Firstly I love Tiana, she is a great character, outside the Disney typecast, not just because of her skin colour but also because she has drive and ambition and works hard at her job to earn her own dream, which she does despite becoming a princess that was not her goal.
However at the start of the film she has the weight of the world on her, with a depressing backstory and then chooses love over her family and dreams, deciding to live as a frog. Of course it works out being Disney but a over 1 hour 15 in I still was turning to my husband hoping it would work out for her as we were watching with a skittish child.
Which brings me to the 2 star review: it's depressing and unnecessarily scary. Yes, almost all disney movies involve scary characters and magic, no issue with their inclusion, but I think the shadow man and his creepy shadows have as much if not
More screen time than Tiana.
The entire premise is a bit off course too, the extension of the 'frog kisses princess and becomes prince' story to be that if he 'but if he kisses a waitress she becomes a frog' is a bit weird, couldn't a simple nothing have happened? Tiana have taken care of him, found love and overcome it, beauty and the beast style?
I was watching with my own (not phased by this or really any film) 5 and 3 year olds and a friends kids the same age who asked to stop about 3 times over ancillary scenes.
This film desperately needed levity and about 1/2 as much screen time for the 'bad guy' even his death was drawn out and scary after the only light character was unceremoniously squashed in 20 seconds in the scene before.
Urgh, awful film. So sad for Tiana who is a wonderful addition to the Disney princess line.