‘The Princess and the Frog’ felt very much a return to traditional animation, with a similar feel to the classics ‘Jungle Book’, ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Aladdin’. The story offers a twist on the classic fairytale by setting in 1920s New Orleans. Tiana is the first African-American Disney heroine, a strong young woman striving to achieve her father’s dream of opening a restaurant to serve food that will bring together people from all walks of life. Her belief is that if you work hard, then you’ll achieve your dreams. This takes Disney away from (but still in part focusing on) the “wishing upon a star” mentality, moving the storytelling into a more realistic stance. It’s good to dream, it’s good to wish, but you’ve got to back this up with some hard work, focus and balance (and this very message delivery is why I love Disney storytelling so much!).
A very modern day take on a fairytale! Throw in a Prince, yes a real and very lazy Prince Naveen, throw in a voodoo spell cast by Dr. Facilier, a jazz-playing alligator, a utterly gorgeous lovesick Cajun firefly and the 197-year-old voodoo priestess Mama Odie and the story twists and turns, with a few songs along the way.
There are funny moments, there are parts that made me slightly shocked (in a “how did they get away with doing that?” kind of way), and Littlest thoroughly enjoyed it. We’d seen it in the cinema, where she’d been slightly scared (at some of the psychedelic voodoo sequences) and had cried (there is a death, but a kind one), so this time she really enjoyed the story knowing it’d all work out and there would be a happily ever after (Is that a spoiler? This is Disney, after all!).
‘The Princess and the Frog’ is a family movie, but alas my boys didn’t finish watching it. I really do think this falls into the ‘Disney Princess’ category (although Tiana is more of a Belle than a Sleeping Beauty) and it is such a welcomed return to traditional storytelling. This film makes you think about what is truly important in life, about how it is good to dream, good to work hard, but also about not losing touch with the basics – with friends, love and family. In our very modern work-obsessed society, it’s rather good to step back and think about what is truly important to you.
I’m also very thrilled to see so many Blu-ray special features included, such as Deleted Scenes,The Making Of A Princess, Conjuring The Villain, The Return To Hand – Drawn Animation, Princess Portraits Game, Audio Commentary By Filmmaker and more! They really enhance the viewing and add background depth that interested all the family (even my boys!)
We were sent ‘The Princess and the Frog’ Double Play Blu-ray and DVD Combi Pack which fits perfectly with our growing collection of Blu-ray. I’ve harped on sufficiently for people to know that I think the Blu-ray results in stunningly vivid colour and that the sound is simply sharper. Perhaps I’m oversimplifying and repeating myself, but HD is the way forward.
‘The Princess and the Frog’ is the 49th animated classic to be made by Disney. I love that Littlest and I have discovered it together. I wonder if she’ll remember when she’s older? I wonder if my love of storytelling will guide her choices in life? I sometimes wonder when she’ll rebel? As a parent we give our children a “once upon a time” and cross our fingers that the plot makes sense.