I started my screening of The Princess And The Frog expecting something of the classic charm from The Jungle Book, which I got, and the inventiveness of Up, which I didn’t. Ah well, maybe I expected too much from a 2-D Disney adventure which is a reimagining of the classic fairy tale, The Frog Prince. My verdict is even if you don’t see it, you haven’t missed anything in your life, but if you have, then you could have spent your 97 minutes much better.
The Princess And The Frog is the story of Tiana (v.o. Anika Noni Rose), an African American woman in New Orleans, whose dream is to open her own restaurant after being instilled with strong values by her father. She’s friends with Charlotte (v.o. Jennifer Cody), a rich friend with influence. Charlotte organizes a masquerade ball for Prince Naveen of Maldonia (Bruce Campos), but he’s conned by Dr. Facilier (v.o. Keith David) and is turned into a frog. Tiana finds him, but he mistakes her for a princess, so she needs to kiss him. When she does, the opposite happens: she becomes a frog! And so begins their journey through New Orleans and The Bayou, searching for a way to become human again. Along the way, they meet a jazz swinging alligator named Louis (the best character here, voiced by Michael Leon-Woolsey) and a romantic firefly Ray (voiced by Jim Cummings) and a blind voodoo mystical woman, Mama Odie (voiced by Jenifer Lewis).
This is your typical structure for a Disney tale: protagonist with a plan whose life gets overturned by an unseen event, and who takes the rest of the picture making things right again, but has feelings for the person he/she is travelling with and makes new friends and destroys the evil guy. The Princess And The Frog doesn’t offer anything new except a different kind of adventure, but it gets boring half-way. Louis is the only character I liked watching, mainly because it was pretty funny seeing a gator playing the trumpet. The songs are also forgettable, Randy Newman has just enough talent to whip up something new that gets old immediately after you see it. But the 2-D animation is gorgeous. I’ve always like Disney pictures in the ’90s, and this movie strongly resembles the style in The Lion King and The Jungle Book. The jokes will remind you of the gags in The Jungle Book and it is adorable.
But at the end of the day, if you want to leave your kid there and go see an R rated movie, then this will keep them in their seats for the eye candy. Or you could take a nap. But what if this movie came out in 3-D? I don’t know, can you imagine this kind of story done in 3-D? I can’t. It’s like seeing Up in 3-D. But why do this story in the first place? It lasts only when you’re in the theater. Maybe that’s why these movies are made, for the moment.