The Princess And the Frog (NY & LA) talkback

Opening in exclusive release today in New York and Los Angeles is Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. If you’ve seen it, please give us your thoughts in the comments below.


  • http://www.shadowandact.com Shadow And Act

    Well… I live in New York, and I would have seen it today, because I wanted to with my small family; but it’s only playing in one theatre, and ticket prices are puzzling! It’s playing at the Ziegfeld theatre – a magnificent theatre by all accounts – but I think charging $50 for each ticket is a tad too much – especially for a family of 4. The theatre’s website states that, along with the movie comes the “ultimate Disney experience,” whatever that means. But it doesn’t go into detail. I just want to see the movie, and the usual $12 ticket price is all I’m willing to pay. They offer a lower-priced ticket of $30 (still high IMHO), which is minus the “extras,” and seating is first-come/first-served with that price level.

    However, it seems like a lot of people are willing to overlook the cost, as all of today’s 5 screenings are sold out! Curious to read from those who did pay the price, and if it was worth it all.

    I’ll wait for to see it like the rest of America.

  • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/ Michael Sporn

    From a Disney Press Release, The Ultimate Disney experience includes in NY:

    Themed to the film’s setting, New Orleans , The Ultimate Disney Experience will feature something for the whole family.

    · PRINCESS POWER — All nine of the Disney princesses will come together for the first time ever, welcoming Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, Pocahontas, Jasmine, Mulan and of course, Disney’s newest princess, Tiana.

    · FUN ‘N GAMES — The Experience will feature opportunities to swing on ropes, climb trees, play games and race through the Bayou Adventure, plus a New Orleans’s Bead Toss, Naveen’s Leap Frog, video games and more.

    · MOVIE MAGIC – Guests can learn movie magic from real Disney animators who will be on hand teaching guests how to draw a character from the film.

    · PICTURE THIS – Guests can put themselves in the movie at Kodak photo locations. Kodak photographers will capture guests’ images and place them in a scene from the movie.

    Sounds like fun.

  • greg m.

    Whose getting paid the big bucks to teach kids how to animate at the NY gig??!

  • Mike Caracappa

    I saw it today.

    It felt like 90 minute vaudville show. The songs don’t contribute anything crucial to the plot except for things like: Lets sing about going down the street to Madame Odie! Let’s have Odie sing about the message of the film, only to have the main character not get it and render the song wasted. The villain was totally one dimensional, under developed, and easily defeated. So is Naveens servant. Naveen himself isnt revealed to being that self centered until he turns into a frog. But you don’t get any indication of that when he’s human. He’s actually hanging out with the townspeople, entertaining them. Its like he becomes a different persona entirely when he turns into a frog. Their whole adventure is overloaded with songs and no real threat, and in the process, Naveens “change” feels forced and unchallenged. Nothing happens to them, except they meet a bunch of goofy characters in the woods doing their schtick. And the sidekicks needs felt like they had nothing to do with the story except to bash you over the head with the message of the film. I thought Naveen and Tiana were boring. Tianas princess pal is probably the most likable character in the movie, but she never gets what she wanted by the end of the film! The movie has no real heart, and a ton of vaudville routines to distract the audience from the fact that it has nothing interesting to say to begin with. I suppose its a “safe” marketing gimmick, as long as the audience comes away entertained without really getting something out of it, the film will make its money back. But underneath all of the showpeices, this movie is hollow and empty. If this movie that’s meant to “save” 2D animation, it will be for all the wrong reasons.

  • http://kirbydream.com/ Leirin

    Wow. Really REALLY disappointed to hear that, Mike…

    Hopefully it will be different for me when I see it.

  • doop

    It was fantastic. I laughed and I even teared up. It’s not the greatest film Disney has ever blessed the earth with, but it good. It’s really good. As in great. The song numbers are toe-tapping good, and the pace of the movie keeps you interested for every minute. Maybe you’ll get the feeling the characters are changing too quickly, but you’ll love them anyway. The story treads familiar grounds, but it’s a Disney movie after all. A well made one.

  • http://MrFunsBlog Floyd Norman

    Ha!

    I couldn’t help but think of another film I worked on far too many years ago. It was called, “The Jungle Book,” and I heard much the same about it’s story problems. Years later, the film is regarded by many as a Disney classic. Who Knew?

    Anyway, “Frog” is not without its problems, but it’s a pretty damn good movie.

  • http://www.adamtoewsonline.com ADam

    Talk about 2 conflicting view points…

    Doop, can you go into more specific detail as you why you enjoyed the movie (i.e. character development, story progression, use of composition/color, etc.)? or maybe you just liked it, just because.

  • Danny R. Santos

    Heard from someone that had seen it…..From one to ten, she gave it a 9. She loved the film but didn’t like the prince irresponcible personality.

  • VGREER

    Those of you that saw it could you comment on how you would rate it against other recent Disney 2D films like Brother Bear, Home on the Range or Treasure Planet?

  • Mike Caracappa

    Floyd, I wouldn’t put this in the same context as “The Jungle Book”. At least Walt knew the value of subtlety. Mowgli and Baloos friendship is what holds that movie together. Nobody was there bashing you over the head with a message about the value of friendship. You just watch it happen organically.

    Here, I got exausted watching this whole morality play about “being human”. The sidekicks all want to be “more human”. They sing TWO songs about it to see if Tiana gets it, and she doesn’t. It seems to be a bigger deal to spell out the message of the film to Tiana instead of just letting the characters progress and act on their own accord. Even the villain. What’s that guys story? Who was he before? Did he sell his soul? He’s apparently the guy who “sold out”, so he’s “not human!” That’s his whole purpose in the film and we never learn anything more than that about him. Heck, Jafar was more well rounded than this guy, and we got to see more faucets of his personality. The characters are all shoved into their roles with no room to move or really explore their personalities. The whole thing just feels calculated and lifeless for the purpose of creating a “Disney film”, with all the comforts of home of the classic Disney features, but wrapped in a different package. It doesn’t matter that it’s an African American princess film set in the Bayou, because apart from that they basically shoved a bunch of songs in, sidekicks, a mean one-sided villain, and a sad Snow White ending, the ingredients of the tried and true Disney film. And they also slap a big in your face message on the audience which basically keeps the characters in line without the chance of ever breaking out of that and exploring other sides of themselves. When you really watch the film, what the heck does Tiana see in Naveen? The threatening situations they’re put in are pretty miniscule. They’re so busy talking through most of the harrowing situations they’re faced with that they’re not really paying attention to what’s going on. So what’s forcing these characters to change? I don’t get it.

    It’s just forcing 2D to retread the same waters it always has, and not actually lead it to some new places. To paraphrase “American Beauty”, this film is boring and totaly ordinary. And I think the filmmakers know it.

  • http://MrFunsBlog Floyd Norman

    Thanks for the comments. I hear you loud and clear.

    But, keep in mind this is a commercial enterprise from a big shot main stream studio. If you’ve been in this business as long as I have, you’re probably aware of the “stuff” film makers have to go through just to get the damn movie done on time and on budget. No easy job, I assure you.

    Keep in mind that Ron and John were not working for “The Old Man” like we were. Different times, my friend. Very different times.

  • james madison

    I saw The Princess and The Frog at a screening prior to it’s release. I am sure there was nothing re-edited, and from what I saw, I enjoyed it.

    I liked the fact that they showed Tiana as a hard worker, someone who was independent. The filmmakers, showed how she was positively influenced by her father and to make her dreams happen opposed to her dreams manifesting through magic.

    Tiana’s human friend, Charlotte was very entertaining. The writers/animators went to extremes, good ones, to show her hyper personality. People will argue, how come they did not have Tiana as animated, well I think if they did, Tiana as the lead character would have become a “joke”. Not the character you would sympathize for.

    Prince Naveen’s character was more explored when he was transformed into the frog. His arrogance and naivete was well explored in his regards to women.

    I wish there was some more insight into the antagonist Dr. Facillier. I loved the design and voice acting, as well as the evil spirits, that at times did his bidding. There was enough to get he was the bad guy and ultimately what he was out to get, but it was such an intriguing character, and I wanted more. There was more mystery about him, which in itself is intriguing but I wanted a bit more.

    My only complaint was that I wish we could have seen more of Tiana as a human. You don’t get lost and forget the human in the film by no means, but I would rather have seen more of her as a human than a frog.

    As I said above, I saw this at a screening with press as well as randomly selected people outside the theater, and everyone laughed at the jokes, got the message and enjoyed the songs. In fact, some were clapping along to the songs, and the kids that were their loved it. At least they were enthusiastic.

    You will hear the complaints about there not being anything new, but this is a Disney movie. Their formula is their formula. That has not changed since Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. When Disney altered their formula with Atlantis, no one went to see it. There formula is, what it is.

    If we are looking for something else we have to put forth our own visions, because each studio has their formula. Warner Bros has more shoot ‘em up style adult themed movies, Paramount more action/adventure family style movies. That is there formula and they work within their foundation.

    I expect the same from Disney. Was The Princess and The Frog a great film, time will tell, but to me it was good and entertaining in their Disney way.

  • Grayson

    Sadly I live in Central Florida and didn’t get a chance to see it today. I’m planning to see it the day it opens nationally and cna’t wait to see it. I’m a little bit concerned it will be a Bluth-diseased film with atrocious acting, weak story, and annoying song but hope I can hear some encouraging things. We need from hand-drawn to come back and this is our chance people.

  • Jennifer

    Overall, it was a great film and it looked like a really nice effort on the productions teams’ part. Visually, it was absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t look away from the screen. The villain wasn’t explored enough, but he was easily one of my favorite characters. Tiana beats the audience over the head with the “hard work” routine, but she needed to be the mouthpiece for Disney that would say that their princesses don’t just lie around and wait for their lives to happen for them. In that sense, I can forgive her for being so preachy. The dialogue between Naveen and Tiana is fun and catchy, like two people who really are learning to deal with the others’ company and learning to eventually care for that other person. (Naveen’s part especially).

    It suffers a bit from having so many sidekicks and side stories. Ray’s I ended up enjoying the most, while Louis’s and Lawrence’s, weren’t as engaging. Charlotte was interesting enough to pay attention to and I felt for her somewhat, but I couldn’t get invested in her character.

    The soundtrack is – very – Randy Newman and depending on who you are you will love it or not. Dr. Facilier’s song and “Ma Belle Evangeline” were definitely the highlights for me. The others had awkward entry or didn’t feel as thought out.

    On a scale of one to ten, 8.5/10.

  • Sylvain

    sorry I’ll be blunt.

    I probably won’t see it at all unless I’m forced to. I read the comments here and I remember the exact same kind of comments that convinced me to see “Brother Bear”. Never again I will trust the same people again. A film being in 2D is not a reason to see it.

    If Ron and John still didn’t manage to get through the difficult upper management “stuff” to make a good film, does that mean the ridiculous 7.4 billions transaction that was supposed to save Disney… didn’t change a thing? What a surprise.

    All other “big shot mainstream” studios made some great films this year. Maybe it’s time Ron and John consider making a move.

    told you I’d be blunt ;-)

  • doop

    You put it pretty well James.

    Well, Sylvain, if you’re so easily swayed by two and a half comments then what about Frog’s current 88% rotten tomatoes rating as compared to Brother Bear’s 38%

    Don’t cheat yourself out of this movie that actually deserves a chance. I’ve seen them all. This movie is not a Brother Bear. It is not Treasure Planet. It is not a Home on the Range and it is definitely not an Atlantis. Watch the return of Disney Feature hand drawn animation that hundreds of talented passionate artists poured everything they had into making. This film is what they are proud of, and for good reason. Say that the story’s been told, and say that it’s not the perfect movie, because that is true. But what it is not is a bad film. This film is worth defending. Don’t dismiss the animation, direction, and passion that some of world’s top animation talent worked so hard to produce, especially when it’s actually good. And especially when it could be the last we see in years if we don’t give it that chance.

  • Mike Caracappa

    No Floyd, Ron and John don’t have Walt Disney. They have John Lassiter, who clearly KNOWS BETTER when he wants to make a more sophisticated story for an animated film. He’s been hired to help make the Disney Studio films successful. That doesn’t mean they’re good. That doesn’t mean he puts as much energy into the Disney films as he does the Pixar films. When you look at the animation produced under Lassiter, like Bolt, and Robinsons, they all have the elements of a good old fashioned Disney film. They also each contain a moral message beaten over the audience, that keeps the characters in line and convinces the audience the film has meaning. Except it doesn’t really. Under all the flash, Princess Frog is a hollow empty shell. The characters are given no freedom beyond the preachy message of the film. You don’t see that in Pixar films, which all continue to get more sophisticated in their stories. I suppose Ron and John are doing their jobs, but Lassiter is also doing his by keeping Disney in line, and in return he’s using Disneyland to further the interests of his own Pixar characters. He’s somebody whose clearly taken risks in the past, but when it comes to his decisions about the Disney studio, they all seem straight and narrow with one goal: to make them sucessful regardless of the film itself. Disney has such a nostalgic following, it’s so easy to convince people what they’re seeing is good…because it “feels good”. It brings back meomories of classic Disney and good old fashioned 2D animation. But if Walt were still around, he would have pushed forward. Lassiter has known how to creatively push forward with his own studio, and the results are evident with each and every Pixar film. But I look at Princess and the Frog, and it feels like it’s just treading water. If this were a Pixar film, I bet anything the story would be completely rehauled. Who’s to say what the real story is, but it wouldn’t suprise me if Lassiter is keeping everything in line so long as he can make Disney’s films sucessful without them surpassing Pixar.

  • Lou Albino Jr.

    A worthy successor to films like Pocahontas and Tarzan, if you get my drift.

    I mean, it’s as good as a weaker Disney “Classic”. Still well worth seeing, but it’s not going to change lives the way Peter Pan, Jungle Book and Aladdin have. I loved watching it, but I won’t replay it in my head or even in my Blu Ray player.

  • Daniel Rehak

    Resurection of Disney classic movies seems to be maybe too classic and too addicted to good old times. Asi was written above, Pricess and The Frog is indeed nice to watch, partly funny, but hollow and archaistic. It doesn’t necessary mean it is not good, but the movie brings nothing new to screen of 21st century cinema.

    There is an awful lot of songs, but none strong enough, there is a lot of grand musical scenes, but none that you would remember. There is also a lot of characters, but mostly flat and too easy.

    Maybe I had too much expectations, about John Lasseter (exec producer) and his love for old school Disney and also Myiazaki. I expected, that the resurection of this beautiful artform will bring fresh air and not that it will fall into the same old cliches, the same old stories, the same old songs and the same old fashion.

    Well maybe the craft was saved but not the spirit. I don’t mean disney’s atmosphere – it is there – but the spirit of discovering new frontiers, techniques, ways to tell stories and to make people laugh and cry same time. This is just another animated feature. Good one, not very emotional, nicely done with lovely main character, but no revolution, not even a small revolution, or maybe not even evolution.

    I saw it yesterday at press screening in Czech Republic, in such a small cinema with simultaneous translation, so it was not 100% movie expirience, so please take that just as an opinion. And I’m also sorry for my english grammar.

  • http://jackmunchproductions.blogspot.com/ Malcolm Thomas

    Response to Sylvain and Mike:
    HEIL KATZENBERG!!

  • Grayson

    I wouldn’t be so Heil Katzenberg. If you’ve seen Prince of Egypt and Road to El Dorado I think you can’t rank him that good as a filmmaker. I still think the features made during Walt’s time are far superior to the ones since.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Re:
    –I think charging $50 for each ticket is a tad too much …I just want to see the movie, and the usual $12 ticket price is all I’m willing to pay—
    â– â– â– â– â– â– â– â– â– â– â– â– â– â– â– â– â– â– â– â– 

    Wha? Is that price a normal thing? Local theater tickets are $9 and that feels like a ripoff, considering the dim, blurry picture and wonky sound.

    I’ll see this when it hits disc. It looks technically engaging but otherwise boring, so I may leave the sound off and put on some other music.

  • Peter H

    Where did you get the picture at the head of this item? It can’t be part of Disney’s promotional material because it sums up a lot of the fears I have about this film.

    I haven’t seen it yet, and there is a lot in the trailer I like, but that ‘still’ looks like something out of a cheap ‘would-be-disney’ video – weak, uninteresting character design and lifeless drawing. I presume it is an inbetween, and would never, ever have been picked to represent the film, but as a drawing? well, a line-of-action – either through a convex body to the back leg or through a concave body to the front arm – would have given some dynamic to the pose of Naveen, and Tiana’s pose is similarly underplayed, suggesting a lack of feeling in the draughtsmanship which culminates in the lack of personality in their facial construction. In short it does not look like a Classic Disney still.

    If it is not representative of the draftsmanship overall it is a shame to present it, as it really puts me off seeing the film!

  • http://[email protected] paburrows

    Lou Albino Jr.: Tarzan wasn’t a weaker Disney Classic.

  • Scott

    “paburrows: Lou Albino Jr.: Tarzan wasn’t a weaker Disney Classic.”

    No. It was the weakest. As silly and shallow as both prince of egypt and road to el-dorado, only not as good looking. And with insipid songs that make the songs in P&F seem as if they were written by Stephen Sondheim.

  • Mike Caracappa

    Peter, as much as I didn’t like the film, I will say the animation and design were all very well done. There’s nothing cheaply done on that level, it’s clear the artists put their best effort into it. It was very high quality. I think everyone here should see the film at least for that. Especially Charlotte, who I thought was very well animated and fun to watch. She was my favorite character in the film.

    FP: The $50 a ticket was for the promotion to see the film at the Disney Studio in Burbank. A friend had an extra pass and invited me along. They also had extra stuff like games for kids and Princess meet’n greet stuff.

  • http://jackmunchproductions.blogspot.com/ Malcolm Thomas

    *sigh*

    I love these arguments about how Princess and the Frog isn’t as good as it’s predecessors. Agreeable arguments don’t get me wrong. But we have to acknowledge one thing, and I’m quoting from opinion “Walt and the nine old men are gone and are never coming back.” Don’t get me wrong, I agree that Princess and the Frog isn’t as good as Pinocchio, Snow White, or even Aladdin, but maybe it shouldn’t be. Ron and John know that they can’t bring back the same magic as they did back in the 90′s. So, we shouldn’t expect the second coming of Pinocchio and we shouldn’t be bashing it just because it isn’t that. I’m still looking forward to see this movie regardless.

  • A113

    Mike Caracappa: I don’t know who you are, but your comments are eerily accurate. I’ve seen “Frog” and unfortunately I agree with everything you wrote.
    I wanted so badly to love this movie, but while it’s on the whole executed with great professionalism it’s completely devoid of a single surprising moment or idea. In fact it’s one of the most contrived films of any kind animated or not I’ve ever seen, and the result was boredom.

    The target audience of little girls will love it I’m sure, but once they see other, better animated movies made from this so-called “formula” they’ll know how unmemorable and phony Frog is. The film was overthought, overproduced and overcareful. It feels 3x longer than it is. The characters are mostly unappealing in design and all over the map besides.

    I hope it’s a success for the good of the tradition of 2D animation and the people who do it. But what a letdown as to the actual content. I wish I could say otherwise.

  • Tragedy of P

    With the exception of Dr. Facilier’s song (then again maybe the animation and art directions help sway my opinion) every song in this movie is…CRAP.

    Sorry Randy Newman, you can’t write for a Disney musical. One of the things that I look forward in Disney musicals are catchy/playful music and witty lyrics. If not, at least something powerful like The Lion King with the African choir and percussions.

    Well, on the bright side the kiddies in the theatre was just “ooh!” ing and “aah!” ing saying how cool it is.

  • Grayson

    Just wait and see what I have to bring to animation. I already have some stories and drawings I can’t wait to use some day :). I won’t dissapoint you.

  • http://mayberabies.blogspot.com Raven M.

    I haven’t seen the film yet, but most of the comments make it sound as I feared it would be. Its just strange to me: The films they were making before, (Atlantis, Brother Bear–HORRIBLE!, Tarzan, etc) were obviously not making the cut if their creators actually abandoned an entire medium over it. And yet, years later, the answer to 2-D’s resurrection is… more of the same? Granted, I still haven’t seen it, but I almost don’t feel like I need to. I was disappointed with every preview I watched.

    I’m still trying to figure out why they didn’t make a feature out of their “Epic Mickey” concepts and make THAT their reintroduction to 2D. Now that would have been an appropriate departure in style & tone–and it might have actually had some kind of impact.

    I’ll still see Frog eventually, but I probably won’t bother making a theater trip for it.

  • Roberto

    >>With the exception of Dr. Facilier’s song (then again maybe the animation and art directions help sway my opinion) every song in this movie is…CRAP.>>

    I didn’t watch the movie but I have listened to the soundtrack and I disagree. The songs are maybe not as catchy as Menken’s tunes, but they are pretty good, especially “Dig A Little Deeper” and “When We’re Human”…and “Gonna Take You There” has great music too even though Ray’s character has an annoying voice for songs.

  • purin

    I thought it was enjoyable, and quite different from past “fairy tale” movies. It’s more like their animal movies than a princess movie, and I think it shows signs of a willingness to move on from the Disney Princess franchise. There are also no “Disney Deaths,” no “rescue of the previously self-declared independent woman by the prince for the climax,” and no “True Love conquers all.” It did have kind of a frantic pace, and I felt like I was just being whizzed through one musical number after another.

    But then again, I liked Brother Bear, so I guess I have very bad taste, so, you know. Don’t mind me.

  • http://kirbydream.com/ Leirin

    Despite a lot of negativity I’m seeing in these comments, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.
    I haven’t heard much of Randy Newman outside of what he’s done for Pixar, but for what I HAVE heard of him, he’s certainly one of my favorite composers.

    I somehow get the feeling I’ll enjoy this more than I think. I’ve been trying to keep my hands out of reading about the film’s plot so that I’ll just come into the theatre with everything unfolding as a big surprise.

    The only thing is, despite everyone (or most) claiming this is “Disney’s return to awesomeness”, NOTHING this studio will do in the future will top the earliest, Walt-made Disney movies. I just have a special place in my heart for those. They feel more special and personal. That’s not to say the 90′s didn’t have a fair share of good ones, though. But Naveen’s “smooth” attitude towards Tiana in one of the trailers I saw with Ponyo just screamed “modern Disney trying too hard”. Meh. I don’t know how I feel about that.

  • Mike Caracappa

    Purin: You don’t have bad taste. In fact, you seem pretty observant about what you see in the standard Disney film, and I think your comments are right on the money.

    A113: Thanks for your comments, I’m glad I’m not alone about what I saw in the film..

  • disney princess

    I’d have to say I pretty much agree with Mike Caracappa’s assessment as well. The characters were flat and underdeveloped and most of the time the just didn’t really seem to care what happened to them. The story was nearly non-existent, the “love” story feels completely forced and unbelievable, and everything in the film is just too “easy” for the characters. There is no real drama, conflict (therefore no real conflict resolution).

    Story threads are either completely pointless or just left hanging, and things just happen. Like why exactly was the crocodile taking them in the wrong direction, what bargain exactly did the villain make, and what will he lose if he doesn’t get what he needs (apparently he need money)? The villain actually seemed to be the most promising character in the film, but he was left undeveloped, flat, one-dimensional and in the end you couldn’t really care less what happens to him or the “heroes” of the film.

    The heroes on the other hand? Love story? give me a break! Somehow the two frogs fall in love over the course of a night in the most formulaic fashion possible. Sure a story can be predictable, but it can be well done predictable. This film had me constantly falling asleep, even with all the eye candy that was going on. The frog character design left much to be desired, and was frankly unappealing for Tiana-as-frog.

    The stupid comedic relief sidekick animals really annoyed and grated on my nerves, the firefly and his unintelligible antics (instead of fart jokes we get snot jokes and smashing-the-crotch jokes). The crocodile might have been promising, but his motives were confused and his character was flat as cardboard. Why was he taking them in the wrong direction initially anyway?

    Madam Odie was just odious and another excuse for a song and dance number. The 3 rednecks in the boat? Completely unnecessary and felt like the movie walked onto a Warner Bros cartoon back lot. Wait, I was supposed to be watching a Disney film wasn’t I?

    Prince Naveen was your usual, shallow and clueless prince, but this one just about had no character. The ring scene was silly, and leaves on yawning. Charlotte seemed to have some real character going, but given strong motivation in the beginning to marry a prince at any cost, do we really believe she doesn’t really care when he falls in love with Tiana? Not even a little reaction on her part? And how does she recognize Tiana as a frog? She seems to believe such magic is an everyday happenstance I guess.
    And the talking dog who speaks to the frogs, a throw-away line. Was it even necessary.

    Their journey thru the bayou felt completely forced and hardly menacing. There was no real danger in the film, no suspense or playing with expectations of the viewer. Everything just sort of falls into their froggy laps. Supposedly significant character-revealing decisions take place in seconds with no real impact on character. Might as well take any character arc, compress it into 30 seconds, flatten it completely, then string it out with song and dance for 90 minutes.
    In a second, Tiana is willing to give up her life-long dream and everything she’s worked for, for what? For annoying Naveen? Surely you jest! Of course we all know her sacrifice isn’t really a sacrifice anyway since she doesn’t really lose anything in the end.

  • Scott

    “why they didn’t make a feature out of their “Epic Mickey” concepts and make THAT their reintroduction to 2D”

    No. Please, no. IF they were to do this, they’d best look back to some of the Mickey Italian comix, where he was a swashbuckling everyman. And too bad this videogame forgot what Mickey’s world looked like. Why can’t they get it right? Sigh…

  • Raina

    Not to be rude, disney princess, but it’s hardly fair to criticize the movie for having the characters fall in love quickly. Look at Cinderella, all she and the prince did was dance. Once, if I recall! Snow White and her prince kissed, and she wasn’t even awake for that. Romeo and Juliet planned to get married after a night! It’s common in all this traditional love stories (granted, i’m talking about the disney-fied fairy tales) for the lovers to fall in love at first sight or basically so.

    That part of your argument is moot.

  • Viv

    I actually really liked this movie. This isn’t to say it isn’t flawed, and maybe I read too much into things, but here’s my piece anyway.

    During the first third the pacing does seem rather rushed between song numbers. I kind of missed the catchy Menken tunes as well, but I can see why they wouldn’t have gone with him: enough people are complaining about the tired formula as is, no? It would seem like a risk worth taking I think, and honestly I do think it gave the film a more distinct flavor. I really enjoyed the ‘Almost There’ sequence, both music- and animation-wise.

    I, too, was a little bit annoyed at the snot jokes and the butt jokes, but overall they didn’t spoil my experience.

    Mike Caracappa mentioned that Naveen seemed like a pretty decent guy before he turned into a frog, and to be honest I had to really think about why I didn’t feel the same way. True he was entertaining people and he tossed that kid his guitar and all that, but he was also promising everyone things with money he didn’t have. I took this as him trying to make everyone believe he was a great guy, while really he was just an attention-leeching fraud. …Not to mention he was preparing to marry a girl he didn’t know for her money. I don’t think anyone was supposed to get the impression that he was a ‘bad’ person, though, and honestly I think they could’ve gone further establishing his selfishness without harming how sympathetic he’d end up by the end of the film.

    Dr. Facilier was weak for a Disney villain, and I will agree that he was under explored, but I’m hesitant to call him one-dimensional. I felt like there was a lot going on under the surface there, but he really didn’t get much screen time and he barely interacted with or reacted to any actions made by the main characters (that is, he really wasn’t able to). He really didn’t seem to have the dominance or the power that most Disney villains have. While he had magic similar to other Disney villains, he didn’t seem to be as much in control of them as much as he seemed to fear them. Almost automatically he can’t be as strong as comparable Disney villains since he’s just playing second fiddle to bigger forces that could care less what his plans are. I don’t know anything about voodoo, so the decision to set him up in that way may have been routed in that culture… This change up was interesting, but honestly it could’ve been executed better.

    As for the side characters… It would seem like I’m in the minority in that I wasn’t wild about Charlotte? It may be due to the loud and echo-y theater, but I felt like she was just a liiiittle bit too much. I thought I’d hate Ray, but I ended up liking him a lot. I didn’t find him that funny, but he was sweet. On the contrary, I liked Louis a lot less than I thought I would… I felt he was trying a little too hard to be funny and just ended up being over the top as well. However, I went with a friend and was surprised to hear that she really enjoyed Louis in particular, so again, that’s probably just personal taste.

    I actually liked the leads a lot in this film! I’m sad to see that so many people found them a disappointment. Like many others I’m usually a much bigger fan of Disney’s side characters, but this time I surprised to find that I liked the leads a lot. Both were very developed and had a good arc, I though. I’ll agree that they seemed to get together rather fast, but that’s Disney for you. (It should perhaps be noted that they frogs for two or three days rather than one. If anyone recalled, the masquerade party was at night, and later, Lawrence and Charlotte talking in the Gazebo happened during the day. I suppose the bayou is just… really, really dark? It doesn’t make a big difference, but it should be noted.) But hey, it’s still a refreshing change from the love at first sight device. That doesn’t make up for how fast it seemed to happen, but it’s a start.

    As for Mama Oldie’s song, ‘Dig A Little Deeper’, I don’t think it was wasted time at all. I felt the song was really cleverly juxtaposed to Facilier’s song, particularly in Naveen’s case, as well as set the movie’s theme (want vs. need). It would’ve been awkward and contrived if the characters got what she was talking and delivered a great self-analysis right away.

    Also, Disney Princess, while I don’t feel the same way, I can sympathize with your disappointment in the movie. God knows I’ve felt the same way about other films. However, I fear that you might be exaggerating the movie’s faults to live up to your disappointment… I’ve having a bit of trouble understanding your arguments. Louis took them in the wrong direction because it provided a reason for Ray to tag along, and Ray was a needed character for later in the story. Since Ray had no reason to visit to Mama Odie for himself, he tags along and makes friends with the others because he needs to show them the way. As demonstrated in Tiana and Naveen’s talk with with Louis earlier, Louis knows little about Mama Odie, so it wasn’t too shocking that he wouldn’t know where exactly to find her. He didn’t mean to take them in the wrong direction, and therefore, wouldn’t have motivation to take them in the wrong direction. It was an honest mistake on his part.
    I feel it’s a little unfair to judge the jokes as something you wouldn’t see in a Disney film when you judge the rest as being tired and predictable. Yes, some were rather Warner Brother-esque, but I fail to see why that would be a flaw unless they were outright ripping jokes out of Warner Brothers’ cartoons.
    The dog saying Tiana’s name and Tiana surprise at this was to establish that now that Tiana and Naveen are frogs, they can understand other animals. This is why we know that Louis and Ray aren’t just random speaking animals. The next time we hear animals speak, they’re hungry alligators, and Tiana and Naveen have higher priorities than to be surprised at their speaking. If one of them said “Did those alligators just speak?” after that whole ordeal it would’ve come off as even more expositional.
    I personally didn’t think Naveen was one-dimensional. Heck, next to Prince Eric and both Prince Charmings he could be Hamlet. Your opinion of the ring scene may just be personal taste… I found it to be lovely.
    Charlotte recognized Tiana as a frog because Naveen told her Tiana was turned into a frog, and because she recognized Tiana’s voice (I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure she said ‘Tiana?’ before she was even in view), and even if she hadn’t, I can’t imagine she’s encountered any talking frogs aside from Naveen, who by that point had explained himself. I just thought she just gave him up to her so easily because she was a romantic, and of course, because Tiana’s one of her best friends.
    I don’t think Tiana ever planned on absolutely giving up her dream for Naveen. It would’ve taken her a lot longer to get to it if she went with him, but I fail to see how she would have to give up her restaurant completely by ending up with him. While the movie did want to say that you should be more aware of what you need than what you want, I don’t think it was ever trying to say that needed to sacrifice what you want to get what you need. That would be kind of a downer, no?

    Last thing I want to say is I really loved the last act. I forgot about everything that disappointed me about the film afterward. It was exciting, engrossing and heart warming, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    It won’t win the Oscar or anything, but the movie is a hell of a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it a lot. Disney has a way to go before it’s in tip-top shape again, but I really think it’s getting there.

  • purin

    It’s true. In a Disney movie (and practically any movie) the premises for true love are going to be kind of flimsy anyway.
    I thought Naveen and Tiana had a little more going for their relationship in that they weren’t totally blinded by their love in the way, for example, that the readers of Twilight think is soooo romantic.
    Even when they realize they like each other, the only real issue with becoming human isn’t the kiss, but what would happen after. The big development isn’t confessing love, but being straight for once with Charlotte before using her for their own means beyond simply being human. I have to wonder if there was a point when Naveen was planning to use Charlotte and then dump her so he could be with Tiana. He’s actually thinking of people other than himself with whom he is not romantically involved.

    I figured Louis just had a bad sense of direction, or was it because he was scared. I liked that Mama Odie, instead of being a cuddly friend to all bayou creatures, had a kind of frightening reputation in the bayou as a powerful figure.

  • Mike Caracappa

    SPOILER WARNING:
    This movie is essentially “The Wizard of Oz” set in the bayou. She’s a girl who thinks nobody understands her, so against her will she takes a trip, picks up three guys in the process to go see the old lady (wizard) in the woods who will give her all the answers. And, of course, they’re hunted down by a wicked voodoo witch doctor. There’s even the song “Goin Down the Bayou” aka “We’re off to see the Wizard” sung to the Jeffersons theme. There’s Naveen who doesn’t know anything, Louis the emotional one who wants to be human, and Ray the firefly who “lights the way” and becomes the spirit of the group. Tianas problem is that she works too hard for her dream because she wants to make something of herself, but is worried in the process of her driving ambition that she’s going to abandon her family and people she loves. At the end she discovers that everything she thought she was running away from she had in herself all the time. It’s “The Wizard of Oz” dressed in different clothing.

    That plot line sounds all well and good, except now all of these interesting characters are pidgeonholed into their role of the story. The people who have left comments here are wondering why we never see other sides of the characters in the story. We want to know more about them! But the problem is this stupid morality play were watching keeps us from seeing them become more fleshed out. They’re all in service to the protagonist to make sure she learns her lesson by the end of the film. It’s pretty depressing because all of the other characters in the film are far more interesting than she is. I kind of liked the firefly and wanted to feel for him at the end of the film, but at that point I just felt disconnected from everything that was happening. The logic of the story might be there, but emotionally, the film is a calculated, empty void. “The Princess and the Frog” is a Western Union movie. If I want a message, I’ll call Western Union!

  • Anna

    We just saw it today, and it was really good! Its not as amazing some of their previous masterpieces but definitely in the Top Ten

    The songs were bouncy and fun, Tiana being a hard-working girl who wishes on a star but works her ass off to get her dream too was a welcome change from the usual princess formula
    Facilier’s voodoo scenes were my fav! The creepy little dolls, the glowy-eyes masks, the drama! Creepy and dark and sooooo good

    Facilier was just evil enuff, and his shadow having a mind of its own was awesome. Naveen was the spoiled brat (he really reminded me of Emperor Kuzko for a while, just with less ego), Charlotte was ADORABLE (luv the staircase makeup fixing and glitter spotlight scene)
    Lawrence didn’t need any development since everyone always uses him. The prince needs a luggage-career, the shadow-man needs a pawn, his family needs someone to ride… He just filled a cliche niche and that works perfectly fine for me

    The side-kicks was were the film fell flat for me. Ray’s into and the fireflies making a path to lead them was cute, all his other appearances bored me stupid. Especially the “evangeline” song (it dragged on forever) Big-lipped alligator got boring fast too.

  • DTFYI

    Well, Mike you certainly are entitled to your opinion and it’s good to see that there are people who take animation seriously. However I think you’re taking it a bit too serioulsy.

    I work in the animation industry and don’t I take my profession lightly. The bottom line for me in judging a film is, was the story good and was I entertained? Is Princess and the Frog a perfect film? No of course not, like every animated film in recent memory, it has it’s flaws. I however in this case didn’t find the flaws so terrible that it destroyed the entire film.

    Right now the movie has an 88% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and that’s from a fair amount of the major publications in the country. Most of the reviews I read, were coming from the perspective of people concerned with the overall entertainment value of the film, which is probably more in line with the general public. And of course those are the people Disney is trying to please. We’ll see what happens to the rating when the movie gets the wide release in December, but judging from the ratio of good vs. bad reviews I doubt it will fall to the rotten catagory.

    In the end it’s going to be kids and their parents who determine whether the movie is a success and if there’s a bright or dim future for 2D. For them it’s not going to be about the details, while they’re important, it will be simply about whether they liked it or not. If you need an example, look no further than the last two Shrek films. Is Princess and the Frog a masterpiece of storytelling? No, but it’s certainly a cut way above a lot of what’s been released lately. For a movie that was made on a tight budget and not given years and years of development, the filmmakers did a great job.

  • Mike Caracappa

    DTFYI,
    I don’t work in the animation industry, but I have studied film and animation. I’m not going to argue the technical aspects of the film because it’s clear the artists involved put their all into their work and did a great job. That’s not my issue.
    Reading your comments, you’re essentially taking the side of every other industry person who wants this film to be successful. It’s success means the continuation of hand drawn animated films and create more jobs for animators. From an economic standpoint, I will not argue with that. I too want to see hand drawn animation continue on and I want them to be successful. But not at the expense of pulling a magic trick on the audience.
    Regardless of whatever “flaws” there are with the film, when I step back and look at the whole picture, the movie is calculated to prey on peoples nostalgia for Disney. It’s pornography for Disney lovers. The story isn’t even the frog prince, it’s borrowed from “The Wizard of Oz”. The songs are catchy, there’s the cute sidekicks, and it has all the “moments” you would expect in a Disney film. It’s all pickle smoke. There’s no honesty or personal artistic voice. Isn’t that sort of ironic since the film is produced by John Lassiter? A guy who is supposidly all about creative freedom with his Pixar films. But John has been hired to make the Disney films successful, regardless if they’re any good, so long as it gets by the audience and keeps them entertained. People are going to like the film because it’s giving them everything they desire out of a Disney film. It’s the same thing that happened with “Bolt” and “Meet the Robinsons”. So what’s going to happen when the film is successful? They’re going to go right back and prey on those feelings with the next 2D film. And the next one and the next one. Disney has such a following now, people are going to take whatever is put in front of them as long as it plays to their emotions about Disney. This isn’t like the “Little Mermaid” golden age where animation was practically dead, and they actually had to work harder on the story to make the film successful. Animation is very successful right now, so they don’t really have to make leaps and bounds with the story. All they need is to give the audience everything they love and expect from Disney, and the film will be successful. I think that’s insulting to the average audience member. They deserve far better than what the filmmakers are giving them, especially when Ron and John, and John Lassiter know better. But industry people are going to make excuses for the film and put up with it because of the arguement being “we should be grateful that 2D is back”, regardless if the film might be cheating the audience.

  • DTFYI

    OK one last comment and then I’m done. Mike, you infer that I and the animation industry want Princess and the Frog to be successful no matter what. Well, to be honest there’s some truth in that, it’s certainly better to be working than unemployed. That said, I’ve worked on plenty of projects that I knew weren’t going to turn out well and I didn’t sugar coat my opinions to my friends and family, nor was I under the delusion that somehow gold was going to be spun out of straw.

    So in turn, your comments sound like many from the people who keep calling for Disney to do something risky, unconventional and for lack of a better term, “unDisneylike”. Well, Pixar can do that as they came into being as an independent studio, not bound by decades of past successes. Disney is an entirely different beast. It’s easy for other studios to break out of the Disney mold for the simple fact that they’re not Disney. For better or worse, Disney has been a brand name for 80 years and there are certain expectations that go with that. Remember when they tried to make Mickey gangsta and the furor that ensued thereafter?

    You also make the statement that giving the audience what they love and expect from a Disney film is insulting the audience. So instead they should be given what they hate and don’t expect and that will make them happy?

    Do you think that all those direct to video sequels sold because they had great stories? No, people bought them because it was Disney and they knew what came with the name, just on a cheaper budget. There’s too much money at risk with feature films, especially in this economy, so of course the big studios are going to be cautious. Take for instance the brilliant Triplets of Belleville, there’s no way a film like that would ever get the green light from Disney or any other major U.S. studio.

    Also, Disney Animation Studios can’t operate independently from the rest of the company, it has to feed the other divisions. With consumer products, theme parks, publishing, etc., all getting a look, each putting in notes which will benefit them, naturally the tendency is to go with stuff that has worked in the past. So with the knowledge that the stakes for the company are high, a Disney animated film is going to be bound with certain parameters that can be stretched only so far. For example, the early versions of Treasure Planet, in my opinion, were much stronger than the final film. But word came down from above and it had to be watered down to take the edge off the material.

    Don’t blame Ron, John and Lassiter, they put together a great team and made an entertaining film under the burden of the Disney structure. Not to mention the pressure of introducing a new princess (which the company has been clamouring for) and attempting to revive 2D. And let’s not forget all the outside scrutiny of this being the first Disney animated film with a primarily African American cast. I’m sure we’ve heard about all the criticism that was voiced, even before the movie went into production.

    Will the movie be considered a Disney classic? I don’t know. Will it be a box office success? I hope so. Personally I think the filmmakers did a fine job in telling a story mixing in elements both familiar and new. Finally, I’m glad they were given the chance to bring back the artform synonymous with Disney. Congratulations to all those involved!

  • Mike Caracappa

    The film is insulting because the audience isn’t going to know any better when they watch what’s on the screen. You’re right,DTFYI it’s giving the audience exactly what they expect. But nobody goes to the “Twilight” movies because there’s a good story. They go because it’s porn. In it’s own way, the same applies “Princess and the Frog”. It’s giving people what they “desire” like giving a bowl of chocolate to a kid. It doesn’t mean it’s good for them, but as long as it keeps them distracted and gets them into theaters, Disney isn’t going to care.
    By the way, DTFYI, you’re horribly exaggerating me. I never said anything that Disney should make a film that people hate. That doesn’t mean I don’t expect them to put some elements of a Disney movie in there. They can still find a way to make good story and have the marketing department sell it as a Disney movie. Feature Animation should be allowed the same amount of leeway Pixar has with their storytelling. Why else should they be allowed this other than the fact that Pixar has already been successful in this approach. You’d would think John Lassiter would consider this since he’s in charge of feature animation. It’s not an accident that the story in “The Princess and the Frog” has about as much quality as a direct-to-video movie, because people will take what’s given to them regardless of its content. It’s gotten that bad, and I find it disturbing.

    I grew up loving Disney as much as anyone else here, and I’ve been a devoted fan my whole life. Walt Disney may not be with us anymore, but it least the man had some values and principles he stuck by, all of which have been pretty much abandoned. I went into “The Princess and the Frog” fully expecting a Disney movie like you and everyone else, and I went in with the full intention of enjoying the film. But for reasons I’ve already stated in my other posts, it left me furious by the end of the film. I never expected Disney to come to this. The Direct-to Video bug has finally leeched its way into feature animation storytelling. It tells me that nobody really cares about good stories anymore because Disney knows that everyone is going to take their cake and eat it anyway. I already know this movie is going to be successful at the box office. It’s going to be a huge hit regardless of what I say here. But it saddens me because I’m here making a point about the film, and all you guys want to do is ignore everything that’s wrong with it just so Disney can continue making 2D movies, regardless if the stories have absolutely zero content. I may not work for Disney or the animation industry, but I care enough to speak my mind, and I care enough to tell you your’re supporting a system that doesn’t give a damn about people.

  • amid

    This post is about your thoughts on THE FILM, not about your thoughts on Mike’s opinion. We’ll be deleting any future comments from people who can’t comprehend this very basic request.

  • Mark Nelson

    I note that no one has taken into account the presure than was put on the filmmakers, just as the project was announced and with a very simple synopsis, by minority groups who had strong opinions on how black characters should be portrayed onscreen, especially by the Walt Disney Company. Given the pressures that John and Ron must have been under to satisfy everyone within the confines of their story, I think they did an outstanding job. Yet, I’m sure there will be social criticism.

    That said, I loved the picture, thought the music was infectious in not memorable, enjoyed the characterizations, particularly Ray and Louis, and was actually moved that for once a Disney animated character died in a film and did not come back with a bandaged leg just before the final fade-out.

    Not to mention, it’s beautiful to see.

    It’s an 8 out of 10 for me.

  • Sylvain

    I’m sure the animation is as wonderful as what I always expected from these master animators, but I don’t buy that “pressure” or management “stuff” arguments, come on, this isn’t the 80′s. Other directors passed through these barriers, why can’t they ?

    You know the answer to that. Nothing changed.

  • http://www.antoniolinhares.com Antonio

    I’ve just seen it. The story isn’t great, but it isn’t bad also, the screenplay has some very clever choices. Ron and John did a terrific job on directing, specially the musical scenes. The stylized animation in the part when Tiana sings made the film worth it for me, very impressive.
    And Ray turned out to be a great character, funnier and more appealing (story-wise) than Louis.

    In my opinion the movie will be a huge hit and will have reached its goal of bringing 2D back in focus. Hope we see something riskier and fresher from Disney in a few years.

  • http://christianscartooncorner.blogspot.com Christian

    Saw the movie a little over three weeks ago. Will have to say that I agree with just about everything said here, the positives and the negatives. Despite its flaws I think any animation fan should see it, even if I don’t necessarily recommend breaking down walls and fighting off stampeding horses to do so.

  • Deb

    Oh-kay, excuse me about posting spoilers but I’m assuming people who’re posting here have already watched the movie so I won’t hold back. I had the privilege of watching it yesterday and I have to say, I was very, VERY excited and happy to finally see everything put together into a full-length movie. The animation was spectacular, the music was wonderful and the development was just lovely. My favourite parts were when the musical sequence ‘Down in New Orleans’ at the beginning, ‘Dig a Little Deeper’ and the ending. I thought those were simply magical. I thought Disney injected generous amounts of humour in the movie but they didn’t overdo it much. The visual layouts were gorgeous and pretty well researched. What I really loved about the Princess and the Frog was that they allowed the main characters Tiana and Naveen to sort of show us what they’re like and their development. Naveen was obviously selfish and spoilt at the beginning but at the end he grew to be by far the most in-depth prince ever. Tiana could’ve lessened the ‘Work Hard’ preach a little but I think any one would be doing that if they were living under her circumstances. What disappointed me about the movie however was Dr. Facilier and Lawrence’s downfall. I thought it would’ve been done better if it came down to a dramatic ‘fight’ scene or confrontation. I thought it was a little rushed but that’s just my preference on how the movie could’ve been but it’s not a big flaw. Before I watched movie, I wasn’t particularly fond of Charlotte but just watching her develop in the movie made me love her very much. Yes, she’s spoilt and rich and all that but she’s got a good heart. I remember reading someone saying that it’s far too unnatural to be wanting to marry a prince and then just let Tiana have Naveen like that without putting up a fight, but here’s what I thought when I saw that scene, I think it was more of the fact that she’s a hopeless romantic, she wanted to marry a prince but she wasn’t in love with Naveen so when she sees how Tiana’s actually in love with him, she was willing to give that up because she sees Tiana as her best friend and wants her to be happy. I have to admit I actually teared up throughout the movie, not because it was the kind of movie that can kick The Lion King out of its throne but it was like coming home. 2D’s back at last.

    I LOVED IT! <3

  • Andy

    In any case, I saw it with my four year old. We both loved it. We laughed, we liked the songs, and I was happy that it wasn’t the typical Prince gets to stay exactly the same and Princess needs to bow down to him movie that apparently isn’t a “morality play.” I couldn’t care less about it being some sort of re-taking of the throne or whatever, and I’m no foreigner to the film industry. We just enjoyed the movie. And that was good enough.

  • gumbo

    The movie was not that great, but I do like how the heroine is different. I could care less about Naveen being the selfish and goofy prince charming. Trite and done many times already. Ray was annoying and so was that crocodile. The humor wasn’t that funny as everyone claimed it to be. I only cared for Charlotte, who wasn’t shown in the movie enough. The villain…could have been developed more. So far, it’s an ok film. I agree with the comment somewhere above. Just because it’s a Disney film or a 2-D movie does not excuse anything. I hate it when some people tell me that. True it’s for kids to enjoy and I think they will enjoy it. I’m just offering my opinion based off of my personal viewing experience.