Saturday, May 22, 2010

"The Princess and the Frog" [B+]

There's plenty of character in this latest Disney animated feature. And I'm not just referring to the people and animals written into the story. There's also the animation itself, which is refreshingly not computer generated. There is a warmth and style to this film that is missing from the slick pixels that have been beamed at us lately.

The characters have plenty of character, too, even if they are a little more PC than in the past. There's a dreamy girl who is a workaholic longing to fulfill her daddy's dream of opening a restaurant, rather than waiting for a prince to come like her rich girlfriend. She winds up matched to the dreamy prince who does comes to town, seeking a bride to bail him out, since he's lost his inheritance. He manages to get bamboozled by a witch doctor and get them both turned into frogs. This makes it much more convenient for them to fall in love, since we can now dispense with any of the questions about race that plagued the humans in New Orleans in the 1920s.

The one thing this typical musical Disney show is missing is memorable music. Usually there's at least one tune that gets stuck in your head. But Randy Newman's score is sadly lacking in that department. There's no "Bare Necessities", "Under the Sea", or "Hakuna Matata". Oh, well. We'll just have to be satisfied with the clever animation.

The Princess and the Frog (IMDb)

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