The Princess and the Frog

So there I sat, in a theater teeming with rugrats, and not a sound was heard but the dialog and music the Disney WANTED us to hear! Those kids' eyes never left the screen. And there were some tiny tots, too! This is one of the first hand-drawn Disney features in decades: No Pixar, no CGI, no motion capture...What a concept!

The much-publicized switch where that magic kiss, which is supposed to convert the ugly frog into a handsome prince but in this case actually converts the princess into an ugly frog, works amazingly well! Having two frogs as the main characters was not a stretch for those kids and the rest of us happily concurred.

Set in Jazz Age New Orleans (Woodrow Wilson has just been elected President), we follow a loving African American family: he's a laborer, she's a domestic for a wealthy family. They encourage their little girl to dream big dreams but to understand the vital role that hard work plays, as well. The daughter of Mama's wealthy employer provides the comic character of the ditzy blonde, while a cast of supporting characters range from a firefly to an alligator.

Randy Newman composed the nimble sound track, with vocals provided by a number of suitable singers. The voice actors are highly capable, as well. Fireflies provide moments of beauty, while a nasty villain provides some scary bits: just enough to excite the kids, but not enough to traumatize them.

I won't go into the stellar list of individuals who provided the huge cast of voices, but suffice it to say, it is STELLAR! (Oprah, anyone?) This movie should be enormously popular and become yet another standard bearer for Disney.