Just forget the words and sing along

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Shopping's Done, and We've Seen Princess

I'm back from the city! Got all my Christmas shopping done in one crazy, busy day. That's the way I tend to tackle my Christmas shopping...about 90% planning, and then 10% execution. You prepare the list, do a little recon to find out where you can get everything and for the best deals, and then, all in one day, POW! POW! POW! you swoop in and buy everything and it's done.

And of course, it's just not a trip to the city unless I catch a movie. I went to see The Princess and the Frog, Disney's much hyped return to traditional, 2D, hand-drawn animation.

I've been following this one online pretty closely, mainly because of how it came about. See, around six or seven years ago, Disney made headlines when they declared that traditional animation is no longer profitable, and that they'd be shutting down their traditional animation units and focusing solely on computer animated films. Well, a couple years after that, there was a change in management. Specifically, John Lasseter, the man who made Pixar what it is, took charge of Disney animation. Lasseter looked at the declaration that traditional animation was no longer profitable and said, "Nertz to that!" He got traditional animation going again...he called all those animators that were laid off and said, "I'm getting the band back together." And the end product? The Princess and the Frog.

Now, loving my animated films, I always enjoy it when an animated film throws something at me that's different. My case study is always the "squirrel down the pants" gag in The Iron Giant. So I'm watching The Princess and the Frog, and it's following the formula tickety-boo, and then...something different. Something happened in the film that just BLEW MY MIND. My jaw dropped, and I was left asking, "Did they really just do that?" And yes...yes they did.

I'm not going to tell you what it is, as it happens near the end, and it is a spoiler, but all I will say is, yes, they go there.

And as for all the much-hyped differences about this film, how it's Disney's first with an African American heroine, or how she's a career woman and all that...well, despite all that, it still manages to stick to the proven formula pretty closely.

If this film came out in 1990s, at the height of Disney's resurgence, I'd definitely say it's above average. 3 out of 4 nibs...complete review coming soon.

I was originally hoping to do this as a double-feature day with Fantastic Mr. Fox, but it seems to only be playing now on Edmonton's south side...just a bit too far out of my way, given today's -40 weather. Looks like that one will have to wait until DVD now. Maybe I'll have to see it as a DVD double feature weekend, along with another really cool looking animated film that I missed in theaters, 9.

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