Once upon a time, there was a frog, and the frog gets kissed by a princess, and then the frog isn't a frog anymore, and the princess ends up with the prince. In this story, there is not-quite a princess with a frog, and then the princess kisses the frog, and the not-quite princess becomes a frog.
What do you think of that, Homer Simpson? Oh you're right, but that's rude.
If Enchanted and Shrek had a baby, it would be called The Princess and the Frog. Disney is rightfully trying to try to recapture the magic of hand-drawn animation after so many years of digitally-made animated movies dominated the big-screen. But they picked the wrong plot, the wrong time, the wrong year. It was supposed to be a big comeback for hand-drawn animation, but this film came out the same year as Up, which is probably the best Pixar film ever made.
Also, the plot has its own pitfalls. It doesn't know what it wants to be. There are cliche plots, which are annoying, but it's just as easy to take a cliche--like a princess kissing a frog until it becomes a prince--and then having the cliche have a "twist"--the princess becoming a frog.
So is it a parody like Shrek? Is it self-aware like Enchanted? Unfortunately, it's a hybrid of both without really going all the way. It's not quite a parody because it tries to have an original plot (a girl who has a dream of having her own restaurant), and it isn't quite as self-aware as Enchanted because it takes itself too seriously.
This movie also tries really hard to be a fairy tale while vehemently going against "fairy tale ideas" in the beginning. The protagonist, Tia, says that you can't just wish upon a star. You need to work hard.
Again, what's the point of taking a cliche, letting the audience know about it, and then negating it while trying to be it at the same time?
This reviewer thought that the movie would be very enjoyable since it got very good ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and the critics. There's nothing really bad about it. It just happens to be boring and unspecial. Hopefully when Disney makes its next hand-drawn film, they won't try to rely so much on nostalgia and people's familiarities with past fairy tales, and focus more on making an original plot and a great movie. Fairy tales with unrelenting optimism might be misleading for those who are jaded, but at least fairy tales never hide the fact that they're optimistic cornballs. Stop trying to be a fairy tale that "isn't."
The Princess and the Frog is now available on DVD at your local Best Buy stores.
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