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Animation and Anime

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG Trailer debuts! And people have seen the film too!

Hey folks, Harry here... and man, I am on board and ready to see THE PRINCESS & THE FROG! This trailer did it. In combination with the test screening reviews I have been getting over the past couple of days - it seems that Disney has done it again. First - take a look at this trailer...

Now - take a look at these reviews - but watch out for spoilers - though that trailer certainly seems to have a doozy of a spoiler!

Hey, I can't believe that nobody has posted a review of this yet! On Tuesday, the Bridge Cinema Deluxe hosted two preview screenings of "the Princess and the Frog." Bottom line is that "Princess and the Frog" is really good, even though the film was not completely finished. They said about 80% had been animated, while 30% was final and colored. The missing 20% was in storyboard form. The premise of the film is a great twist on the classic "Frog Prince" story. MINOR SPOILERS Prince Naveen has been cut off from his family's wealth, although nobody really knows this yet. His greed leads him into dealing with Dr. Facilier, a voodoo doctor with evil plans for New Orleans. Facilier basically curses Naveen, turning him into a frog. Tiana's dream is to own a restaurant. Just when this dream seems within reach, somebody outbids her on the building she has been saving money for. At a ball, dressed in her best, Tiana meets the frog. Both are familiar with the classic tale and Naveen assumes that if Tiana kisses him, the spell will be broken. In return, he will buy Tiana her restaurant. So, they kiss... ...and Tiana turns into a frog. The two frogs are chased out of the ball and begin a journey through the bayou, looking for an old witch that can turn them back. This movie is really good. It's not perfect, but its strengths certainly outweigh its weaknesses. The biggest flaw is that when Naveen and Tiana inevitably fall in love, it doesn't feel like Naveen has earned it. It feel like we're missing the scene where he wins her heart. All of a sudden he likes her and she likes him. Although it takes them a while to admit this love, we still don't know exactly why they fell in love in the first place! That said, every "love" scene they DO have works brilliantly! They really nailed that feeling when you like someone, but you're afraid to say it because you just don't know how they feel about you. It is just perfect. I personally had no issues with the ending, and I actually quite liked it. I only bring this up because many of my friends didn't like the last 10 minutes, so I thought it was worth mentioning as a "flaw." But enough with the problems. The major strength of "the Princess and the Frog" is the cast of characters. Tiana is one of the most awesome Disney "princesses." They've tried the strong and independent woman thing before, but Tiana could run circles around Belle or Pocahontas. She holds down three shifts at work and still finds time to design a restaurant and cook on her own. Once she's on the bayou adventure, she has no trouble fending for herself and babysitting the silver-spoon fed Naveen. The talking animals in this one are fantastic as well. Ray is a heart-of-gold firefly that joins the crew after they get a bit lost. Louis is a croc with dreams of playing jazz. Each is hilarious and pretty well rounded, and both will certainly capture the audience's heart. Dr. Facilier, the film's baddie, is a fantastic love child of Michael Jackson and Baron Samedi. He is smooth and sly with a mean streak that's backed by minions of "the other side." His scheme is dastardly, but not exactly original. It's a pretty standard "take over town" sort of motive. Oh, except that once he takes over New Orleans, he's giving everyone's soul to his "friends on the other side." That's pretty awesomely dark. Speaking of dark, what really stands out about this film is that it has BALLS. Dr. Facilier's minions, evil shadow demons, are NOT incompetent Battle Droids. They can be down right scary. Even more shocking is that some characters don't make it through the film. I have a hunch that kids (and parents!) will be teary eyed at the end of this one. I guess the bottom line is that "the Princess and the Frog" is a strong comeback for 2D animation. It is definitely the strongest Disney animated film in years, and although it doesn't surpass masterpieces like "the Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast," it reminds you why, as a kid, you looked forward to Disney's animated films. Even though they didnt give us any NDA forms, if you post this call me "the Screenwriting Wizard's Apprentice"

then there's this one:

Hey Harry, Its funny you posted that new clip earlier today since tonight there was an early test screening for Disney's new film The Princess and The Frog. And I was lucky enough to go. There were two showings actually, an early one for parents and young kids and then one for the older crowd. I attended the later one, which was pretty packed. First thing though is when I say early, I mean early. We were all quickly informed that only 20% of the film was in color and that some scenes were even just the storyboards. The crowds reaction to this was interesting as I'm pretty sure they weren't ready to hear that. But on with the movie now. I enjoy Pixar but I've wanted Disney to have a comeback on their own for a long while now and I'm very happy to say that they have done it! There will be some slight spoilers here (though I doubt anything in the movie would shock anybody since Disney films can still be rather predictable), but the film takes place in New Orleans in the 20s or 30s, I have to be honest I'm not fully sure what exact year they were aiming for. We are introduced to two characters a young white rich girl named Charlotte and a young black girl named Tiana. They are best friends but one is rich and Tiana is poor and lives with her mother (a dressmaker who makes all these Disney princess dresses for Charlotte) and father. Interestingly enough, Charlottes family is shown as spoiled and stupid and Tiana's family is wise, loving and hard working. Tiana's mother reads both the girls a story about a princess kissing a frog, having the frog turn into a prince and then all ending happily. Charlotte loves the story and Tiana hates it, we enter our first song (a number about the magic of New Orleans) while we meet Tianas family and neighborhood. Then opening credits and we fast forward to when they are both teens. Tiana is a hard working waitress trying to save up for a reastuarnt of her own while Charlotte has grown into basically what happens when a spoiled dumb girl is raised on Disney. Kind of like Enchanted, the film pokes fun at itself and the typical fairy tale in pretty clever ways. A Prince is coming to New Orleans to marry Charlotte (though he's never met her). I couldn't find anyone in the theater who knew where he was supposed to be from exactly but Prince Naveen seems to be from some Middle Eastern Country. He arrives (there is a big masquerade ball ready for him) and goes off instead searching the town *SPOILERS* instead he meets our villan, an evil fortune teller who does voodoo, gets turned into a frog and then tries to find a princess to kiss, he finds Tiana (dressed like a princess) at the ball and kisses her, but instead she turns into a frog also then many adventures occur, fighting with eachother, rednecks and crocs in the swamp and the evil voodoo man all the while trying to turn back human *SPOILERS END* Love and songs happen throughout. First, I Loved the movie, in fact I think it's one of the best animated movies Disney has ever made. I enjoy the 3D stuff but 2D just has a certain feeling to it. Even though most the movie wasn't finished being colored the few parts we saw looked beautiful. Can't wait to see what it looks like finished. The story/characters/writing is the highlight of this film though. Tiana is one of our most interesting princesses, think Mulan mixed with Belle, believes in hardwork and doing stuff for herself, has some attitude. Charlotte is probably the most over the top female characters in a Disney flick, in fact sometimes its overboard (she calls her dad "Big Daddy" a few times and its rather weird). The Prince is probably the first prince with depth (unless we count Aladdin I guess) , he believes in girls, money and music, plus he actually is charming unlike most prince charmings. We get a goofy trumpet playing croc and a very cajun firefly to round out our talking animals quota. Some deep in the swamp deliverance like rednecks who eat frogs. A blind magic lady with a pet snake and of course a small fat guy who plays henchmen (Disney loves the small fat guy don't they). The writing is fast and clever and a damn good share of jokes that are aimed at the adult crowd which I was surprised at but enjoyed. Then there is the songs, these were almost all in the storyboard form but they seem like they'll look good. They aren't as memorable as some classic Disney songs but they are really well done (though some of them seem to end before they really begin). Each one being very Jazz or gospel influenced. Speaking of which New Orleans itself is a character and probably the best setting in any Disney film, you feel New Orleans at its high point by the end of the movie. The movie is fast-paced and never drags. My only real problem with the film is the Villian I'd say, you never really get to understand his motivations and if you blink you'll miss the ending climax with him. He is in it just enough to scare the characters and move the plot forward but thats really it. Keith David does a great job with him though. I do think its interesting that there has been some talk about the races in the film ("why can't there be a black prince" or some such talk), but it's also rather funny that the white people in the film get the worst of it and everyone else gets represented really well. Half my theater was African-American and they all loved it more then me so just thought I'd throw that out there. All in all, this is Disney's return to form, can't wait to see it completely finished. If you used this just call me LAshadowman.

So with that, SIGN ME UP - I want to see this NOW!

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