After falling victim to a voodoo witch doctor who turns him into a frog, Prince Naveen tries to break the curse with help from a waitress called Tiana, but she’s also turned into a frog. Five years after making its “last” hand-drawn film, Home on the Range (2004), Disney returned in style with another adventure made in the same fashion. Veterans John Musker and Ron Clements skillfully guided it to success, with meticulous 1920s Louisiana environs and good Randy Newman songs that fit them perfectly. Colorful, engaging, and funny – not just the trumpet-playing alligator sidekick, but also the banter between Naveen and Tiana.
2009-U.S. Animated. 95 min. Color. Produced by Peter Del Vecho. Directed by John Musker, Ron Clements. Screenplay: John Musker, Ron Clements, Rob Edwards. Novel: E.D. Baker (“The Frog Princess”). Music, Songs: Randy Newman (“Down in New Orleans”, “Almost There”). Voices of Anika Noni Rose (Tiana), Bruno Campos (Prince Naveen), Keith David (Dr. Facilier), Michael-Leon Wooley, Jennifer Cody, Jim Cummings… Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, John Goodman.
Trivia: Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Tyra Banks were allegedly considered for the role of Tiana. “Down in New Orleans” is performed by Dr. John.
Last word: “In our stylistic choice of making the film […] the odd man out these days is dimensionally drawn, round, appealing sort of animation and if you want to look at more stylized, graphic animation there are actually a lot of outlets on that in television. Television has become kind of the province for that, but to do a fully realized sort of things that move in three dimensional space, have squash and stretch and that kind of plasticity and that appeal, that sort of cartoon appeal there aren’t any films being made like that. So what’s old is new again, in a way.” (Musker, SlashFilm)