The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Genre(s): Animation / Family
Disney || G - 98 minutes - $29.99 || March 16, 2010
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2010-03-08


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Ron Clements, John Musker
Writer(s): Ed Baker (story, "The Princess Frog"); Ron Clements & John Musker and Greg Erb & Jason Oremland, Ron Clements & John Musker and Rob Edwards (screenplay)
Cast: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Michael-Leon Wooley, Jennifer Cody


Theatrical Release Date: December 11, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Interactive Game
  • Music Video


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DVS 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Disney has a long track record of using the exact same formula in every one of their films yet they still manage to become largely successful at both the box-office and on future DVD/Blu-Ray releases. The Princess and the Frog is no different from anything youíve seen from them in the past, but I must say I enjoyed the film more so than I have their past few releases. The movie is a light-hearted adventure through the bayou with accents galore and a fun-loving tale adults and children alike can enjoy.

Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) is a maid for Charlotte (Jennifer Cody) and her father Bid Daddy La Bouff (John Goodman). She has big dreams of one day opening up her own restaurant and serving the people of the town her great gumbo soup and has just recently acquired all of the money she needs to open the restaurant. Sadly though, at a dinner party for Charlotte, the people sheís trying to buy the empty building from tell her that unless she comes up with more cash she will lose the building. Distraught, she goes to see Charlotte in her room and dresses up like a princess in hopes that she will marry a prince and become rich. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) and his assistant Lawrence (Peter Bartlett), are on the way to the dinner in hopes that despite the fact Naveen is now broke he can still marry the rich Charlotte and steal her fortune. Sadly though, they run into the dreadful Dr. Facilier (Keith David), who is known around town as the shadow doctor, and their plans turn awry.

Facilier turns Naveen into a hapless frog and changes Lawrenceís form into Naveen, so that way Lawrence can marry Charlotte and share the fortune with Facilier. Naveen, now a frog, hops his way to the dinner in hopes to meet Charlotte but instead finds Tiana and, thinking sheís a princess, tricks her into kissing him. Much to his dismay though, Tiana isnít a princess but merely a maid and she turns into a frog too! The two frogs escape the scene and head off to the bayou, where they meet Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley), an alligator, and Ray (Jim Cummings), a firefly in need of a shave. The animals quickly befriend one another and the team head off to find Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis) who can apparently cure them of their frog form. Can the frogs find true love and stop Dr. Facilierís evil plan, or will he succeed and Charlotteís fortune be ruined?

For people who hate musicals or tons of dance numbers, you may want to not bother reading the rest of the review. I was never one to really dive into the world of dancing, musicals, or combinations of the two but I really enjoyed the flick to the upmost extent. I found myself to be enjoying the songs sung and even found myself humming along to a few of the tracks. Some of them in all honesty are quite catchy and even with me lacking any sort of musical talent I was still able to keep a beat. That being said though even if you do hate these types of films you may be able to enjoy it as much as I did.

Iíve never heard of most of the cast aside from David and Goodman, and I must say that the cast has done a phenomenal job with their respective roles. Anika Noni Rose deserves an award (if she didnít get one already) for her acting in this flick, as does the rest of the cast for their incredible job. I honestly believed that I was in the film and lost myself in the gorgeous visuals and also the way the cast spoke their lines. The movie is incredibly engaging and at times I forgot I was watching a film and thought I was actually in the flick. Wow, I really kind of sounded odd there but seriously, this was a great movie.

You must be wondering though why I only gave this four out of five stars, despite my glowing review (so far, anyways) of the movie. Well, the humor portion of the film just doesnít come right out and cause laughter for viewers. I struggled to chuckle a few times at the funny parts, and then at other times I laughed quite a bit. Thatís the main problem Iíve usually had with Disney flicks is that sometimes they can be really hilarious and then for thirty minutes absolutely nothing can go on. This was the only real problem I have with the film though, so besides the little lack of humor thereís nothing wrong with the movie.

The Princess and the Frog is the traditional Disney type of movie but thatís not really a bad thing. The lack of humor aside you can enjoy this with both friends and family on a Saturday night.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary by John Musker, Ron Clements, and Peter Del Vecho:

Deleted Scenes (12 minutes): There are only a handful of deleted scenes available to watch and most are worth watching. The directorís manage to tell you what is going on and what was cut from them briefly, although the deleted scenes are in black and white and are shown in sketches and not full production.

ďNever Knew I NeededĒ Music Video by Ne-Yo (4 minutes): I think Ne-Yo is still a one-hit wonder, and this song didnít do much for him from what I recall. The song is kind of catchy but nothing youíre going to go out and download.

Bringing Life to Animation (8 minutes): The directorís talk about how they brought what the creative writing team drew into the movie and then the final results. I found this to be quite interesting and worth a viewing if you are into the whole drawing aspect or how films are made.

Princess Portraits Game: This game ticked me off to no end until I figured out that the lightning bugs were displaying a portrait and you had to guess who it was by moving the cursor over to whoever it described. I played this for about ten minutes and gave up on it. I donít know how this is interesting or fun for kids outside of thirty seconds.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Disney usually has a good track record with their ďRestoredĒ DVDís and such, and this new release isnít any different. Colors are bright and vibrant, although nowhere near to the extent of the high-def counterpart which is a shame. They donít appear to be as colorful as the HD release and as such the transfer scores quite lower. Contrast-wise the film doesnít stack up either, as though I noticed several scenes that were slightly darker than the Blu-Ray edition and suffered much more because of this as well. The transfer isnít all that bad, donít get me wrong here, but when youíve just sat through a five-star transfer and then watch a transfer that isnít as phenomenal, you become somewhat letdown.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track isnít as big of a disappointment as the transfer was, but still quite close. The track is nowhere near as encompassing as the HD counterpart, yet again, but thatís not all a bad thing in all honesty. There is still a decent amount of surround usage here, and I did notice that my sub was turned on the entire time the film ran, which is a rare thing for a DVD release. Sound was still quite loud and engaging, which is normally a great thing unless of course you watched the Blu-Ray part and just become disappointed to see that the DVD release just canít stack up to it. The track still gets the job done and I was still dancing around to the songs, so this isnít a bad track just not one you can show off.



.::OVERALL::.

The Princess and the Frog is a great flick, but those without a Blu-ray player are truly missing out on all the extras and bumped-up technical aspects the HD version gets. The DVD itself is still worth a rental for newcomers, and if youíve already seen the flick than probably a purchase since the price is quite low. If you still havenít decided on whether or not to get a Blu-Ray player, seeing this movie on Blu-Ray at a friendís house should convince you enough. Get out of the bayou and get one already!