Director: Ron Clements (The Little Mermaid), John Musker (Aladdin)
Cast: Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls, Bruno Campos (Blue Moon) "You've done a helckuva job, Brownie." George W. Bush
New Orleans as the site of Hurricane Katrina's wrath has yet to be a "helluva" reclamation, even under Obama. But give Disney Studios a chance to catch the early 20th century charm of the city, and you have a superior fairy tale that recalls the city's glamour as it must have been before its date with Katrina.
The Princess and the Frog retells the classic story of the transforming kiss with soul music, soulful food, and characters as charming as the voodoo that causes the trouble. Besides having the princess a black beauty and the prince of color as well, the old-fashioned 2 D animation holds a slew of eccentric characters rivaling Jiminy Cricket, Dumbo, and the whole forest of Disney's loveable animals.
As is always the case with this studio, the homily is given in the sweetest way, this time through catchy jazz originals and characters immersed in the magic of Louisiana folk lore. For The Princess and the Frog, "Love is all that matters" best encapsulates the lesson of having ambitious goals that seek not money but happiness through good deeds seasoned with amour.
This is one of the best animations of a sterling year (standing right there with Fantastic Mr. Fox, Up, and Coraline) and a prominent entry into the Disney canon.
Princess Tiana: Just one kiss?
Prince Naveen: Just one, unless you beg for more.