From Bambi taking his first awkward steps onto a frozen pond to Aladdin and Jasmine taking a romantic midnight magic carpet ride around the world, Disney’s hand-drawn animated features have provided indelible cinematic memories for over 65 years.

But in the six years since Disney’s last hand-drawn effort (the underwhelming "Brother Bear”), Pixar, Shrek and the explosion of 3-D features have completely changed the animated landscape. Can a 2-D animated picture hope to compete with all the visual marvels computers can create?

Directed by: John Musker and Ron Clements
Voices: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard

After watching "The Princess and the Frog," I say heck yeah. The film proves not only to be a funny, music-filled romp worthy of comparison to Disney classics, but one that is chock full of gorgeous visuals.

Disney’s new take on the classic tale of girl meets frog, finds Tiana — a hard-working waitress in 1930’s New Orleans — who is desperately trying to save up enough money to open the restaurant that she and her father dreamed about when she was a little girl. Her plans are rudely interrupted when she agrees to kiss Prince Naveen, who was turned into a frog thanks to a voodoo curse from the evil Dr. Facilier. Naveen hopes a smooch from Tiana will turn him back human. Unfortunately the kiss only causes Tiana to join Naveen in frog-hood.

The unlikely companions’ frenzied attempts to find a solution to their little green problem leads them on an adventure around the Louisiana Bayou where they battle gators, thorn bushes and voodoo. Apparently Kermit wasn’t kidding — it ain’t easy being green (crickets chirp).

But it wouldn’t be a Disney movie if Tiana and Naveen didn’t meet up with some fun sidekicks. Just imagine "The Lion King" without Timon and Pumbaa or "Beauty and the Beast" without Gaston and Lumiere — and "The Princess and the Frog" gives us some good ones. Louis, a jazz-loving alligator who finds his chances at playing the big time due to his ferocious appearance and Ray, the bravest firefly you could ever hope to meet who croons romantically to the love of his life Evangeline (I wouldn’t dream of spoiling who she is).

The whole movie is gorgeous to look at. From a nighttime hike through the bayou, lit by thousands of fireflies to a Mardi Gras parade full of floats, confetti and southern belles in hoop skirts, the visual canvas is never anything but full and brings New Orleans to life — you can practically smell the gumbo.

The music is a delight as well. Randy Newman composed the soundtrack which is generously infused with gospel, jazz and ragtime-inspired tracks that capture New Orleans musical soul perfectly.

Directed by veterans Ron Clements and John Musker ("Aladdin" and "Hercules"), the whole film feels like a massive unleashing of talent that has been waiting restlessly these six years for a moment to shine. Let us hope they don’t wait so long before making their next animated feature. "The Princess and the Frog" is a beautiful, funny and romantic charmer.

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One Response

  1. jwt

    The ad I saw showed a croc and a frog, I thought the princess was a crocodile
    Instead it was a ….black woman, false advertising
    And the prince is ….arabic or muslim
    This is Obama multi ethnic brainwashing again to innocent KIDS now
    i’m scared my kid will rememeber the movie
    Dont go back home like a loser with a bad taste in your mouth, ask
    your money back like me! Go spend it on Avatar


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