Director: Ron Clements, John Musker
Cast: Anika Noni Rose, Terrence Howard, John
Goodman, Keith David, Jim Cummings, Jenifer Lewis, Oprah Winfrey
RunTime: 1 hr 37 mins
Released By: BVI
Official Website: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/princessandthefrog/
Opening Day: 10 December 2009
Walt Disney Animation Studios presents the musical "The
Princess and the Frog," an animated comedy set in the
great city of New Orleans. From the creators of "The
Little Mermaid" and "Aladdin" comes a modern
twist on a classic tale, featuring a beautiful girl named
Tiana (Anika Noni Rose), a frog prince who desperately wants
to be human again, and a fateful kiss that leads them both
on a hilarious adventure through the mystical bayous of Louisiana.
"The Princess and the Frog" marks the return to
hand-drawn animation from the revered team of John Musker
and Ron Clements, with music by Oscar®-winning composer
Randy Newman ("Monsters, Inc.," "Cars,"
There is really nothing to be proud of when this reviewer announces to the worldwide web that he grew up watching Disney animated films. Classics like The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Aladdin (1992) created such an impact for him that his worldview at this age of 28 is, well, somewhat “Disney-fied”. So when this latest animated flick (in good ol’ 2D fashion!) came along, something sparked in this reviewer which made him particularly excited about reliving the heartwarming memories of the last decade. Beautiful painted canvases! Appealing characterizations! Songs and dances! Grand orchestrations! Bring them all on!
The 97 minute feature is based on the familiar childhood tale where the princess gives a kiss to the slimy amphibian and turns him back into his handsome human form. But what fun would it be without a little twist here? The folks at the House of Mouse changed things a little: In this version, the poor princess gets turned into a frog, and what ensues is a wacky adventure, with a happy ending attached, of course.
We are familiar with pretty princesses like Ariel, Belle and Jasmine (go do some research if you have no idea who these sweet lasses are), but this time, Disney gives us a black princess who is spunky and fast talking – how’s that for girl power? That aside, jazz is adopted as the musical style in this film, and with New Orleans setting the stage, one can expect big show numbers which are worthy of extravagant stage performances. While we will miss the soaring vocals that made the 90s’ Disney classics so memorable (who doesn’t love a good romantic tune of “Beauty and the Beast” or “A Whole New World”?), Anika Noni Rose (she sang aside Beyonce in Dreamgirls) is a spot on choice to play the female protagonist Princess Tiana.
Other than the above attempts to make this movie different from before, the other elements of a well loved Disney flick are all in place – colourful characters to, pardon the pun here, jazz up the movie. We’ve already got the lovely princess and the adorable frog in place. Throw in a music loving alligator, a lovable firefly and not forgetting a spell chanting villain, and you have the perfect ingredients to make this a family treat for both young and old.
While the cynical will dismiss this production as another dismissible effort by Disney to bring back the golden age of animation, one must admit that the crowd pleasing aspect of the movie does have its unique charm. As this reviewer fondly remembers telling someone recently, as cliché as the themes in Disney movies go, there is something you can really take away with. It is after experiencing the circumstance that one would realize how true these wholesome messages are. And in this case, as one can already tell you – We should all look beyond the superficial beauty of things and find the goodness in others.
Yes, as preachy as it sounds, the magic of Disney movies is timeless, and we are looking forward to going on more of such magical journeys.
(A charming production which stays true to the Disney spirit)
Review by John Li