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“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!

So, that’s a maximum of two entries per household, please. The comments will close at noon-ish on Wednesday, December 16th and 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.

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64 Responses to ““Princess and the Frog” Review and a Big Disney Giveaway”

  1. Marisa on December 12th, 2009 12:10 am

    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. Stefany on December 12th, 2009 12:26 am

    My favorite is The Little Mermaid… or Lion King… or Little Mermaid. hehe It is hard to decide!

  3. Stefany on December 12th, 2009 12:27 am
  4. Cristina Blanco-Adams on December 12th, 2009 8:43 am

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

  5. Cristina Blanco-Adams on December 12th, 2009 9:41 am

    just tweeted the contest:

  6. Denise Traynor on December 12th, 2009 11:35 am

    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.

  7. Toni on December 12th, 2009 11:36 am

    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.

  8. Julie L on December 12th, 2009 11:41 am

    Beauty and the Beast is one of my top favorites.

  9. Gena on December 12th, 2009 11:58 am

    Bambi is definitely and all time favorite for me.

  10. Kimberly/Mom in the City on December 12th, 2009 11:59 am

    I’m not entering the giveaway (I was at the same event with you.) I just wanted to say “great review”. I loved the movie and the main message too!

  11. Lisa on December 12th, 2009 12:37 pm

    My favorite of all time is Cinderella. She was treated so badly by her “family” but in the end, her dream came true.

  12. Lisa on December 12th, 2009 12:38 pm
  13. Carol on December 12th, 2009 1:53 pm

    It’s The Arisotcats, I even named one of my cats Toulouse.

  14. Carol on December 12th, 2009 1:55 pm
  15. tuesday on December 12th, 2009 2:01 pm

    I LOVE The Little Mermaid, it is my all time fav!

  16. Heather S on December 12th, 2009 2:32 pm

    I love Beauty and the Beast

  17. Rebecca Graham on December 12th, 2009 3:09 pm

    The Lion King is my fav.

  18. Rebecca Graham on December 12th, 2009 3:11 pm

    Tweeted: Win one of two great Disney video game packs for Nintendo Wii & DS from @SelfishMom!

  19. Kelly on December 12th, 2009 3:32 pm

    My favorite Disney movie of all time is Lilo & Stitch, followed closely by Lady & the Tramp! :)

  20. brenda helgeson on December 12th, 2009 3:58 pm

    my favorite is beauty and the beast

  21. Jen on December 12th, 2009 5:19 pm

    I really love the Lion King.

  22. Jen on December 12th, 2009 5:33 pm

    Tweet! Lion King is still my favorite

  23. Shellie Seering on December 12th, 2009 5:42 pm

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

  24. Lisa H on December 12th, 2009 7:14 pm

    The Fox and the Hound is my favorite.

  25. Jill L on December 12th, 2009 9:05 pm

    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.

  26. Andrea H on December 12th, 2009 9:26 pm

    My favorite Disney movie has been Beauty and the Beast since it came out. I just love that movie!

  27. Andrea H on December 12th, 2009 9:26 pm
  28. karenmed409 on December 12th, 2009 9:58 pm

    Favorite Disney Movie is Snow White.
    Thank You!

  29. karenmed409 on December 12th, 2009 9:59 pm

    I am a new follower on twitter and tweeted as karenmed409

  30. Christina on December 12th, 2009 11:39 pm

    That’s a tough one. I’d have to say Alice in Wonderland. I can still watch it over and over.

  31. Christina on December 12th, 2009 11:41 pm
  32. Victoria on December 13th, 2009 12:49 am

    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!

  33. Sharon on December 13th, 2009 9:47 am

    My favorite Disney movie is Snow White!

  34. Jessica L. on December 13th, 2009 10:49 am

    I do love Snow White!

  35. Abby on December 13th, 2009 11:33 am

    My fave of all time has to be The Jungle Book!

  36. Summer on December 13th, 2009 1:37 pm

    I love Cinderella.

  37. Erica on December 13th, 2009 2:37 pm

    for me it is a toss up between the Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast depending on the day of the week.

  38. xiaolinmama on December 13th, 2009 7:25 pm

    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.

  39. Stimey on December 13th, 2009 7:30 pm

    I think my favorite Disney movie is The Jungle Book.

  40. Thien-Kim on December 13th, 2009 8:22 pm

    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.

  41. Marci on December 13th, 2009 8:25 pm

    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!

  42. Thien-Kim on December 13th, 2009 8:26 pm
  43. Denise on December 13th, 2009 8:29 pm

    The Little Mermaid is my favorite Disney movie. What a great giveaway!

  44. Melissa on December 13th, 2009 9:53 pm

    Up is my favorite Disney Movie.

  45. Melissa on December 13th, 2009 9:55 pm
  46. Christine W on December 13th, 2009 10:02 pm

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

  47. Christine W on December 13th, 2009 10:03 pm
  48. Kelly Ann T. on December 13th, 2009 10:44 pm

    I love Lady and the Tramp.

  49. Susan on December 13th, 2009 10:56 pm

    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

  50. Ruthann on December 13th, 2009 11:22 pm

    My favorite is Lady and the Tramp.

  51. Shelli on December 14th, 2009 6:55 am

    I still love Finding Nemo to pieces. But if we’re talking old school Disney, I have to go with Cinderella.

  52. Shelli on December 14th, 2009 6:56 am
  53. Cara on December 14th, 2009 8:21 am

    Beauty and the beast was amazing!

  54. Eric on December 14th, 2009 12:03 pm

    My favorite movie is the Lion King!

  55. sue on December 14th, 2009 12:58 pm

    I love the little mermaid. it is great.

  56. c2cmom on December 14th, 2009 3:38 pm

    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.

  57. FireMom on December 14th, 2009 7:21 pm

    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!

  58. Michele Pineda on December 14th, 2009 9:09 pm

    I loved Beauty & the Beast, Snow White and Cinderella!

  59. Michele Pineda on December 14th, 2009 9:10 pm
  60. Yolanda on December 14th, 2009 9:24 pm

    My favorite movie is “It’s A Bug’s Life”.

  61. Nicole D. on December 15th, 2009 4:30 pm

    My favorite Disney movie is Lion King – it’s my daughters fave too! Thanks!

  62. Nicole D. on December 15th, 2009 4:32 pm
  63. Jeni on December 15th, 2009 7:14 pm

    My fav was Lion king and my dd is sleeping beauty

  64. Jeni on December 15th, 2009 7:17 pm