The Princess And The Frog

Animation,Musical

Disneyphiles, take note: tradition is both gloriously upheld and graciously swept aside in the company’s latest fairytale adaptation Discuss this article

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© ITP Images

Disneyphiles, take note: tradition is both gloriously upheld and graciously swept aside in the company’s latest fairytale adaptation. For many, the film’s use of old-school cel animation is a welcome return to an age of artisan texture; you feel like human hands actually sketched these images, as opposed to simply clicking a mouse over them. While the Jazz Age fable’s characters are rendered in the usual house style – all wide eyes and Don Bluth-era rubbery faces – the movie’s replication of Harlem Renaissance aesthetics makes it look like an Archibald J Motley Jr painting come to life. More importantly, it’s the first Disney film to add an African-American heroine to the largely pigment-impaired princess canon (Snow White, indeed) and the only one to put an Afrocentric vision of life front and centre. Yes, a Cajun-accented lightning bug courts caricature, but compared with Dumbo’s minstrel crows and the cringe-worthy antebellum anecdotes of Song of the South, this feels like a giant leap forward.

So despite the cultural vibrancy and show-stopping visuals, why does this skewed take on the Brothers Grimm warhorse feel so inert overall? Blame the storytelling, which introduces a clever conceit – both parties go amphibian after locking lips – but then simply relies on the usual anthropomorphic gags, Broadway-ready tunes and follow-your-dream platitudes. In today’s post-Pixar world, such stock elements are less forgivable, even if the colourful palette of The Princess and the Frog provides maximum dazzle. Eye candy-wise, the film plants a big wet smooch; everything else about this happily ever after tale, however, feels like a mere air-kiss.

By David Fear
Time Out Doha,

The Princess and the Frog

  • Duration: 97
  • Released: Thu, 24 Dec
  • Classification: G
  • Language: English
  • Website
  • Director: Ron Clements, John Musker
  • Stars: Anika Noni Rose, Terrence Howard, John Goodman, Keith David, Jim Cummings, Jenifer Lewis, Oprah Winfrey

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