Directors: Ron Clements and John Musker
Cast: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David
When Disney got sucked into CG animation with the rest of the studios, it was looking like the death of hand-drawn stories. Aside from Studio Ghibli, everyone had all but abandoned this beautiful art-form. But lo, even in the wake of Avatar 3-D, hand-drawing has been resurrected by Disney with this joyous New Orleans Jazz fest. Hurrah!
A hard-working ambitious heroine, who is NOT seeking her true love (for once), Tiana (Rose) is working two jobs in order to save enough money to start her own restaurant (does a 5-year-old know what an entrepreneur is?). Meanwhile, royal waste of space Prince Naveen (Campos) has been cut off by his parents (for undisclosed reasons), and shows up in New Orleans to find a rich wife so he doesn’t have to do any of that tedious work stuff.
Tiana’s wealthy air-head best friend, Charlotte, has her heart set on marrying a prince, so Naveen’s appearance in New Orleans is fortuitous. Enter the Shadowman, Dr Facilier - the villain of the piece. Of course, the bad guy has to do some meddling (after all, what are bad guys in Disney films for?) and so the prince gets turned into a frog. Wackiness ensues. Due to a bizarre series of events, we end up in the bayou with a couple of frogs with identity crises, a genius jazz-loving alligator and a Cajun firefly, who isn’t quite all there.
An American fairytale with a happy, if hokey, ending, Disney have done again what they do so well, producing an inspiring lead and a crackpot supporting cast. It’s probably no coincidence that John Lasseter, who is in part responsible for re-opening 2-D studios at Disney, also brought the Ghibli films to Western mainstream audiences.
With a fun soundtrack and engaging characters, Disney regains its hand-drawn soul after selling it for CG farm animals and a shiny Mac. Enjoy it, but don’t get any ideas, kids - kissing frogs gives you salmonella.
- hand drawn
- john lasseter
- princess and the frog