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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Fantasy > Fairy Tale > Comedy > Children > The Princess and The Frog (2009/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD & Digital Copy)

The Princess and The Frog (2009/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD & Digital Copy)


Picture: A/B     Sound: A/B     Extras: B+     Film: B



Just when the fairy tale well seemed to be running dry for Disney they manage to show the world why they are the best.  Taking a new spin on the classic tale of The Frog Prince, The Princess and The Frog (2009) brings Disney back full circle away from the wonders of CGI and again into the realm if classic animation.  Disney has taken the original Grimm Brothers’ tale and infused it with inspiring magic, music and charm as only they can.  This 2009 film was the first to be classically animated since Disney’s not so memorable venture 2004 Home on the Range.  For the past decade Disney had seemingly fallen into an animation slump in which they relied more on the magic of CGI and Pixar than their original flare for classic animation.  The Princess and the Frog would indeed make Walt overwhelmingly proud as it has all the elements of archetypal Disney.  Classic fairy tale, check!  Wonderful animation, check!  Talented voice cast, check! Memorable musical scores, check!  A film that has the makings of a classic in a package that is new yet familiar at the same time.


The story of The Princess and the Frog centers on Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) who has been transformed into a frog by the evil voodoo witchdoctor Dr. Facilier (Keith David).  In order to break the voodoo curse Prince Naveen must kiss a princess and in his desperation mistakes a girl named Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) as a princess.  When the two kiss Tiani is instantly transformed into a frog.  The movie takes off on a journey in which Prince Naveen and Tiana must track down the good voodoo queen named Mama Odie (Jennifer Lewis).  Mama Odie is located in the deepest, most dangerous part of the Bayou; setting up a formidable journey for our froggy duo.  The setting of the film is the roaring 1920’s in New Orleans with a musical backdrop the stylistically resembles a Broadway musical.  The tale involves a mix of magic, greed and romance.  Interesting characters are met along the way including a trumpet playing alligator named Louis (Michael Leon-Wooley) and a romantic firefly name Ray (Jim Cummings).  As with all Disney tales The Princess and the Frog is a story of good vs. evil and overcoming all odds.  A truly great tale that is a proud addition to the Disney catalog.


The Princess and the Frog has more heart than other films this year and a ton of catchy musical numbers to keep it fresh in your mind.  I found the film visually stunning with a story that garners feelings of classic Disney that has been absent in the film world for way too long.


The Princess and the Frog is the first traditionally animated Disney film to have utilized Disney Digital 3-D in theaters and whereas that feature is not viewable here on home video it was a groundbreaking moment for classic animation.  The use of Disney Digital 3-D with classic animation is another step forward for a dream that Walt Disney started all those years ago.  Disney has always been a studio thriving on innovations.  Getting back to its roots with The Princess and the Frog was a perfect choice for Disney and it greatly paid off as critics and audiences agree that the film was wonderfully mesmerizing.  There seems to be more magic to come in the future as Disney plans to continue its traditional animation productions; with such classic tales as Rapunzel being re-imagined in the upcoming animated feature Tangled.  I say ‘bravo’ to Disney for sticking to their guns with traditional animation and I strongly believe it will pay off in the future, while keeping Walt Disney’s dream alive.


The technical features on this new Disney Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy set are amazing.  The picture is presented in a MPEG-4 1080p AVC encoded high definition is astonishingly perfect.  Now I have sung the praises of Disney/Pixar films, but this animated feature is perfect demo quality for your Blu-ray player and HD TV.  The colors are vividly vibrant, the inky blacks are deep and framing, the contrast is stunning and there is a sense of depth and dimension unlike any animated feature I have seen on Blu-ray to date.  The sound is a DTS-HD Master Audio that has all the bang and wow of a big Broadway musical.  The sound is flawless with solid directionality and whizzing ambient noises.  The dialogue is not solely concentrated in the front giving the feature dimensionality and atmosphere.  The sound is balanced as the dialogue remains crisp, clean and clear throughout with a soundscape that feels humongous; in the end bring the New Orleans of the Roaring Twenties to life.  We as consumers expect perfection out of Blu-ray (especially on newer films) and Disney delivers in every way on The Princess and the Frog.


The DVD is nice, but in no way wowed me like the Blu-ray; and to be honest the DVD is there to draw in the audience that has yet to upgrade to Blu-ray, in turn giving them an easier transition when they do switch.  The experience on DVD is not as full as the colors don’t pop as well and the image does not demonstrate the same high quality crispness. The musical scores fall a tad flatter and something is lost.  Stick to Blu-ray.


Extra features include an Audio Commentary with directors/co-writers John Musker and Ron Clements along with producer Peter Del Vecho that is very insightful and passionate.  The creative team details the production process and the arduous task of bringing the traditionally animated feature to the big screen. Amazingly the team completed the film in about 3.5years; which by animated standards is stunning.  Also included in the standard definition bonus features are Deleted Scenes; “Never Knew I Needed You” music video by Ne-Yo; “What Do you See?” Princess Portrait Game.  There are an array of notable High Definition Bonus Features (many on BD-Live) that include Work in Progress Version; Bringing Animation to Life; Magic in the Bayou: The Making of a Princess; The Return of Hand Drawn Animation; The Disney Legacy; Disney’s Newest Princess; Princess and the Animator; Conjuring the Villain; Return to the Animated Musical; Art Galleries.  The Bonus features in this set are excellent and I don’t say that about many films, Blu-ray or otherwise.  This set has a ton of featurettes that get right to the point of explaining Disney’s return to traditional animation and music; essentially saying ‘there is more to us than Pixar.’  The studio comes out swinging and each feature is worth watching, especially the featurette A Work In Progress that shows side-by-side the rough storyboards with the finished product; giving the audience an amazing look into the task of bringing animation to life.


Overall, I have to call The Princess and the Frog amazingly well done.  It is not my favorite Disney film, but it gives me hope of what is to come.  I was worried that Disney Studios was slowly becoming Pixar Studios…funded by Disney.  The Princess and the Frog just goes to show to never count The House of Mouse out and there is always more magic to be made.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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