Good ol' animation

There are three things that are delightfully wonderful about Walt Disney's latest animated feature “The Princess and the Frog”. To begin with I am extremely thrilled to see Walt Disney breaking the race barrier and having an Afro-American woman being portrayed as the Princess.

Equally more exciting is the fact that Walt Disney had gone back to its earlier roots of making hand-drawn animated features, rather than using computer generated animations. But what I really enjoyed the most is the return to the Broadway-style musical just like the good old Disney movies.

Frog tale

“The Princess and the Frog” is loosely based on E.D Baker's novel, The Frog Princess, which again is inspired by the classical fairy tale, The Frog Prince. The film follows the tale of a young waitress Tiana, who works hard in multiple shifts to save enough to open a restaurant of her own. She encounters Prince Naveen of Maldonia, who has been cut off by his royal parents and is desperately, seeking a rich bride to continue his high life of luxury.

Being tricked by an evil voodoo man, known as the Shadow Man, Prince Naveen is transformed into a frog and the Shadow Man places someone else in Prince Naveen's place to marry the town's richest mans daughter Charlotte, who is a friend of Tiana. Prince Naveen encounters Tiana, and believing her to be a princess, convinces her to kiss him, so that he can be transformed back to his original form. But instead of Naveen becoming a Prince again, Tiana is also transformed into a frog.

Accompanied by the trumpet-playing alligator Louis and the Cajun firefly Ray, Tiana and Naveen travel, risk life and limb to return to their beloved New Orleans. Their encounters with the Shadow Man and how they fall for each other forms the rest of the plot.

Old-fashioned animation

The film instantly grabs you with its classic animation. It's been quite some time since we last saw a hand drawn animated movie. The characters seem more real and life like and we are immediately drawn to them. If you are someone who is not too much into 3D and CGI animations, you will definitely love this one.

The movie has all the makings of a classic — love, emotion, magic and comedy. But most importantly it has a plot, and a very good one. Set in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, the movie has some great foot tapping jazz numbers, which is a trademark of the city. The Broadway style musical renditions are very well done. The characters are well written and neatly executed.

But sadly, the movie fails to deliver anything above the ordinary. Enjoyable as it might be, but it is definitely not a “Lion King” or a “Finding Nemo”. The plot towards the end is a bit cheesy and forced. Not all adult audience might find this movie amusing. Disney made a bold statement, by going back to hand drawn animations and reintroducing some of its trademark styles. But the movie as a whole failed to establish itself as a classic and all I can say is that they squandered a golden opportunity. Sadly, when you finally leave the cinema hall, a sense of incompleteness lingers!

I would definitely recommend this movie if you are someone with young kids. It's always amazing to see the little ones laughing their heads out. It's a good effort from Disney, but definitely not a classic.

SARAVANA KUMAR, 24, Software Engineer, Wipro Technologies

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Printable version | May 21, 2022 10:26:10 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/Good-ol-animation/article16614394.ece