Monday, December 14, 2009

Princess and the Frog

Like many others, I was quite excited to have Disney go back to a 2-D film. It's what they were founded upon. It's what Disney himself helped revolutionize. They never should've strayed away--especially with how gorgeous those last few films looked. The Princess and the Frog is no exception. The film is a sight to behold and more than worth the price of admission.

That being said, there is a lot more to like about the film than just its looks. Possibly with the help of John Lasseter, the film plays out with fewer problems than some of Disney's last few entries--Emperor's New Groove and Lilo and Stitch excluded. This one is in full magical swing with a wild cast of characters and colors galore. And the story is rather tight, too. From the first few moments with any given character, we know exactly what they want--something lacking from all too many films these days. What's better is that we actually care about them. Though a few of them walk the line of becoming annoyingly silly, the story always reins them back in and keeps them likeable--another problem with many films of today: unlikeable characters.

Another thing I noticed--and maybe I'm wrong--it seemed to have throwbacks to Disney Classics, directly referencing shots from other films or simply using similar art styles and set ups. More than once, I thought about The Sword in the Stone, Sleeping Beauty, and Jungle Book. Some of these might not have been intentional, but especially the reference to Sleeping Beauty was an exact replica of the final dance sequence in that beloved classic.

Really, I was pleasantly surprised. The only downside to the whole thing is that it might be a bit creepy for the young 'uns--despite the "G" rating. And with that, the fact that Disney takes something like making deals with demons a lighthearted affair. Maybe not as blatant or frightening as Anastasia (which was not Disney), but it's really hard to take "My friends on the other side" any different.

Fans of Disney won't be too disappointed with this one, nor will animation buffs in general. It is a fine flick, fun, gorgeous, and wonderful to see Disney back in its "true" colors.

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