Released 12/11/09 Rated: G
The Princess and the Frog was a very anticipated movie. Disney finally came back to its traditional style of movie making. I went searching down the list on IMDB.com and the last animated feature that followed this style was Mulan in 1998.
This movie had its moments. I love the fact that they used New Orleans for the setting. They mentioned all kinds of food, the music was perfect, the French Quarter looked amazing, the had Cajun fireflies, and of course they used New Orleans’ dark side as well with the voodoo; they even incorporated Mardi Gras into the story. The only thing that irked me was the pronunciation of New Orleens in some of the songs. You’d think by now people would learn how to correctly say the name of the city! There is also a quote from one of the characters that I loved. I’m not sure if it originated in Louisiana or what, but I thought it fit nicely. “I swear I’m sweatin’ like a sinner in church!”
I’d have to say that my favorite characters in this movie are the minor characters more so than the main ones. Ray, the Cajun firefly, is a pretty cool character. Especially at his introduction. I think I like Lotte (Charlotte). She seems a little superficial, but she comes around in the end. There’s just something about her that keeps her shy of being a spoiled brat, maybe her slightly comedic value. But then there’s Dr. Facilier, the Shadow Man, who I think has to be my favorite character. I read another review that mentioned that this character didn’t get much screen time, and after having watched it again, realized they were right. I would have loved to have seen more of the Shadow Man. “He was very charismatic!” as the quote goes. I believe there was more to him than what we saw.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that this movie won over my heart. Something held it back from being great. I wish I could put my finger on it, but I can’t. One thing, obviously from the paragraph above, is that I was more interested in the Shadow Man than in the frogs.
Three times in the movie they brought up the fact that frogs don’t have slime, they secrete mucus. If something is going to be repeated that often, you’d think the information would have a higher purpose, but in this instance it didn’t. Are we being educated on frogs now? Another thing, in my opinion, that kept this movie from being great, was the scene with the frog hunters. It didn’t really serve a purpose other than create giggles for the five-year-olds. We have one normal person, one dumb giant person, and another with two fingers on one hand who mumbles. And this is going….where? I don’t think I could eat frog legs. And I’ll have you know it’s not on every restaurant menu in town!
Also, and I think this is something that a lot of people had trouble with, was the fact that the main characters were frogs for the majority of the film. I realize that this is a new take on the fairytale The Frog Prince, but still. And considering that this is Disney’s first animated movie featuring Black people….well, you do the math. Not to mention the fact that Tiana isn’t even a princess. But I’m rambling.
The shadow creatures probably would have scared me if I was a kid seeing this in a theater for the first time. They were creepy. I like how all they were was shadows though. For instance, they couldn’t physically grab Naveen in the swamp, but they could grab his shadow, thereby carting Naveen back to the Shadow Man. I just thought that was a cool concept.
Overall it was ok, but not as magical as Disney’s known for.