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Sunday, December 13, 2009

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG

By D.E.Levine

Director: Ron Clements and John Musker
Writers: Ron Clements, John Musker and Rob Edwards (screenplay); Ron Clements and Greg Erb, John Musker and Jason Oremland (original story); Don Hall (story supervisor)
Producer: Peter Del Vecho
Executive Producer: John Lasseter
Associate Producers: Paul D. Nanum and Craig Sost
Cast: voices of Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Michael-Leon Wooley, Jim Cummings, Peter Bartlett, Jenifer Lewis, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, John Goodman, Elizabeth M. Dampier, Breanna Brooks, Ritchie Montgomery, Don Hall, Paul Briggs, Jerry Kernion, Corey Burton, Michael Colyar, Emeril Lagasse, Kevin Michael Richardson, Randy Newman, Terence Bianchard, Danielle Mone Truitt et al.
Original Music: Randy Newman
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Country if Origin:
Language: English
Genre: Animation, Musical, Romance

Disney is hyping this film as having the first black princess as a lead character, but the story is really a charming original tale about New Orleans and some memorable characters who live and work there.

Competing with high-tech CGI animation, Disney goes back to its roots and for the first time in five years produces a hand drawn animated film.

Tiana is Disney's first African-American heroine and her best friend, since childhood, is the wealthy, white Charlotte, spoiled daughter of Big Daddy and debutante once she hits her teens.

To the contrary, Tiana is a waitress with both day and evening jobs, who dreams of opening her own New Orleans luxury restaurant where she can introduce society to her late father's authentic recipes.

Randy Newman has written an upbeat, musical score to go with the brightly colored visuals. The music easily helps to develop the characters of both human and animal characters. The animation is inventive and pleasing to watch.

As Charlotte and her father dream of her marrying a prince, news comes that Charlotte will be presented to Naveen, a visiting prince. However, the local voodoo practitioner (the Shadow Man) turns Naveen into a frog, Naveen, mistaking Tiana for a princess, coaxes her into kissing him and then she too turns into a from.

In an effort to regain human form, the two frogs plunge into the Louisiana swamp, racing against time to find some means of accomplishing their task.

In the swamp they team up with a jazz-playing alligator, a Cajun lightening bug and a famed ju-ju woman.

A sub-plot involves the Shadow Man turning Naveen's servant Lawrence into a double for Naveen so that he can marry Charlotte and get access to her fortune. But the most interesting action takes part in the swamp where the two frogs have to avoid becoming food for other animals long enough to regain their juman form.

Throughout the film Newman's score, a blend of jazz, blues, ragtime, gospel, Dixieland and country, tells stories and jokes and moves the story along.

All the performances are strong, the characters delightful and certainly this film will be a hit with kids.