EXCLUSIVE: Early Review of The Princess and the Frog

Princess and the Frog

I don’t typically republish reader comments in separate posts, but a Cartoon Brew reader named Michael saw a rough cut of The Princess and the Frog last night, and has posted a lengthy, thoughtful and knowledgeable critique of what he saw. (No real spoilers in his review unless you’re super-sensitive.) I did some digging to find out who “Michael” is, and while his identity will clearly remain anonymous, I learned that he’s not affiliated with Disney and that he works in the live-action film industry. Here is what Mike thinks of Disney’s return to hand-drawn:

Well, I saw the film at a screening (through movietickets.com) last night, of which something less than 30% was full color animation; and the rest surprisingly – given the audience – was pencils and boards. It was a lovely treat for an animation buff to be able to attend a movie in this stage of its development.

My one sentence review would be: it’s a worthy entry in the Disney canon, but they’ve got a LOT more work to do, and not just finishing up the animation.

My more considered opinion:

I think this movie has a lot of promise and in the main it was very warmly received by an audience unused to watching pencil tests, who laughed heartily throughout.

I liked a lot of the character design, derivative though some of it seemed – but I don’t know how many new ways there are to design a talking frog, for example. The alligator looks a little too familiar, though how he moves around is rather fun. The lightning bug, who was a huge hit with the audience, as he’s quite amusing, nonetheless looks, from a design standpoint, as if he has flown in from another movie entirely.

The environments and backgrounds are really beautiful, especially when the action moves into the bayou. Really, really lovely stuff, and what we saw of the completed New Orleans is really quite something.

Unlike some who have commented on the snippets above, I did not find the acting to be over the top except when that’s what’s called for. To the contrary I found it to be closer to the classic style of old than most recent Disney fare. Whether that’s a good thing or not depends on how you feel about Disney living in the past, versus pushing the boundaries. Can’t they do both? Make films like the classics, but also make more modern or challenging films? Surely they can, but since this is the first one out of the gate 2D-wise post John and Ed, it seems inescapable that it should be an effort that tries to capture that classic Disney aesthetic.

[Note: The following paragraph references a comment that I made earlier.] And Amid, as far as them being out of touch – I don’t think they are out of touch at all with what the lion’s share of the paying audience wants to see (certainly, if the whoops and cheers after last night’s screening are any indication). You can “Triplets of Belleville” about it all you want, and I adore all sorts of animation, but even the most meagre Disney grosses put the lie to this notion that the masses are thirsting for more challenging animated product and are rejecting this somewhat traditional and predictable, if beautiful, fare – no matter how much animation enthusiasts like you or I might wish that it were so.

Anyway, story-wise, there’s enough that’s “different” in there to pique the interest of those who are tired of the traditional Disney fare, but unfortunately it also treads many of the same boards as the movies we have seen a dozen times over. I suppose, alas, that given the burden of expectation – it’s going to SAVE Disney 2D animation!!! – it has to to meet the modern expectation of a “Disney animated feature.” The “I want” song lands right where it is supposed to, and so on. It seemed to me, that some of the more familiar elements don’t really sit well with some of the new, but I think there’s room, and time, to smooth this out some.

BUT, there are some pretty large story problems in the first act that loom large over the rest of the film. I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to be hatching spoilers all over the place. Suffice it to say that neither the prince’s, his servant’s or the villain’s motivations are at all made clear; their early development is rushed; they seem to be acting as they do because the plot demands it of them, rather than moving from any basis of character. This lack of development weighs the movie down horribly when it should be flying. Moreover, certain developments later in the film that should really land with elegance don’t because they are not properly set up in the first act. Tiana’s the only character who feels really fully developed, and inasmuch as she’s the protagonist that’s good news, but these other three characters and why they do what they do to each other is really a big piece of the core of the story and I fear the film will not resonate unless these issues are addressed.

It was kind of shocking, really, to see these questions of character and motivation at this point in a project that’s been gestating as long as this one, with these particular people at the helm! Fortunately, there are numerous potential solutions and ways to strengthen these characters, utilizing mainly what’s already been done, and possibly replacing one scene (one of the few which seemed nearly complete, alas) with another which could conceivably be whipped into shape in the time available.

I hope so. A success for this picture is a good thing for animation everywhere. It was a crowd-pleaser last night in its unfinished form, for sure, and if it were finished and released in its present form I have no doubt it would do well, but lots of pictures that aren’t as good as they could be do well. If they can rejigger the first act and clarify those three characters, the picture could really soar, could really stand up on its own among the other Disney classics, and could open the door to loads of new possibilities for the studio.


  • http://markpudleiner.blogspot.com/ pudleiner

    What is nice with this review is that it doesn’t come across as if it’s from some fanboy… but rather from a person who actually knows about the film making process. It is just one opinion, but it does seem to come across with some intelligent and thoughtful points. Not in a negative way.

    The good thing being, is ‘IF’ some of the issues that he brought up are actual issues that have been commented on by others inside the hat building …. the more people that bring up the same issues, can and sometimes does make for creative discussions with the filmmakers.

    Sometimes if enough smoke is seen, they will address the fire.

    I would imagine mostly everyone is wanting this to be nothing but successful. :-)

  • http://saturdaymorningcentral.com Tommy Day

    Awesome, I can’t wait to see this. I’m so excited I get to see two hand-drawn films in theaters this year. I’m a huge Miyazaki fan, but have never had the chance to see one of his films at the cinema. I’m looking forward to Ponyo and this one!

  • Vvek

    there is an ‘I Want’ song ???

    sheesh, somebody find don hahn, and show him all the classics, which never had an ‘I want’ song !

    i wasnt against this factor, but using it in every disney production makes it a cliche’

    and that is definately something the struggling studio can do without.

    especially with the public claims being made by disney officials like – ‘no memorable movie from disney in the past 10-14 years’

    ‘meet the robinsons’ and ‘lilo/stitch’ being an exception.

    but i am definately excited to see this film and i likethe fact that he commented on the alligators performance (which is being animated by the legendary Eric Goldberg).

    cant wait to see the final product !

  • http://dailygrail.com/blog/8389 red pill junkie

    Question:

    Has Pixar ever done a screening of an incomplete project of theirs, to survey whether the movie is working or not?

    The fear in this Disney project is almost palpable.

  • http://amymebberson.blogspot.com Amy Mebberson

    Thank you for a very balanced review, “Michael”.

    Let’s hope any potential problems will be ironed out in time, because this movie deserves to do really well and it’s clear everyone here wants this to be the best movie it possibly can be.

  • George

    To red pill junkie, Ofcourse Pixar has done a screening of an incomplete project of theirs, to survey whether the movie is working or not. I know someone who saw Wall-E in it’s half finished phase. Pixar isn’t immune to asking for opinions of an audience and fixing problems.

  • Kirb

    An interesting synopsis.

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one turned off by the Firefly’s design, though. Sometimes I feel Disney tries too much to splice in characters for the sheer sake of comedic relief and it just detracts from the value of the story. A sort of ‘Jar-Jar Binks syndrome.’

    Anyone remember the Gargoyles from Hunchback? Urgh.

    In any case, I’m interested in how this is turning out. Hopefully most of the issues and nitpicks can be fixed before release. I’m jealous, really. I would have loved to see these pencil tests.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    Yeah, very interesting review with no spoilers at all. It sounds like it will be good. I don’t know about plot holes, sometimes they annoy me a lot and other times I just don’t care. It depends on how good is the rest of the movie I guess.

    It wasn’t exactly plot holes, but I felt Corpse Bride didn’t explain any of the motivations of the characters and felt very shallow because of that.

  • Paul N

    Not the first time Disney has shown a WIP version to an audience of non-animation people. Check your Beauty & The Beast DVD for the WIP version shown at the New York Film Festival. The idea that fear motivated this screening is questionable at best.

  • KatyJ

    “Has Pixar ever done a screening of an incomplete project of theirs, to survey whether the movie is working or not?”

    According to Pixar interviews, yes. And often.

    Not a new thing. Studios have used this process since the early 1930′s.
    Even Walt.

  • Tom D.

    eric goldberg is a genius! i’m anxious to see his work on this film!

  • Cameron

    This has alleviated a few of my worries (though others still remain). I’m glad to hear there’s something new in there, though let’s hope they take it further next time.

    Remember folks, before anything else Disney needs a hit.

  • http://Mr.FunsBlog Floyd Norman

    Oh, give me a break! Every film maker sweats over his movie while in production — and that includes Pixar.

    And, all you bright boys and girls out there who know so much about movie making, I hope you’re hard at work on your own movie masterpiece. We’re all looking forward to seeing it.

  • Spaniard Prince

    Don’t get thrilled about the so called WEAKNESS of the story. Beauty and the Beast itself has been criticized during almost 20 years for its lack of development, mainly because it haves TWO main heroes with the same amount of screen time and a lot of plot holes and it’s wonderful.

  • Michael

    Aw, shucks. I’m flattered to be quoted so extensively by the Brew. Golly. In re: the “I Want” song, I want to clarify a bit — it is an “I Want” song but at least it’s a Randy Newman “I Want” song! So it’s not quite the same old song and, erm, dance.

    And I had no idea Goldberg was doing the ‘gator. Makes sense in retrospect. He’s a fun character and his arc, though a trifle predictable, is really fun to watch.

    I’ll slink back into anonymity now, thanks very much . . .

    P.S. I’d love to be affiliated with Disney. If you’re looking for a cheerful guy with a big mouth . . .

  • Thad

    Don’t worry, it’ll accomplish what they want it to: sell lots of princess dolls and bedsheets.

    Aww, I’ll still see it. But if the frog farts I’m bolting.

  • Jimmy

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Every film has its own weaknesses. This is at least a thoughtful review, not another gang-up on evil Disney based on just 5 second footage. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to what you do best. Ponyo is hardly any different from Ghibli’s past film and yet it’s another success.

    Every studio has its own problems. If I can’t make my own film like Nina Paley, I wouldn’t just sit here and tear other people’s works apart. If you don’t like a film, don’t see it. It’s your money. If you’re fooled by the evil Disney machine and buy a ticket to find out it’s bad, it’s your fault. Go see indie and anime instead.

    Man, imagine how Pixar will be ripped apart when it releases another toy movie, another cars movie and another PRINCESS movie… They must’ve been killing themselves because of their lack of originality.

  • Michael

    >>>
    And, all you bright boys and girls out there who know so much about movie making, I hope you’re hard at work on your own movie masterpiece. We’re all looking forward to seeing it.
    <<<

    Good grief, Floyd, I hope you weren’t directing that at me. I mean — “if you think you can do better, why don’t you then?” is kind of a straw man, I think. The fact that I can’t make wine doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it fully.

    I posted my remarks mostly in response to what I felt was ill-considered, underinformed doom-slinging after a few clips in shaky resolution made it out on to the Interwebs, and after a couple of people who worked on the film said they thought people’s comments were off the mark, and they couldn’t wait to hear what we had to say after seeing the movie.

    Having seen the movie, I felt that a) the negativists were way off base; and b) the people who’ve been working on this movie have done a smokin’ good job. There remains work to be done, and I don’t think they would have screened it to two capacity crowds with two focus groups (which I wasn’t chosen to be a part of) with Lasseter on hand to discuss it with them if that wasn’t the case.

    And in response to pudleiner above, from what I was overhearing, the very issues I mentioned seem to be receiving the most attention from the filmmakers. In other words, it was something a lot of the audience was expressing. But it didn’t deter them from really enjoying the movie, as the whoops and laughter (and after one musical number, applause) clearly indicated.

    And judging by the state of completion of key sequences which can — let’s say strengthen the film’s key weaknesses, it’s in my mind almost a certainty that the issues will be addressed.

    I hope so. Like I said, I think it’s a really good picture that could be elevated with a little more hard work in a couple of story spots. The mood of the crew seemed happy, and it my impression watching from afar was that they seemed to have received a pleasant and expected response. Not a lot of stunned looks of horror going around.

    Now I really will shut up. For a while.

  • http://www.dailygrail.com/blog/8389 red pill junkie

    Thanks for the people who answered my question —which was formulated in all honesty.

    But I still feel that the folks at Disney are trying too hard with this one.

    I still want to see it, even though it’s another spin of the Princess theme.

    When are we gonna see a movie when the bad guy wins?? It’s always fun to root for the baddies; and it’s about time they get their chance to get away with their plans ;-)

  • Jason

    Michael, I can’t thank you enough for your review. You have revved up my enthusiasm for PatF, which was wavering. I really REALLY want this to succeed – and I’m no moviemaker, just a cartoonist/writer/Disney geek. And I think there’s a real desire out there amongst the “ordinary” folk for a really great 2D film. The novelty of CGI has run its course. And as good as some of it is…it can’t compare, visually, with a movie of the caliber of Pinocchio, or Lady and the Tramp, or Lion King. That lush, visual made-by-hand movie experience is as strong as anything made by a computer mouse (including stuff made for the main Mouse). So I think the eyeballs for this movie will be there when it’s finally released to the theaters; hopefully it’ll engage minds and hearts as well.

    Mr. Norman, I understand your impatience with second-guessing and nitpicking (heaven knows I have that failing at times). But I see Michael’s review as encouraging and fair. Let’s hope that his suggestions on improving a film he obviously already likes will reach the ears of Iger and Co.

  • Isaac

    red pill junkie, even after you were informed that nearly all film companies have screenings of unfinished works, you still “feel” the fear? Seems like you want to feel it, rather than that feeling having any truth to it.

    Saying “I want a film with this specific plot device” doesn’t make the plot any better; it just gives it another plot device. A plot can be good whether the bad guys win or not, but don’t expect moral ambiguity in a children’s film.

    Off the top of my head, “12 Monkeys” begins and ends with the bad guys winning, and it has cartoons strewn all through it, which means I’m on topic! You should WATCH IT.

  • Nillin

    Oh look! They hired King Gator’s less racist cousin!

  • http://www.jessica-plummer.com Jessica Plummer

    More reviews need to be like this (Michael’s), please. k thnx.

    I hope filmmakers never have to NOT fear their productions and public reaction, or else we’d never have braves souls and brave films in the industry. And yes, I think this film will be one of them. We’ll probably also be thanking this piece when it gets the public and the investors excited about this style again.

  • http://www.losetheradio.net Roman

    Another famous Work In Progress story for a Disney Animated Film was Jeff Katzenberg nearly forcing Ron and John to cut Part Of Your World from The Little Mermaid….

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    >>A plot can be good whether the bad guys win or not, but don’t expect moral ambiguity in a children’s film.>>

    Why not? I think there was some of that in Pinocchio and Lilo and Stitch.

    A family oriented animated movie should be for all people, they could be less child oriented. We need more things like Buster Keaton, things that everyone can see and enjoy being a children or not.

    Also, I’d like to see more animated movies without villains. I think it’s possible to do that not only in adult oriented animation but also in one oriented to children.

  • http://awprunes.blogspot.com Larry Levine

    I’m a big Eric Goldberg fan, with Eric & all the great talent behind this picture I’m certain it’s going to be a modern classic!!!

  • Ben

    “sheesh, somebody find don hahn, and show him all the classics, which never had an ‘I want’ song !”

    Well, I’m not so sure about that. They may not have been as blatant as some of Disney’s 90′s features, but they were there.

    Snow white: She sang “I’m Wishing”…if that’s not an “I want” song, I don’t know what is.

    Cinderella: She sang “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”. It was pretty clear she was longing for something.

    Sleeping Beauty: Princess Aurora sang “Once Upon a Dream” about wanting to meet her prince. That was an “I want” song.

    So, pretty much every Disney princess film has had an “I want” song from the very beginning.

  • Tom Pope

    Vvek: The very first (?) song in the very first Disney Feature is “Someday My Prince Will Come.”

  • http://www.edwardr.theatricana.com Edward R. Cox

    Michael, thank you for your thoughts and feelings about the work print of “TPATF”.

    We here in New Orleans are more curious than others I guess in how well this film turns out. To have a feature animated film, much less the first return to traditional animation in many years from Disney, set in New Orleans is such a thrill. True, Randy Newman’s score (the love song was premiered at last year’s Jazz Fest to great acclaim) and the settings and story are important to us, but it’s also the depiction of our class structure, our celebrations and lifestyle as well as our history, architecture and so much more that is making us anxious to have this film be a hit. We are a gumbo of people, races, and more. Something the rest of the country can’t quite grasp. Hopefully this film will set some folks straight in how we live and laugh and love here in the Crescent City and surrounding bayous.

    Of course, we also wish that the company would have planned to premiere the film here in New Orleans as it would make so much more sense than NYC/LA! We were blessed with the World Premiere of Hunchback in ’96, which given the French setting and the Carnival atmosphere of Topsy-Turvy was a perfect match. But this film actually takes place here, amidst our glorious locale. (And being post-Katrina, it would have helped the city tremendously to have the company premiere the film in it’s actual setting. Ah well… ) We KNOW New Orleans and it’s history and it’s characters. The Mardi Gras, voodoo and blending of races and cultures aspects of the film are our daily way of life. What better place to present and celebrate the film in?

    No matter what, we here in New Orleans are praying on more levels than most that this film is a success. Particularly if you recall the last animated feature that utilised New Orleans as a backdrop and setting…it just didn’t present the city correctly at all. (All Dogs Go To Heaven) This is Disney, and from what I have seen the layout and design department have certainly done their homework on a grand scale and I personally couldn’t be happier with the look of the film. Though I have to admit the firefly is going to throw people off. It did me at first, and I am part Cajun! I am sure he’s coming off as a Jar Jar Binks type character when he is in fact, Acadien “from da swamps”.

    So “TPATF” is hopefully not only a return to great classical traditional animated Disney features, but a valid representation of the city of New Orleans and the myriad flavors of Louisiana. If only it’s premiere were being presented and celebrated here.

    Best of luck to everyone on the film and the resurgence of traditional quality animated features from Disney!

  • Tom Pope

    Sorry. My bad. The very first song in a Disney Feature is “I’m Wishing.”

  • http://dailygrail.com/blog/8389 red pill junkie

    Hey Isaac, I love “12 Monkeys”, one of my favorite films.

    How about the animated equivalent of “12 Monkeys”? :)

  • http://Mr.FunsBlog Floyd Norman

    Hey, Michael. No offense, my man. That wasn’t directed at you. I was speaking to all the fan boys and girls out there who see themselves as brilliant story editors.

    Making a movie is tough. Hell, making a bad movie isn’t all that easy either. Until you’ve been in the drivers seat. (student films don’t count) you simply don’t know how tough this job can be. I’ve worked on big films and small. From Disney, Pixar to the lowliest independent. It’s never an easy job, and people beat up on you all the way through. Clearly it’s not work for the faint of heart.

    Again, my apologies.

  • http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Pagoda/7132 Hoshino Ai

    Thank you very much for such a thoughtful and insightful early review on The Princess And The Frog. I very much appreciate your mature and professional attitude and for taking this movie and the work that went into it seriously. It’s such a refreshing turn from those silly ramblings of those “fanboys” that do nothing but rip apart movies that don’t follow their expectations. I too also think that there is still work ahead before the premier of the movie, and I wish all the best of luck to everyone involved with it. You’ve really piqued by interest in this, and I will definitely hold this movie in my heart, whether it does well or not. ^_~v

  • William H

    Disney had their work cut out for them in bringing back the animated fairy tale with music after Katzenberg trashed it in ‘Shrek’, freeing his shop to flood the universe with CGI fart jokes.

  • tired of bandwagons

    “Disney had their work cut out for them in bringing back the animated fairy tale with music after Katzenberg trashed it in ‘Shrek’, freeing his shop to flood the universe with CGI fart jokes.

    “Another famous Work In Progress story for a Disney Animated Film was Jeff Katzenberg nearly forcing Ron and John to cut Part Of Your World from The Little Mermaid”.

    But he didn’t “force” them, did he, since it’s in the picture? And how did the team of Ashman and Menken wind up writing that song and working at Disney in the first place?

    Please let this “evil Katzenberg” cliche go already.

    “Shrek” was adapted from a children’s book by William Steig written in the adult-slanted manner of Roald Dahl. Much of what is supposedly the crudeness of “Katzenberg” is found in the book and was used to good effect in the film.

    In addition “Katzenberg” was almost singlehandedly responsible for the renaissance of “the animated fairy tale” at Disney in the 80s and 90s. In fact the department began to flounder and go off the rails when “Katzenberg” left to start Dreamworks with Spielberg. T

    hat said, he is an executive and he makes no bones about it. He’s also a smart and committed head of an animation studio who wants to make quality hits(how you define quality will I’m sure exclude Dreamworks films, but I mean in terms of budget and staff hired). What a crime. There are lots of stories of some horrible cuts he wanted to make in Mermaid or lousy additions he wanted in Aladdin or some other title, that’s true. But guess what? Many of the “bad” cuts/additions/ideas weren’t from him at all, but from artists. It happens.
    But he does deserve credit for getting the damn things made at Disney in a precarious time. There was a powerful faction led by Eisner to jettison the animation feature department altogether.

    So be careful about where you assign blame for some of these things. Some of the most hated things in the not so loved features came from people you admire as creative artists. There’s nothing significant to that except that: nobody’s perfect.

    Anyway, Katzenberg won’t be responsible for Frog, so that must be a relief, right?
    Here’s to a new hit from feature animation. It’s possible to root for a place without dragging in decades-old crap.

  • http://yeldarb86.deviantart.com Mr. Semaj

    Very encouraging news.

    I’m looking forward to The Princess and the Frog to do to Disney in 2009 what The Little Mermaid did in 1989.

  • http://deleted OtherDan

    Good commentary. I do hope that the first act is given the space to work out the character motivations that he saw as problematic. I almost always enjoy the first act the most in films. It’s where you begin to care. The rest typically is a wall and overcoming it-and if you care from the beginning, it’s a satisfying ride. I know a lot is weighing on this film for 2D to re-emerge, and I”m hoping for the best. I spoke to one of the powers behind this film and he pointed out that there is a whole audience out there now who may have never even seen hand drawn animation in a theatre, and how that young audience could make all the difference.

  • Someone

    “I’m looking forward to The Princess and the Frog to do to Disney in 2009 what The Little Mermaid did in 1989.”

    You mean Roger Rabbit, but your probably rewriting history, that’s cool you can do that.

  • http://www.abelboddy.com C.Edwards

    I missed the earlier thread and am getting here kind of late so I may be repeating something someone has already said, but:

    I won’t quibble over the animation acting or the Disney formula at use because I know that, as a 30+ adult male with edgier, alternative takes, Disney does not make movies for me. But what I will say is that I’m a little disappointed with Disney’s choice to do a film with a black lead in a Black American setting rather than an All-black setting.

    It may sound petty. But having so few black characters and the fact that after this, they probably won’t jump to do another black lead for a long while, I wanted to see the design interpretations of characters from Senegal, the Caribbean or Zimbabwe. Ultimately, I may’ve been disappointed with this as well considering they would probably be closer to the PC designs of “Pocahontas” than the fun, energetic cartoony designs of “Mulan”, but it would’ve been nice to see.

    I will see the movie though.

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    That reminds me, I have to get to Disneyland before the pimp out New Orleans Square as the new “Princess and the Frog” land and destroy it forever. The abundance of Tim Burton and Jack Sparrow stuff they’ve crammed in there is already tough to ignore.

  • Jaycee

    How did you get tickets from movietickets.com to see this?????

    THAT’s my question!!!!! LOL, do u have to be part of a special club to get such HOT tickets????

  • http://yeldarb86.deviantart.com Mr. Semaj

    “You mean Roger Rabbit, but your probably rewriting history, that’s cool you can do that.”

    Nope.

    Roger Rabbit is a great movie, and while it was a major benefit for Disney, it’s not part of the their animated features canon, being released thru Touchstone.

    The Little Mermaid is part of the canon, and was among other things Disney’s return to fairy tales, their return to the musical format, and their first major success all in a long time. The Princess and the Frog will be Disney’s first fairy tale/musical in at least a decade, and will hopefully make Disney a major competitor in feature animation again.

  • Michael

    Jaycee — that’s what I was asking myself! You can sign up for screenings from movietickets.com on their site. Most of the time it’s for rubbish, and I’ve never attended one from their invites before. When this one showed up in my inbox, my jaw hit the floor and needless to say I signed up right away. Nielsen (the ratings people) was running the screening for Disney, and based on the little forms I saw in others’ hands, viewers were recruited in lots of different ways.

  • http://cartoondavid.blogspot.com david

    I think i read somewhere in all that stuff that Michael had mentioned it was a “Randy Newman” Song!! OH BOY. Another reason why i won’t be watching this.

    Supporting something for the sake of not wanting to see an old studio fail is not the right idea. It just perpetuates it. As far as i’m concerned, Disney films died a long time ago. Looney tunes aren’t made anymore either, so why put such high expectations and hopes on some crappy rehashed/contemporized version of old animated cliches. We should just let it die a peaceful death, and start investing in things that bring something new to the table when it comes to feature animation or cartoons in general.

    I really love tex avery, but i’m not going to try to replicate his cartoons or use his formula(do it poorly) because i don’t want to see that style vanish.

    At least anime (and hate all you want) has such a diverse output of content, from story to design to animation…and even..get this, stuff for adults, that isn’t crude frat boy humor! Wow, i think that’s because their creators(executives included) and audiences actually embrace new ideas.

  • Jaycee

    Michael,
    sorry to keep askin questions, but I assume u have to buy tickets at least regularly thru Movietickets.com, to get little offers like this screening then?

    thanks

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    The Alligator looks like King Gator from Don Bluth’s All Dogs Go To Heaven.

  • Daniel

    David, no one cares if you want to see this movie or not. (Honestly it baffled me why you’re even here in the first place if the idea of a new 2D animated movie repulses you so much.) And believe it or not, a lot of people who want to see this movie just because they want to, and because the movie looks interesting enough to look forward to (The first black princess, a twist on the frog prince story, etc). And if you think anime (which I’m also a fan of) is so much better and/or superior than the traditional Disney animation, then go to one of those anime sites, as this is clearly not the place for you.

  • james madison

    I saw the screening of the movie on Wednesday. If I saw the same screening as the poster, it seemed complete to me.

    The audience laughed more than a few times at the situations on screen and they also seemed to enjoy the music as well. The audience was made up of press, adults, kids and random people selected to see the movie.

    Is it the best film? No, but it is far from the worst. It should do well
    if people, mainly from the animation field, do not overly criticize it.

  • james madison

    Argh! Totally differnt screening it seems. This popped up (subject) on my computer and I did not reference the date.

    Apologies.

  • Angela

    Without going into too much detail. I would not recommend this movie. It has much to do with with the “other” side as they call it. They have black spirits floating around in the movie. Vodoo and Tarot cards are displayed. There is a part where the Shadow man is making a deal with the evil spirits that when he takes over the city he will give the evil spirits the “wander souls” and you see black spirits floating from the scene. Sure some will say a harmless “moive”. I would be sensitive before exposing your children to this movie.

  • Chandra Stewart

    HATED IT! HANDS DOWN! Ridiculous amount of voodoo, way more than any movie that Disney has done in the past. The characters were insulting at best. I get it! We all get it! Tiana stressed the value of hard work and ethics (as she should)! Disney, for a FIRST fairy tale about an African American little girl who one day becomes a princess, the ONLY two black male characters (of any significance) in the entire movie were her father (who was is poor he is nearly a slave) and voodoo con man (who dies and goes to hell at the end)?

    What problem does America have with a successful, handsome, sweet Black prince??? What problem does Disney have with that??? Disney wanted to bring this movie up to modern times, we all understand that. While at the same time using 2D animation, we get that. What the whole world wants to know is why these characters could not be portrayed in a more positive light? Then, even the Indian prince is a lazy, shiftless buck, who went from one woman to another.

    What about the sexual undertones? There are those of us who are trying to keep our young women PURE: in heart, in mind and indeed. This is supposed to be a CHILD’S movie, Disney! You do remember the children, don’t you!!! Some of the crap in this movie was MUCH TOO MUCH for a young mind to comprehend, from the perverted undertones, the voodoo, and the demons, to the transitions in the movie… so much raw sewage, it stinks!!!

    I am not usually one to write reviews at all, but I read some of them from time to time. This time, I was compelled to write, yet I find that there are no words I can think of to effectively express my disappointment and anger over how Disney has chosen to develop this film.

    I don’t know why we are so surprised… It has taken Disney all these years to finally come out with a black princess. This movie is nothing more than a depiction of what Disney, their friends and supporters REALLY THINK ABOUT PEOPLE OF COLOR!!! Let me say this for the record, I am NOT racist!!! And I am NOT playing the race card or pushing a Black racist agenda. I am not one of those people who think of everything in terms of color by accusing White people of constantly trying to “keep the black man down” and all that! That is NOT AT ALL what my anger, hurt and disappointment is about! Please don’t misinterpret my point. My point is that we live in a world of color, may beautiful colors, and different races and cultures of people. We all have SOMETHING of value from each culture to add to one another. Difference does not equal deficit, and yet so often it is portrayed that way. Every race has some types of people in it that one would rather not have representing the entire race. And it seems that at every opportunity the majority are forced to take a hit just by association and ultimately portrayed negatively by a few who don’t even know and don’t care to know, the rest of us! It is hurtful!

    As for me and my hard-earned money (as well as my community and my friends) Disney is HISTORY! We are not buying NONE of DISNEY’S CRAP, none of it! I don’t know who they are going to sell those toys, movies, stickers, dresses, whatever to, but we are NOT BUYING THAT GARGAGE! NONE OF IT!!! If Disney does not care about my Black babies, then it certainly does not deserve want my green money!

  • Lindsay

    Chandra, you are right on. I found the movie very offensive and inappropriate for my 6 year old daughter. The voo doo stuff was way over the top and unnecessary. The only part she really liked was the firefly. The stereotypes were really ridiculous, and I kept waiting for the black prince to appear, but no. I am not African-American, but I was really appalled that how they chose to portray the males in this movie. I understand there has to be a bad guy in every movie, but all of the evil and “other side” business was downright scary for kids.

  • Tired of Stereotyping

    If anyone looks at other Disney Movies and Princesses, rarely does the word disgust come to mind. I am highly offended by so many things. 1 Why does the first princess have to talk as if she were a slave? “Yes sir…mr. i shore hope you enjoy” reminds me of of “Yes sir boss, ias comin” That price has already been paid. Why are we made to pay it again? Instead of class, dignity, and respect. Racism is disguised as cartoons.And “since this is the first” in song and music. 2 Why does everything revolve around big behinds? Why does everyone including the firefly have to talk as if Black people are still slaves? 3 Vodoo….Come on? If you truly wanted to pay homeage to a long overdue slap in face, look at Aida.

  • Cheryl Taylor

    I am so glad there are other people who feel the way I do about this movie. I took my granddaughters yesterday and my four year old was terrified of the voodoo and shadow people from the other side! Is this really the way they want to portray the first beautiful black princess. I did not have a clue.

  • Robert

    Saw it yesterday with my wife and kind, and we all enjoyed it (though I suspect I liked it more than they did, since I got some of the local referenced in-jokes).

    I don’t know what to make of the complainers other than they’re either oversensitive or trolling. Tiana is a strong, independent woman who would be a perfect role model no matter what her ethnicity or background; she makes it very clear that she *doesn’t* want to be a pampered princess lazing around the castle all day. And could you imagine the blowback we would have heard if Prince Naveen — a womanizing, good-for-nothing lazy spoiled brat — was black???

    As for the “excessive” voodoo references, I would expect nothing less from a movie set in Louisiana; it’s no more stereotypical than Dragons with Mulan, nature spirits with Pocahontas, or genies with Aladdin. And the movie does not portray voodoo only as a bad thing — or did everyone fall asleep before Mama Ogie showed up?

    Lighten up, folks. It’s a very good movie, so just enjoy it for that.