It is an incredibly likable tale, full of good voice performances, including ones by Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, John Goodman, and Jim Cummings; great songs by Randy Newman; and more than a few laughs. Directed and co-written by Ron Clements and John Musker (Hercules, Aladdin, and The Little Mermaid), the film may never quite hit the highs of the second golden age of Disney animation of which both men were a part, but it is both an engrossing and an endearing tale, one which shows that the ability to tale a good story – even if it isn't the most original – will triumph over all the bells and whistles.
Though not as adult oriented as something like Up, The Princess and the Frog doesn't shy away from focusing on darker aspects of life and death. As a film about hard work, love, and finding a balance in life it doesn't dwell on the negative, but Dr. Facilier may certainly make for a sleepless night or two among the younger set. The voodoo master is one of the best – and darkest – animated villains we've seen in a while as he uses his evil spirits to work his magic and chase down Tiana and Naveen while they are in frog form.
The Blu-ray release of the film looks and sounds utterly fantastic. As a film with an incredibly rich look and sound, the Blu-ray release only enhances it. Colors are vibrant, blacks and shadows (of which there are a significant number) are dark without being overpowering, and one will truly be amazed at the look of some of the musical numbers. The sound, a DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track, is also fantastic, with Randy Newman's music completely surrounding the audience. The dialogue is clear and although the music is incredibly important, it never overpowers the voices. The various effects, of which there are many, are also stellar, utilizing surrounds and the bass and truly bringing the viewer into the story.
In terms of special features, the three-disc Blu-ray release not only comes with a digital copy and a DVD one as well, but also an audio commentary by the co-writers/directors and producer Peter Del Vecho, the ability to watch the film with a picture-in-picture track that shows the viewer various work-in-progress levels of animation, deleted scenes, a music video, an art gallery, and several different behind the scenes features. This last group ranges in everything from a look at Dr. Facilier to the studio returning to hand-drawn animation and musicals to ones on Tiana. Though these are all vaguely interesting, they do tend to have a little too much of an overly short, pre-packaged promo-type feel. Lastly, the disc comes with a brief game which has fireflies put together pictures of princesses for the viewer to identify. It is certainly a better game than what one will often find included on video releases.