4.26.2010

The Princess and the Frog : 5 of 5

The Princess and the Frog (Single Disc Blu-ray)As soon as I saw Disney's The Princess and the Frog in the theater, I couldn't wait to add it to my DVD collection and check out the cool bonus materials on Blu-ray! I absolutely loved watching the film again, taking note of all the little gags I missed, enjoying the plot construction that moves so fast in places yet doesn't feel rushed, and marveling over the rich characterization (especially for Ray the firefly!). But of course, I had to dive into the bonus materials first, and while I'm always left wanting more when it comes to behind the scenes animation details, I'm pretty happy with the segments found on this disc. The best part about these materials is their reverence for animation, and they try very hard to communicate what a miracle it is that movies like The Princess and the Frog exist. They make the point that to the young generation of viewers, this could be their first exposure to this unique art form! There's a nice 22-minute documentary with some comments from John Lasseter about getting Clements & Musker back at Disney as well as some nice discussions with animator Mark Henn (who isn't seen very often in these segments, so that was a treat). There are also many other short (under three minutes) features that are OK, but really should have been edited together. The usual deleted scenes are pretty good, and it was interesting to see some of the live action reference footage also. One of the nice Blu-ray features is the ability to view the "work in progress" print (mostly pencil drawings) inset with the finished feature, but unfortunately you can't listen to the commentary track at the same time, which would of been perfect. Speaking of the commentary, Clements & Musker talk absolutely non-stop, praising their animators and revealing hundreds of cool facts about the film (from a story construction and technical standpoint) and Disney animation in general. I enjoyed hearing about Tiana's left-handedness, the Mardi Gras floats that represent other Disney movies, the re-use of birds from The Lion King, and most of all about Winston Hibler's grandson who secretly stored some of the animation desks he was ordered to sell, which definitely came in handy when it was decided to return to hand-drawn animation! The Princess and the Frog is such an important movie in the history of Disney animation, and this Blu-ray release is a fantastic way to enjoy it at a deeper level!

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