|Review: The Princess and the Frog|
Contributed by: mandalorian30
The Princess and the Frog is Disney’s triumphant return to classic animation. Right off the bat, I was immediately sure I was going to see this film, and I was excited about doing so. I have long been a fan of Disney’s animated films, and was a tad upset several years back when they announced that they would strictly be using CGI animation for all of their future movies. While I understood that computer animation was the “future” of the business, I always felt as though Uncle Walt might be a tad upset that his classic style of making cartoons was pretty much being tossed aside.
But does the return to classic animation immediately make for a good film? I’ll admit I wasn’t sure after seeing the previews for this one that the story itself was going to hold up. I began seeing claims such as “Best Disney film since The Lion King,” and started to get worried that this was getting hyped up to be too big, and all it would do was disappoint. So, I went into the movie with a strange mixture of excitement and fear.
The story is actually a new and unique twist on the classic “The Frog Prince” story. It takes place in Louisiana, sometime around the late 1800's or early 1900's. A young girl named Tiana hopes to one day fulfill her father’s dream by opening up a fancy restaurant. The problem is that she’s a bit poor, and a work-a-holic. She spends her time working multiple jobs in order to try to save the money she needs to make a down payment on a building for her restaurant. In the meantime, we are introduced to Prince Naveen, who is visiting Louisiana after his parents basically disowned him and cut off his fortune. The plan is to find a wealthy girl to marry so that he can have riches again. He’s, of course, a ladies’ man and has never worked a day in his life. So, he’s quite the opposite of Tiana.
After meeting The Shadow Man, a voodoo witchdoctor who is working an elaborate plot to steal for himself the money of the wealthiest family in town, has cast an evil spell to turn Prince Naveen into a frog. Naveen eventually runs into Tiana, and after the shock of meeting a talking frog, she is convinced to attempt kissing him to turn him human again. But since Tiana is not actually a princess, she as well is turned into a frog, and the adventure of the film beings. From here you get your typical Disney journey, where the two characters who have quite opposite personalities must find a way to turn human again, while meeting an assortment of fun characters along the way who join them in their quest. And of course, the two begin to liken up to each other, and eventually find that they are falling in love. Its cliché, yes, but the story is just laid out so well and really gives you that “Disney” feel, which is the one thing I was worried the film may not capture.
The animation is incredibly beautiful, and really is refreshing to see. The story, as stated, is well written and plays out wonderfully. The music, while not as catchy or memorable as some from past Disney films is still good and fits right in with that Louisiana Mardi Gras feel of the movie. And the Shadow Man has all the makings of those incredibly cool Disney villains. He wasn’t a bumbling idiot. He was serious, sinister, and even a bit scary at times, and I really liked that.
The Princess and the Frog is overall an incredibly enjoyable experience. If you are a fan of Disney’s animated films, this one will feel like home to you. It’s exactly the type of “classic” we remember watching while growing up. And your children will absolutely adore Tiana and all of her new friends.
Well done, Disney. Walt would be proud.