#329/#46 The Princess and the Frog
Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) is a hard working young woman from the poorer part of 1920’s New Orleans with the dream of one day opening her own restaurant. After some further hardships befall her she ends up kissing a talking frog, who was formally the Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos), for a reward but it backfires turning her into a frog as well. Now the two must navigate the bayou to find voodoo priestess Mama Odie to turn them back before the evil Shadowman (Kieth David) can catch up to them and use them for his own gains.
You’ve got to love John Lasseter. Not only does he give us all the gift of Pixar, which would be quite enough in and of its self, but also steps in to become the president of Disney Animation Studios, stopping all the horrible straight to DVD sequels to all the classic films and relaunching Disney’s 2D, hand drawn movies in one grand gesture. God bless that man.
The Princess and the Frog was a return to form after almost 10 years of mediocre to bad film choices and the aforementioned sequels upon sequels. Returning to its more princess roots, Disney focuses on a young woman longing for more and then going on an adventure while finding love and self worth along the way.
I like Tiana; she’s no-nonsense in the beginning but she mellows over the course of the film and it’s less about getting a guy than it is discovering it’s alright to let your guard down every once and awhile. Similarly, Naveen is a pompous jerk in the beginning but by the end he’s been humbled enough that he seems like a good match for Tiana now. Lastly, the Shadowman is just a good scheming villain (but honestly anything Kieth David voices becomes instantly epic anyway: Admiral David Anderson, Goliath etc).
Besides the characters; the artwork and the songs also add a great deal to the picture. My personal favourites are ‘Friends on the Other Side’, ‘When We’re Human’ and especially ‘Almost There’. I just love the artwork set piece that goes along with it, on top of it being really entertaining.
Another great turn by Disney and worthy to be counted among any of its 90’s brethren. 4.5/5