30 Movies in 30 Days: The Princess and the Frog

Had I seen it before: Yes, but it had been a while.

Year: 2009

Directors: Ron ClementsJohn Musker

Writers: Ron Clements (story and screenplay), John Musker (story and screenplay), Greg Erb (story), Jason Oremland (story), Rob Edwards (screenplay), inspired by the story The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker.

Where you can stream it now: Disney+ or Netflix

What IMDb says: A waitress, desperate to fulfill her dreams as a restaurant owner, is set on a journey to turn a frog prince back into a human being, but she has to face the same problem after she kisses him.

Why I picked it: I wanted something relatively short, and it had been a long enough time since I saw this that I felt due for a re-watch.

What I liked: This movie does a great job of capturing everything people love about Disney princess movies while also providing just the right amount of modernization. Tiana doesn’t dream about a man, she dreams about opening her own business. And while there’s a nice nod to wishing on stars, the movie is sure to also promote the value of hard work and how dreams don’t come true without a good work ethic. And when Tiana ultimately does get her love story, that love story doesn’t happen at the expense of her original dream. In fact, one of the ways that we get to see how much Prince Naveem loves her is by seeing how he would sacrifice a life with her in order for Tiana to have her restaurant.

I also love how the film draws inspiration from a story we all know, but also takes a lot of liberties with it. Even though it’s still a pretty business-as-usual structure for a Disney movie, it felt slightly less predictable than a straightforward retelling of the story we all know. This also made room for a lot more endearing animal sidekicks, and really what’s a Disney movie without an endearing animal sidekick?

The music is also super fun and I love how well they lean into the New Orleans setting for musical inspiration. Each song really helps us learn more about the character who’s singing and some even help move the plot along, which is always nice in musical theater.

What I didn’t like: It feels a little formulaic and predictable, but that’s to be expected.

Will I watch it again: Most likely. It’s a great way to satisfy a Disney itch with a story I don’t know quite as well as some of the ones I grew up with.

Who would enjoy it: Anyone who loves classic Disney but never gave this film chance REALLY should give this film a chance. That being said, it doesn’t really stray far enough from the norm to be good for anyone outside that audience.

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