The Princess and the Frog (2009)
Will people start throwing rocks at me if I say I’m not a… what’s the word… die hard Disney fan? I mean, don’t get me wrong – Disney has its place in the world. Sleeping Beauty is beautiful, and Aladdin has fun songs but, with the exceptions of Beauty and the Beast and Mulan, I feel like I’ve grown out of that stage. And it’s not animation – I feel completely different about Pixar. I could watch Ratatouille, Toy Story, and The Incredibles of my own choosing, but I haven’t seen Cinderella since I was six.
Anyway – in a great year for animation, P&F holds its own as a charming story about a spunky girl named Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose) who has a dream of owning her own restaurant in New Orleans. When Prince Naveen (voiced by Bruno Campos) comes to town, the whole community goes berserk, including her silly and spoiled friend Charlotte (voiced by Jennifer Cody – and this character’s a lot of fun). Naveen strikes a shady deal with The Shadow Man (voiced by Keith David) and turns into – you guessed it – a frog. And then what happens – you guessed it – Tiana kisses the frog. But Tiana is not a princess, so she turns into a frog too. Bummer.
I never thought I’d hear “voodoo witch doctor” and “Disney” spoken in the same sentence. There are some fun musical numbers (Randy Newman!), clever dialogue, and colorful characters (Louis the gator being my favorite). I must admit that though our prince is suave and funny, and our princess is down to earth, hard working, and likeable – their connection felt superficial to me. It didn’t have that same magic that Belle and the Beast had or other such examples. But this is a minor flaw.
I laughed out loud, the animation is refreshing, it’s charming and worth the watch. Though I doubt I’ll be buying it on DVD. 7/10