Movie Review: The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Originally under the working name of The Frog Princess and based on the fairy tale The Frog Princess by the Brothers Grimm and the novel The Frog Princess by E.D Baker,The Princess and the Frog was released on December 11th, 2009. Written and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the same two who directed The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, Mulan and many more during the Disney Renaissance period, wanted to bring that same musical style back to the big screen with the hand drawn animation. They joined forces with composer Randy Newman, whose done the soundtracks for most of the Pixar films including Toy Story, Cars and Monsters Inc. The Princess and the Frog received three Oscar nominations at the 82nd Academy Awards, one for Best Animated Feature and two for Original Song but ended up losing to Up!

Set in 1912 in New Orleans, the movie begins with two young girls, Tiana (Elizabeth Dampier/Anika Noni Rose) and Charlotte La Bouff (Breanna Brooks/Jennifer Cody) listening to the story of The Frog Prince. Charlotte romances over grinding her prince one day while Tiana insists she will never kiss a frog. The film skips forward to 1926. The two friends are now grown up. Tiana has the dream to open up a restaurant, working as a waitress at two diners to save up, while her best friend Charlotte continues to romanticize about marrying a handsome prince. Charlotte’s dream almost comes true when her father, Eli La Bouff (John Goodman), a rich baron, throws a masquerade ball in honor of the arrival of Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) of Maldonia. Prince Naveen is hoping to better his financial situation after his parents cut him off. The prince intended to do this by marrying a wealthy southern belle, Charlotte having been perfect for job. 

Charlotte had the grand idea of hiring Tiana to make beignets for the ball. Charlotte gives Tiana more than enough to but the old sugar mil to convert to her dream restaurant but when Tiana goes to pay for it, the owners turn her away. Meanwhile Naveen and Lawrence (Peter Bartlett) visit Doctor Facilier (Keith David), the voodoo witch doctor. Dr. Facilier convinces the two they their dreams can come true but Naveen and Lawrence both got the unexpected. Naveen is now a frog and Lawrence was given a voodoo talisman to help him look like the prince. Dr. Facilier uses this to advantage and tells Lawrence that when he marries Charlotte, they will kill Daddy La Bouff and take all his money. 

While at the ball, Tiana runs into the frog version of Naveen, who explains that her kiss will break the spell but Tiana turns into a frog as well. That’s when Naveen learns she wasn’t Charlotte. Lawrence and Dr. Facilier give chase of the two frogs, who escape into the bayou, where they meet a trumpet playing alligator named Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley) and Ray (Jim Cummings) the Cajun firefly. The four become unlikely friends and the bayou residents lead the frogs to Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis), the Voodoo queen. While on their way to, Tiana and Naveen begin falling in love. They encounter a few demons, summoned by Dr. Facilier on the way but make it to Mama Odie’s. Mama Odie tells them that in order to break the spell, Naveen must kiss a real princess. They return to the city to find Charlotte who was deemed princess of the Mardi Gras Parade but they only have until the clock strikes midnight. On the way, frog Naveen is captured by demons and brought to Dr. Facilier. Ray goes to rescue him after telling Tiana that the prince is i love with her. Tiana, however, goes to find Charlotte, only to see her marrying thr wrong Naveen. Ray then grabs the talisman from the human Naveen, giving it to Tiana before fighting off the demons. Ray is mortally wounded and Dr. Facilier arrives, offering Tiana her dream of a restaurant in exchange for the talisman but Tiana declines, realizing she would give it all up for Prince Naveen. Tiana destroys the talisman forcing the spirits to take revenge on the voodoo doctor himself. Lawerence is then arrest by the police and Naveen explains the story to Charlotte, including professing his love for Tiana. Charlotte kisses Naveen so that he and Tiana can return too their human forms but the clock strikes midnight before they are able to. Tiana and Naveen say they will be content as frogs as long as they are together. After Ray’s funeral, his star appears next to his Evangeline. Tiana and Naveen then are wed in the bayou by Mama Odie. Tiana is officially a princess and they transformed back into their human form as they kiss. They return to New Orleans to get marries in their human form, legally, and open Tiana’s dream restaurant. 

So another Disney film I have a love hate for. It has a great story with lots of good lessons and one awesome Easter eggs but I also feel like the movie is slow in a lot of places and feels longer than it should. I definitely recommend it for families though. We always make Gumbo and Beignets to pair with watching it. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Signing off with this little clip.

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