Friday, September 23, 2011

The Princess and the Frog

The movie I chose was Disney's The Princess and the Frog, a movie I'm rather fond of. Well into our teens, even my friends I enjoyed the movie as much as my younger siblings did.

Its an interesting movie, with interesting details added to the original fairytale, as Disney movies tend to do. The plot, however in my opinion, has some frustrating twists and turns that cannot be ignored and bring up questions as to why those scenes were chosen to play. The storyline progresses tad too fast, with certain relationships seeming to form out of nowhere.

From the beginning a story is set; Tiana wants to save up enough money by working herself nearly to death to achieve her late father's dreams. Already the morals are being exhibited, not bad ones, but as soon as it hits a certain point invoking the rather absent-minded Prince Naveen running into "the shadow man" and getting himself turned into a frog, the plot starts to get a little confusing. It was the Prince who suggested the cure to the spell was a kiss from a princess; it wasn't backed up in any way, it was a lucky guess that no one questioned. I mean, its a Disney movie, but it irks me every time I see it; though predictable it helps to make the plot seem random.

Another thing is just how fast their relationship progresses -Naveen and Tiana's- as they suddenly go from hating each other, to friendship, to…him suddenly wanting to propose to her out of nowhere? The plot didn't give him any real time to figure out his feelings for her and then she suddenly just loves him in return. And if I'm not mistaken, this all happens in…a day? It happens very quickly, almost far too fast. Even for some of Disney's films too fast; at least in Tangled it took time over more then a day and the relationship was developed over time. Its an unbelievable, in this movie, how "love" blooms.

Some scenes even seem unnecessarily added, such as the scene with the frog hunters. I am unsure what the reason for it being added was, other then create a quick beginning to a friendship between Tiana and Naveen. The scenes perhaps I most enjoyed was to watch them snap at each other, to tease and sing and dance or talk about their goals in life. It was colorful, especially the scene they danced together on the lily pads. Its imaginative and enjoyable.

The ending, the conclusion of the battle and the outcome, the villain's downfall…once again far too quickly progresses. It almost seems more of the movie's plot was concentrated on in the beginning and they wanted to get this movie over with. As with most Disney movies the end is sweet: they marry, they're happy, their goals are met, and so on. Its a nice story, but with a too rushed plot that I just cannot overlook. All the same its one of my favorites.

The characters are quite interesting, playing their parts well. The headstrong main character, Tiana, the hero. She knows how to work and how to solve all her problems, being one of the smartest characters I've seen Disney make. The character with the common sense, who leads the story along and introduces morals. Naveen is funny, handsome…a ladies man that Tiana wants no connection with at first. He's the air-head, the one who seems to always jump headfirst into trouble; he's like the damsel in the distress of this Disney movie. The two of them together are funny to watch, as they jump around -literally of course- and snap at each other and poke fun. They're interesting characters, pretty well developed to go along with the created and fast-paced plot.

Ray, the firefly, is like the sidekick character who has his own important plot to the movie; guide them along, fall in love…die in a tragic way that has the whole audience in tears. He gives the characters hope when they lose it. His character is comic relief but just as important to the movie as Tiana and Naveen. Along with him Charlotte plays that sort of character as well, as she becomes the reason for some very important plot lines. She's the goal they seek to reach, and the one they count on to make their dreams come true.

Certain characters, I've noticed, only seem to be put into the film for comedic relief, with little role importance. Louis, the music loving alligator, barely shows up in some scenes. He's meant to be funny, used as transportation then sent away off where he's unseen. Mama Odie is there for laughs and to help push the plot along but otherwise has no real importance.

All the same, all the characters are very interesting, given good personalities and animated in such a way those personalities become clear and enjoyable to watch. The scenes, though all the shots are usually from the same angle, are well done with beautiful backgrounds and interesting styles. My favorite would be when Tiana is imagining herself in her restaurant, singing to her mother, and the colors become bright and the style simplistic, but so beautiful.

The songs are well placed, the movements of the characters as they dance and flow with the music smooth. The camera keeps on mostly the same shots throughout the movie, concentrating on facing the characters and capturing their emotions, which are well conveyed and depicted on their faces and through their body movements. Most of the scenes are shot at a close range, concentrating on the faces or the hands. It moves a bit closer when they're frogs, keeping track of every movement as they hop and dash about, letting you usually see the whole body in each shot. Most of the time the watcher is meant to see the expressions on the characters face or how the animals move, like with Louis and his hulking form and how he slides over the ground.

Overall, despite being fast paced and packed with characters who sometimes have a questionable placement within the plot, its a beautiful movie with great animation. Its one of those movies not only the child would enjoy but also their parent. Its certainly one I enjoy very much.

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