Reviews: The Princess And The Frog

The Return of 2-D Animation from Disney

I've always been a fan of 'traditional/2D' animation. Not that CG can't be a wonderful media too, but 2D has been such a rarity since the early 2000s. Even Disney, practically the granddaddy of animated film in the west, abandoned their roots for a while.

The Princess And The Frog marks Disney's return to 2D animation, and to their Renaissance-era films in general. This may be the Nostalgia Filter talking, but that sounds like a good course of action to me.

The New Orleans Jazz Age setting is a fresh and nice break from the usual 'Medieval European' fairy-tale setting. Its got all the makings of another classic entry in the Canon: a strong heroine, a romance, a dangerous and utterly awesome villain, funny-for-the-kids sidekicks who still prove true to their friends in the climax. At the same time, this movie's plot has its own twists and turns, and I think that adds to its own charm.

And of course, the animation is stunning, very 'Disney' and with even better production values than some of the Renaissance stuff. I enjoyed watching this movie simply to see all the old wonders of Disney take center stage again. I really hope this trend continues (and as of 2011's Winnie The Pooh, it seems it is)

should get more credit

I really enjoy this film and leap at the chance to watch it, as the characters go beyond clichés, the villain is so engaging and charismatic and the overall energy of it, fully encompassed in Lottie.

A few people think Tiana is meh, but really, I like her, she may not be the most spirited of them all, but she's better of for the flaws she has and how she gets around them, and has more development than, say Ariel.

The film isn't without it's flaws, however, some of the humour is unfunny, the sidekicks can be annoying, although after a few viewings you appreciate the more subtle jokes they have and get a few laughs from them; and the curse thing is all over the place, mean, if Facilier was genre savvy enough for the curse to spread then how come it didn't for the real princess Lottie, and the way she was considered a princess felt very weak,and why, knowing what would happen did he make a kiss the thing that broke it?

A lot of people say the music is bland, but almost there down in new Orleans, dig a little deeper, friends on the other side and almost there are quite memorable, and the others are at least tuneful. The start isn't exactly the best introduction, but the rest of the film makes up for it, and given some time I think it will be a bigger classic than say, my personal favourite, hunchback, as it subverts tropes but plays to children in a way people can't really deem controversial.

It isn't the best, but it's a great bounce back from home on the range an d chicken little, neither of which I can watch without having a strong urge to riff, and I personaly like it more than Tangled, which gets far more attention than this.

A Worthy Addition to the DAC

The Princess and the Frog follows the adventures of Tiana, a working-class young black woman, who is a genius cook and wishes to open her own restaurant. However, the amount of money she has saved from working two jobs at once comes just short of enough, and she is ready to give up. But then she meets a talking frog who calls himself Prince Naveen and promises her tons of money if she kisses him. Needless to say, plan backfires, adventure happens, the two fall in love, etc. Everything you'd expect from a Disney Animated adventure, except in a swamp. With frogs.

The fact that both main characters are frogs leads to some, ahem, "sticky" situations as they get used to their new bodies; however, they still manage to teach each other a few things about life as humans while they're at it. Naveen is a spoiled rich kid who's never done a hard day's work in his life, so Tiana teaches him about preparing food. Tiana's a workaholic "stick-in-the-mud", so Naveen shows her how to loosen up and dance. And of course there's the whole love story hanging over the narrative like a big ol' cartoon anvil waiting to drop, but it's pulled off surprisingingly well.

Nevertheless, the movie is not without its flaws; it’s the first Disney 2D-animated feature since 2004, and it shows. the animation doesn't feel as smooth as used to be, and the soundtrack, while catchy and well-suited to the theme, seems to have lost the Alan Menken sparkle that older Disney Animated Movies had. But the one thing that really drove me nuts was this - why, exactly, was the curse designed to spread when Naveen kissed someone? Was the Shadow Man just that Genre Savvy? Or, if he didn't plan it, why that particular cause? Other people touch the frogs at various points, so it's not communicable just by touch.

All of this, however, fails to detract from the fact that the plot is solid as a whole, and still quite enjoyable. It has a good setting, a neat and addictive soundtrack, and some witty and fleshed-out characters to fill out the space. It's not perfect, and a few fundamental flaws keep it from being the best Disney Animated Canon work, but it's better than one would expect from a six-year hiatus.