Walt Disney Animation has hopped on the nostalgia train with their latest film, The Princess and the Frog. The 2-D animated feature has gained lots of attention because of its hand drawn style and history making protagonist. The film features the first African-American Disney princess, who will join the ranks of Jasmine, Belle, Ariel, Cinderella, and Snow White. Tiana adds a new face to the Magic Kingdom and does it with style, grace, and charm in this contemporary Disney musical.
- Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
- Writers: Ron Clements, John Musker, Rob Edwards, Greg Erb, Don Hall, Jason Oremland
- Cast: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, Jenifer Lewis, Michael Leon-Wooley Jennifer Cody, John Goodman, Peter Bartlett
The Princess and the Frog centers on Tiana, a hard working waitress who lives in the bayou of New Orleans. Her dream is to own her own restaurant, and serve that best food in the city. Unfortunately, all of her plans go up in smoke the night a prince turned frog asks her for a kiss. She reluctantly obliges and finds herself in the same predicament as him. The unlikely duo team up with creatures from the swamp that include a trumpet playing alligator and a snaggletooth lightning bug to find a voodoo priestess to undo their spell.
- Anika Noni Rose: Talented Broadway actress Anika Noni Rose was the perfect person to bring Tiana to life. Not only does she have a warm and inviting speaking voice, but she has some serious singing vocals.
- Keith David: David’s alter ego Dr. Facilier is a practitioner of black magic, and one of the slickest street urchins in New Orleans. The actor’s raspy voice personified the character by making him believably bad but not over the top.
- Animation: Even though 3-D animation is all the rage, Disney has made some wonderful improvements with their 2-D style. The film was beautifully drawn, and had several eye-popping scenes that made you forget that you were watching an old school format.
- Music: Disney animations are known for their musical numbers and The Princess and the Frog didn’t disappoint. The music was enriched with the culture of New Orleans, while still having classic melodies thanks to frequent Pixar collaborator Randy Newman.
- Message: The underlying theme in the film was hard work, determination, and selflessness. Of course, we’re all taught that as children but it was delivered in a way that applies to every age group. It was simple, but effective.
- Contemporary Story: This is one of the most contemporary princess stories that Disney has ever produced. It didn’t take place in a land far, far away, and it incorporated modern forms of living. You saw urban housing, cars, and public transportation. The main character had a job and bills to pay.
- Disney Homages: The one thing that takes away from this film are the not so subtle homages to previous Disney movies. The most prominent visual came in the form of a character from The Little Mermaid, which was also directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. It was too much of a wink, wink, nudge, nudge to the audience and it dampened the originality of the film.
The Princess and the Frog is an uplifting nod to the Disney classics of yesteryear. It has a touching story, great music, and an even better message. It’s worth your hard earned money and is something that all members of your family will enjoy.
The Princess and the Frog hits theaters on December 11, 2009