A waitress, desperate to fulfill her dreams as a restaurant owner, is set on a journey to turn a frog prince back into a human being, but she has to face the same problem after she kisses hi... Read allA waitress, desperate to fulfill her dreams as a restaurant owner, is set on a journey to turn a frog prince back into a human being, but she has to face the same problem after she kisses him.A waitress, desperate to fulfill her dreams as a restaurant owner, is set on a journey to turn a frog prince back into a human being, but she has to face the same problem after she kisses him.
Princess and the Frog is the best traditionally animated flick (from ANY company) since The Emperor's New Groove. Princess Tiana is the most sophisticated and most mature Disney princess since Belle. The villain here is the best since Hades from Hercules. Prince Naveen is the best prince since Prince Eric (and even then, Naveen is one of the better princes out there). The music here is actually some of the best music from any Disney movie past and present. The animation here is the best since The Lion King. Basically, to sum things up, Princess and the Frog is an excellent effort from Disney and a superb return to Renaissance quality that the company sorely missed and needed.
The movie focuses on a hard-working waitress (Anika Nosi Rose) that is saving money to open up her own restaurant, which was a dream her father had always been chasing. Her father also taught her that it's not enough to just wish for something, you have to also work to accomplish what you want in life. Tiana lives her life on this lesson, much to the disdain of others. After a few twists and turns (I don't want to spoil the plot too much), she becomes a frog thanks to Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos), whom is a prince that is very different from the norm in terms of personality and even royalty status. Along the way they will meet a wide assortment of characters, ranging from a charismatic magician (Keith David, in an amazing role), a friendly firefly (Jim Cummings), a music-loving alligator (Michael-Leon Wooley), and many others. The movie clocks in at less than 100 minutes, but moves at such a fast pace, you'll get a lot more material than your average hour-and-a-half movie.
Let's just put this out there: Disney treated Tiana and her surroundings perfectly and without overdoing any boundaries whatsoever. New Orleans has an incredibly energetic look, and just enhances the themes and plot of the movie. Accompanying the Louisiana flavor is the incredible score of Randy Newman, which uses a wide variety of sounds and genres from the Deep South (and also is mixed in with a little Newman touch).
Can we praise the animation one more time? Sure, why not. The movie looks absolutely beautiful, and doesn't rely on just a simple palette of colors. Thanks to technology and an obvious overload of effort, this is one of the most (if not the most) colorful and vibrant-looking Disney animated movies of all-time. Some of the added computer effects only enhance the sophistication of the animation (I rhymed). One final note, the visual humor in Princess and the Frog is very fast-paced, to the style of the severely underrated Emperor's New Groove. You need a watchful eye on certain scenes to catch all the jokes.
If there was anyone that was going to save Disney's traditional animation, it would be Ron Clements and John Musker. These two were the most responsible for the Disney Renaissance, directing Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Hercules. They once again provide a beautiful story, and direct the movie with plenty of flair and energy. The musical sequences fit the pacing of the flick, and while there wasn't an outstanding track like "Be Our Guest," "Friend Like Me," or "Under the Sea," the repertoire of musical numbers overall was quite impressive. A key part to a great animated movie is having a villain just as complex and/or engaging as the heroes; and the "Shadow Man" not only has the best musical number, but also has the most flair of any of the supporting characters. Now we can forgive them for directing Treasure Planet.
The biggest reason for the successful quality in Princess and the Frog comes from the Pixar touch. Pixar obviously lent a hand here, as this movie contains some of the most sentimental and touching animated footage since the epic heartbreak moment in Lion King when Simba sees Mufasa motionless. While the movie never nails the emotional torture that Up succeeded (then again few films ever will), Princess and the Frog will make you cry just as easily as it can make you laugh. Don't let that bring you down though, because this movie carries an upbeat tempo throughout the entire run.
Bottom Line: If you enjoyed the Disney Renaissance (From Little Mermaid to Tarzan, before the downfall spiral started), then it is up to you to watch this movie. This movie has all the energy, quality, sentimentality, and superb animation of the 90s Disney flicks, and is inches away from Pixar status. Pixar has saved Disney altogether, and Princess and the Frog is hopefully going to save Disney traditional animation, granted it gets the praise and success it truly deserves. Unlike what we have been seeing in the past, Disney did not half-arse this time. Blending the old-school qualities with a new-school outlook on where the status of animation and storytelling is headed, Princess and the Frog is a fun, entertaining, and fulfilling ride from start to finish.
- Dec 11, 2009