“Princess and the Frog” Review and a Big Disney Giveaway

The Movie

The kids and I went to a media screening of The Princess and the Frog a few weeks ago, and I’d be thrilled to go back and buy tickets for all of us now that the movie is open.  It was fantastic.

I love Disney’s princess movies.  They’ve got the formula down: Girl, missing a parent or two, has a dream.  Girl shows her spunk, sings some songs, things get really bad, then girl achieves her dream and lives happily ever after.  I cry into my popcorn.  DVD comes out, repeat.  The deciding factor for me with Disney has always been the music.  It’s what sets the “just OK” Disney movies apart from the great ones.  Great Disney songs tell a story, they don’t stop the action to comment on it.  Those radio-ready songs re-sung by pop stars over the credits are the ones that really get to me (in a bad way).  I can imagine a bunch of suits in a conference room, checking items off of a list, saying “OK, and we have to make sure we get a song on there that will sell the records.  Get [insert pop flavor-of-the-month here] to sing it and then shoehorn it into the plot somewhere.”

It’s also no coincidence that the closer pop stars get to actually writing the songs in a Disney movie, the less likely I am to like the movie as a whole.  I love Elton John, Phil Collins and Sting for many other things, but I don’t want them near Disney musicals.  I don’t care how many awards they win.  Randy Newman though, who did the music for The Princess and the Frog, he’s kind-of a wild-card for me.  I love his scoring, and I think he does a great job on some songs.  But some of his music, especially in Pixar movies, has just annoyed the crap out of me.  It’s probably better that I went into the screening totally unaware that he had done the music.  I absolutely loved it and was shocked to find out he was responsible.  (By the way, I just downloaded the entire Princess and the Frog score from Randy Newman’s site, for free.)

I know nothing about music in New Orleans’ French Quarter, so I won’t even “educate” myself over on Wikipedia and try to pretend, telling you how the score echoes the sounds of this or that bayou musician.  I’ll just say that it feels right.  And with such a new setting for Disney, the music is very different than what they’ve gotten to explore before.  The singing is fantastic and I can’t wait to hear it again.

The other thing that Disney tends to get right is the voice casting.  In a cartoon that can be everything.  I love George Clooney, but I don’t need animated characters to sound like him.  I want the right voice actor for the job, not someone a studio thinks will get adults to bring their kids to the theater.  I like seeing good movies, no matter what the subject or who’s in them.  Give me a good kids movie and I’ll see it twice, in order to avoid sitting through video-game ready crap.  The voices in this are really great.  They helped me care about the characters, wondering what happened to them after the lights went back on and we had to leave the theater.  Coupled with the animation – the beautiful, drawn, old-school animation – this is destined to be a classic.

I can’t really speak about the racial tensions that have been swirling around this movie since long before its release.  I’m a middle-class white woman, and while I’ve never felt that the Disney Princesses represented me in any way either (they’re all thin, impossibly beautiful, great dancers, and have a rapport with woodland animals I’ve never been able to master), this is an issue that I just don’t feel qualified to comment on.  I did find it interesting that the movie didn’t match a black princess with a black prince, instead partnering Princess Tiana with a prince from a made-up country that’s vaguely middle-eastern but with sort-of a Spanish accent.  But I will say that as far as messages go, the main one was spot on: If you have a dream, work hard for it.  The too-good-to-be-true, easy way out is usually anything but.

The Giveaway

Around the same time we saw the movie we also went to a video game preview for a wide variety of Disney video games.  The kids had a blast trying out several different games, and I especially liked the Disney Sing It game for Wii – or at least, I liked watching my daughter play.  She totally monopolized the mic all night.  I would have jumped in with her, but these are songs that kids know, not most grown ups. :-)  But the absolute hit of the event was the The Princess and the Frog game for Wii.  There’s nothing like watching a row of adults do dance moves in unison.  Eventually they even let the kids play.

Disney Prize Pack

We left the event with a fantastic bag of games, and even better we also got to take two to give away!  So two winners will each receive a Disney Interactive Studios tote bag with the following:

To enter to win, all you have to do is leave a comment stating your favorite Disney movie of all time.  For the record, mine keeps shifting between The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  But now I’ll have to add The Princess and the Frog to that list and they can all battle it out.

For a second entry, you can tweet about this giveaway (don’t forget to leave a separate comment linking to your tweet or it won’t count; instructions on how to link to your tweet can be found here). Just make sure to mention what the prize is and link back to this post, or you can just copy and tweet this:

Win one of two great Disney video game packs for Nintendo Wii & DS from @SelfishMom! http://bit.ly/7q7KEN

So, that’s a maximum of two entries per household, please. The comments will close at noon-ish on Wednesday, December 16th and random.org will draw the winner. Shipping available in the continental U.S. only. For complete rules, please see my Giveaway Rules page. Good luck!

Thanks so much to Disney and Nintendo for the great prizes.

Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has Compensation Levels of 1, 8 and 10. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.

Comments

  1. says

    Beauty and the Beast was a game-changer… And as much as I don’t love the Disneyfication of Broadway that movie was meant to be a great musical. Toy Story was exceptionally clever too.

  2. Cristina Blanco-Adams says

    My fave Disney princess movie is The Little Mermaid. I would belt out the songs and sometimes still do!

  3. Denise Traynor says

    Cinderella. I haven’t seen it in years but it’s still in my head. And i think her rapore was with the house creatures — no woodland stuff.

  4. says

    I’m going to have to go with Beauty and the Beast as well. While I agree with you that Disney’s thin pretty princesses don’t give me much to identify with, Belle was the closest for a long time. Also, I think it has the best music.

  5. Shellie Seering says

    I’ve always loved Cinderella and The Little Mermaid, thanks for sharing these great gifts with us.

  6. Jill L says

    This is a tough one. I love Disney movies. I think my favorite is Lilo and Stitch. It’s one all my kids enjoy too.

  7. Victoria says

    Cinderella was my first favorite but I go back and forth on whether that or Lion King or Beauty and the Beast is my favorite. Thanks!

  8. says

    The Beauty and the Beast is hands down my favorite. Oh wait, I also love the Little Mermaid and Aladdin.
    Darn, so hard to choose.:) THanks for another great giveaway.

  9. says

    WWe saw the movie this weekend and I loved it. Usually with kids movies, I’m always checking my watch, but not this one! My fave Disney movi8e is The Little Mermaid.

  10. Marci says

    Beauty and the Beast is my all time favorite movie!

    I will be taking my daughters to see the Princess and the Frog this week sometime…they can’t wait! I bought Princess and the Frog PJs for my 3yo daughter a week ago and she has worn them every night for a week….LOL!

  11. Christine W says

    My favorite Disney movie is The Little Mermaid because I love the music! Thanks for the chance!!!

  12. says

    Lion King was wonderful, but I still think the best Disney movie ever was Mary Poppins. Thanks for the chance to win.

    2kopeople @ gmail dot com

  13. says

    I don’t have a far-and-away favorite, but the ones at the top of the list are The Little Mermaid (know ALL the words to the songs), The Lion King, and Toy Story.

  14. says

    I’m pretty sure there’s no other Disney movie other than Toy Story. Except maybe Toy Story 2. RIGHT? (Yes, our favorite.)

    This prize pack is awesome. Thank you for the opportunity!