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Princess and the Frog, The


Stars: Voices: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, John Goodman, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, Jenifer Lewis, Jim Cummings, Jennifer Cody

Director: John Musker, Ron Clements

A traditional, hand-drawn Disney feature cartoon that deviates considerably from its inspiration, the Grimm fairy tale about a frog who turns into a prince when kissed by a princess. Re-locating the story to New Orleans in the 1920s, the film centres on Tiana (Rose, the secretary from The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency), who dreams of owning her own restaurant, but at present slings hash at a local fast food joint.

A (vaguely Indian) prince arrives in the city, but soon finds himself transmogrified into the eponymous amphibian after a visit to a demonic tarot dealer who proves to be the villain of the piece. He persuades Tiana to kiss him, but, far from transforming him back to princedom, it turns her into a frog.

The rest of the film concerns their quest to become human again, with the help of a jazz-playing alligator, an amorous firefly and a 197-year-old voodoo priestess. It's all lively and engaging, though the frogs are not especially well drawn, and the songs are mostly not quite up to the mark, while the opportunity to drive the story jazzily along in Jungle Book style is largely missed.

Younger kids, though should swallow the enchantment whole: Campos is fun as the frog prince '- 'Eet ees not slime, eet ees mucus' he insists about his slobber (you mean, there's a difference?) - and blink-and-you-miss-them Howard and Winfrey supply the voices of Tiana's parents. Despite the U certificate, some scenes are a bit scary for tinies.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Technicolor.
97 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 24 Jan 2010