The Princess and the Frog is a typical Disney princess movie and I loved it. I didn't love it initially though because I was watching through an adult lens of the "why" and "how", but once I found my inner kid through listening to the soundtrack and daydreaming about the movie and thinking about Ne-Yo's "Never Knew I Needed" playing at my wedding, I fell in love with it.
If critics dwell on race and stereotypes, they have missed the point of the movie entirely. Foundas, the writer of the article that had me so upset in the first place states that they didn't cover race and Jim Crow laws at all. All the racial stuff was subtle. One of the most powerful scenes in my opinion was when Eudora, Tiana's mother, and Tiana get on the trolley back to their home. In the background they are passing by the old plantation style homes and overtime the neighborhood gets increasingly less rich and finally to little cabins where Tiana and her family live. Also when something happens to Tiana's loan, one of the loan officers states "Someone of your background would be happy where she is" or something to that nature. The movie says it twice, once in real time, and once in a flashback. I don't think there needs to be anymore than that. This is a kid's movie after all. We don't need to be beat over the head with race and Jim Crow. Not to say that we shouldn't pretend that it didn't exist, but we shouldn't dwell on it.
Off-topic: We also shouldn't use movies to teach our children and we have to give kids more credit. Sure kids are impressionable, but most kids aren't idiots. They know between fantasy and reality. Kids will learn about Jim Crow in school. They may have questions and that's when you explain that Tiana's story is a fantasy story, but it wasn't impossible for a similar situation to happen. Parents can go find success stories of people like Fredrick Douglass and the like. If anything this movie should be a gateway, not an absolute truth.
Anyway, back to the subject...
All and all I'm quite happy with the movie. I will admit that movie does have stereotypes but those are perpetuated through animals like fireflies and alligators. I don't think Prince Naveen's race matters because of his personality. At the beginning of the movie, he's a lazy, carefree playboy looking to marry a rich girl and get her money. Can you imagine if they had given him a definable race? Can you imagine how many people would be offended? Especially if they had made him black? That would definitely be a stereotype that would probably kill an already "racial sensitive" (it's not really, but people are making a big deal out of it) movie.
Can this movie save 2-D animation? I'm not sure. I don't think Disney should stop making CGI movies. That's what selling. However, to compete with these movies they'll have to be marketable. Disney is running out of fairytales to reimagine. I think to save 2-D animation, they have to captialize on what makes Disney movies so memorable. Fresh plots and music. They have to come up with plots to rival Pixar and Dreamworks (luckily they are in cohoots with Pixar or they'd be screwed).
To save 2-D animation or at least bring it back into the public again, Disney (or any company for that matter) needs to have characters that are multicultural, stunning visuals, and fresh plots. Thankfully that have John Lasseter and his team, who are pretty innovative as far as plots go. They have the stunning visuals, as long as they don't use the visuals to make up for a suck ass story. Multicultural characters? I think this movie proves that Disney can handle it. Back in the 1990's, Disney did their research pretty well and didn't half ass their movies. I think if they can get back to those times, they can possibly bring back 2-D animation. I wouldn't mind them releasing a movie every 5 years either, just as long as they made movies for theatre and not direct to DVD.
So I enjoyed the movie, the soundtrack, and I'm actively and patiently waiting for the next 2-D tale. =)