Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Princess and the Frog

Tonight I saw The Princess and the Frog, featuring the voices of Anika Noni Rose and Bruno Campos.

Tiana (Rose) is a working girl. She was raised by a seamstress and a military man, and has grown into a popular New Orleans waitress who is saving up to open her own restaurant. One night when she's working at a party hosted by her friend Charlotte (Jennifer Cody), she stumbles upon a frog who promises her the money to open her restaurant if she grants him a kiss. She complies, but instead of him turning into a prince to produce the money, she turns into a frog as well. Turns out he mistook her for a princess so the kiss didn't work.

After many adventures in the bayou in an effort to return themselves to their normal state, the two fall genuinely in love and seek the help of a voodoo priestess. Before we find out if her solution will work, they make friends with creatures from the swamp—Ray, the lightning bug who is more appealing in spirit than in appearance; and Marlon, an alligator who likes to play horns. There are a several cute musical numbers (nothing makes a more adorable accordion than a caterpillar) in the classic Disney tradition, where the leads are surrounded by dancing animals. There are also scary moments where the Shadow Man (who looks like a cross between John Waters and Prince) attempts to ruin all of the good people with his evil spells.

The film is getting much attention for the detail that is most insignificant in the story: Tiana is black. Thankfully, Disney doesn't make race an "issue" here and simply tells a sweet love story.

But after that, there isn't much to it. It is a beautiful film by way of old-fashioned hand-drawings, which burst with color, and that's infinitely pleasant to watch. But the characters aren't very deeply recognized and the ending (as with most Disney flicks) is painfully easy to predict.

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