Disney has gone to the frogs!

The Princess and the Frog

I went to see this on Friday with some friends from work and was very pleasantly surprised by it! It’s being touted as Disney’s return to hand-drawn cartoons and, hopefully, to their golden days of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and, of course, The Lion King. I would say it’s not quite on the same level as those four, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

The music is pretty catchy, though I don’t think I could actually hum any of the melodies, even on the way out of the theater. It’s done by Randy Newman and usually I think a little Randy Newman goes a long way – his jazzy, sometimes folksy style works here, actually, seeing as the movie’s set in New Orleans in the twenties, so there’s plenty of dixieland to go around and the folksy part works once the main characters hit the bayou.

The characters are all appropriately likable, or creepy in the case of the Shadow Man, though big props go to Disney for making Lotte (Tiana’s spoiled little rich girl friend) a nice, though slightly crazy, sympathetic character who honestly cares about her friend rather than falling back on the rich bitch that she easily could have become.

I can’t think of anything I really didn’t like, but, for some reason that I just can’t quite put my finger on, it falls a little short. I mean, it’s a perfectly enjoyable way to spend an hour and forty minutes and, like I said, I think Disney is heading in the right direction again, but there’s something that keeps it from being a true return to glory for Disney’s animation department.

My rating: Good but not great – you may as well see it, but maybe wait and rent it?

p.s. – My favorite line is from Louis, the jazz trumpet-playing alligator who, at one point, says, “You know what this situation needs? A sharp stick!” Totally made me laugh.

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