Oh Disney! You've done it again! And by 'it' I mean MAGIC! And I'm not talking about that cruddy Robert Zemeckis film or that disaster of a movie with John Travolta and Robin WIlliams. I'm talking back to the basics, traditional 2D animation. The kind of animation that earned them an Oscar nod for Beauty and the Beast. I'm talking The Princess and the Frog. I had the privilege of catching a private screening at the Burbank Disney Studios yesterday. They had a plethora of cute little girls dressed in Disney princess attire, not excluding a couple Tianas, the latest of the Disney Princesses and the first African American one to be featured in a Disney film. There was a surprise live introduction by John Lasseter himself which caught everyone by surprise and was a real treat. He talked about how proud he was of this film and hoped that everyone enjoyed it and went on reminiscing of his days as an animator back in 1989. It was pretty cool to see him there. The movie is about a young girl, Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose, of Dreamgirls fame), who dreams of someday fulifilling hers and her father's dreams of running their own restaurant. Her parents are voiced by Oprah Winfrey and Terrence Howard (this is what he was doing instead of Iron Man 2.... yikes!). Tiana's dream is whisked away and threatened when she comes short money wise and has to find a way of earning enough money to keep the property. She encounter's Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos), a free-spirited heir to the throne of Mandeves. He gets in troubles and long story short, becomes a frog. I don't want to say too much cause I don't want to spoil it, but hilarity ensues and be prepared for tears in the end... I cried for the last 10 minutes :/ The movie has laughs, great characters, lots of heart, a great message of perseverance and making right choices. The art direction and animation styles were brilliant! It is exactly what I hoped for when going in to see it and more! The music was phenomenal!!! The tunes are catchy and melodic. All the original music on this film was done by Randy Newman, who has done most if not all the Pixar films for Disney. Additional voices include John Goodman, Broadway stars Jennifer Lewis and Jennifer Cody (who is my favorite character in the whole movie) and Keith David who plays the villain Dr. Facilier. Keith David is better known as (geek alert) the voice of Arbiter on the Halo games. The movie was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, who have directed Hercules, Aladdin and Little Mermaid. There is definitely a sense of these films in this film, almost nods to them and other Disney classics. The movie is breathtaking, inspiring and is just gorgeous. I recommend taking the little ones to see it, and if you don't have kids, go enjoy it yourself cause its quite a treat!
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