Saturday, 27 February 2010

The Princess and the Frog Review

princess-andthe-frog-poster-full1 You know……films like this always take me down memory lane……back to the days when I was but a small slimy green frog with yellow eyes that shined like the sun. I was a right buzz of energy, jumping about the place better than any kangaroo or pogo extremist ever could. Going round kissing girls and charming them with my wit. Promising them I would treat them to the finest fly’s they have ever tasted. I could just look deep into their eyes, sitting there as my throat expands and retracts, and let out a seducing croak…it was like taking candy from a tadpole. Until that one girl came along and forgot to tell me she was A BLOOMING PRINCESS AND CHANGED ME INTO A BLOODY HUMAN!!!

Here we have a film that many have speculated to be the arbitrative test that reveals whether or not Disney still have a future in 2D animated films. I for one, am a firm fan of most Disney classics, with The Lion King, Tarzan, and Aladdin being some of my favourite films of all time. Needless to say, I was somewhat intrigued and excited about this offering. Yes, I am a man who lives and breathes for computer animation, but there has always been a special place in my heart…or somewhere in my corneas for traditional, hand drawn animation. Just thinking of those drawings……those lines of pleasure make you understand drug addicts……no?……I thought it was funny. Anyway, ‘The Princess and the frog’ is a Disney re-working of the classic tale. I sat down in the cinema with my little brother at hand to avoid looking foolish, but ended up looking foolish holding my brothers hand…he’s 15. I managed to blend in with the crowd of snotty nosed kids……ok only one of the kids I saw had a snotty nose but that's more than enough for me to generalise. I feel Disney did a good job of recapturing their old formula for success. Now with head of Pixar, John Lasseter at the reigns of Disney's animation department, they managed to slip back into old habits very smoothly. The imagery was beautiful with colours that practically jumped off the screen and gave the cinema a fresh coat of paint. The movement and flow of the characters were as brilliant as ever, with the crucial timing conducted perfectly.  As good as this film is it’s still far from vintage Disney. Sky Movies Reviewer Elliot Noble summed it up quite nicely, saying  “At the end of the day, it's okay. But when it comes to animation from Disney, 'okay' is a bit of a let-down”.

I feel that this movie falls slightly short on almost every aspect. For example, the characters. Although there are the winning array of characters we’ve come to expect from Disney animations, most of them lacked any real depth. They all seemed rather basic. The only strong characters was the ACTUAL princess (not the black girl) and the crocodile who BOTH had me in stitches so bad people thought I had been in a cage fight. Also, the music was not on par with the level we expect from Disney which really baffled me as they had Randy Newman doing the songs. Who would have thought that Mr. You Got a Friend In Me could produce anything but greatness. They weren't that catchy, and they did not leave me spitting in the hair of the person in front of me as I try to whistle them walking out the cinema. Also I didn’t get that strong sense of involvement with the settings. With previous films they really did their homework to make sure the environments captured you and sucked you into their worlds. Good examples of this is The Lion King, where from the very first image you could feel Africa. Or 101 Dalmatians that captured London to the point you could almost feel the dampness in the air!! Or even Mulan where the scenery is as beautiful as you would see in ‘House of Flying Daggers’ or ‘Hero’. This film concentrates more on the era of time, the 20’s, where everything was highly influenced by Broadway and Jazz. Which I guess proves harder to relate to and ultimately immerse you into the settings.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like this film, and the problems mentioned don’t stop it from being a good movie, but I feel they keep it from being a great movie. In any case its a welcomed return to 2D animated films for Disney and although not quite back in their prime its a basketball player’s step in the right direction……………………that was dangerously close to actually reviewing a film, quick say something stupid!!…………butt cheese!!!………perfect

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