PASS THE BEIGNETS AND ENJOY THE MOVIE @ 7 April 2010 08:55 PM
When my wife and I married almost 15 years ago, I became more acquainted with very unique world that is New Orleans -- particularly the food. I had not seen very many flattering portrayals of the city in movies and TV (Live and Let Die springs to mind) but it is truly an amazing city with lots of rich history, wonderful people and did I mention food?
Food figures prominently in The Princess and the Frog, since Tiana, the lead character, dreams of opening a great restaurant and fulfilling the wishes of her father. There are more than a few scenes devoted to cooking and cuisine. One scene in particular uses the proper dicing of vegetables for gumbo as a way to bond Tiana and Prince Naveen.
Music is also a core component to both the city and the film and Randy Newman delivered a full "book" score that touches each musical style of the region and add much-needed songs to the recent Disney catalog. My particular favorite is "My Evangeline," a stunningly beautiful ballad sensitively sung by the amazing Jim Cummings (also the voice of Pooh, Tigger, Darkwing Duck and many others). By the way, every speaking actor also sings his or her songs.
There have been those who have expressed comments about what The Princess and the Frog is not, rather that what it is. Perhaps the hopes for Disney's return to hand-drawn animation created overly high expectations, but it's wonderful to see this style executed in such exquisite, classic style. I think it will hold up to the test of time and become a Disney staple.
Don't miss the audio commentary by the directors because they are very generous in their background information as well as generous in giving credit to those involved in the film. It's interesting to note their story about how, when faced with creating an animated feature after the division was all but shuttered, were looking for animation desks and were led to a secret "stash" collected by Christopher (son of Disney Legend Winston) Hibler -- somehow he knew they would be needed.
The Blu-Ray not only offers a more detailed and brilliant image and sound, but there almost a dozen features there that are not included on the regular DVD. Plus you get a download disc so you can watch it on your iPod. Who would have thought such things were possible only a few years ago?
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