Screen Gems Movie Reviews with Kennie Bass. You'll find it First On Fox!
December 11, 2009 The Princess And The Frog
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures Rating: G
In the long and distinguished animation history of the Walt Disney studios we've had white princesses, an Asian princess, Arab princess, Native-American princess and even a mermaid princess.
But never an African-American heroine. Until now.
In "The Princess and the Frog," Anika Noni Rose provides the voice of Tiana.
Living in 1920's New Orleans, she's young girl who wants to fulfill her father's dream of opening a restaurant.
As a child her father instills in her the lesson that accomplishing her goals will take more than just wishes...it will also require hard work.
Tiana has a happy childhood, but sadness invades when her father passes away. However, Tiana continues to push forward, honing her cooking skills because she wants to one day have her own business.
But a chance meeting with a talking frog, who says he's really a prince, changes her life forever.
There are many in the film industry who say Disney is taking a big gamble with this film on two fronts. The first is the color of its star. If the studio doesn't get the story right it opens itself up to major criticism.
The other risk centers around the style of animation. This is a traditional hand-drawn movie. In the age of computers, Disney is going back to its roots with a bold and colorful story full of broadway style music and memorable characters.
I think Disney pulled it off, in style. This modern retelling of "The Frog Prince" has both funny and poignant moments. The very good singing and music reminded me of classic films like "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin" and "The Little Mermaid."
There will be some who will nitpick that Disney played it safe with this story. And many are already howling that the prince is light-skinned. But those without an agenda, mainly the children this film is aimed at, will enjoy the story, the characters, the music and the moral.
"The Princess and the Frog" can take its rightful place along Disney's previous animated hits. This one will be watched for years.
On my rating scale, "The Princess and the Frog" earns a HOME RUN.
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