Disney Magic is Hopping to New Orleans in ‘The Princess and the Frog’
CHICAGO – The feature animation film tradition, invented by and fostered by the Walt Disney Company for close to 70 years, gets another glorious rendition in their latest release, “The Princess and the Frog.”
In an unexpected twist, given the title, the story is set in the early part of the 20th Century in New Orleans. Tiana (voice of Anika Noni Rose) is a hard-working African-American woman who dreams of opening her own restaurant. She holds down several jobs in a dedication to her father, who never got to live out his similar dreams.
One of her best friends is Charlotte, the daughter of a wealthy industrialist in the Crescent City. She is anticipating the visit of Prince Naveen, playboy royalty from across the ocean. The Prince is only interested in the music and party aspect of old New Orleans, and subsequently falls under the spell of the evil Dr. Facilier. Faster that he can say voodoo, Dr. F turns the Prince into a frog.
Let loose on a costume ball thrown by Charlotte in association with Mardi Gras, the Prince frog convinces a reluctant Tiana – costumed as a princess – to kiss him and break the spell. Fortunately it’s not as simple as that, and the adventure begins.
The tried-and-true Disney formula: adventurous story, romance, wacky sidekicks and broadway style songs are all in place, but they are filtered through this valentine to the glory and promise of old New Orleans back in the pre-WW2 era. The jazz and the mystery are highlighted, through a talking alligator named Louis who just wants to blow his horn and the voodoo of the bad Dr. Facilier and the good Mama Odie. Throw in a cajun firefly named Ray and the scenario is as spicy as jambalaya.
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