Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Review: The Princess and the Frog
Yeah, yeah, so it's a princess who kisses a frog and he really is a prince and they fall in love and then live happily ever after lah-dih-dah. The End. Yawn. Take me to Pixar.
Except it isn't. This fairytale has been set in New Orleans and marinated in voodoo and gumbo. So things aren't quite what they seem.
Tiana is a black left-handed waitress and Prince Naveen is a penniless, ukelele-playing good-for-nothing. He gets turned into a frog by scheming voodoo magician Dr Facilier and only a princess's kiss can turn him back into a human. But he kisses waitress Tiana by mistake and she too turns into a frog. The pair then journey down the Bayou looking for voodoo queen Madam Odie to break the spell, on the way picking up help in the form of trumpet playing alligator Louis and a firefly called Ray.
Surprisingly it's fun. I enjoyed the Randy Newman soundtrack and the fact that the film - Disney's 49th animated adventure - was hand-drawn. The Blu-ray has some fascinating and very watchable short films about the process too.
It looks lovely on Blu-ray. Crisp and magical - just as a good animated film should be. Dr Facilier and his shadows are perfectly scary too - my six-year-old put her hands over her eyes for those parts.
It has a message (this is Disney after all) - you can get what you want from a bit of wishing and a lot of hard work but never lose sight of what is really important. Of course the froggy voodoo spell cannot be broken until Tiana and Naveen finally realise what really is important and only then do we get the happy ending.
We enjoyed it. It is simple and straightforward. There aren't the knowing over-the-kids'-heads-in-jokes that Pixar is so brilliant at but the characters - especially Ray and Louis - are funny and lovable. I much prefer it to Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, so it's currently vying for top spot with Cinderella as my favourite Disney princess film so far. It's highly entertaining and I'd recommend it.
STAR RATING: 4.5 out of 5.