Back to old-fashioned fun as Disney returns to basics

PUBLISHED: 15:21 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:44 07 September 2010

The Princess and The Frog (U) Directors Ron Clements and John Musker Starring the voices of Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Michael-Leon Wooley, Jim Cummings 97 mins Three star rating The latest movie from Disney is a something entirely unex

The Princess and The Frog (U) Directors Ron Clements and John Musker

Starring the voices of Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Michael-Leon Wooley, Jim Cummings

97 mins

Three star rating

The latest movie from Disney is a something entirely unexpected - it's an actual Disney Film. The Princess and The Frog is everything you expect of a classic Disney animation - no computers, no 3D glasses, just a classic fairytale with lots of music, talking animals, improbable inter-species friendships, a surprisingly frightening villain and even a star that gets wished upon.

Disney hasn't made a hand-drawn animation for five years and hasn't had a hit with one for over a decade, or more or less since the rise of Pixar. Now that Pixar's John Lasseter is the main creative boss at Disney, he is trying to revive traditional ani-mated films and The Princess and The Frog has that classic Disney look - it could have been made anytime in the last two decades.

The film reworks the old Frog Prince fairytale, setting it in New Orleans. The perhaps overly busy plot has a poor black waitress and a visiting Prince getting turned into frogs, an evil voodoo witch doctor, a jazz trumpet playing crocodile and a quest to regain human form.

In the interest of fairness, I must concede that watching this film was a miserable experience. Dragged out on a Sunday morning to the worst cinema in London (the tiny Odeon Panton Street with its book of stamp-sized screens - even when it's free it feels like you've been ripped off) and stuck in a crummy little room with a bunch of kids primarily concerned with talking loudly, rustling plastic bags, shoving food in their fat little faces and getting up to go to the toilet - I was far too uptight and aggravated to rate it fairly.

So I'm hedging my judgment with the three stars. I will admit that, despite everything, I did find the ending very touching but that said the whole film did feel very old-fashioned, almost historical. It reminded me that, even as a kid, I'd never really liked Disney films, they were always a bit too soppy with too many songs.

At the end, the kids all seemed to think it was good. But unless this was a rogue batch of bawling sprogs and entirely unrepresen-tative, it was marked how much more effective Pixar films are at shutting them up.

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