Captivating story, and best Disney baddie since Aladdin

2010-02-01 00:00

A FEISTY heroine, a hero badly in need of growing up, a romantic firefly and an alligator with jazz in his soul are the main characters in Disney’s charming new animated feature, The Princess And The Frog.

Set in New Orleans, the story is loosely based on the Grimm Brothers’ fairytale, The Frog Prince, and boasts some of the best hand-drawn animation and painted backdrops I’ve seen in a 2D film.

This, combined with a musical soundtrack of blues, gospel and jazz, make the film a delight.

The heroine, Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose), is an attractive, independent, hardworking young woman with no time for romance and the dalliance of dreams. Instead she wants to be a successful restaurateur, immersing herself in the love of food that is her father’s legacy.

Meanwhile, the hero, Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos), has been turned into a frog by evil Dr Facilier, the Shadowman.

Voiced by Keith David, the Shadowman, who has disguised the prince’s butler as the young royal so he can marry a wealthy young girl, is the best Disney baddie since Jafar in 1992’s Aladdin.

Just one word of warning — there are a couple of scenes involving him which might make very small children upset.

When Naveen meets Tiana, he mistakes her for a real princess and asks for a kiss, promising her money to buy her restaurant. But instead of returning Naveen to his human self, the kiss turns Tiana into a frog.

The pair end up in the bayou where they meet Ray (Jim Cummings), a laid-back, Cajun firefly, and Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley), an alligator with a passion for jazz. With their help Naveen and Tiana seek out voodoo priestess, Mama Odie, and ask her to make them human again. To find out what happens you’ll have to watch the film yourselves.

What I will say is that parents will appreciate the humour and little ones will be captivated by the story, which has all the ingredients of a Disney classic. Walt would be proud.

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