Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG (2008). Directors: Ron Clements; John Musker. Disney Studios.

Tiana, a black waitress in New Orleans who is hoping to save up enough money to open her own eatery, is friends with the spoiled rich, if essentially likable, Lottie. Lottie has set her cap for the handsome, conceited Prince Naveen, who has come for a visit from India, and who -- unbeknownst to Lottie -- is cash-poor and desirous of an opportune marriage. But the sinister Shadow Man uses magic to turn Naveen into a frog, and Nadeen's corpulent, jealous assistant into Nadeen. Thinking Tiana is a princess because of her party costume, frog-Nadeen asks for a kiss, but all that happens is that poor Tiana turns into a frog, too. This leads into a scary, amusing romp in the bayou as the frog couple seek out a woman who has the magic to turn them back and Nadeen learns that nothing is more important than true love. This beautiful feature-length cartoon boasts an excellent script and direction, fluid, attractive animation, wonderful vocal acting from the unseen cast, an extremely appealing heroine, and a tuneful score to boot. Among an interesting supporting cast of both human and animal characters, the most memorable is Louis, an alligator whose biggest dream is to play in a band. Full of warmth and honest sentiment, humor and whimsy, The Princess and the Frog is simply a splendid movie by any standard.

Verdict: A lovely, lovely film. ***1/2.


Laura said...

Although at times formulaic, this film was wonderfully magical for my 10-yr-old daughter and friend (and me too). Finally, a cast of non-white characters, in urban/real (i.e. not Fairyland) settings. It seems to have come and gone in theatres pretty fast - I think we saw it last spring? - which is too bad. - Laura

William said...

That's surprising. I would have thought it would have been a big hit as it was, as you say, magical for kids and even adults could enjoy it. You can never tell what will catch on and what won't. Thanks for your comments. William.