Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” is a gorgeously crafted snooze-fest

As my last duty before heading off to Orlando for a week, I saw Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” in its first showing at the Showcase Cinemas this morning. It allowed me a short nap before heading off to Florida.

The first 15 minutes and the last 15 minutes are absolute Disney at its best. If only the entire movie could maintain that tone. The hour in between those opening and closing bookends is a snooze-fest clearly aimed at 6 year old girls.

It’s great to have an African-American “Princess” in Tiana (I don’t think I give anything away here, since Disney has been touting this as their newest “Princess movie”)…and the voice cast is stellar. But the movie ends up emphasizing money rather than empathy with another human, and it dissolves into the typical “gotta marry a Prince and live happily ever after” fantasy that does no good for any children in this day and age no matter what their race.

Randy Newmann’s music is peppy at best, serviceable at worst, and there isn’t a memorable song in the bunch. The middle portion of the movie set in the bayou makes no sense even for Disney – an alligator that plays jazz with human counterparts on a riverboat…a “shadow man” that appears far too many times in the film and feels basically there to just “fill out the hour”; and long drawn out sequences where I literally found myself nodding off. I have NEVER in my life found myself nodding off at any film, let alone a Disney picture. But there is very little there to keep adults involved in the middle goings of the film. It’s a big-screen equivalent of Saturday morning television messages — although it all looks and sounds a lot better.

Once we get back to New Orleans for the final act, things take a turn for the much better, and Disney film-making at its best is at play. But at no point in this film did I ever feel anything “magical”.  Instead, I found myself looking around the theatre wondering if any of these 4-year olds that were brought there by their parents and nannies this morning had any clue as to what was going on in this film.

Heigh Ho — it’s off to WDW I go.

One thought on “Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” is a gorgeously crafted snooze-fest

  1. I have to agree, the very beginning and the ending are pretty close to Disney’s standards. But the rest of the film is only so-so…

    I was slightly disappointed.

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