platform for parents to discuss with their children the real existence of occult practices and how to identify them.
The reviewer from Christianity Today finds fault with the movie because it suggests that problems can be solved through self-reliance.
As if this weren't bad enough, on the flip side we get mystical Mama Odie, stereotype piled on stereotype straight out of every cliché of the wise old black woman. Mama Odie knows voodoo, too, but her magic is more of the prosaic, homegrown kind. In a production number that evokes gospel music but with Jesus neatly stripped away, Mama Odie offers up a defiantly American church of the self. Just "dig a little deeper" inside yourself and you'll find what you need to achieve all of your dreams. Sure, there's magic, but it only shows up once you've done everything in your power to get what you desire. Her message is the epitome of works-righteousness, where the only counter to the forces of evil is the good inside the human heart. (And this is somehow bad?)
Sure, this is the message of just about every family film that has come down the pike since the dawn of cinema. But to see it presented in a context that evokes the style of Christianity, Mama Odie's song serves as a stark reminder as to how the American values of self-reliance diverge from the Christian message of humble submission to external grace. Just because something looks and sounds beautiful doesn't make it gospel. (So American values diverge from Christian values? Has anybody told Sarah Palin?)
Look I have not seen this movie so I cannot argue the merits of the film one way or another. However it seems to me that these critics found much to like about the film apart from the fact that it was an affront to their religious sensibilities.
They liked the music, the animation, and most of the storyline. They just got their panties in a twist when Voodoo reared its dark, sinister head. And apparently voodoo is not presented in the best light imaginable, the villain uses it for evil purposes, and yet it's very presence is of concern to these modern day Cotton Mather's.
This is one of my major bitches when it comes to the Fundamentalist Christian perspective. This idea that information which represents a view differing from, or in direct contrast to, Christianity is somehow inherently evil. This is simply not the kind of thinking that should be going on in the 21st century. It just isn't!
This movie presented the first African American female lead in a Disney film. It should be celebrated for finally breaking through the animated glass ceiling and presenting a young lady that little girls of ALL races can admire and sing along with. But instead the film gets attacked for NOT having enough Christianity in it. WTF?
Did these same critics get bent out of shape when Merlin was teaching little Arthur about magic in "The Sword in the Stone"? Or when the good fairy gave the gift of life to a puppet in "Pinocchio"? Or when Wilby Daniels used a magic ring to turn into a four legged beast in "The Shaggy Dog"? Of course not. And those films were made back in a time when we were less educated than we are today.
So what is the problem? The skin color of the main character? Well I certainly hope not. The getting to first base with an amphibian? Admittedly a little gross but he is not REALLY a frog so that should not be a problem. So if not racism or fear of bestiality then what is it?
Well than it can only be fear of the unknown, and the superstitious nonsense that permeates the thinking of these so-called "critics".
First off there is NOTHING satanic about Voodoo. It is no more bizarre or evil than Shintoism, or Hinduism, or Jainism, or Judaism, or any other religion that is not Christianity. It is simply the prism through which the people of Haiti tried to understand their world. Which by the way is the origin of ALL religions.
Now this may anger some of my Christian visitors, but I am sorry it needs to be explained.
When Christianity was still just a small Jewish cult it was in a real battle for converts. One of the tools that was used was to label the other religious practices as "evil". If somebody was seemingly cured after making an offering to a rival god the Christians labeled that the work of Satan, and cast aspersion on the entire religion.
This was in fact what happened to the so-called witches.
These were usually mid-wives, herbalists, and pre-Christian healers who were utilizing methods that had been handed down from generation to generation to heal the sick and deliver children in to this world. But early Christians felt in competition with these primitive healers and labeled them heretics which provided the biblical license necessary to justify hunting them down and exterminating them.
And before you get all defensive about my picking on Christianity I should probably tell you that these tactics were not invented by the Christians, they are a tried and true methods used by dozens, if not hundred, of religions that came before and continue to exist today. The Christians were just much more successful.
So anyhow I would encourage you to base your decision on whether or not to take your child to "The Princess and the Frog" on what you know about your child's sensitivities, the quality of both the animation and musical score, and NOT on whether it will introduce an interest in exploring "black magic" to your impressionable youngster.
By the way, I had a very good friend who was a Wiccan once. One of the kindest ladies I ever met. Did not ONCE turn me into a frog.