When I first heard about this project from Disney I thought it was fab; their original series of hand drawn animations were fantastic, and their return to it with the incorporation of a black princess was fitting. Despite positive reviews, when I actually watched this, I was deeply disappointed.
~~~DVD BOX COVER DESIGN~~~
The DVD cover is an exciting and colourful one, although I'd prefer it if they used the film poster design as that was much more interesting with all the characters on display...
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
Tiana is a New Orleans girl working at a café as a waitress with a dream to own her own restaurant. Upon kissing a frog, she is dragged into a whole new world of adventure which brings her to realise her dream is true love, the result of which is a classic fairy tale backbone for this modern day adventure.
I thought the plot could've been better. I was fooled to think this would be a complex one like the recent Pixar releases we've seen. The Princess and the Frog is a linear straightforward and pretty classic story and I guess the positives lie in the consistency of the style this movie is presented as well as the characterisation.
Firstly, the film is set in modern day New Orleans which is very different to the fairytale regions of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White or even Cinderella. Here, reality is the backdrop to Tiana's plight for success, a workaholic and a diva in disguise. I guess the first thing I thought of when she opened her mouth was ghetto. Pretty much every character in the movie is ghetto. It's just a vibe I keep feeling throughout!
Another great thing about the film is that it brings back the song we have been missing for recent releases. The classic Disney film had wonderful music that is immediately catchy, explosive and just wonderful. In this film, we don't get much of that (maybe just the song "Almost there"), but the song we do get do fit very well with the New Orleans style setting as well as with the movie as a whole. I have to say I didn't like the songs from the movie which is a shame.
I did feel this film had quite a dark menacing antagonist, a voodoo magic man who summons shadows (demons?), uses voodoo and kills fireflies. He definitely makes the wicked witch in snow white feeble in comparison. However, he never does anything super evil and is brought down way too quickly (his flaw is too great).
With regards to the animation, it is stunning as usual and I loved the firefly sequence it blew me away. However, the patterns that occur during song (which are very Disney!!) were slightly annoying at times. Generally, beautifully drawn and exceptionally animated!
My overall impression of the film was average; there was just something not there. Nonetheless, there are moments to be enjoyed here and overall, it is not a bad film. I just wish it had more depth.
Voices provided by:
Anika Noni Rose - Tiana
Bruno Campos - Prince Naveen
Keith David- Dr. Facilier
Also includes voices from Jim Cummings, Oprah Winfrey and Jennifer Cody.
Overall, the film had great themes which worked well with the fairytale backbone. However, there was just something missing and something I didn't like. Personally, I would advise Disney to stick to the classic stories and stop trying to make modern day adaptations. The classic stories are good for a reason!
The next one we can look forward to, is "Tangled", a film adaptation to Rapunzel. The trailer looks very Shrek-inspired... and I really wish they'd just kept to the original, but we will see...