Every now and then both of us will see a film that we either don’t have time to review properly in the show or think that by the time we get round to recording might be becoming a little difficult for you guys to catch at the cinema. This then is the perfect time for a written review.
However, as you all undoubtedly know, we’re both egotistical maniacs and so don’t want to leave the honour of writing some of these reviews to the other without sticking our own two penneth in. Well where does that leave us in such situations? Right here fact fans! The Tag Team Review.
In order to try and keep this as relatively pain free as possible for you guys we’ve set ourselves a three hundred and fifty or so word limit each to get to the point pronto! First up are thoughts from my good friend Chris W:
Disney’s first hand drawn animation to be released in theatres since God knows when is finally upon us and it’s a treat from start to finish. Taking inspiration from the American electorate by animating their first African-American princess The Princess and the Frog moves away from the typical Fairy Tale settings of castles, rainbows and valleys and throws its cast into the deepest darkest reaches of the Louisiana bayou circa 1930’s.
Those of you tempted to presume that by breaking down racial borders Disney are ushering in an era of change will be disappointed to learn that much like their political counterparts in Washington have found…it’s business as usual. A President is just a President, and a fairy tale is still a fairy tale.
The Princess and the Frog fits nicely into that category of Disney films which hits all the right notes in all the right places (song and dance numbers, adult humour, morals & message and the scary bits that have kids gripping onto their parent’s arms) but doesn’t have a hook catchy enough to make you whistle the tunes days after you’ve seen it.
Don’t get me wrong, this is still great entertainment, and it’s fantastic to see an old technique dusted off and put through the wringer once more, but when talking Disney Greats in years to come it’s hard to imagine The Princess and the Frog being anything else than ‘that time Disney showed they still knew how to draw’.
All the classic Disney caricatures are present and correct, the message of love and family and all that crap is rammed down our throats at every opportunity, and the animation and voice work is top notch too, but unlike with previous Disney classics (take a bow Aladdin and Emperor’s New Groove) I didn’t come away from The Princess and the Frog desperate to know when it is released on DVD, which kind of says something.
And before you say anything it’s not like I’m getting too old for this shit either because the new Toy Story 3 trailer and character introductions are turning me to jelly each time I see them!
Is it my go? Is it? Huh? Huh?
Oh, it is? Okay then! Thoughts from me (Chris M) then:
In order to avoid echoing too many of my esteemed colleague Ceedub’s thoughts here, take it first that I enjoyed the hell out of this movie and the eight year old moviegoer inside of me is overjoyed to see Disney back doing what I always thought they did best. The twenty six year old real me also nods approvingly.
My only real major gripe is that Disney seem to be so intent on prescribing to their old formula of standard scenes interjected by songs that the musical numbers occasionally feel forced, almost as if they have been harshly crow barred in at regular intervals. This in itself isn’t too much of a problem but when, as mentioned above, the songs lack any real hook throughout and are so forgettable, I would have preferred dialogue to continue the proceedings rather than another requisite musical number.
The other thing that has gotten me slightly is over the fuss that’s been caused about Tiana being African American, as it really bears little significance on proceedings. I mean no one kicked up a fuss the first time they used an Arabic princess did they? This really isn’t as big a cultural event as people seem to think it is. Get over it.
The long and short of it is that The Princess and the Frog is a great return to traditional Disney animation and has both the wholesome heartwarming values at its core as well as an honest to goodness sense of humour that’ll mean you’ll be happy for your kids to grow up with it much in the same way I grew up with Robin Hood, The Jungle Book et al, although you might not necessarily feel obliged to sing its praises from the rooftops.
All in then, The Princess and the Frog is a fun filled family treat that, whilst falling short of peak Disney brilliance in the early-to-mid nineties (Beauty and the Beast followed by Aladdin followed by The Lion King anyone?) is still a welcome step in the right direction for Disney and hopefully a sign of good things to come.
Lastly, I concur with Brother Wakeman regarding Toy Story 3. Squeal!