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Review: Disney’s The Princess and the Frog

March 19, 2010

2d is dead!

This is what we heard since Disney’s less-than-impressive Home on the Range on 2004. Between then and now, 3d movies were pumped out one after the other. 3d was heralded as the Next Big Thing. However, in the rush to jump on the 3d bandwagon, plot and storyline were often left behind.


Once the initial excitement over the new medium started to die down, the mutterings grew louder and louder. These new-fangled 3d characters didn’t have the same look and versatility that the old hand-drawn characters had. While 3d elements had been increasingly incorporated into 2d movies since Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in 1991, the effects were there to enhance aspects of the film. Even The Little Mermaid, released in 1989 had used wireframe models for some prop elements, for instance the staircase in Eric’s castle, and the carriage in which Eric and Ariel tour the kingdom. {footnote} {/footnote}

So when development of The Princess and the Frog was announced, the announcement of the new hand-drawn film was greeted with enthusiasm and hope from the online animation community. I crossed my fingers and hoped that it would be all it was cracked up to be. My expectations were exceeded. The Princess and the Frog takes the ‘tradigital’ approach to new heights, incorporating computer-generated 3d elements with hand-painted backgrounds that have been painted in Adobe Photoshop and traditionally animated characters.



The Story:

In case you haven’t seen The Princess and the Frog, here’s a quick run-down on the plot. Tiana is a young woman living in New Orleans in the 1920’s. She works hard at two jobs in order to save money to open her own restaurant. Meanwhile the dashing Prince Naveen arrives in the country. Having been cut off from his parents, he needs to marry a girl from a wealthy family in order to continue the carefree lifestyle to which he is accustomed. However, upon his arrival Naveen runs into a voodoo doctor who offers him ‘the green’ he needs to start his new life. This is how the Prince becomes a frog. When the frog prince finally meets Tiana, she is dressed is dressed as a princess for a fancy dress party. Remembering the children’s story, Naveen requests a kiss from Tiana, which of course backfires. Tiana is turned into a frog instead and the pair must find a way to be turned back into humans before midnight at the end of Mardis Gras.

The Music:
Set in jazz scene of New Orleans in 1920’s: provides a colourful backdrop, and also the soundtrack for the film. A return to the animated musical. The music is composed by Randy Newman who grew up spending summers in New Orleans.