The Princess And The Frog (U)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner27/01/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 97 mins

Disney's return to traditional hand-drawn animation is a hugely enjoyable fairytale adventure with likeable characters, decent songs and some great gags, though some of the scenes may be too scary for very young children.

What's it all about?
Set in 1920s New Orleans, The Princess and the Frog centres on Tiana (Anika Noni Rose), a young woman who works two jobs in order to realise her childhood dream of owning her own restaurant. When Prince Naveen of Maldonia (Bruno Campos) comes to town hoping to marry into money, he's tricked by sinister voodoo practitioner Dr Facilier (Keith David) and turned into a frog, while his greedy manservant (Peter Bartlett) is turned into a Naveen lookalike as part of Facilier's plan to control the city.

During a masquerade ball, the frog prince asks Tiana for a kiss but things don't go as expected and she's horrified when she turns into a frog too. Escaping Facilier (who needs Naveen's blood to continue the lookalike spell) and his shadowy minions, they head into the swamp in search of the mystical Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis), befriending both trumpet-playing alligator Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley) and lovestruck Cajun firefly Ray (Jim Cummings) along the way.

The Good
Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, The Princess and the Frog marks Disney's welcome return to traditional hand-drawn animation. The film is gorgeous to look at (particularly during the Art Deco-style dream sequence number) and the inspired New Orleans update allows for both Disney's first African-American protagonist (even if she spends most of the movie green) and a catchy jazz-inspired soundtrack by Randy Newman.

The characters are well designed and extremely likeable, especially Louis the trumpet-playing alligator – the flashback to his first disastrous attempt to play with humans is hilarious. In addition, the script is packed with funny lines and there are several delightful sight gags.

The Great
The voice cast are brilliant. Campos injects a little of Antonio Banderas' Puss In Boots into Naveen, while Rose makes a solid lead and David is superb as Facilier. There's also strong support from John Goodman as 'Big Daddy' La Bouff. That said, it's worth noting that the spindly Facilier and his creepy shadowy minions might be too scary for very young children.

Worth seeing?
The Princess and the Frog is a hugely enjoyable, beautifully animated adventure that's fun for all the family. Highly recommended.
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The Princess And The Frog (U)
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