I'm a sucker for Disney movies in general, but there have been many that just didn't appeal to me. That weird barnyard thing, for example, was one that I just skipped. The princesses, though, have always appealed to me. I don't own too many of them - just "Sleeping Beauty," my favourite. However, I think that I'll be picking this one up!
I love the old-school hand-drawn animation. Don't get me wrong - CGI is awesome, and movies like "Toy Story" were very nice to watch. There's just something about real animation (as opposed to computer animation) that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Maybe it's because that's what I grew up watching. In any case, this was a very visually appealing film. There was even a section of animation that looked more like the style seen in some of the sections of "Fantasia." It was very 2D, rather than attempting to look 3D; there was no shading, none of the usual attempts to give depth. It was well-done, though, and I think it was well-integrated into the storyline.
The storyline itself was a wonderful twist on "The Frog Prince." If you've seen the trailers or any reviews, you know that Tiana is not a princess. She's a waitress in New Orleans, saving up to buy her own restaurant. The visiting Prince Naveen gets mixed up in some voodoo and is transformed into a frog. He sees Tiana all dressed up, and mistakes her for a princess. He kisses her, hoping that he'll change back to a human. Instead, she becomes a frog. The two of them then get into all sorts of fun as they try to find a way to become human again.
The supporting characters are awesome. My favourite has to be Raymond ('but everybody calls me 'Ray'), the firefly. The inbred, Creole firefly. And his extended family. I think they had maybe a dozen teeth between the hundreds of fireflies that appeared... John Goodman plays the voice of "Big Daddy," the father of Charlotte, Tiana's childhood friend. Charlotte has Big Daddy wrapped around her little finger, and Goodman's portrayal is spot-on. Charlotte herself reminds me of the stereotypical southern-belle-sorority-girls I've met, complete with squealing. She verges on irritating at times, but is generally a good character.
The bad guy is creepy. REALLY creepy. And he looks a little bit like Prince. His shadow is equally creepy, but I love that it is a character in and of itself. Unlike Gaston from "Beauty and the Beast," I don't think I'll run into any little kids that idolize Facilier.
Like all Disney fairy tales, this one has a moral, and it's a pretty good one. The secondary message is also a good one... but don't worry, I won't spoil them for you!
I really recommend that everyone check it out.