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December 9, 2009 > Movie Review: 'The Princess and the Frog'

Movie Review: 'The Princess and the Frog'

By Mona Shah

Disney's newest venture "The Princess and the Frog" is a smile-inducing, heart-warming animated film reminiscent of Walt Disney, the man. It's the studio's triumphant return to the lush, fluid beauty of hand-drawn 2-D animation.

The movie is set in the 1920s jazz age New Orleans. This is where young Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) works double shifts as a waitress to fulfill her dream of opening up a restaurant. She scrimps, she passes up socializing with her friends, and just when she seems a hairsbreadth away from making it happen, things go haywire.

Enter the free-spirited, jazz-loving Prince Naveen of Maldonia (Bruno Campos) who is penniless because his parents cut him off. He comes to sample the vibrant New Orleans music, but alas falls under the spell of voodoo practitioner Dr. Facilier (voiced with oozing menace by Keith David), who turns the prince into a talking frog - part of a plan to unleash evil in New Orleans.

Tiana's life turns to chaos when she is kissed by Naveen and she too turns into a frog. That fateful kiss leads them both on a hilarious adventure through the mystical bayous of Louisiana. Together, they must reach the good voodoo priestess of the Bayou, Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis), while befriending a trumpet-playing alligator and a hopelessly romantic firefly along the way.

Anika Noni Rose and Brazilian actor Bruno Campos have a light, easy rapport. She's the uptight practical one who's hiding her heart; he's the irresistible rake.

For a studio famed for Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, the identity of its newest princess is a Disney first... Tiana is African-American.

Randy Newman, who wrote the score, has composed some of the most melodious songs. "Dreams come true in New Orleans" does a fantastic job of paying tribute to this wonderful city and its legendary musical heritage.

Under the direction of veterans Ron Clements and John Musker "Princess and the Frog" celebrates the old and the new. Their newest Princess will have no trouble joining the other Disney Princesses and taking her place in the hearts of little girls everywhere.

Rated: G
Runtime: 97 mins.

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