CLOSE

“The Frog Prince,” a fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm, gets a spin in “The Princess and the Frog” The tale of good times versus hard work is the recurring approach in this movie. The movie opens up on the tale of childhood best-friends-since Charlotte (voice of Jennifer Cody) and Tiana (voice of Anika Noni Rose).

Charlotte, the spoiled, headstrong but nonetheless endearing daughter of wealthy white patriarch Big Daddy (voice of John Goodman) can afford dreams of splendor, and has long had her heart set on marrying a prince. African-American Tiana — whose mother Eudora (voice of Oprah Winfrey) is Charlotte’s seamstress — has the more modest goal of fulfilling late father James’ (voice of Terrence Howard) wish to open an elegant waterfront restaurant.

Through dedication and hard work, Tiana earns the  money needed to open her restaurant, and Charlotte’s cherished desire looks likely to be fulfilled as well when handsome, jazz-addicted playboy Prince Naveen of Maldonia (voice of Bruno Campos) arrives in the Crescent City.

A scheming voodoo sorcerer Dr. Facilier (voice of Keith David) complicates all their lives, leading to a journey to the bayou and the remote lair of its 179-year-old queen, Mama Odie (voice of Jenifer Lewis), whose good magic may undo the hex. Along the way, we meet a fun filled, sweet-natured, trumpet-playing alligator Louis (voice of Michael-Leon Wooley) and gap-toothed Cajun firefly Ray (voice of Jim Cummings). Facilier’s demonic allies are darkly featured in a song and dance that reminds you of earlydark tales of the boogie man. His powers  unquestionably put Facilier’s occultism in its true moral light. More ambiguous and problematic is the depiction of Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis), whose swamp home is an old shrimp boat marooned in a tree. Though feared as a witch, Mama Odie easily scatters the forces of darkness, and practices a form of divination while advising Tiana and Naveen to “dig a little deeper” and discover their real needs beneath their wants.  As this lavish romance unfolds, enhanced by bouncy tunes from veteran pop star and film composer Randy Newman, hard-working Tiana and lazy, carefree Naveen — initially at Hepburn-Tracy loggerheads — eventually come to exercise a positive, balancing influence on each other. The script, which emphasizes the value of love over material wealth throughout, reaches a resolution highlighting the transformative power of marital commitment.

It’s a welcome tale of a little hard work and dreams I definitely recommend you bring the kids and enjoy the screen time.

The length of the Movie Is 1 hr 35 min Rated G Animated

{For more from Oretha Winston follow her on Twitter}

Related Articles: