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Film Review: The Princess and the Frog

Updated on January 7, 2017

Background

In 2009, Ron Clements and John Musker released The Princess and the Frog, based on the 2002 novel The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker and the fairy tale “The Frog Prince; or, Iron Henry” by the Brothers Grimm. Starring Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Michael-Leon Wooley, Jim Cummings, Keith David, Jennifer Cody, Jenifer Lewis, Peter Bartlett, John Goodman, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, Frank Welker, Dee Bradley Baker, Corey Burton, Jerry Kernion, Ritchie Montgomery, Don Hall, Paul Briggs, Kevin Michael Richardson, and Emeril Lagasse, the film grossed $267 million at the box office.

Synopsis

In 1920s New Orleans, waitress Tiana struggles to earn money so she can own her own restaurant, a dream she and her father shared before he passed away. At the same time, Prince Naveen comes to town and catches the eye of Tiana’s rich friend Lottie as well as the voodoo sorcerer Dr. Facilier who turns him into a frog. Naveen kissing Tiana turns her into a frog and now, the duo must journey through the Louisiana bayou to find someone able to lift the spell.

Review

The film to bring Disney to their second renaissance, The Princess and the Frog is a good film working to balance themes of not neglecting a personal life for a goal along with what a person wants may not always be what’s needed. Throughout the film, Tiana is seen as working nonstop in order to save for the restaurant and is always ready to remind herself and others to work hard. However, it’s depriving her of any sort of a life, something she comes to understand upon meeting Mama Odie whose song helps her come to understand sometimes looking past something desperately wanted will be the only way to see something desperately needed.

This is what makes Tiana an interesting character, though she may not be as developed as many other Disney leads. In the beginning of the film, she has multiple jobs to assist her in saving up for the restaurant of her and her father’s dreams, is dedicated to working as hard as she can and takes herself too seriously. In doing so, she’s neglecting herself and losing focus of what’s important, something Tiana comes to understand in her quest through the bayou alongside Prince Naveen. Her arc comes to a head in Facilier promising to give her the restaurant with his magic. While Tiana may have everything she worked so hard to get, she knows it wouldn’t be her father’s dream since he might not have ever had the restaurant, but he was happy being with his family.

Coupled with Tiana, Naveen is a good foil for her. He’s introduced as a rich pretty boy who’s never had to work a day in his life and his whole goal in life is nothing but fun. Furthermore, his parents disowned him for laziness. On the other hand, he is seen as having insecurities concerning not knowing how to do anything for himself because he was spoiled for most of his life. In his journeys with Tiana, Naveen is able to mature and express his resourcefulness thanks to Tiana aiding him during their travels.

Additionally, Dr. Facilier is a fantastic villain ready to sell out the entirety of New Orleans to his Friends on the Other Side if it means he’ll get some fame and fortune. As such, he uses his voodoo magic to manipulate others and offers to help them when he’s only seeking to help himself. His villainess is established in his first scene, spotting Naveen walking through town and giving his shadow an evil smile to his shadow which returns it with a sinister smile of its own. The major cause of his downfall is his inability to understand good, shown in the vision he presents Tiana where her father is beaten down from work and cooking for the neighborhood as he dreams of a restaurant. He sees it as the man working himself to death for nothing and dying without getting what he wanted when it reality, he was showing Tiana a man willfully sacrificing for those he loved and ready to share his dreams with the world. Moreover, the moment Facilier’s Friends on the Other Side come for him after his plan fails is notable. The whole film has portrayed him as a man so sure of himself and his plans, yet when they fall through he’s reduced to speed talking and begging for a second chance.

4 stars for The Princess and the Frog

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

African-American Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Screenplay
  • Second Place - Top 10 Films

Annie Awards

  • Animated Effects
  • Character Animation in a Feature Production (Eric Goldberg)
  • Voice Actin gin a Feature Production (Jennifer Cody)

ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards

  • Top Box Office Films

Black Reel Awards

  • Best Voice Performance (Anika Noni Rose)
  • Best Song (For the song "Almost There")

BMI Film & TV Awards

  • Film Music

Casting Society of America Artios Awards

  • Outstanding Achievement in Casting - Animation Feature

Online Film & Television Association Awards

  • Best Voice-Over Performance (Jennifer Cody)

Women Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Animated Female (Anika Noni Rose)


Nominated for

Academy Awards

  • Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song (For the song "Almost There.")
  • Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song (For the song "Down in New Orleans")
  • Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Animated Feature Film

Annie Awards

  • Best Animated Feature
  • Character Animation in a Feature Production (Andreas Deja)
  • Character Animation in a Feature Production (Bruce W. Smith)
  • Production Design in a Feature Production
  • Voice Acting in a Feature Production (Jenifer Lewis)

Awards Circuit Community Awards

  • Best Animated Feature

Black Reel Awards

  • Best Voice Performance (Keith David)
  • Best Film
  • Best Song (For the song "Down in New Orleans")
  • Best Song (For the song "Never Knew I Needed")
  • Best Ensemble

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Score
  • Best Song (For the song "Almost There")
  • Best Animated Feature

Chicago Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Animated Feature

Gold Derby Awards

  • Original Song (For "Almost There")
  • Animated Feature

Grammy Awards

  • Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (For the song "Down in New Orleans")

Hollywood Post Alliance Awards

  • Outstanding Sound - Feature Film

Houston Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Animated Film
  • Best Original Song (Song: "Almost There")

Image Awards

  • Outstanding Motion Picture
  • Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture

International Film Music Critics Awards

  • Best Original Score for an Animated Feature Film

Italian Online Movie Awards

  • Best Animated Feature Film

Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing - Sound Effects, Foley, Music, Dialogue and ADR Animation in a Feature Film

Online Film & Television Association Awards

  • Best Animated Picture
  • Best Voice-Over Performance (Anika Noni Rose)
  • Best Music, Original Song (For the song "Almost There")

Online Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Animated Feature

PGA Awards

  • Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures

Satellite Awards

  • Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media
  • Best Original Song (For the song "Almost There")
  • Best Original Song (For the song "Down in New Orleans")

St. Louis Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Animated Feature Film
  • Best Music

Teen Choice Awards

  • Choice Movie: Animated

World Soundtrack Awards

  • Best Original Song Written for a Film (For the song "Almost There")

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