Last summer, after seeing a trailer for the upcoming Disney release, The Princess & The Frog, I wrote that it was my opinion that the Mouse House was milking it’s princess line by releasing a sub-par film in order to boost sales. After seeing this movie, I can honestly say that I was correct.
No one wants to love Disney more than I. I have grown up enjoying the movies and the parks of Disney my entire life, so to see this marketing ploy come to the big screen is a disappointment. There are so many things wrong with this movie that I don’t even know where to begin. But let’s start off by saying that “The Princess & The Frog” could have very easily been a straight to DVD release. Except for a couple of musical numbers, there is nothing original about it and the animation is average at best.
Tiana is a tough-minded girl from New Orleans. She grew up in the slums of the city where her father preached that someday, if she worked hard enough, she could own her own restaurant. Cut to the future where her father has passed on and she is holding down 2 jobs as she works to get enough money to buy a vacated factory building in order to start her own business. Of course things go awry and somewhere along the way she meets a prince who has been turned into a frog by the evil “Shadowman”. She kisses him and, instead of this turning him back into a prince, she herself turns into a frog. From there they run into a cast of characters (including an overweight alligator, a backwoods lightning bug with 3 teeth, a group of bayou hillbillies and a voodoo witchlady) as they try to get themselves back to being human before the stroke of midnight.
Look…I understand that there needs to be the hook. The whole “you can have your dreams if you work hard” and “you can have the prince of your dreams even if he is a toad” themes have been done before and that’s not even my problem with this movie. My problem with it is that it’s BORING. And the animation is choppy and uninteresting. The characters are stereotyped and bland. This film is set in New Orleans and even then the producers of this movie found a way to make it uninteresting. I almost fell asleep 30 minutes into it and my daughter was moving around through the entire 2nd half. At one point I thought SHE was gonna fall asleep! And it’s a movie for little girls!
I guess I will probably get slammed for saying this, but “The Princess And The Frog” was definitely made to generate more money for Disney. It was made to sell dolls and to add another character to it’s princess merchandise line. Which is unfortunate. Disney DOES need to add an African American princess to its popular band of beauties, but it’s unfortunate that it had to be done so second rate by a company that should have known how to make a better film.
Overall Rating: D