Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Frogs Are Green, Too!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I have on my green today, do you?


I'm kinda down today, actually. It happens sometimes. I'm prone to depression, and sometimes it sneaks up on me.

So I was searching about for ways to cheer myself up. I found myself reaching for some bland, dark clothing and right away I banished it to the back of the closet and grabbed a bright red shirt to go with my olive-green capris instead. Light and happy colors are good for me.

And then I needed something else light and happy, and my eye caught the advance copy of The Princess of the Frog I have yet to review.

And The Princess and The Frog came out on Blu-ray and DVD yesterday! Ack!

So I put it into the player, and I have to say the film is a tonic for my tired soul.

It's refreshing to see a heroine in a Disney animated film that wasn't born a princess. The last I remember was Belle, and she was my favorite. She loved reading and wanted adventures and had *plans*.

And of course, Tiana from The Princess and the Frog differs from traditional heroines in a lot of other ways, too.

The most obvious being her skin color. And it's about time.

Tiana is a poor black woman in New Orleans. She has to work for a living, as a cook, and she's a gifted one. And she has plans, too.

And they don't involve frogs, unless she can find a way to make them into gumbo or frog legs for her customers.

But what Tiana is most famous for are her delectable beignets.

I DO like this girl!

And when she first meets the Frog in the title? Her impulse is to smack him, not kiss him.

An independent spirit, too. Excellent.

But since her own hard-earned efforts were thwarted by events beyond her control, and she can no longer afford her own restaurant, when a talking frog suggests she kiss him to turn him back into the prince he was meant to be, it's the only logical course to take, right?


The Princess and the Frog is thoroughly enjoyable, with delightful, authentic music:

And an original storyline that reminds me, in some of its more humorous elements, of Shrek.

In addition, the movie plays homage to former Disney animated features: During “Down in New Orleans” early in the film, the carpet from Aladdin is being shaken up on a wrought-iron balcony. Mama Odie comes across the lamp from Aladdin during “Dig a Little Deeper.” A Mardi Gras parade float is modeled after King Triton from The Little Mermaid—on it are caricatured versions of directors John Musker and Ron Clements (who also directed The Little Mermaid).

And the voice talent for The Princess and the Frog is not just star-studded, but singularly appropriate: The well-known chef Emeril Lagasse voices the part of Marlon the Gator while Terrence Blanchard, who is a native New Orleans jazz legend and trumpet player, played all of alligator Louis’ trumpet parts in the film. He also voiced the role of Earl the bandleader in the riverboat band. And a veteran of former Disney animated film classics like Toy Story, Randy Newman (one of my own personal favorite songwriters) provides the voice of firefly cousin Randy, who is a caricature of the composer. Newman was actually cast to voice several characters in the film—a raccoon, a turtle—but only the firefly made the final cut.

Viv's take: Guaranteed to brighten up the darkest day, The Princess and the Frog is an original, musical, humorous, modern take on the age-old "happily ever after" storyline.

I received an advanced copy of the DVD combo pack, which includes a digital copy and multiple bonus features, to facilitate in this review.

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