Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Film review: THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG (Ron Clements, John Musker, 2009)

From a young age, Tiana has learnt from her tireless father the meaning of working hard for your dreams. His dream was always to own a restaurant, but sadly, he died before his dream true. Spurred on by this, Tiana holds down two jobs to raise funds so she can build this restaurant in her dad's memory. 

Just as she has the exact amount she needs, on the eve of catering for a welcoming party held by her best friend Charlotte to welcome Prince Neevan, Prince Neevan goes and gets himself transformed into a frog by local voodoo man, and she, on the promise of riches if she does so, kisses him. However, this backfires and only goes to turn her into a frog. And being an amphibian is the least of her worries.

As you'd expect from a Disney movie, no matter how modern, there are catchy ditties aplenty in The Princess and the Frog. Fine vocal performances feature all round to make the songs truly unforgettable, my favourite songs being the poignant "I'm Almost There" and a very sweet "My Belle Evangeline", as sung by a hillbilly firefly. It shouldn't work, but it really does. 

As with Clements and Musker's previous collaboration Hercules (one of my top 100 films, in case you forgot), the songs truly embody the fun, fresh and feel-good flavour of the film, and it's terrific to watch all the characters take part so well. The film's standout track is the villain's songs, 'Friends on the Other Side', which combines eerie exposition with some astute psychoanalysis of the characters with which he's singing to.

Though Pixar animations has set the bar extremely high for all animated movies, The Princess and the Frog doesn't try to compete; instead, it stays true to the old-school style of Disney movies, and does so brilliantly. Whilst the pictures may lack the 3D style of Pixar, the rich colours and detail are a wild and wacky throwback to old fashioned Disney. Along with the drawing style, there's also the magic, the whimsy, the clearly painted villains and clearly painted heros too.

Core to the film is the play on the age-old tale of The Frog Prince. The writers are far too clever to simply recreate the fairy tale as a cartoon, yet they retain the romantic core of the story in this film.

As with all Disney films, there are messages aplenty not subtly slotted in the songs, but would you have it any other way? Tiana, Naveen, a crocodile and a firefly go on one of the most exhilirating rides in 2009, and you should be there with them.



For the rest of my film reviews, click here.


paul haine said...

"Though Pixar animations has set the bar extremely high for all animated movies, The Princess and the Frog doesn't try to compete; instead, it stays true to the old-school style of Disney movies"

But ironically, Disney is only now producing old-school style films because John Lasseter (fired from Disney for proposing a CGI animation and went on to Lucasfilm Computer Graphics Group, which became Pixar after being bought by Apple's Steve Jobs in 1986) returned to Disney after Disney bought Pixar in 2006 and became the chief creative officer of both Pixar and Disney. Previously, Disney had announced that Home On The Range would be Disney's last 2d animation, and that all subsequent films would be CGI. Lasseter reversed that decision and here we are now.

Here's an image from Disney's next 2d animation, Rapunzel

Hannah said...

I can't wait to see this movie!

Andrew K. said...

I'm glad you liked this, your two favourites are actually mine - which means you have good taste.

PS.You're a LAMB right? Take a gander at this "competition" of sorts.

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download movies said...

I have read this comic tale when I was a kid. Now the making of a comic tale into a movie is a big surprise and exciting too. I will watch this movie and hope it will as good as portrayed in the comics.

Sara said...

I like both the old style Disney movies and modern, such as Ratatouille. Good subject, enjoyed.

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