Alright, I’ve waited long enough. I’m assuming most of you went out to see The Princess and the Frog over the weekend, but I gave you a few extra days to see it before doing my review. Ready?
I LOVED IT!
This is a Disney film. No doubt about it. Disney’s return to hand drawn animation captures the spirit and liveliness of New Orleans better than any film I have ever seen, and manages to be laugh out loud funny, heartwarming and deliver a fantastic moral all at the same time. And it does so with ease.
By now, you’re familiar with the story from the trailer – the frog Prince Naveen entices young Tiana to kiss him, but rather than turn him human again, Tiana becomes a frog, setting the two of them off onto a journey together to return things back to normal. I won’t spoil any more of the plot, but suffice to say that it is predictable but also manages to surprise you.
I cannot say enough good things about the character of Tiana. This is a role model I want my daughter to grow up like. My wife has constantly harped on Snow White as such a milquetoast heroine, and does not like that my daughter loves her. Now, after seeing the movie, my littlest wants to be like Tiana, which makes my wife beam. Tiana is a determined, self-motivated young woman, who is pursuing her dreams rather than rely on the wishing star to grant them. The turns her character takes are so realistic it’s almost scary.
The other characters are quite good as well. I actually thought Prince Naveen was the least effective character, but that’s saying a lot, because he’s not too bad. Louis the trumpet playing gator and Ray the firefly are fantastic companions for Naveen and Tiana, and the villainous Dr. Facilier is the most menacing villain since Scar.
The city of New Orleans in the 1920s Jazz Age is almost a character itself. The fantastic backgrounds and settings are breathtaking. You absolutely believe the silly accents of the characters and the outrageous magic because of the settings. If you have ever been to New Orleans, you will recognize those streets. When the street car came on screen, I leaned over to my son and said, “I rode that!”
That’s the other thing I loved about this movie. My son enjoyed it. He’s about to be eight years old, and he’s into super heroes and Star Wars, but he loved every minute of this film. It’s not a princess movie in the sense of Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. This is a rollicking, fun family film, but with a fantastic story that teaches a valuable lesson.
If you have not seen this, run, don’t walk to the theatre and see what Time has called the best film of 2009. You will not be disappointed.
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