Heading to the theater to see "The Princess and The Frog," I had no idea what I'd find. My expectations for this newest Disney endeavor were so-so; I've come to actually prefer Dreamworks productions over Disney, seeing as how the latest Disney movies have seemed to lack a heart-moving story line and humor that us older kids would find funny.
But I remember being really little and loving the hand-drawn "classics" like "The Lion King," "Sleeping Beauty" and "Cinderella" that originally made Disney so famous, so I decided to give "The Princess and The Frog" a shot.
And I loved it. It was incredibly refreshing to see the traditional, 2-D animation style at Disney make a return. The backgrounds of New Orleans and the bayou alone were captivating, and the characters were endearing -- and hilarious.
The African-American "princess" featured in the previews, Tiana (Anika Noni Rose), is not actually a princess -- she's an incredibly hard-working daughter of poor parents who is trying fulfill her and her father's dream of opening up a restaurant along the waterfront.
Tiana also has a hilarious rich friend she was raised with, Charlotte (Jennifer Cody), whose father is the wealthiest man in town. What's sad is that Tiana works two jobs just to slowly save up for that old building along the waterfront, and all Charlotte has to do is whine or yell at Daddy for money. It's almost enough to make you dislike Charlotte, but her hilariously crazy personality redeems her.
Enter Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos), royalty from Maldonia who is in search of a rich bride -- namely, Charlotte. Charlotte's greatest wish is to marry a prince, and Naveen wants to be rich again (no one knows that his dear old mom and dad have had enough of his antics and cut off his funds.) It's a match made in heaven.
However, on the way to Charlotte's Mardi Gras ball, Naveen runs into trouble: a voodoo magician. Prince Naveen gets turned into a frog, mistakes Tiana for the princess he's supposed to kiss in order to return to human form, and begs for a kiss. She relents and puckers up, despite being extremely grossed out at smooching a frog ... and gets turned into a frog herself.
The two then venture out into the bayou, where they run into a voodoo priestess and alligators and fireflies, oh my! I found the story line original, the plot intriguing and the characters extremely likeable -- even those you aren't supposed to like, such as the voodoo man. Also, as I said before, the movie was as dramatic as it was funny. One of my favorite parts was when one of the fireflies, Ray, tells Tiana and Naveen that Gramma Firefly got in trouble for "flashing the neighbors again."
However, one warning about this film: If you're not a fan of jazz music, or you just don't like movies where there's a lot of singing, don't go. I loved the songs, but even I felt like "The Princess and The Frog" could have been just as genuine and touching with a few songs removed and more dialogue added. There was even a time or two when I sighed as they started singing again.
Otherwise, go see this movie! It's a great change to see a film that is not computer-generated, but animated the old way.
And remember, that's not slime on frogs -- it's mucus.
Charlie Anderson is a junior at Christian Heritage High School who enjoys the rain, funny movies and the French language. E-mail her at email@example.com.