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Good News: The Princess and the Frog trailer

Disney has posted a teaser trailer for their return to hand drawn animated feature films, The Princess And The Frog. If the film is as hot as The Princess, then we’ve got something great to look forward to.

  • The animation looks great in the trailer alone. Hopefully this film does well enough to garner some public interest in hand drawn animation again. Can’t say it looks like the most inventive story yet, but that’s only now. Can’t wait to see how this movie turns out next year.

  • *sigh* yes :)

    It looks really nice. Hopefully getting back to those good’ol Disney days…

  • P.C. Unfunny

    I like it. Looks funny and charming.

  • Bob


  • It looks okay. Nothing much to judge by.

    I do have one reservation – animated movies these days seem to be too “designed”, not visually, but marketing-wise. It probably has to do with the fact that they take so long to make, but each movie, whether it’s a Kung Fu Panda, Bolt, Wall-E or the one above seems to create a sort of mythos surrounding the project and it makes it harder for me, as a film enthusiast, to be more objective about it.

    I don’t know if other film buffs have been experiencing the same thing lately. I dunno. Maybe it’s just the Comic-Con hangover.

  • What prompted their return to traditional drawn animation? I’m not complaining, I’m legitimately excited about the prospect, but I’m curious as to what changed internally to make them receptive to this style again. Is this Lasseter’s doing? If so, thank you John Lasseter!

  • Did anyone notice that the frog looks just like Randy Newman?

  • Jamie

    I just wish it didn’t feel so *safe*. Nothing about the posing or deisgn made me feel like I was seeing something new, which does sadden me. Hoping that the film itself delivers more than just the neutered rehash of the past that this trailer seems to be presenting…

  • K.Borcz

    Ooh looks nice!

  • 2009 CAN’T get here fast enough.

  • Sean D.

    What is it about 2D animation that demands the inclusion of music and princesses?

    I’m happy to see hand drawn animation not dead, but it would be nice to see the medium treading new ground… there’s got to be some middle ground to cover between Akira and Beauty and the Beast… right? More Iron Giants? Lilo and Stitches?

  • Marcus

    Visually, it looks like they’re picking up right from where they left off. I suppose that’s probably the safest way to re-introduce people to hand-drawn features.

  • Looks like they just picked up from where they left off. Would have been nice if they had gone for a more interesting 2D style. But then again, the public will love this, I’m sure.
    (The insect character looks a bit “Bluthy” to me)

  • Danielle

    I didn’t realize just how much I missed the old Disney style until I saw this! Looking good so far!

  • I love that fire fly character! I can’t wait to see more…

  • Mac

    Hooray! This looks good! I really want Disney to get back to doing 2D films, but most of what I’d heard about Princess and the Frog made me feel like they were just retreading old ground. Luckily, this trailer has changed my mind. Sure it seems to be a good old fashioned Disney fairytale, but one that had a good chance of being special and unique. Looking forward to seeing more!

  • acetate

    Yummy. More please.

  • She is a true beauty….and i can NOT wait!!

    And i pray to GOD that the Grand Opening is here (in N.O.) like “Hunchback!” It was truly one of the fondest memories of my life!

  • John A

    Now THIS is more like it. I don’t know anything about this project, but it looks like they’re trying to apologize for veering so far off course in recent years. Does it look like they’re playing it safe? Sure, it does, but that may not necessarily be a bad thing. Get back to your roots, THEN experiment.

  • It’s pretty. It’s Disney, with all its faults and plusses. I hope this works, and that Disney is able to revive drawn animation as a viable art form. The fact that Randy Newman is writing the music gives me a lot of hope…he’s wonderful, he reinvented music for animated features with his songs and score for Toy Story, and he definitely has an affinity for the music of N’awlins. John Lasseter is rolling the dice here, and hopefully they’ll come up Seven.

  • Why does Disney always make musical-movies? And why do they seem to play it safe by using an already existing fairytale? Pixar’s success comes from inventive, original storytelling. If this movie flops, it won’t be because of 2D. The firefly and frog look great, but the princess design is so stale. Disney should watch Triplets of Belleville for some inspring design.

  • Jess

    it was good up *until* the firefly :(

  • Mike

    i like that it’s 2D…but that’s all i liked about it..

  • Keith Bryant

    Hmmm… Set in the French Quarter in New Orleans. Could there be a tie-in already planned for New Orleans Square in Disneyland?

  • Chuck R.

    You fanboys don’t get it. Disney (unlike Pixar) is a multimedia conglomerate first and an entertainment company second. The films exist to provide fodder for marketing and sales and right now their biggest franchise is “Disney Princesses.” The Princess and the Frog’s main job is to get an African American onto that lucrative roster.

    If it sounds like I’m being cynical, I’m not. My oldest daughter is adopted Chinese, and (Mulan’s heroics notwithstanding) she’s a Cinderella nut and likely to stay that way. I’m very glad that frustrated African-American parents will at least have the option to buy their girls dolls with dark skin under their gowns and tiaras. They’ve waited a long time.

    It will be very interesting to see how John Lasseter (who still bats a hundred) navigates this PC minefield. Aladdin bothered a lot of Middle-Eastern folks; Pocahontas didn’t impress anyone, and frankly, this trailer looks as bland and unexceptional as can be imagined. It’s bland by design, people. It’s all about the dolls and pillowcases.

  • Angry Anim

    I want it to be huge but, like a few people have mentioned before, I also think it looks like they’re picking up right where they left off which may not be a good thing.

    I think the public is just tired of this type of design. And not just character design, but also that type of animation acting. Disney didn’t give it time to be away long enough to make a comeback… it’s still constantly in the public eye. Lilo and Stitch didn’t come out THAT long ago…

    With all the new ground that’s possible– the Kung Fu Panda titles and that new Jamie Hewlett stuff being excellent examples– it’s kinda disappointing that Disney would choose to go this route.

    But still… I still want this to be huge! I would hate for this to tank and for the studio to just play the old “there’s no audience for traditional” card.

  • “Why does Disney always make musical-movies? ”

    Do they ?

    This movie probably has some songs in it (which doesn’t necessarily make it a musical . Was Toy Story a musical because it had songs playing during certain sequences ? Was Triplets of Belleville a musical with the songs sung in that movie ? ) but you wouldn’t know it was a musical just from this trailer.

    Very exciting to see some hand-drawn work from Disney again.
    Looking forward to seeing it !

  • Tom Pope

    For better or worse (and there’s some of both), I just flashed back to the mid-nineties.

  • well.. wish i shared the enthusiasm od some. There’s that same old disney girl that was fresh in little mermaid, and is now decades stale. Oh, look another “eye crinkle”. I liked the little line under the eyes in little mermaid. i put up with the 200 instances of it in every disney female character since. But this is.. wholly uninspired. the background is pretty. Hope there’s a story, beacuse as much as i love 2d animation, this looks like The Same Old Thing.

  • Don Walters

    Did you know that Mark Henn is the Julia Roberts of 2D animation?
    It’s true. Ask him.

  • Tom Pope

    “It will be very interesting to see how John Lasseter (who still bats a hundred) navigates this PC minefield.”
    Man, I hate to be nit-picky here, but batting a THOUSAND (which JL is indeed doing) is preferable.

  • Disney Clone

    Chuck R. @ 10:15 just hit the nail on the head.
    Lots of eyecandy and formula animation going on.
    If the film is a mildly succesful it should make the Disney
    stock jump up a bit, which its all about. Its not
    about telling an interesting original/story but rather
    targeting a certain market. Turn on the autopilot and
    dont forget your blinders crew!

    Looks nice nonetheless. So much for pushing the medium into
    new territory. Good luck to the crew on future 2D projects.

  • Tommy

    I hope this is a big hit,
    and I hope it isn’t as lame as that trailer.

    One joke, the same joke, the same joke, explaining the joke, the same joke again while explaining the joke.

    The princess looks awesome though.

  • Tissa Tack

    Well, I’m excited, for one. Even if it’s not Little Mermaid quality, it’s a step in the right direction, in my opinion. Would it be cool if they veered away from princesses? Yeah, probably. But I think they’re playing a really safe game here by going back to the well. Let’s hope this does well enough to where they’ll be comfortable with branching out in the future.

  • elan

    Hmm. This, as beautifully animated as it is…..was sort of boring and kind of….akward. Like, the acting and dialogue seemed off…like the timing was weird. I cant put my finger on it.

    I’m looking more forward to Bolt, actually.

  • Return to Cheese in 2009. Yay.

  • Mel Beane

    This looks great? Please explain HOW? Won’t the impending release of Little Mermaid 3 be a enough entertainment for you?

    This truly is EXACTLY why Disney stopped making traditional films. Do I even need to say it’s bland all around, trying to be clever and failing miserably? Nothing is remotely new here- Recycled designs from 1991 and awful acting and, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, find someone that acts and talks this way in reality. It’s impossible. Getting two old, yes, I SAID OLD, out of touch directors to direct this movie was a great idea. They’ve never failed before. Oh wait…

    I want to see an american traditionally animated movie as much as the next person but this is has to be a giant mis-step in the wrong direction. Then again, I haven’t seen the whole movie. But I really don’t enjoy being talked down to for 80 minutes straight.

  • TheAnimator

    As an upcoming 2D animator I’m really excited for this. This could possibly be what the 2D field needs to get back on track. Bringing back industry to the main studios of today. Here’s to hoping this movie is as good as the trailer.

  • Magnusson

    This looks like it’s going to be horribly forgettable.

  • All this analysis and moaning over a few seconds that probably aren’t even a scene in the movie.

    It does look like they are picking up where they left off. As if that is such a bad starting point. Better that than picking up at “Robin Hood” or “The Aristocats”

    That one frame at the top of the post made me think “Geez, what a blatant stereotype…” but it turns out to be just an extreme.

  • Goooooo Mark Henn! You still got it, buddy! Those computers didn’t kill your mad skills!

  • Spencer

    Yes! Finally some 2D animation. All these 3D cartoons were starting to feel like the same thing.

  • corey cartoon elite

    In retort to these “why are they doing the regular Disney bland princess story/style”…

    It seems like a smart move strategically to me. The public hasn’t seen a hand drawn Disney movie in years. They’re making a comeback, of sorts. This isn’t a time to be experimental, it’s a time for Disney to be as Disney as possible, get interest again… then maybe they will have room to experiment a bit.

    In other words, why would they risk doing something different? People would end up flocking to see Disney’s return to hand drawn only to get something they weren’t expecting & didn’t want to see.

    Give it time.

  • Kris

    Hard to make a judgment call based on a teaser trailer, but I have to say, I’m excited. The drawing is very ’90s Disney style, but it looks nice. One of the main things I’ve heard about this movie is that it’s set in the ’20s with a New Orleans jazz soundtrack, which are two points in its favor already.

    I’m not expecting this movie to be great, but I’m expecting it to be fun and good enough to make Disney realize that pencil-drawn animation can be profitable. I’m much more excited about The Princess and the Frog than I am about Bolt. (I don’t really want to watch Buzz Lightyear: Dog Edition, so I probably won’t be seeing Bolt at all unless critical reception points to it being a lot better than it looks.)

  • I’m happy to see hand drawn animation not dead, but it would be nice to see the medium treading new ground… there’s got to be some middle ground to cover between Akira and Beauty and the Beast… right? More Iron Giants? Lilo and Stitches?

    Disney tried that already – Atlantis and Treasure Planet both bombed compared to Disney’s bigger hits, so I’m not in the least bit surprised they’re playing safe with a Princess movie.
    Disney have said repeatedly they want to get back to old-school fairytales, which, oh hey, is what Disney Feature Animation was BUILT upon 70 years ago.
    Disney have Pixar for the interesting stories and that isn’t going to stop. If they want to make a princess movie(or two, let’s not forget Rapunzel) for little girls to squee over, it will make them gobs of money and encourage more 2D features after this, so power to them.

    If you want 2D animated features with interesting things to offer, nag Pixar to get some scribblers on board and have THEM make one.

  • I liked it much better than the “Up” teaser from a few posts ago.

  • “This movie probably has some songs in it (which doesn’t necessarily make it a musical . Was Toy Story a musical because it had songs playing during certain sequences ? Was Triplets of Belleville a musical with the songs sung in that movie ? ) but you wouldn’t know it was a musical just from this trailer.”

    Uh, but I think it’s fair to quote disney’s website: “Walt Disney Animation presents a musical”.
    I understand knee jerk Disney defense, but this IS. A. Musical. Per the studio.

  • Celia

    Ask any girl under the age of 7 what they’re into, and they will tell you “Disney Princesses”.

    Disney: “Uh oh, we forgot to make a black princess! Quick, lets make a movie about one! Of course, we will just use the standard Disney princess model and make the skin dark! The kids will love it!”

    I apologize for the snarkiness. This film shows great draftsmanship, but please, can’t Disney make a movie I want to see? (I’m not a princess loving 5 year old)

  • greg m.

    The ‘avoid kissing the frog’ bit went on far too long for my tastes. I hope they come out with another trailer that is shorter, more intriguing and packing a punch!

  • acetate

    I don’t get it guys, whats wrong with musicals? I miss having a fun new soundtrack to buy. I still listen to the Alladin cd while I’m drawing. There’s alot of good tunes in Disney’s history. “I wanna be like you”, “Cruella DeVille” etc. Nice stuff. If you remember Disney skipped musicals with Atlantis and Treasure Planet and tried to mix it up a bit with some adventure. Still… I need a new soundtrack. I can’t wait.

  • Justin

    For those who are/were wishing that this movie is going to push the boundaries of animation and show something new and unique, just look at who’s making it. It is directed by Ron Clements and Jon Musker with animation by Andreas Deja, Mark Henn, Eric Goldberg, and many others. You are going to see the same style of character design and animation that you saw in their previous movies. I personally don’t see anything wrong with that. I enjoyed their previous movies.

  • elan

    >(I don’t really want to watch Buzz Lightyear: Dog Edition, so I probably won’t be seeing Bolt at all unless critical reception points to it being a lot better than it looks.)<

    Do a google search for Disney’s Bolt at ComicCon. Lots of praise being heaped on it, actually.

    And I agree. Princess and the Frog looks better than Up, in my opinion.

  • purin

    Well, I STILL miss that flapper production sketch.

    I think it’s sweet. I generally hate trailers these days, but I love the concept of the short teaser spot that has a scene that hints at the movie while also being a self-contained little mini-short. The colors are pleasing, the design, while not daringly designed, is pleasing (I loved the frog’s little balled up fists). The music, Tiana’s voice and mannerisms, are very sweet and pleasing. I detect no “tude” from her. We’re beyond passive, ideal ladies as princesses, but a lot of things produced by Disney suggest empowerment means loads of snark (think about how Hannah Montana would have said those lines).

    Also! She has dimples. I have dimples! I approve!

    Anyway, princesses may be kinda overdone, and the style is “standard,” but… lots of us just eat that stuff up! I grew up on princesses and fairy tales, and I’m fresh for some nostalgic “new” things. Sure, they may not necessarily understand art or animation, but, you know, they are the viewers! You can’t really hold it against them. Art is a careful balance between the will of the artist and the customer.

    That being said… We’ve seen the downfall of movies that played it too safe, and the downfall of movies that got too daring in the wrong ways (If you ask me, it’s because they were daring in one way while also playing it safe in the wrong places, making a bizarre-yet-sterilized-mess). I hope they push and pull in the write places, because this could be very good.

  • grohgnon

    Seems pretty nice. Some people Like Pixar doing Pixar films with the Pixar’s touch, Myazaki doing that good old Myazaki Stuff again and again and can’t stand Disney making it Disney s syle. I wonder why .

  • I really hope they can bring something new to the table, reinvent the genre the way Howard Ashman did back in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Time for something fresh! Looks pretty, LOVE the firefly. Hope there’s lot’s of Critter Country type characters.

  • Chuck R.

    Justin, I love the work of all the great talents you mentioned, and I’ll never forget seeing the trailer to the Lion King for the first time. Everything about it was original and powerful. The big surprise was that the film was every bit as marketable as it was artful.

    Here I see a starry sky (sim. to but no better than Pinocchio’s) a balcony (Aladdin) overlooking a glimmering city (Ratatouille), a pert young princess (take your pick) interacting with indigenous fauna to the strains of Randy Newman. I don’t blame Disney for sticking to it’s core competency and I know trailers aren’t the full story, but seriously, how many cliches can you stuff into one short trailer? The only thing that is uncharted here is race, and I’m sure the Disney press kit will get a lot of mileage out of that.

  • Looks great to me !!! Lets hope its does great at the boxoffice !!!

  • slowtiger

    This looks old-fashioned in a nice way. I don’t mind princesses or fairy tales as long as they’re entertaining. Yes, One Froggy Evening was more advanced in design, and the princess looks like all other princesses. I will probably still enjoy it. Let’s see the movie.

    But as a teaser trailer this is just … disappointing, compared with the Wall-E teasers. They were fast, snappy, emotional. This is just like a PR text about Disney stocks.

  • I think some people have forgotten disney is primarily for ‘family entertainment’
    As much as I think all animators would like to see Disney make a ‘persepolis’ or ‘triplets of belleville’ its never gonna happen.

    I’m excited.
    I’m a burly man who eats steaks and trucks made of steaks for breakfast and even I love these girly disney fairytales.

    Its not like Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast were poor films. They were pretty great.

  • This comment is mainly concerning the “racial” question.

    Okay, I agree a lot with Sean D: we sould have more variety of themes and approaches in 2D animation.

    BUT this time I got the feeling that maybe we’re already putting too much prejudice on every Disney movement towards animation. Picture this: what if it were Pixar that had ANNOUNCED that they would be making a black protagonist animation set in New Orleans? I can hear everybody go “Oh wow, Pixar is great! They’re geniuses! They’re in the avant garde indeed.”

    Note: I do think Pixar is awesome, but you have to admit they also have their thematic range as well, or is it not? Of course, their stories scope may be more appealing to nowadays public, and that’s why they’re in focus.

    Now when Disney ANNOUNCES their next film is a black protagonist animation set in New Orleans, everone already raises their eyebrows.
    So let’s not forget that this MAY be a step foward, yes it MAY. It wasn’t Pixar that decided to make a black woman the story center. Absurd as it might sound, making this choice is already a change. Even today, and even in a movie that can be a repetition of a formula, this change in the color palette has to be noticed.

  • Jason

    *The ‘avoid kissing the frog’ bit went on far too long for my tastes. I hope they come out with another trailer that is shorter, more intriguing and packing a punch!*

    I agree, it wasn’t a very funny gag. But – the Princess is lovely, as is her voice, and the trailer overall was pretty good – a little bit of formula-based animation (which is a shame, hope the movie doesn’t have a lot of that). And the New Orleans setting, the music, and the bayou and sound of crickets just rocks. One caveat – that damn firefly. He is just plain obnoxious-looking – “Bluth” indeed! Yech. Hope that gets changed. I can’t imagine watching a film with THAT character flitting around in it.

  • Lori

    I don’t understand the critiques over unoriginal story material or sources. Since the beginning, Disney features have been based upon already existing stories, whether by Barre, Kipling, Collodi, Shakespeare, Anderson, etc. Fairy tales and fables are probably the most universal medium for storytelling because almost every culture has a variation on similar themes.

    Right now it seems that the industry and the public is putting Pixar on the same pedestal that it put Walt Disney on in the 40s, and they’re starting to fall into comfort zones as well.

    As far as this film goes, I’m looking forward to it both as a 2D animator and as a huge Disney fan. I may have become a more cynical, heavy steady roller, but Disney fairy tales still get me in all the ways that they’re intended to.

  • Andrew

    It definitely has that humor from Jon Musker and Ron Clements! But I just wish that, along with the return to 2D and the fairy tale feeling, it would NOT reference itself as a fairy tale and take itself more seriously. This should probably be for marketing reasons, as it IS a teaser after all.

  • Great animation. Maddy— er, Tiana looks and acts like the kind of character lots of online junkies waste time writing fanfics about, which can’t hurt.
    But the firefly… not only is he annoying, but according to the online synopsis, he’s lovesick. We’re obviously going to get a lot of him, and we’re going to get a lot of him loudly in love.

  • Eric B

    Did the firefly strike anyone as being..I don’t know….stereotypical of elderly african-americans?

  • Looks like fun… but I’m getting sick of hearing Newman’s music.

  • Jeff “Unca Jeffy” Overturf

    It does indeed look good. As for folks tired of Randy Newman’s music…huuuurm…I am just really, really, really, really, really glad they aren’t using Elton John or Phil Collins shite! Randy is a great lyricist and Dr. John sounded great in the trailer singing!

  • The Obvious

    Eric B,

    I think it’s supposed to be a cajun accent.

  • It looks…okay. It’s just too little to judge but I think the designs are ok, they didn’t make the girl “odd” cause she’s black. Most racial characters in 90s Disney had odd facial features, strangely angular designs…even the human characters in Lilo and Stitch had some odd features, like big noses, though maybe that was Sanders’ style.

    Is it just me or they look a little like a tamer version of Coal Black, Michigan J Frog (in his normal frog facet) and Peter Lorre’s caricatures from Looney Tunes?

  • Chris J.

    I’ll agree with those that thought the gag fell a little flat, and the bug character didn’t engage me at all, but it’s a bit early to judge this movie, don’t you think?

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with the Disney “style.” As with everything artistic, it’s about execution. Sometimes you get The Lion King. Sometimes you get Hercules.

    For those wishing for edgier main-stream animation, however, surely you understand that it’s NOT going to come from Disney, even with J.L. at the helm. As much as it may pain you, keep your eyes on the chaps using Flash and Toon Boom for that. If American audiences ever embrace an adult-oriented animated film, it’s going to be one that was made over the course of five years by two or three animators using Wacom tablets in a studio apartment somewhere who manage to get it into a respectable film festival and then sell it to someone like Harvey Weinstein.

  • James N.

    The animation looks wonderful. I loved the animation on the firefly and the frog especially.
    I’m looking forward to seeing this a lot more then Bolt (not that Bolt looks bad or anything… ).

    I really hope this does well so Disney will continue to make more traditionally animated movies. Plus Musker and Clements are directing and their movies are always a lot of fun.

  • Soooooo you’re saying the firefly looks like me? (Just kidding, guys.)

    Anyway, I’m stoked on this film. Especially after visiting the Mouse House on Tuesday and seeing this stuff up close.

    Welcome back Disney. You’ve got a great film here.

  • Eric B: I thought it was just me with the firefly, so I didn’t say anything. A quick Google check shows awesome firefly hate—literally thousands of anti-firefly screeds penned today.

  • Andre

    I do like the trailer a lot- it’s moreso just a tease, as I imagine Disney’s still hard at work on the more complex scenes- still, it reminds me of the better teasers over Disneys years, such as the Stich ones and Pixar’s library. As for the kissing, what girl wants to kiss a frog? I’m guessing her Prince being a frog will lead to her having more agency, and Anika Noni Rose’s voice is just perfect for this character. I love that Disney didn’t stunt cast anything for this movie, using a lot of Broadway performers and character actors rather then whoever’s the current buzz.

    I’m also going to say that I do like the firefly- as a sidekick character, a little Cajun Firefly is quite cute [and he reminds me of accents from back home, though Acadian’s are a bit different from their US cousins. So he’s a French stereotype if you want specifics :)]. He’ll have an entire movie to either repel us or win us over, and will make for a cute plush toy……

  • Tira

    Please Disney, PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE Disney, don’t screw this up. It looks really lovely. :)

    Obligatory critique: this has been bugging me for awhile, but is the story supposed to be based on the Frog Prince or Frog Princess? They’re two different stories and things have been pretty vague.

  • Mr. Semaj

    Mid-90’s nostalgia ensues. :)

  • She ain’t that hot. Now Jessica Rabbit . . . schwing!

  • MattSullivan

    I hate to say it ( as a 2D animator I REALLY hate to say it ) but…

    i kinda wish it were 3D.

  • I liked the firefly most of all. He was interesting to look at, his voice was nice and cartoony and the animated performance was kinda interesting. The frog was cool, too. What can I say? I think if you’re going to do hand drawn animation then use it to do things that other mediums (CG) can’t do as well- and right now loose exaggerated cartoony animation is still worlds better looking drawn by hand than crafted by pixels. Just sayin’.

  • scoriotsm

    Hey Mr. Norman,

    You said you saw this up close? How much? The entire movie? So does it look like buying Pixar to bring in Lasseter to rescue the animation department was a good thing?

    What’s the word from the other animators, Mr. Norman?

  • Jerry wrote, “If the film is as hot as the princess…”


  • Altred Ego

    As a black animation artist, I have to say that racial designs are tricky at best. This is, unfortunately, a large reason why there are so few.

    If they make a black character busty and seductive, then it can be seen as though they are trying to suggest that *all* black women are promiscuous.

    If they make a black character goofy, even if he is the established comic relief character necessary for the plot, it seems as a slight against black people in general.

    The problem is that BECAUSE there are so few, everything becomes overly symbolic and representative. I think that’s why this film looks so bland. The only way to avoid offending the most amount of people is to make it so generic that no one could reasonably expect to have a problem with it. There are so many restrictions to making ‘ethnic’ films that many people just stay away.

    As for the fly, I think they were going for Cajun (white or black). It didn’t read one way or the other to me.

    It’s difficult because north american media is very white. It’s not a judgment call, it is a fact. Glance over the top 10 movies this summer and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Some racial portrayal is abysmal (ie. Transformers/Iron Man) while others are fantastic (TDK).
    That’s why there is such a hyper-sensitivity to non-white representation. There are no “buffer” films. No black Matrix. There are no original/imaginative stories with non-white leads. So because there aren’t any black/asian movies that don’t suck (made in North America) then people get really sensitive when what little representation they do have is terrible (ie. Rush Hour).

    Personally, I don’t hate this film. It could be better, it could be much much worse. I think the fly character is awful, but I hate that type of goofy “comedy” in general (rural jokes). I’d like to tip my hat to one of the earlier posters who understood the frustration of African American parents regarding the ‘princess’ issue. It’s not often that you read that type of understanding of another person’s issue on a message board.


  • PorkyMills

    Altred Ego, thanks for the very insightful and informative post.

    I’m really liked the look of this film. I’ve seen stills of the crocodile and the background art takes me back to the golden age of Disney movies. Let’s not forget that Disney started its legacy with a princess movie, I’d say this has plenty of opportunity to make a refreshing princess movie. With the two directors at helm, I’m even more excited.

  • Tsimone Tse Tse

    Had this teaser been posted as only a pencil test – without a title, Disney name or music – it would have looked like the work from a very strong animation student who knew how to cover all the bases.
    It seems from the above posts that people were expecting the “Second Coming” (or third or whatever..)

    However, my daughters can’t WAIT for this movie.
    And the 2-D industry needs this one.

    If de ghost of Madam Marie LaVeue is in this film then de might have something, y’all.

  • PFR

    This is Disney’s chance to wipe the slate clean and re-Define what Main stream 2d animation can be…They have an entire company with some of the most talented people in the world and the support of an entire industry waiting and wanting a new traditional animated movie and they choose to bring back the DAMN PRINCESS GENRE!

  • Chuck R.

    Altred Ego, Thanks for your comment. An earlier commenter complained about the designs in Lilo and Stitch (“odd”, “noses too big”) I couldn’t disagree more.

    Lilo and Stitch succeeds on many levels, not the least of which is the way it glides high over many gender/ethnic taboos (Kapus?) It’s mind-blowing that two white male directors would endeavor to tell a story with two central characters who are both ethnic minorities and female. Sanders and DeBlois had every reason to shrink back, but they chose to give Nani a wide flat nose, Asian eyes, a thick lower lip, wide hips, and a temper that sometimes flares. They got away with it, because they did their homework and filled the entire story with authentic details and they gave the characters a incredible amount of sincerity and warmth. (read: no marketing string-pulling) On top of it, the movie is a riot. Much of it comes from the sci-fi elements, but the scenes of the sisters fighting is as entertaining and original as anything Disney has ever done.

    The template is there to make an entertaining AND LUCRATIVE film with ethnic characters. They should just put Chris San…..oops. Sorry, they can’t.

  • I love Lilo and Stitch, it’s my fave Disney movies in recent times and I love most of the characters design and animation. I love some aspects in Nani and Lilo and some of their facial expressions, and the overall look of the movie. I also couldn’t care less about racial stereotypes or political correctness (the only offensive joke in CoalBlack is the “Japs” gag). I was only pointing out that in classic cartoons they usually draw people with rounded forms and somehow in the modern Disney, especially when there is an ethnic character, they have some odd features, like angular of flat noses. I’m not a big fan of that, but as long as the rest of the character is well drawn and funny to look at and the movie is as good as Lilo and Stitch was it’s a minor detail. Lilo is very cute and Nani’s shape is sexy but in a distinctive way and they are both very good characters.

    I wasn’t crazy about Colette’s design in Ratatouille either.Linguini’s nose seem more adequate in a man but it looks a little odd in Colette to have a nose like that. Again they made him more pretty in animation, but the design itself was kind of weird. I love caricature and extreme facial features but that’s a type of design that would have never been used in 40s cartoons, for example. For me the “offensive” racial stereotypes were drawn with rounded forms that I find less strange for a cartoon face. Maybe the caricatures were a little too extreme sometimes but most of the white characters were usually very exaggerated as well.

  • Inkan1969

    You made an interesting choice of a still to represent the trailer. The one still where her lower skull gets so exaggerated that she really looks like a 1930’s cartoon caricature. She doesn’t look nearly as exaggerated in the rest of the trailer. Anyway, the trailer was cute, though I can’t get all that excited about a princess story. I agree with others on this board that “Lilo and Stitch” was groundbreaking in Disney presenting an original storyline, and in groundbreaking in its portrayal of non-WASP characters as full human beings.

  • Toska

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Disney fire its 2D animation department a long time back? So how can they claim to “return to the 2D” art form when they’re probably just replicating the style on computer?

  • “Goooooo Mark Henn! You still got it, buddy! Those computers didn’t kill your mad skills!”

    Hey Mr. Bancroft! Long time to see!

    Ooooh… yeah I forgot Mark Henn was working on this… he’s supervising the animation on Tiana right? He seems to have done a lot of good human characters.

  • Dave (Odd)

    If they value their sanity, Disney animators have already stopped reading (or can at least blame their own masochism for reading this far), so I can air my complaint to the wind (Although before I do, way to go on the firefly!! Really, Wow. Love him! I wanna hug him til he pops!) (But) —

    Why must animation of female leads never include anything remotely approaching frowning? It causes the face to look as if it were dipped in liquid carbon dioxide.

    OK I know the studio reason. But . . . people frown. Even when they’re happyhappyhappy, the happiest they’ve ever been, they frown here and there. Frowning guides movement. It’s like an anchor of realism. It’s like taking a breath. It’s like a dash of salt in the middle of a pure sugar high.

    And while you’re giving your female lead realism, folks, Make Her Stop Moving for a sec. Give her some semblance of Actually Thinking before she Acts. Slowwwwwwwwww it down.

    That was cathartic. Thank you, Cartoon Brew. I’m so glad I can lecture people from the lower reaches of a popular thread! It’s like discovering a nice, echoey cave after miles of crawlspace.

  • Andre

    Toska – They’ve apparently rehired some of their past 2-D animators, some of whom had moved to their CGI division- it’s the same basic skills for a lot of the production. Much of the past layoffs came from their now closed Florida theatrical animation studio.

    As for “doing it all on computers” Disney has been using computers to colours cels since The Little Mermaid [whose end scene was done that way- it was the last film to use painted cels]. Apparently for Princess and the Frog, they’re using new software for cel painting/compositing though, but it’s still handdrawn animation, and the paint is still done by hand in a way- just with a stylus and pen rather then brush. The animation itself is all hand drawn

    As for replicating the style via CGI, that’s cel shading- like the recent Appleseed anime movies. It’s another style of animation altogether.

  • Toska: Yes they did, but you can’t replicate 2D animation on computer – you can do artwork an colouring with the help of a computer, but it can’t animate for you, in 2D or 3d or anyD. There’s no other way than to know how to use the pencil.

    This does look very pretty but very old-fashioned, like Disney are playing it safe as they tentatively return to their roots. I can’t blame them for being cautious at this stage but I would like to see these safe traditional movies alternate with more experimental ground-breaking stuff, as well as a more adventurous approach to design.

  • Lucky Jim

    “Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Disney fire its 2D animation department a long time back? So how can they claim to “return to the 2D” art form when they’re probably just replicating the style on computer?”

    Because they actually are hand drawing the film?

  • Margaret

    Nothing wrong with this teaser. It’s high time The Whitest Place on Earth featured a black heroine. How people can so quickly judge anything based on so short a clip reveals more about them than what is being condemned.

  • Kyle

    to those complainging about it looking too safe: think this is kind of needed for Disney’s big come back. you have to remember their last 2 hand drawn animated films Brother bear and Home on the Range didnt fare so well at the box office. (even though I love brother bear personally). they need to regain audiences trust as far is bringing hand drawn animation back into theaters and this is the thing to do it. besides, its been how long since we’ve last had a singing princess? 10 years?

  • Angry Anim

    “So how can they claim to “return to the 2D” art form when they’re probably just replicating the style on computer?”

    It’s really 2D, Toska… drawings on paper. They hired back a lot of old faces and are training a bunch of new ones.

    Down with computers!

  • Billy Bob

    although it’s SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO done before. It’s cute.

    It’s good to see the dance of pencil on paper again.

  • Robert Schaad

    Nice! A more cartoony feel than more recent excursions. I hope that the voices are done by great voice “characterization” actors rather than name brand sitcom actors.

  • Jo

    The only thing that bothers me in the animation is that Tiana’s hand holding the frog seems weirdly stationary- as though they’re animating her to conform to her hand position. But other than that tiny nothing of a complaint, I’m really charmed by this trailer, and I’m surprised by the amount of venom it has generated.

  • Alex

    She shouldn’t give in to bullies.

  • I agree with Altered Ego:

    “If they make a black character busty and seductive, then it can be seen as though they are trying to suggest that *all* black women are promiscuous.

    If they make a black character goofy, even if he is the established comic relief character necessary for the plot, it seems as a slight against black people in general.”

    This is why I believe if Disney is going to give us a black princess, she should be in a film with an all-black cast. That way, you can see a broad spectrum of character types.

  • Andre

    Margaret- This is actually the 2nd time Disney did a black princess, but the first time it resulted in an animated film.
    The musical Aida evolved from their initial development and work with Elton John in the 90’s. They’re apparently working on a live action version of it.

    There’s also Jasmine, Mulan, Pochahontas, Esmerelda in Hunchback, Princess Kida [voiced by Cree Summer, who I hope gets in another Disney or Pixar movie someday, as she’s one of the best VA’s out there, and probably my favorite] in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo and Nani, the Proud Family……

    Mind you all that aside, it still is about time we got an African-American lead in a Disney animated theatrical film, and it’s too bad earlier attempts like Aida didn’t come about, but that’s just part of making feature animation I guess.

  • AutisticAnimator

    Maybe they’ve gone the whole nine yards and made this teaser trailer that has no scenes intended to be placed into the film like these Pixar and other 3d studios are doing?

  • The Obvious

    Altred Ego and Chuck R.,

    BRILLIANT posts!

    Just had to send some love.

  • Paul

    I don’t like Randy Newman’s music. I’ve always loved Menken’s work. I think it made sense to make a departure, but not by taking Newman instead!

    I’ve always been a Disney fan. and animation fan. I had high hopes in the mid 90’s. but not lately. I don’t like what animation is about nowadays. how it’s made, how decisions are made. non-original songs. same gags over and over again. too much talking with loud, tiring talkative characters (feature animation shouldn’t be like TV). stupid cameo stuffing. stars voicing characters. irrational crave for Pixar and Dreamworks. people always complained about Disney formula. don’t they see how formulaic pixar films are? I’m afaid this frog thing movie will have some of these wrong elements in it in addition to the good old ones. I know I don’t expect anything good anymore from Disney or anyone else in Hollywood in terms of animation.

  • Chuck R.

    “don’t they see how formulaic pixar films are?”

    In the early 90’s, this trailer might have pushed my buttons. Thanks to Pixar (and Miyazaki, Sanders and Park) it looks tired.

    After the fourth Pixar offering with a Randy Newman score, John Lasseter (to his great credit) had the presence of mind to see patterns creeping into the Pixar canon. So he hired Brad Bird to shake things up. Cars was a return to formula, but I think the contractual obligations with Disney can be blamed for that. There is a consistency in visual style, tone and excellence in all of Pixar’s films, but to quibble with this is like complaining that all David Lean’s films are epic.

    I agree on the music: I like Randy Newman, but it will be a shame if Disney can’t tap the wealth of music NOLA has given us and provide something to peel the paint off the French Quarter: the Dirty Dozen, Rebirth Brass Band —even a tribute to Professor Longhair or Jelly Roll would be nice.

  • “Don’t they see how formulaic Pixar films are?”

    Pixar has its formula, but their formulaic elements are a lot less apparent than Disney’s formulaic elements. Explain how Pixar is more formulaic. In most of 90s Disney there is always a couple of man and woman lead characters and a comic relief in the form of an animal. Also a villain. All films included songs and those songs almost always went like this: the villain song, the love song, the comic relief song and some melancholic song the lead character has.

    Pixar has a tendency to make “buddy movies”. Other than that and some simmilarities in the tone of the stories they don’t have a lot of evident formulaic elements.

    A good Disney movie is as good as a good Pixar one but the thing I appreciate about Pixar is that they change their subject more often. Classic Disney used to have a wider range of subjects (Dumbo was quite different from Alice In Wonderland, and they’re both very different from Cinderella), but in most of their recent efforts they used to include a villain or a love story even if they weren’t the main subjects in the story they were adapting.

  • I’m just worried that the entire future of hand-drawn animation basically rests on one movie. What IF, and I mean IF, it tanks and takes the whole industry down with it. All the suits will say, well we were right all along, kill it.

    Wouldn’t have made more sense to have a couple of hand-drawn films in the pipeline that were all very different from each other.

    This is what worries me.

    (P.S. Lilo and Stitch was sublimly suberb)

  • Patrick Collins

    All I can say is how resoundingly lame this whole misadventure looks. People are talking about Disney picking up where they left off? Sorry, but this is sub mermaid, which if memory serves was from the eighties. Any of the daring design choices made by Disney post Aladdin (Mulan, Hercules, Treasure Planet, Atlantis) seem eschewed in favour of something that was old hat even when it was in vogue. This smells like a lesser studio trying to “do” Disney (ala Quest for Camelot), rather than the trail blazing Disney that brought us Sleeping Beauty- in the 1950’s!! The less said about the stock acting and flat humour the better. I really wanted to love this, but it only confirms how this art form will continue to be misunderstood by the powers that be in the mouse house, and I fear it’s failure to ignite the box-office will only confirm to the same powers that be how right they were to kill it off in the first place.

  • Thanks for bringing up “Aida”, Andre. In my opinion, it was Disney’s best shot for a animated feature with black leads. Too bad they didn’t follow through with it as a film.

  • dwdirt

    The princess and frog animation in the teaser is way too overdone with things moving for no reason and arcs pushed to far. The princess’ head arc on the first kiss feels a little too much and the head nod after could be tighter. The frogs overlap after the side kiss is insane in a bad way. Is it true that Mark Henn animated the princess in the teaser? Who animated the Frog in the teaser? I grew up watching Disney Animation to study the craft. I feel bad for those growing up now having to watch this trainwreck.

  • I agree some movements seem a little overdone and we don’t see spectacular animation there, but I kinda like the cartoony look it has, that makes the princess look more like part of the universe of the frog and the firefly instead of separate creatures, like most other Disney films in the 90s did. I also like the black girl design because of the more rounded aspects instead of the angular thing-y that I mentoned before.

    So even though it does look a little like a more modest studio doing the film that doesn’t mean it’s so bad. I am not about the exaggerated movements that are a little in the middle of realistic or cartoony, so they seem artificial in either way, but I do like the designs and some of the character facial expressions quite a bit. It’s too soon to judge, but I think it’ll work fine.

  • Nicely drawn – though the southern voices are confusing me. I didn’t know that Alabama had any princesses. The backdrop looks great – but I can’t pick where it is. Any guesses on where this animation is to be set? Or perhaps she’s not a princess at all, but at a fancy dress party of the like?

  • Chuck R.

    Kyle, Good question. The setting is New Orleans (NOLA, The Big Easy, the Crescent City, N’awlins, etc) It’s an excellent choice for animation, since it has a lot of European trappings (Degas lived there for a short time) great geography (rivers and swamps) and a very rich cultural legacy (parades riverboats, food, and jazz. Disney had a similar setting in the Rescuers, but it was an junked riverboat in an unnamed location.

    For those who say Disney is going back to 1989, they are quite right. Not only did they resurrect princesses and musicals with “The Little Mermaid”, but rival Don Bluth released All Dogs Go to Heaven, set in: New Orleans in 1939.

    How they get a princess story out of it remains to be seen. It’s possible that Tiana belongs to the Zulu social club and she’s more a debutante than true royalty. Or maybe it’s fantasy and the frog has some influence over local politics, maybe he’s even responsible for Ray Nagin’s re-election, who knows.

    A Black American Princess isn’t entirely far-fetched, though, The last Royalty on American soil was a queen, she was black, and she even wrote a song that was prominently featured in a Disney film!

  • scoriotsm

    I’ve heard she meets a European prince and falls for him in the story. If they get married like all the other Disney films, then that would make her an actual princess.

    As for the “southern” accent thing. I come from the south and she sounds fine. No one should be too critical here.

  • David

    Am I the only sane person on this comments board that realizes that the Princess character talking in that thick Southern accent is all WRONG for New Orleans? I live here, grew up here, and I’m here to tell you folks that we don’t talk as if we just stepped out of a community theater production of “Gone With the Wind”. New Orleanians, for those of you who have read “Confederacy of Dunces”, talk more like New Yawkers and people from Da Bronx…they’re affectionately called Yats as in “Where y’at?”

    AS far that cajun firefly, I know many cajuns…and guess what? They have ALL of their teeth and don’t talk that way…more ridiculous stereotyping not just from Disney but Hollywood (Don’t get me started on The Waterboy!)…

    Wondering if they had any consultants on the film from down here?

  • Chris

    Cool…Im glad 2D is back at Disney im sick of CGI being around. The trailer is funny i gotta show my friends this

  • Marbles

    I REALLLY want to love this when it comes out, but this trailer is underwhelming. I mean, it’s cute and all, but I agree with the people who said the acting is generic and unconvincing. (I do feel like a hypocrite saying that because there’s that voice in my head snapping “Oh yeah, like YOU could do better!”)

    But it does seem like they’ve returned to the beaten path. It just seems like such a waste, if in fact that’s what’s happening. I mean, they’re setting it in 1930’s N’Orleans, for crissakes! And with a largely black cast! What potential! This could be so daring, different and fun. But this trailer suggests it’s just going ot be the 1990s redux. Someone above was right—another Howard Ashman needs to come along and shake things up, reinvent the genre again. I realize Disney’s strategy is probably “playing it safe”, and I suppose as a business they can’t be TOO villified for that, but it’s frustrating when you remember that “playing it safe” was the sort of thing that, for most of his career, gave Walt Disney hives.

  • This doesnt even look as good as the BAMBI sequel trailer did… and that was straight to DVD… im bored. 2D should be left to the french. The Annecy teaser/commercials are far more entertaining.

  • Jen

    I agree she doesn’t sound like she’s from New Orleans.

    I agree the Cajun firefly is ridiculous.

    I agree that an Aida adaptation would have been nice.

    But, I must say that I am pleased with the appearance of the character. She looks Black. I’d have only asked for kinkier hair.

  • I for one have to say I’m very, VERY pleased about this movie coming out! ^___^ I was captivated by the preview, and I know this will help ALL little girls, not just Black Americans, believe in themselves and know that any girl can be a princess. ^^ Thanks Disney, and I hope this movie becomes successful! ^_~