Movie Review: Princess and the Frog
Princess & the Frog
By Sam Johnson
Release Date: Dec 11, 2009; Rated: G; Length 95 Minutes;
Genres: Animation, Kids & Family;With: Bruno Campos,
Â Keith David and Anika Noni Rose
Disney has made some of the most unforgettable movies that have changed the lives of the present generation and never ceases to amaze both children and adults alike. This company has single handedly sent shock waves through the world of entertainment and has continued to hurdle over leaps and bounds of success by setting everlasting trends. Whether it’s spinning a new image on the world of imagination by being the first to used computer generated graphics with the release of Toy Story or creating the magnificent masterpiece The Lion King which is still selling out on Broadway, Disney met, accepted and defeated every obstacle and or challenge that doubters have extended their way; with the exception of one thing; they are yet to have an African-American female heroin. Although Disney came close with Pocahontas and Jasmine of Aladdin, it wasn’t quite the black princess that our daughters were looking for on the big screen. However, vision became a reality on December 11, 2009 with Anika Noni Rose as the voice of Tiana, Disney’s first African-American character with the release of The Princess and The Frog.
The movie reads like a great American folk tale. The film follows the story of an African-American girl in 1930s New Orleans who kisses a frog in hopes of unraveling the malicious magic spell cast upon him but finds herself with an unexpected surprise of her own. The handsome prince must receive a kiss from the lovely heroine in order to restore him to his awaiting throne. Only this time, the kiss from the breathtaking beauty Tiana, (voiced by Anika Noni Rose) bestowed upon Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) backfires and finds his self in an even worse predicament as Tiana turns amphibian as well. The dainty, entrepreneurial young southern belle is frustrated because she has no desire to become a princess; but only to fulfill her and her father’s dream of opening her own restaurant.
The journey to happily ever after is filled with rich soulful sounds of the Big Easy through the jazz -loving alligator named Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley); who almost brings Louis Armstrong to life animation wise, Ray (Jim Cummings), a bebopping Cajun firefly; Dr. Facilier (Keith David) the New Orleans native known as the lord of Voo Doo; and Mama Odie (Jennifer Lewis) the Godmother of ancient royalty who is the only person capable of releasing Dr. Facilier’s spell on the prince. The songs throughout the film are about as sweet as honey providing heaven for the ears as the memorable pieces Dig a Little Deeper, When we’re human, Almost there and Friends on the other side testify offering spiritual uplift, thoughts on optimism, mischief and even gumption.
With this film Disney took it’s time and even gave us a throwback classic fairy tale that will definitely be mentioned alongside its predecessor classics. By going back to the cartoon early animation days as oppose to today’s computer generated society Disney breathe new life into an old soul by giving us another magical goodie. The Princess and The Frog is not just another animated feature from the masterminds of the Disney studios but it’s rather a rich and powerful tale dripping with the heart and culture of New Orleans at the note of every harmonic melody. The film delivers with such excellence and grace because Tiana triumphs in the real world as well as the underworld, finds her prince charming, still fulfills her dreams and teaches us the most valuable lesson of all: Everybody has a dream, but we all need the right “frogs” our lives to help us fulfill them.