A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law sent my oldest daughter a copy of the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog. It looked interesting but we didn’t get a chance to watch it until our family movie night last night.
It ended up being an OK film. But, I don’t think it was among my favorites.
Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) is an excellent cook and a hard worker who dreams of someday opening her own restaurant but, because she doesn’t have the money, doesn’t know if she will ever achieve her dream. Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) has been surrounded by ease and luxury his entire life but, because his parents cut him off, is penniless and must find a wife who is wealthy.
While in New Orleans to court Tiana’s friend Charlotte (Jennifer Cody), Prince Naveen runs into Dr. Facilier (Keith David); a voodoo expert who changes Naveen into a frog as part of an evil plan to obtain Charlotte’s money. Naveen escapes and meets Tiana at a costume party.
Believing she is a princess, he asks her to kiss him and, believing he has money and will help her buy her restaurant, she agrees. The only problem is, since she isn’t really a princess, she is changed into a frog too. In an effort to change back, they go on an adventure that has them meeting a variety of characters ranging from a horn playing alligator and a Cajun firefly; all with their own dreams.
Overall, the plot isn’t too bad. The prince and Tiana find themselves getting into a variety of situations that range from funny to dramatic. I especially like the last couple twists at the very end of the movie that had me wondering whether they would ever turn human again or would end up spending the rest of their lives as frogs.
However, I will also say, even though the plot was somewhat unique, there were quite a few things that seemed a bit too familiar. It was as though the writers stole part of the storyline and some of the characters from other animated movies. For example, Dr. Facilier reminded every one of us of the Aladdin character Jafar. And, I haven’t seen the movie in years, but I believe there was a trumpet playing (or at least music performing) gator in All Dogs Go to Heaven.
Also, while I don’t normally mind songs in animated movies, I do think this film went a bit overboard on them. It seemed like the characters were singing every few minutes and even our daughter was starting to get bored with that.
Final Opinion: The film is an interesting and unique re-telling of the classic fairy tale. But, I would pick any of the other Disney “princess” movies over this one.
Average Netflix Grade: 3.9 stars out of a possible 5.
My Grade: 3 stars.