Saturday, 6 March 2010

The Princess and the Frog Review

So this week I finally got around to seeing The Princess and the Frog I really enjoyed the film but I don't think it's going to become one of my new favourites.  As this was the first film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios since John Lassater took over I was quite anxious it see what affect he would have on the production. Lassater made a great decision by deciding to take Disney back to traditional animation.  He brought back Ron Clements and John Musker (writers for Aladdin and The Little Mermaid) to do the screenplay for this film and as expected the end result was a brilliant.  The animation was amazing and the story worked really well.  This is a new Disney film that finally had some of the old Disney feel I remember as a kid.  The soundtrack by Randy Newman gave the film a Pixar-ish feel, which I personally found quite comforting... it was like hearing the voice of an old friend. :)

The film had some brilliant character designs, beautiful painted backgrounds and as I mentioned previously some amazing animation. Some of my favourite scenes were those with the Shadow Man, Doctor Facilier. They were slightly freaky with ghostly shadows and scary masks and most definitely had the best songs. The night time fireflies sequence also stood out to me as a piece of beautiful animation, I think it was all the lights and pretty colours that made it feel really magical. My favourite piece though would have to be Tiana's dream sequence, "Almost There". I love the 1920's poster style which made this short sequence a very refreshing part of the film.

Tiana's dream sequence - 'Almost There
Image courtesy of Jim Hill Media

I really loved our new Disney princess!  Tiana's character is so different from the princesses I remember growing up with.  Aurora and Arial have always been my favourites, I thought they were great when I was a little girl and wanted to be just like them.  Looking back on them now they don't really seem to be great role models for children.  Thankfully I didn't grow up to be like those two :) I do still love them but their soppy dreamy and lovestruck behaviour doesn't really appeal to me anymore,  I guess they are just characters of their time.  Tiana on the other hand is the total opposite and similar to many hard working women today.  She is independent, motivated and determined to achieve her dreams through nothing but her own hard work.  The fact she pushes aside all social time reminded me a bit of myself when I'm in work mode... no time for anything or anyone else but my work.  Luckily Tiana learnt that it is important to have a balance between work and relationships, something I need to remind myself of every so often.  This just goes to show that Disney doesn't just create movies that teach children important lessons. :)

Prince Naveen and Tiana as frogs

As a Disney prince I found that Prince Naveen didn't really do it for me, not as much as some of the previous princes.  This is probably because he was a frog for most of the movie but his personality didn't help. :)  He was obnoxious, lazy and a womaniser,  he actually reminded me a lot of Emperor Kuzco from the Emperors New Groove.  Even though he did annoy me with his extreme laziness it was nice change to see the latest Disney prince have a bit of personality.  As much as I loved Prince Phillip and Eric they were pretty boring characters.

The sidekicks in the form of Louis the alligator and Ray the firefly didn't really stand out to me that much.  I did like the fact the alligator played the trumpet but other than that I found them a bit annoying.  Mama Odie was a great character, I loved her wrinkly face! It was a shame she didn't have a bigger role in the film.  Lottie, Tiana's childhood friend was my favourite side character in the film.  She was as annoying and spoilt as Prince Naveen but she just had some of the best lines and character animation.

Environment artwork

After seeing the film I had a little browse online for images for this post.  I found some beautiful concept art on the Princess and the Frog Official Website (see the Art Of section).  This might take a while to load up but it's definitely worth it.  

So overall I thoroughly enjoyed this film and would definitely recommend it.  I think there are just enough funny parts to make it suitable for adults and lots of songs and talking animals for children.  Also as an animator and a HUGE Disney fan it is great to see the studio return to traditional animation. :)  This film really is a great comeback for Disney and I'm now once again getting excited for the studios next production, Rapunzel! :)

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