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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
U
Cast
Anika Noni Rose
Terrence Howard
John Goodman
Keith David
Oprah Winfrey
Bruno Campos.
Directors
Ron Clements
John Musker.
Screenwriters
Running Time
97 minutes

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The Princess And The Frog
One day my Anura Amphibia will come…


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Plot
Tiana (Rose) works two waitressing jobs in order to earn enough to buy her own restaurant. Naveen (Campos) is a lazy prince who is turned into a frog by a voodoo man (David). When frog-Naveen persuades Tiana to kiss him in the hope of transforming back, she too becomes an amphibian, and the pair set off in search of a cure…


Review
The Princess And The Frog
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Much has been said about the historic milestones this represents — the return of hand-drawn animation; the first African-American Disney princess — and that’s all worth remarking upon. But it doesn’t really sum this film up, because this is a thoroughly old-fashioned fairy tale, the epitome of a Disney movie that distils the essence of Walt for a new generation weaned on the cynicism of Shrek. In fact, this is the anti-Shrek, a sincere fairy tale with a good heart, but one that is never naive or boring.

Certainly, all the familiar fairy-tale elements are here. So, welcome a beautiful heroine, a handsome prince, overweight comic relief, a magic-wielding ne’er-do-well and a fairy godmother, of a sort. In 1920s New Orleans, our hero is turned into a frog; the heroine, kissing him in order to turn him back, finds herself trapped in the curse, and the pair hop off to the swamp in search of an old voodoo witch to turn them back. Hedging their bets, legendary animation directors Ron Clements and John Musker have made a film bookended by princesses in pretty dresses but with a middle section filled with comedy talking animals, following the sharp Disney practice of leavening the gooiest love stories with plenty of non-human slapstick (see also: Cinderella, Beauty And The Beast).

But there are differences, and a more recognisably modern feeling that prevents this feeling like a simple rehash of what’s gone before. For a start, the female roles belie the sometimes patronising attitude of Disney towards its past heroines. Tiana (Dreamgirls’ Anika Noni Rose) is a hard-headed heroine who works hard and displays a focus and drive — aimed at opening her own restaurant — hitherto entirely lacking from Disney princesses. Never mind her skin colour: her character is the biggest sign that things have moved on since Walt’s day, and the scenes with her mother, Eudora (Oprah Winfrey), ring true as a bell.

Our prince, too, has moved on. Naveen (Bruno Campos) is a feckless playboy without a lick of sense. And in this movie, that’s acknowledged as a character flaw rather than celebrated as a lifestyle choice. So while Tiana has to learn to lighten up a bit, Naveen has some growing up of his own to do. Throw in Tiana’s delightfully airheaded (but never avaricious) best friend (Jennifer Cody), a comedy alligator called Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley), a lovestruck firefly (Jim Cummings) and a truly frightening villain in the lizard-like Dr. Facilier (Keith David) and his demonic shadow, and you’ve got yourself a fairy tale. Add hand-drawn animation of unsurpassed beauty and some insanely catchy tunes from Pixar stalwart Randy Newman and it becomes a Disney fairy tale. It’s no spoiler to say that the ending is happy, but this will throw enough curveballs en route to make you doubt it. And it’s no use complaining to us that the ending’s implausible — don’t you know that true love conquers all?


Verdict
Exactly as good as Musker and Clements’ earlier efforts, so a return to the form of Disney’s early 1990s classics. The animation is gorgeous, the heroine feisty and the animals amusing — but this may be too scary for the very small.


Reviewed by Helen O'Hara

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Princess And The Frog
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RE: The Princess And The Frog

To tell you the truth, I expected more from the Disney film that was to signify a 'return to form'. Yes, the film is beautiful eye-candy and the characters were amusing, but the story was thoroughly unoriginal and there were too many songs. 4 in the first 20 minutes. Still, it's better than their last 4 theatrical films (3 of which computer animated), but they really have to work super hard on the story of the next one. A little more risk-taking and outside-the-box thinking would be greatly app... More

Posted by bozo at 22:07, 04 February 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Princess And The Frog

I thoroughly enjoyed this from start to finish.  Wonderful animation.  I especially loved the little touch of Tex Avery they gave to Tiana's best friend.  The voice work for the old firefly is perfect too.   I'd recommend it to anyone who loves the old hand-drawn classics.   ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by benskelly at 21:22, 01 February 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Princess And The Frog

ncess and the Frog (2009) 3/5 Disney. Not very original but an enjoyable 2-D animation flick. ... More

Posted by m_er at 07:13, 29 January 2010 | Report This Post


It does remind Disney's good 'ol times, but I think that this movie is overrated. It's just decent. Period. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 03:21, 28 January 2010 | Report This Post


RE:

An outstanding return to the classic Disney cartoon films. As for kids being scared, isn't that a trait of Disney films? Scary undertones? (Snow White, Dumbo, Pinocchio, etc...) Anyway, a fantastic film for adults and children alike! 9/10 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by robwillphill at 20:00, 27 January 2010 | Report This Post


I would also have to disagree about young children being scared by the film. I watched this with my 5 and 4 year old and they loved it all the way through and were wiggling around to the songs. unlike some films, it held their attention throughout. Thoroughly recommended film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kennys hat at 21:20, 25 January 2010 | Report This Post


I disagree with the view 'but this may be too scary for the very small.' Fairytales only exist today because they have been passed down through generations of adults reading them to children; proper fairytales that haven't had the Disney gloss coat applied can be quite horrific, but we've managed to get this far. The thing they all have in common is the happy resolution, which is key. The kid, like the protagonist, has had to face his or her fears before triumphing and moving to a progressed sta... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by vinnie_nine at 18:21, 25 January 2010 | Report This Post


It's been a bit quiet regarding Princess and Frog's box office stateside, but apparantly it's made almost $100 million. I suppose that just pales compared to Avatar's haul. Can't wait to see the latest Disney output. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Timon at 15:31, 25 January 2010 | Report This Post


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