PRINCESS AND THE FROG, THE
In jazz era New Orleans, the lives of arrogant, carefree Prince Naveen (voice of Bruno Campos) and hardworking waitress Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) cross paths. Prince Naveen is transformed into a frog by a conniving voodoo magician Dr Facilier (Keith David) as is Tiana when he mistakenly smooches her. With the help of a trumpet-playing alligator, Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley) a Cajun firefly (Jim Cummings), and a mystical, elderly blind lady, Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis) who lives in a boat in a tree, Naveen and Tiana race to break the spell and fulfill their dreams.
Review by Louise Keller:
Never lose sight of what is really important is the moral of this enchanting Disney animation whose jazzy and funky twist on the original fable brings a degustation of surprises, laughter and music. The film is a sure-fire winner - traditional hand-drawn animation coupled with innovative storytelling and characters that are as surprising as they are endearing. The humour is smart too: I laughed, chuckled and inwardly smiled throughout this magical tale that will delight young and old.
There's a girl with a dream, a jazz-loving prince, an evil witch doctor with friends on the other side, a sooky horn-blowing alligator called Louis, a fire-fly in love with the evening star and a wise old blind woman who knows that what you want is not necessarily what you need.
The first surprise is that Tiana (Anika Noni Rose, stunning), the beautiful girl with the dream, is black. Her dreams are not of fairytale castles; she wants to run her own restaurant and is prepared to work hard to achieve her goals. And yes, she gets to pucker up and kiss the frog (a handsome prince who has come to 20s New Orleans to find a rich bride and with life lessons to learn), but the result is not what fairy tales are made of - it's green and slimy.
Much of the film's charm comes from the plot surprises, so I am not about to reveal them here. Suffice to say it's not easy being green with a pink tongue that shoots out like a blue-tack tipped rocket, or being a fat gator who wants to blow his trumpet without scaring his audience, or a toothless romantic fire-fly with illusions of an impossible love-match. The animation is glorious, Randy Newman's songs uplifting, the fantasy sequences inspiring in a tale that is as delicious as a spicy pot of gumbo. Whether you're a princess or a frog, this is a gourmet treat to savour. Bon appétit!
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PRINCESS AND THE FROG, THE (G)
VOICES: Anika Noni Rose, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, John Goodman, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Jenifer Lewis, Jim Cummings, Michael-Leon Woolley, Keith David
PRODUCER: Peter Del Vecho
DIRECTOR: Ron Clements, John Musker
SCRIPT: Ron Clements, John Musker, Rob Edwards
EDITOR: Jeff Draheim
MUSIC: Randy Newman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: James Aaron Finch
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 1, 2010