news\ Sep 27, 2011 at 3:59 pm

In a traditional sense, The Princess and the Frog exceeds expectations

In a traditional sense, The Princess and the Frog exceeds expectations
By Dakota Grabowski

Disney brings the magic back

It’s been a long time coming, but Disney and Ron Clements, director of Aladdin and The Little Mermaid, have returned to traditional animation with The Princess and the Frog. The end result is a fantastic film that is fabulous for all ages.

The voice-cast behind The Princess and the Frog does an outstanding job, especially Keith David as the villainous Dr. Facilier – a.k.a. “The Shadow Man”. David, known for his video game work as The Arbiter from the Halo series and his contributions to Mass Effect 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, brings the vile voodoo man alive. 

In addition Anika Noni Rose’s voice as the lead character Tiana grows on everyone by the end of the film. John Goodman’s Big Daddy La Bouff is easily recognizable as is Terrence Howard’s role as James, the father of Tiana. There’s also Jim Cummings as Ray, the Cajun firefly, who provides a lot of charisma for the role. Cummings is attributed for his voice behind Dr. Robotnik from the Sonic the Hedgehog television series and voicing the legendary Darkwing Duck. Lastly, Oprah Winfrey provides her voice in a throwaway role.

No Disney animated film is complete without catchy songs and a classic villain. The latter, as stated earlier, was easily attained with Dr. Facilier giving The Princess and the Frog a scoundrel that everyone can equally hate. He’s grim, despicable and downright nasty as the villain while being masterfully animated.

The former takes a little while to take off as the first few songs aren’t memorable, but when the side characters finally get their songs, such as the 197-year-old Mama Odie, that’s when The Princess and The Frog finally begins to leave a great impression on its audience.

Set in New Orleans, the film beautifully creates an atmosphere that audiences can feel as one with. The 2D art and effects are exquisite and show that there’s still room for the genre in today’s landscape. There’s so much going on in the vibrant backgrounds that it would take repeat viewings to see the little things Disney has done to make sure The Princess and the Frog exceeded their expectations.

Oh, and when fans of traditional Disney films watch The Princess and the Frog, they’ll have to keep a watchful eye out for references from past Disney flicks like King Trident from the Little Mermaid as a float in the Mardi Gras parade or Aladdin’s genie lamp inside Mama Odie’s residence.

The Princess and the Frog harkens back to a day before Pixar showed the world its first 3D feature; the day when classic Disney films were a viable option for the musical genre. The Princess and the Frog is a must-see film for the holidays for the entire family.

GameZone Score: 8 out of 10.

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