The Princess and the Frog (Blu-ray)

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Rating: G

Starring:
Anika Noni Rose as Tiana (voice)
Bruno Campos as Prince Naveen (voice)
Keith David as Dr. Facilier (voice)
Michael-Leon Wooley as Louis (voice)
Jennifer Cody as Charlotte (voice)
Jim Cummings as Ray (voice)
Peter Bartlett as Lawrence (voice)
Jenifer Lewis as Mama Odie (voice)
Oprah Winfrey as Eudora (voice)
Terrence Howard as James (voice)
John Goodman as ‘Big Daddy’ La Bouff (voice)
Elizabeth M. Dampier as Young Tiana (voice)
Breanna Brooks as Young Charlotte (voice)
Ritchie Montgomery as Reggie (voice)
Don Hall as Darnell (voice)

Special Features:
Play Movie with “Work in Progress”

Backstage Disney
Deleted Scenes
Bringing Life to Animation
Filmmaker Intros and Audio Commentary
Magic in the Bayou: The Making of a Princess
The Return to Hand Drawn Animation
The Disney Legacy
Disney’s Newest Princess
The Princess and the Animator
Conjuring the Villain
A Return to the Animated Musical
Art Galleries

Disney Family Play
“What Do You See?” Princess Portrait Game

Music & More
“Never Knew I Needed” Music Video by Ne-Yo

Easter Egg: Drawing the Frog

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish and French Subtitles
Spanish and French Language
Running Time: 98 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Disney celebrates a modern-day classic from the directors of ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Aladdin.’ Discover what really happened after the princess kissed the frog in an inspired twist on the world’s most famous kiss. This hilarious adventure leaps off the screen with stunning animation, irresistible music and an unforgettable cast of characters. Enter Princess Tiana’s world of talking frogs, singing alligators and lovesick fireflies as she embarks on an incredible journey through the mystical bayous of Louisiana. Spurred on by a little bit of courage and a great big dream, these new friends come to realize what’s truly important in life…love, family and friendship. Overflowing with humor and heart, The Princess And The Frog is an incredible motion picture experience your whole family will want to enjoy again and again!”

“The Princess and the Frog” is rated G.

Mini-Review:
When a movie is being promoted as being from the people that made “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” that’s a huge reputation to live up to. “The Princess And The Frog” in some respects lives up to its predecessors, but in many ways doesn’t quite measure up.

It’s a wonder that Disney hasn’t adapted the Princess and the Frog fairy tale up till now. Admittedly the original story wasn’t much to build upon, but the creators did a fine job in expanding it. They threw the twist in of changing the princess into a frog, too, and creating a love story from that point. The result is a clever new take on the familiar tale. Setting the story in New Orleans was also a nice touch. The mix of locations from southern swamps to the French Quarter to antebellum mansions gives a visually impressive backdrop. The mix of cultures and music styles in Nawlins also gives Randy Newman a fantastic foundation to build upon. One song is jazz, another is cajun, another is gospel, etc etc etc. I think this movie has more of a variety of musical styles than any Disney film I can recall. “The Princess And The Frog” also has some amazing 2D animation that is as good as any 3D animation Disney has created to date. The colors absolutely pop on the Blu-ray and look amazing in HD. Every frame of the film is a beautiful portrait. One sequence that particularly stands out is a number with Keith David as Dr. Facilier. Neon and purple colored voodoo icons dance around and create imagery as trippy as anything in “Fantasia.” (And who ever thought they’d see voodoo and spirits in a Disney film?) I also have to give credit to Keith David as a standout voice in the movie. Not only can he deliver wicked dialogue, but he can sing, too!

As good as the film is in many respects, it’s simply not all that memorable as a whole. With “The Little Mermaid” you walked out of the movie humming “Kiss the Girl” or “Part of Your World.” With “Aladdin” it was “Friend Like Me” or “A Whole New World.” With “The Princess and the Frog” I’m hard pressed to remember any of the music. The closest one is the gospel song “Dig a Little Deeper” (and I had to look up the title on that). The film also lacks a breakout character. With “The Little Mermaid” it was Sebastian. With “Aladdin” it was Robin Williams as Genie. While all the characters are mildly amusing in “The Princess and the Frog,” none of them are what I would call a breakout character. Simply put, there’s nothing bad about this movie, it’s just not a film you’re going to want to watch again and again.

“The Princess and the Frog” is a required addition to the collections of Disney animation fans. It’s also a great addition to the collections of kids under 10. Everyone else may just want to rent it once to check it out and then just revisit some of the other Disney neo-classics.

The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy is packed with bonus features as usual. Besides the aforementioned different formats, you’ll find standard offerings like art galleries, ‘making of’ featurettes, and music videos. The featurettes cover such topics as Tiana as the newest Disney Princess, Keith David’s villain, the return to 2D animation, and more. The deleted scenes are relatively minor and show a little more of Tiana’s father and his failed dream of owning his own restaurant. “Bringing Life to Animation” shows the live-action references that they used to create the animation and dance numbers. “Never Knew I Needed” is the music video by Ne-Yo who looks surprisingly wooden in it.

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