Disney places before us an interesting conundrum. For all of it’s archaic story lines, over simplified characters and inanimate objects that come to life, they sometimes do something right.
In The Princess And The Frog (2009), Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose) is waitress who dreams of opening her own restaurant. Prince Naveen (voiced by Bruno Campos) is a prince whose life is completely carefree. Naveen is manipulated by a voodoo doctor and is turned into a frog. Tiana agrees to kiss Naveen in frog form and is herself turned into a frog. Now they must both find a way to return to their human forms before it’s too late.
Based on the fairy tale, The Frog Prince, the story is taken out of it’s original place and time and put in 1920’s New Orleans. While it is not as catchy as some of their earlier work (or maybe because I am not their target audience anymore), it was not that bad. I especially loved that Tiana is African-American and Naveen’s ethnicity was not explained, he was not obviously Caucasian.
Do I recommend it? Why not?
When we are young, our toys are our best friends. They are inanimate objects in which we bestow our hopes and our fears. But what would happen if the toys came to life when their humans were not around?
This is the premise for Toy Story (1995).
Woody the cowboy (Tom Hanks) has been the favorite toy of Andy (John Morris) for a very long time. Then Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) is brought home and Woody feels like he has lost his place in the universe. Buzz becomes Andy’s new favorite toy and Woody becomes jealous. In an attempt to get rid of Buzz, Woody removes them both from the comfort of Andy’s room. Now they must work together to get home before Andy moves and leaves them behind forever.
The graphics, especially for a movie made in 1995 are incredible. At the time, they were groundbreaking. But what makes the movie for me at least is the story. For a kid’s movie, the plot and journey that the characters go through is very mature. It also appeals to the adults who remember when they were kids and saw their toys not as pieces of plastic and metal molded together, but as an extension of themselves.
I absolutely recommend it.