Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Christmas Kiss from Disney: The Princess and the Frog

When Disney's newest princess debuts tomorrow, she will be poised to make history as one of the most anticipated heroines of the Disney pantheon. "The Princess and the Frog" is the story of a hard-working girl who works two jobs to fund her dream of opening her own restaurant. In the process of carefully saving each penny, she comes across a wayward prince who needs her help to undo the spell cast on him by the devilishly charming Dr. Facilier...and before she knows it, she is off on an adventure through the byways and bayous of her beloved Louisiana.

Princess Tiana, voiced and patterned after the accomplished actress-singer Anika Noni Rose(The Ladies' No.1 Detective Agency) is an independent, feisty heroine, adored by her parents and surrounded by a large and loving family. She is diligent, focused and serious, in complete opposition to Prince Naveen(voice of Bruno Campos)a roué who fancies himself a ladies' man. Along the way, the couple find out about life, love and le hot jazz of the Big Easy.

With the vocal talents of the aforementioned Ms. Rose, Keith David, Dr. John,Terrance Blanchard, Randy Newman, Terrance Howard and Ms. Jenifer Lewis, "The Princess and the Frog" has been carefully crafted with an eye for detail and drawn in the traditionally sumptuous, fluid style signatory of the House of Mouse. Ne-yo, one of the up and coming vocalists of the year even has a song on the soundtrack. All of this artistry is to promote a movie that generated tons of buzz months before it was even released.

As to the controversial aspects of the film, it must be acknowledged that Disney has a lot to atone for, e.g. "Songs of the South". Some complain that Princess Tiana doesn't have enough screen time and others feel that Prince Naveen should be other than what he is. None of that matters in the long run; this is the big opening for more and more multicultural films to come through the studio. "The Princess and the Frog" is a wonderful entry into the new films that Disney ought to continue to promote in future: good, quality films with high production values, tight storylines, exotic locales, singable tunes and solid human values.

"The Princess and the Frog" is a luminously dewy paen to life as it used to be lived. It holds all the hope, humour and happiness that Christmas should have, and is a nice, sweetly innocent Christmas card from Disney to you...

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