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Toon Talk: Princess and the Frog Blu-Ray / DVD
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by Kirby Holt (archives)
March 18, 2010
Kirby reviews the home release of Disney's traditionally animated feature The Princess and the Frog.
Toon Talk: Disney Film and DVD Reviews
by Kirby C. Holt
 
 

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG

Disney Blu-Ray and DVD
MPAA Rating: G

Of Frogs and Fireflies

Fresh off of its theatrical run and three Academy Award nominations, Disney’s The Princess and the Frog is poised to become the hit it deserves to be with its debut on Disney Blu-ray and DVD this week.

When The Princess and the Frog was released just three months ago, it was met with critical acclaim (including from me; click here for my original Toon Talk review) that hailed it as a worthy addition to Disney’s long line of animated classics. However, in the crowded holiday movie marketplace, this Princess never lived up to its full box office potential. But now that it has been released to home video, those families who were too busy with December festivities will have the chance to discover it for themselves.

They, along with existing Frog fans, will have several viewing options as well, especially with the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. In addition to the Blu-ray and standard DVD (which includes the movie and a selection of bonus features), the three disc set also includes the “Disney File” digital copy, which allows you to download the movie to your computer and mobile devices.

Naturally, the Blu-ray offers the best viewing experience. It also allows you to view The Princess and the Frog alongside its “Work in Progress” print, the first time this has been made publicly available since Beauty and the Beast. The work print, consisting of rough animation and storyboards (minus color and effects), appears in a separate window in the upper left hand corner of the screen while you are watching the main feature.

Also available (on both the Blu-ray and standard DVD) is an informative, full-length audio commentary (not available while viewing the “Work in Progress”) with the film’s co-writers/co-directors John Musker and Ron Clements and producer Peter Del Vecho which offers several insights into the making of The Princess and the Frog, including …

The Top 10 Things We Learn From This Commentary

  1. The directors pitched the movie to Oprah Winfrey while she was at Disneyland; it was her idea to voice a character.
  2. Composer Randy Newman tried several times to be a voice in the movie, including singing “Down in New Orleans” and taking a verse (as a turtle) in “When We’re Human”. He had to settle for making an appearance as a firefly at the start of “Gonna Take You There”.
  3. Anika Noni Rose requested that Tiana be left-handed like herself.
  4. Several Disney staff members are caricatured in the movie, including animator Eric Goldberg (as the “pooper scooper”), the late Joe Grant (as the octopus man) and the directors themselves (dressed as bead-throwing fish during the Mardi Gras sequence).
  5. Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse voiced Marlon, one of the gators.
  6. Louis was originally conceived as a human who was turned into an alligator by Dr. Facilier.
  7. The Princess and the Frog features more costume changes for the main characters than any other Disney animated movie.
  8. Lady and the Tramp and Bambi were the main Disney influences for the film.
  9. The Mardi Gras floats seen were inspired by Clements and Musker’s earlier films The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules and Treasure Planet.
  10. Louis’ band, the Firefly Five Plus Lou, is an homage to the Disney in-house Dixieland band from the 1950’s known as the Firehouse Five Plus Two.

The directors are also on hand for the other main bonus feature (Blu-ray only), “Magic in the Bayou: The Making of a Princess”, a behind the scenes look at the “princess movie for those who don’t like princess movies”. Onscreen participants include executive producer John Lasseter, supervising animators Andreas Deja (Mama Odie), Anthony DeRosa (Lawrence), Randy Haycock (Naveen), Mark Henn (Tiana) and Bruce Smith (Dr. Facilier) and voice actors Anika Noni Rose (Tiana), Jenifer Lewis (Mama Odie), Keith David (Dr. Facilier) and Terrence Howard (James).

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