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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Sept 29: The Princess and the Frog

Saturday

Sept 29: The Princess and the Frog

"A fairy tale set in Jazz Age-era New Orleans and centered on a young woman named Tiana and her fateful kiss with a frog prince who desperately wants to be human again."
Directed by: Ron Clements & John Musker, Rated: G, 97 minutes

Disney has had a lousy streak in the past five or so years. With countless direct-to-DVD quasi sequels, lackluster stories, and an almost complete absence of fairy tales, the House of Mouse didn't seem like it could turn itself around. Luckily for all of us (and our kids), Disney struck gold again in 2009 with The Princess and the Frog, a throw back to the older style of animation with hand drawn marvels and even catchier songs. Sure, it has it's flaws (what kid's movie doesn't?), but The Princess and the Frog gives us a reason to believe again and gives us an almost instant classic that can sit right beside The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and the rest of Mickey's favorites. 

The Lion King: still turning grown men into little crying girls

We all know the story of the Frog Prince, a man trapped inside the body of an amphibian who can only get out with a kiss from a beautiful young woman. Well The Princess and the Frog changes things up a bit. Instead of the prince being "saved" and turned back into a man, the woman, Tiana (Anika Noni Rose), that kisses him becomes a frog herself. Cursed by The Shadow Man (Keith David), a greedy voodoo witch-doctor, the prince, Naveen (Bruno Campos) and Tiana must figure out a way to turn back into human before it's too late, making their way through the Louisiana bayou with a trumpet-playing alligator and a firefly in love with a star. Of course, the two at first hate each other, Naveen looking down on Tiana for not fixing him and Tiana blaming the prince for the situation they have found themselves in. But as you can imagine with every Disney movie, they find their way to a fairy tale ending where everything works out beautifully. 

Nothing screams Disney like a rather large animal playing a particularly tiny instrument. F**k yes. 

The best part of The Princess and the Frog is most definitely the visuals. With the nostalgic feel of hand drawn animation and a glossy modern finish, the movie looks incredible. You can see the effort Disney put into the film and it completely delivers. Of course, something can only look so good. The movie also has a very delightful story, with plenty of laughs and captures the atmosphere of New Orleans and the southern swamps. The score is also terrific, with the legendary Randy Newman creating the music as well as the original songs, which are just as catchy as ones you remember growing up with. 

Even though he's a little on the odd looking side, I'll always "got" a friend in him. 

I would highly recommend The Princess and the Frog. It's beautiful, it's fun, and it's a great reminder of how good Disney really can be. This and Tangled are the perfect additions to the Disney Vault and leave you genuinely excited for another golden age from Walt's imagination. While bits of the movie can seem problematic and the ending is obviously predictable, it's still a marvel to watch and warrants a viewing. Hell, I even downloaded the soundtrack it's that good. 

The Good:
amazing visuals that look blend both the new and old styles of animation
The Better:
a terrific soundtrack that'll stick itself inside your head for days on end
The Best:
knowing Disney is back and making up for all of its failures, reminding us it's a worthwhile studio again

Overall: 8.3/10

Trailer:

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4 Comments:

At September 30, 2012 at 4:48 AM , Blogger the Dodger said...

Wonderful review. I remember seeing this in theaters and holding my breath. I knew it was a big gamble, and that it meant a lot for the Disney Studios. (a Lot with a capital L) I was in New York at the time, and the theater was absolutely packed with the 20 something year olds who remembered the older days when Disney movies were films to look forward to. The audience laughed at all the right parts and teared up at the end, and when it was all said and done we clapped, and felt better about our days in general. And that's what a Disney movie is supposed to do. Here's to hoping they keep pushing the envelope in animation, and here's to hoping Pixar can get back on its feet.

 
At September 30, 2012 at 10:28 AM , Blogger Nick said...

I know how much you love Disney and figured you'd be stopping by lol. I remember seeing this in theaters too, but I don't remember the reactions of those around me. Must have been a slow day.

And yes, I hope Pixar can get back on their feet as well.

 
At September 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM , Blogger Stephanie Ward said...

Excellent review, Nick. I really enjoyed your discussion of the visual style. My younger daughter really likes this movie. Therefore, I've had the opportunity to see it multiple times :-). But I haven't looked at it closely enough to appreciate the things you highlighted. Well done!

 
At September 30, 2012 at 1:57 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Thank you! I can only imagine having a little one and watching something over and over. You probably just zone it out by then lol

 

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