Review: The Princess and the Frog Blu-ray

The Princess and the Frog Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Disney | DIRECTOR: Ron Clements, John Musker | CAST: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David
RELEASE DATE: 3/16/2010 | PRICE: DVD $29.99, Blu-ray $39.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $44.99
BONUSES: commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes, game, art galleries
SPECS: G | 97 min. | family | 1:78:1 | DTS-HD audio | English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Disney‘s return to hand-drawn animation, The Princess and the Frog is sweet, fun and colorful, and on Blu-ray, those colors are beautiful. From the sparkles on the princess tiara to the fireflies in the bayou and the neon shades of the voodoo ghosts, the saturated colors bring viewers even more into this New Orleans-set story.

The Princess and the Frog movie scenePrincess also is Disney’s return to musical animated movies, and Randy Newman’s Oscar-nominated tunes sound great in the DTS-HD.

Although a return for Disney, the story itself is far from a throwback. Sure, there’s a princess — what’s a Disney hand-drawn animated movie without a princess? — but princess Tiana isn’t the usual kind of princess. Instead, she’s a girl with a dream working two jobs to achieve it and facing the reality that when she’s so close it could be taken away. If this sounds like a little too much reality given the current economic climate, you might be right. But hopefully kids will see it only as a sign that we should never give up on our dreams.

The prince too isn’t the usual prince, as Prince Naveen is a jazz-loving, partying prince with not a cent to his name. Of course, he can overcome it all to be the hero if love is in the mix.

The voice cast doesn’t have the usual list of A-list stars that are so often recruited for these movies, but Anika Noni Rose (For Colored Girls) as Tiana, Bruno Campos (TV’s Nip/Tuck) as Prince Naveen, Keith David (Platoon) as the evil Dr. Facilier and all the other voice actors do a great job of bringing the characters to life.

As is usual for its animated movies, Disney has packed the Blu-ray with special features. As well as a commentary with co-writers and directors Ron Clements and John Musker and producer Peter Del Vecho, the Blu-ray contains a host of featurettes, most short. They look at the making of the movie, with interviews of the filmmakers. They talk about the creation of the characters, finding the right look for the frog princess, Newman’s return to New Orleans for the music, living up to Disney’s animation legacy and returning to hand-drawn animation.

Clements and Musker also introduce a set of deleted scenes, shown in storyboard fashion. And animation fans will like the art galleries, which feature concept art as well as beautiful setting pieces.

For kids, there’s a fun if easy game called Princess Portraits, in which fireflies position themselves in the shape of a Disney princess’ face, and we must choose which princess it is. At the end, users can choose a princess to hear her story, a nice way for Disney to promote its older animated movies to a new audience, but entertaining nevertheless.

 

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.