The Princess and the Frog (2009)
The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Genre: Fairy Tale Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.

Release Date: December 11, 2009 MPAA Rating: G

Director: Ron Clements, John Musker Actors: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Jennifer Cody, Jenifer Lewis

 


 

“T

he Princess and the Frog” marks a triumphant reappearance of 2-D animation, and also a successful return to the formula that resulted in so many Disney classics. With the directors of “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid” behind the wheel, plus the influence of Pixar’s John Lasseter, it’s not difficult to see why everything fits together so well. Each major role gets their own song and flashy musical sequence, the family-friendly humor is wholesome and not restricted to pop culture references, and the supporting cast of eccentric characters and a devious villain really bring the story to life. Hopefully, audiences will be able to recognize the quality of this production rather than focusing on the silly stereotypes that find their way into many of the characters.

A modern day retelling of the classic story “The Frog Prince,” “The Princess and the Frog” finds the lives of arrogant, carefree Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) and hardworking waitress Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) crossing paths. The former is transformed into a frog by a conniving witch doctor magician and the latter follows suit upon kissing the amphibian royalty. With the help of a trumpet-playing alligator, Raymond the Cajun firefly, and an old lady well-versed in voodoo, Naveen and Tiana must embark on the adventure of a lifetime to break the spell and fulfill their dreams.

“Girl, all you ever do is work!” A lot of stereotypes plague “The Princess and the Frog,” from character designs to language and slang. In fact, most of the movie feeds off of marginally racist, largely ethnic cataloguing. Although an odd inclusion for a Disney film, the various standardizing is incredibly humorous, right down to a trio of supporting villains who are toothless, fingerless, shoeless, brainless inbreeds, and a crazy blind woman living in a boat in a tree, cooking gumbo in a bathtub. At least, the expected, good-natured morals of working hard and recognizing that money doesn’t provide happiness are present, and every main character gets to sing about it in their personally customized song and dance routine.

A welcome return to traditional animation, with changes in animation styles to highlight specific sequences, and unobtrusive CG effects, “The Princess and the Frog” succeeds in placing an entertaining twist on a classic fairy tale. Voodoo practitioner Dr. Facilier’s spookily detached shadow, background characters engaging in hilarious skits, sidekick Charlotte (Jennifer Cody) stealing the show with her supercharged snobbery, and much more “squash and stretch” theatrics than seen in 3D features, are all key points of interest. It’s a jazzier, more contemporary animation, and thankfully superior to the last several of Disney’s hand-drawn undertakings.

– The Massie Twins

  • 8/10