Back to old-fashioned fun as Disney returns to basics
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
Three star rating
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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.
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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.