The Princess and the Frog

The Nominations:

  • Best animated feature film
  • Original song – “Almost There”
  • Original song – “Down in New Orleans”

The Black-and-White:

An unmemorable addition to Disney’s pantheon of animated feature films.

Here’s the movie synopsis from imdb.com:

A modern day retelling of the classic story The Frog Prince. The Princess and the Frog finds the lives of arrogant, carefree Prince Naveen and hardworking waitress Tiana crossing paths. Prince Naveen is transformed into a frog by a conniving voodoo magician and Tiana, following suit, upon kissing the amphibian royalty. With the help of a trumpet-playing alligator, a Cajun firefly, and an old blind lady who lives in a boat in a tree, Naveen and Tiana must race to break the spell and fulfill their dreams.

If ever there was an example of “phoning it in”, this is it. Not a bad movie, but yet nowhere near great, nor even good. Something that pays the bills. Predicable story. Predictable outcome. Mediocre conflict. Unmemorable movie.

The meagre  attempt at originality in this movie seems to come from taking an old, familiar tale, and recasting it in a somewhat modern, race- and gender-aware way. This auteur does not disagree with this approach, but neither is impressed by the leap of originality this idea captured. I do acknowledge the Disney legacy in this milieu, but am nevertheless unimpressed with the execution in this film.

What is the takeaway from this film? What truth, great or minor, should we take from this movie? What is the arc of story that resonates with the viewer? None – at least none of substance – as far as I can tell.

The music was similarly … fine. The Academy has recently become worried about the category of “Original Song” and so implemented a mechanism whereby if not enough songs crossed a threshold, the award in this category would not be given at all. I wonder if anyone, one year from now, will be able to remember the tune to “Almost There”, or “Down in New Orleans”? Do you even now?

Overall, this was an OK movie. Somehow, it has become mandatory that Disney’s films capture best song and animated film nods. I agree that past performance make this a reasonable expectation, but the Princess and the Frog laid a big fat goose egg this year.

For the Academy: no awards deserved for best song, best animated feature.

For everyone else: a fine rental movie (and please, don’t buy the action figures).

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One Response to The Princess and the Frog

  1. […] First reviews Added reviews today for the horrific rape-movie “An Education“, and the mediocre film “The Princess and the Frog“ […]

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