I have just seen this film, and I thought it was lovely. Just lovely. And also very funny.
It’s a beautiful return to the old Disney hand-drawn animation, but it doesn’t seem dated. It’s still fresh and exciting, and the animation seems to have been taken to a new level- there are some truly stunning moments involving light and water, here in the form of fireflies and a swamp in the bayou.
It does fit in snugly with The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame in terms of exquisite artwork and a great story. The only thing it’s missing is a great big song that we’ll all go home humming, but the music- though not catchy- is really fun and vibrant. It’s nice that it’s so jazzy. The film is, after all, set in 1920’s New Orleans.
The baddie, a voodoo man, was classic Disney villain. Oh so charismatic and oh so very evil. He was fun to watch but I felt that he could definitely have done with a bit more screen time.
The critters (every Disney film has critters) were endearing and funny. My favourite was a Cajun firefly about whom I can say no more without giving things away. He does have one of my favourite lines in the film though, about chipping his tooth. I let out an embarrassingly loud laugh, and people looked at me.
It made a nice change for the leading man/frog to actually go on the adventure with his leading lady… Prince Philip (Sleeping Beauty) and Prince Eric (The Little Mermaid), for example, are a bit passive really- their only job is to look good and deliver the Happily Ever After at the end of the film, when the girl has struggled through a treacherous adventure all on her own (or with the help of only animals and/or fairies). Prince Naveen has some great lines, made funnier by his seemingly French accent (he is meant to be a European prince I think, although his name is Indian and the voice actor is Brazilian). When not a frog, he is most handsome, which is important in these films. Disney usually deliver gorgeous leading men but I can think of at least two occasions where they’ve got it ever so wrong- the Beast is much sexier when he’s a beast and Phoebus, of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, is just unfortunate. It’s a bad beard.
I liked Tiana, the protagonist. She was strong, interesting and Anika Noni Rose, who voiced her, has a really really great voice. Yes, I liked Tiana very much. Although she probably fell in love a little too easily, but this is Disney after all. One waltz and you’re together forever.
I think this is one of those films I’m going to want to see again next week. Seriously, I ended up seeing ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ about 4 times, and ‘Up’ and ‘Stardust’ maybe 3 times. What can I say, I like popcorn.