Movie Reviews The Princess And The Frog
Disney is opening The Princess and the Frog in two theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a two-week special engagement before its national roll-out. In the apparent belief that audiences may feel short-changed by the lack of computer animation -- it's drawn by hand -- and 3D, the studio is compensating with a lot of marketing pizzazz, including games and other activities being presented next to the the theater. In Los Angeles, it's actually being screened on the Disney lot, the first time in memory that a studio has opened its gates to the public as part of a theatrical run. It's all totally unnecessary, most of the critics seem to agree. The movie stands beautifully on its own, returning Disney to its glory days. "What a relief to watch an animated movie without 3-D glasses!" writes Claudia Puig in USA Today , "And what a pleasure, after a season of bland computer-generated tales, to be swept up in the visual magic of The Princess and the Frog ." Likewise, Betsy Sharkey writes in the Los Angeles Times "After being bombarded by so much computer-generated, motion-captured high-and-higher jinks, the film feels fresh -- a discovery, or a rediscovery, depending on your age." "Enchanted!" exclaims Lou Lumenick in the New York Post . "The Disney magic -- not to be confused with the delights of its Pixar subsidiary -- is finally back, after a decade in the animated wilderness." Most of the reviews make only passing reference to the fact that the movie features the first black princess in Disney history. But Manohla Dargis in the New York Times faults the movie for doing so itself. After all, the princess spends much of her on-screen time as a frog. "It's not easy being green, the heroine of The Princess and the Frog discovers," Dargis writes. "But to judge from how this polished, hand-drawn movie addresses, or rather strenuously avoids, race, it is a lot more difficult to be black, particularly in a Disney animated feature." But perhaps the basic problem with the film, Joe Neumaier suggests in the New York Daily News, is that this princess is "achingly one-dimensional."