"The Princess and the Frog" is a fairy tale set in 1920s in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It features the first African- American heroine, Tiana, and marks a return to traditional animation and Broadway- style musicals.
The film opened in limited release in New York and Los Angeles on November 25, 2009, and released US wide on December 11, 2009. Worldwide release dates are in January and February 2010.
The project, announced several years ago, was surrounded by a controversy concerning the portrayal of African- American characters, as well as use of voodoo and interracial relationship.
Tiana is a hard working waitress who has a clear goal: opening her own restaurant in New Orleans. At the same time, lazy prince Naveen from land of Maldonia visits town because of the jazz scene, but is transformed into a frog by the evil voodoo magician Dr. Facilier.
Naveen mistakes Tiana for a princess and asks her to kiss him in order to break the spell. However, since Tiana is not a princes, the spell backfires, turning her into a frog as well. The two frogs escape to Bayou, where they befriend a trumpet- playing alligator Louis and a hopelessly romantic firefly Ray. Together, Tiana and Naveen must find the good voodoo priestess of the Bayou, Mama Odie, who can break the spell. More about the characters.
The original scores and songs were composed by Randy Newman, who is responsible for the music of five Pixar films. The soundtrack was released on November 23, 2009, the day before the limited release of the film in New York and Los Angeles.
The soundtrack album contains ten original songs and seven instrumentals. The music is a mixture of jazz, zydeco, blues and gospel, and the songs are vibrant and upbeat. Some critics, however, say Newman's songs are short and not memorable enough.
The songs are performed by various artists, most of whom lend their voices to the characters in the film. More about the soundtrack.
The film received very positive reviews from film critics. "The Princess and the Frog" is praised as a return to Disney magic. Some of the critics even see it as a beginning of a new Disney renaissance.
Audience generally liked the film, saying it's the best Disney movie in a long time. However, many agree PatF isn't as good as Disney's best ("Beauty and the Beast", "The Lion King"), but still a really enjoyable and memorable film.