Archive for Tianna

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Posted in 2009, Animated, Comedy, Disney, Kids/Family, Reviews, Romance with tags , , , on January 10, 2010 by filmglutton

This is Disney’s first 2D animated film since Home on the Range in 2004, and the 49th in the canon list of Disney theatrically released animated motion pictures.

The film opens with Tianna (Anika Noni Rose), our herione, as a young girl listening to her mother read The Frog Prince. The contrast between Tianna’s modest home and the grand mansion of her friend, Charlotte La Bouff (Jennifer Cody), is stark, but Tianna’s home is happy. She has inherited her father’s gift for cooking, and one day she hopes to open her own restaurant.

Tianna grows into a beautiful, hard-working young woman. Her father went to war and never came back, making Tianna even more determined to fulfill her restaurant dream. Friends and social life take a back-seat to several jobs. Charlotte, meanwhile, is the belle of every ball, and she is sent into a frenzy when she discovers that Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) of Maldonia will be arriving in New Orleans. All she has ever wanted is to be a princess – here is her chance! Prince Naveen arrives (with manservant Lawrence (Peter Batlett) in tow), a slick ladies-man who loves to have a good time.

Things go awry, however, when Prince Naveen is transformed into a frog by Dr Facilier (Keith David), a voodoo doctor. Naveen hops into Tianna’s room on the night of the ball and says if she kisses him he will be transformed and he will give her the money she needs to open her restaurant. The kiss, however, results in Tianna being transformed into a frog also. From here they must travel through the swamps and beyond to return to their human forms before it is too late, meeting an array of quirky characters along the way…

Well, I really enjoyed this film. The characters are really great (Roy the Firefly and Louis the Alligator are real scene-stealers), and it’s so good to have a Disney female character that works hard for what she wants, relying on her own abilities while still having faith in a little bit of luck and magic! There has been a lot of fuss about Tianna being the first black Disney Princess, but Disney wisely avoids race discussion in the storyline. The screenplay has the typical mix of sadness, humour, ridiculous situations, romance, finding ones-self etc. The jokes are light and witty, and many gags in this should draw a good laugh (particularly one flashback scene involving an alligator, a boat, and a trumpet). The songs are quite good but I prefer Alan Menken (most probably biased, though!)

I must be getting old, because my main criticism of the story is that Tianna and Naveen fall in love waaaaaay too quickly. Naveen doesn’t really have any particularly redeeming qualities, and most of the time he actually borders on being sleazy. Their relationship is not convincing, especially when Tianna is such a smart, hard-working girl…why would she fall for a ladies-man like Naveen? Yes, maybe they could change each other over time then fall in love, but over a couple of days? No chance.

Now I’m just getting picky. Go watch this and enjoy it. Young girls will absolutely love it, and young boys will probably like it too (even though they won’t admit it). This film is not a classic like Beauty and the Beast or The Little Memaid but it is more than worthy of joining the long list of Disney animated films.Yes, they fall in love too quickly, but just appreciate the film for what it is: a highly entertaining and charming family film that marks a solid 2D animation return for Disney. I can only hope this is a good sign for things to come, will definitely be going to see Rapunzel when it is released late this year.

My Rating: