Title: The Princess and the Frog
Starring: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Michael-Leon Wooley, Jennifer Cody, Jennifer Lewis, John Goodman, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard
Directed by: John Musker & Ron Clement
Written by: Ron Clements, John Musker, Rob Edwards
Runtime: 108 min
Release Date: March 16, 2010
Disney's latest fairytale is a charming story set in the Jazz Age of New Orleans. Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) is a hard working young woman whose life long dream has been to own her own restaurant. In the midst of working so hard towards her dreams Tiana has decided that she has no time for love or fun, so when Tiana is offered an opportunity to cater a ball for a wealthy friend and earn a large sum of money she cannot refuse.
The ball is being thrown in honor of Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) of Maldonia, a young and charming man who is the exact opposite of Tiana. Dedicated to never working a day in his life and recently cut off by his royal parents, Naveen is in New Orleans to marry the eligible daughter of an oil baron to find his own fortune.
Through a series of unlucky events, Naveen and his manservant are ushered into the parlor of Dr. Facilier (Keith David), and are convinced to accept his help in getting their dreams fulfilled. Little does the charming Prince Naveen realize that the witchdoctor's real plan is to turn him into a frog and use a charm filled with his blood to make his manservant appear like him.
The unsuspecting prince, now turned into a frog and placed into a bottle where he cannot escape is trapped. Dr. Facilier proceeds to explain his plan to Naveen's manservant - he will take Naveen's place at the ball and sweep the rich daughter of an oil baron off her feet - securing both of them great wealth. That evening at the ball Tiana is happily serving food to guests as she is informed that the building she hopes to make her restaurant has been sold out from underneath her unless she can pay the full price in cash within two days.Infuriated, Tiana attempts to catch the bankers as they walk away and knocks over her table - covering herself in food.
Tiana's kind and wealthy friend takes her upstairs and lends her a beautiful dress to change into. Tiana is so upset by the recent turn of events that she goes outside to the balcony to look at the evening star and wish for things to be better. While she is leaning on the railing the real Naveen in frog form convinces an unwilling Tiana to kiss him. Unfortuantely for Tiana, she too is turned into a frog and they both end up falling into the courtyard below. Tiana and Naveen must escape the disgusted guests and the pet dog in their mad hop to the bayou. The two have no choice but to journey through the bayou with only a trumpet-playing alligator and a dopey firefly for companionship in search of Mama Odie (also a witchdoctor) who can help them regain their humanity. Tiana will soon discover that her journey is not just an effort to become human again, but to discover what it means to be human.
This film received a rating of G. The film is appropriate for all audiences with no objectionable subject matter.
Like most recent animated films The Princess and the Frog was produced largely in the digital domain which has resulted in superb picture quality. The 24mpbs AVC encode is free of any noticeable compression artifacts or loss of detail from the post-production process. The environments of the film from the vibrant New Orleans streets to the muggy depths of the Bayou are reproduced with an exceptionally vivid color pallette. The film has a large number of night scenes that contrast the brightness of city lights or stars against the inky blackness of the Louisiana bayou. In all these scenes blacks are deep and even - though not quite as deep as some films they never detract from the presentation. Overall this is a beautifully animated film that really captures the look that we all remember from Disney of old.
In this case I find it difficult to rate the audio on the basis of quality alone rather than the content. This film is set during the jazz age of New Orleans and is filled with catchy, beautifully recorded blues and jazz songs. The dialogue throughout is perfectly balanced with the other sonic elements of the mix and the result is an excellent aural experience. While some parts of the film seem less aurally exciting than others, the DTS-HD MA soundtrack shines through as the real star of this movie. Each and every musical element is free of any lost dynamics and sounds utterly superb. As a former jazz musician I really appreciate when string bass or low brass really sounds "right" in a jazz tune and there are oodles of these moments in this film.
With many HD extras this film does not disappoint.
Picture-In-Picture showing storyboard process and the making of the film
Audio commentary with John Musker, Ron Clements, and producer Peter Del Vecho
(HD) 4 deleted scenes with introduction by John Musker/Ron Clements
(HD) “Never knew I needed“ music video by NE-YO
(HD) Bringing animation to life:
Introduction by John Musker/Ron Clements
“Dig a little deeper“ with commentary by John Musker/Ron Clements - 4 minutes
“The proposal“ with commentary by John Musker/Ron Clements - 2 minutes
(HD) Magic in the Bayou: Making of a princess - 22 minutes
(HD) The return to hand drawn animation - 2 minutes
(HD) The Disney legacy - 2 minutes
(HD) Disney‘s newest princess - 3 minutes
(HD) The Princess and the animator - 2 minutes
(HD) Conjuring the villain - 2 minutes
(HD) A return to the animated musical - 3 minutes
(HD) What do you see: Princess portraits - interactive game
Bonus DVD: The Princess and the frog
Bonus Disc: Digital Copy of The Princess and the frog
Disney seems to have recaptured their glory of old in this wonderful animated film that is both endearing and uplifting at the same time. The characters of The Princess and the Frog are as endearing as any present in a Disney movie since Aladdin. This is a story for all ages, with elements of innocent humor that has undertones only older audiences will appreciate. A return to hand drawn animation was the right move from Disney as this movie seems all the more charming for it. The beautiful story along with a first class audio and visual presentation results in a worthy addition to any owners library. Children and parents alike are sure to enjoy this new Disney classic.