The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Comments (Spoilers may occur):
Loved all the references to past Disney movies. Anika Noni Rose is the voice for Tiana, she also does the singing. Celebrity voices: Oprah Winfrey's voice for Tiana's mother, John Goodman's voice for 'Big Daddy' La Bouff. (At least the celebrities I know.) But I didn't know either of these during the movie. I saw Oprah Winfrey in the credits. And honestly, I didn't remember who Eudora, Tiana's mother, was. After I found out who she was, I couldn't tell that it was Oprah's voice. Perhaps because I don't watch Oprah. (I've seen some episodes, so I know her voice.) John Goodman I didn't find out until getting home, but thinking about it, the voice I do recognize. It's funny though, because on the ride home, Daniel and I were thinking about the use of celebrities in the Pixar films. And at one point Daniel names Goodman (Sulley).

I knew Toy Story had two famous celebrities. Daniel named Tom Hanks (Woody), I named Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear). (Joan Cusack plays Jessie in Toy Story 2.) I knew Monsters, Inc. had some celebrity voices. Daniel named John Goodman (Sulley), later I looked up Mike, Billy Crystal (Mike Wazowski). I named Ellen DeGeneres (Dory) in Finding Nemo. Looking at IMDb, I recognize William Dafoe (Gill) and Brad Garrett (Bloat). I knew Cars had someone famous, but since I didn't watch it, I didn't know. It's Owen Wilson (Lightning McQueen).

Anyways, the conversation started, when we noted how Anika also performed the songs and how this would be less likely if the movie casts a celebrity to voice the character. Of course, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Chicago are two examples of celebrities did a good job acting and singing. I named Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd) and Alan Rickman (Judge Turpin). Daniel named Helena Bonham Carter (Mrs. Lovett). (Daniel mistakenly named Pirelli as Ben Stiller, but not too far off, Pirelli was played by Sacha Baron Cohen.) (I was tempted to start talking about Tim Burton movies here, but I'll make a new post for that!) Catherine Zeta Jones (Velma Kelly), Renee Zellweger (Roxie Hart), Richard Gere (Billy Flynn), and Queen Latifah (Matron Mama Mortan). (Of course Queen Latifah is a music artist.)

Heading back on track, and in fact more literally the soundtrack... the music was good, and checking out the details, all the songs were sung by the voice actors: Anika Noni Rose (Tiana), Keith David (Doctor Facilier), Michael-Leon Wooley (Louis), Bruno Campos (Prince Naveen), Jim Cummings (Ray), and Jenifer Lewis (Mama Odie). Its harder to say what tracks might become memorable. These songs certainly don't catch on as quickly as I remember from Disney songs coming from Lion King, Pocahontas, or Hercules. I'd say the first song that sits in front of the line is "Dig a Little Deeper." Next would be "Almost There." But again, the music doesn't seem as catchy and easy to sing as songs from the Lion King, Pocahontas, or Hercules. Likely others as well... but maybe because I must have seen all those movies multiple times.

I'm also happy to see a 2D animation done by Disney. There is a section in the Wiki page summarizing the animation process for this movie; it's a short and interesting read. All those 3D movies really spoil the kids. I don't think they enjoy the classics as much when they grow up with so many 3D movies and cartoons. Of course those are great, but 2D animation is its own form of art that, while it might cost more to produce, adds to the magic of the film. Plus, a person in a classic Disney 2D film looks "real" compared to a person in any 3D film. Note: It's been five years since the last Disney hand-drawn animation: Home on the Range (2004).

Disney references I saw:
Obviously all the Disney princesses at the beginning sitting on the shelf. I'm pretty sure I saw Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Belle. There were also many other references in that room. One that I saw, but forgot was the teapot set, a reference to Beauty and the Beast. Since Disney animals tend to be drawn consistently across movies, Charlotte's white cat looks like Marie from Aristocats. There's the ribbon on the dress frame that resembles Cinderella. King Triton as a parade float. I can't remember which character did it, but something was split in two and the character then looked like Madam Mim from The Sword in the Stone. Remark: The Sword in the Stone reference is as follows: Louis takes some leaves and parts them, just like Madam Mim did with her own hair in one of the scenes. "Prince Naveen" and Charlotte standing on top of the wedding cake, like the cake in The Little Mermaid. The Pirates of the Caribbean house that you see at the beginning of the ride, or from the Blue Bayou.

References that I missed:
Apparently a reference that I don't remember is someone shaking out Magic Carpet, an Aladdin reference. I also don't remember Aladdin's lamp as Mama Odie is searching for something. I totally didn't realize that when looking at the stars, Timon says "Easy, they're fireflies... Fireflies that got stuck up there in that bluish-black thing." Apparently Big Daddy was dressed as Hercules during the masquerade ball and there was a couple dressed as Aladdin and Jasmine. The riverboat being based on Mark Twain's Steamboat at Disneyland. Apparently Tiana had Pocahontas's necklace.

Definitely these references are a call to all Disney lovers to go back and watch the movies again. I certainly want to! Man, how is Disney so good at marketing?

[20091218 8:47 AM]

Having watched three other movies today, and having needed to started studying, I put on this movie.
Toys in Charlotte's room.
Louis (Armstrong): During the song that soon follows he says, "I ain't no Louis Armstrong..."
Haha, Madam Mim.
"If I can mince, you can dance."
"I'm six and a half."
I had forgotten the credits were done so beautifully.
Though it's a beautiful song for the credits, I suddenly thought how funny it was when a movie plays a pop song of some sort during the credits which is totally different from the music composed for the main movie. You get a little of the New Orleans type music after the song ends, but yeah... sometimes a movie does that and it takes me by surprise.

Released 20091211.
Watched 20091217 Theatre. AMC Downtown Disney 12 [PRINCESS &] 12:45pm $8.00
Watched 20101125 (Netflix, Instant)
The Princess and the Frog (2009) Ron Clements and John Musker. 97 min.

Relevant Links:
Check out the The Princess and the Frog page at
Check out the The Princess and the Frog page at

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