We all know Disney has a long line of hand-drawn animation behind them. Dating as far back as 1937 with their first full-length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, they have always been quite the powerhouse of quality, and never more so than during their heyday in the '90s when we were lucky enough to get the likes of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Hercules, Mulan, and Tarzan.
You could also lump in the likes of some of their more underrated films (The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and Oliver & Company) and one of their truest classics, The Little Mermaid, into this canon of spectacular quality. One right after the other, they were knocking them out of the ballpark.
With a few missteps along the way (Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Treasure Planet, and Brother Bear) there were still a few to keep the faith alive (The Emperor’s New Groove, Lilo & Stitch, and Home on the Range).
Then along came a little production company by the name of Pixar and they went ahead and changed everything. Pixar ushered in a new era of full-length, computer-animated feature films, and I don’t have to tell you about that string of hits. With other major studios seeking out this new medium and hitching a ride on the bandwagon, many have thought for years that the days of traditional 2-D films were completely behind us. Thanks to the likes of some extraordinarily talented veteran creators, we have returned to an era that has lain dormant far too long.
With their latest venture, The Princess and the Frog, directors Ron Clements and John Musker also mark their return to form. These two were responsible for some of Disney’s biggest hits: The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Hercules. With the exception of the bland Treasure Planet, it’s no wonder these two were handed the keys to the animation kingdom to bring fair advantage to the playing field.
Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose, Dreamgirls) lives a modest life in New Orleans. We first see her as a young child living with her mother Eudora (voiced by Oprah Winfrey) and her father James (voiced by Terrence Howard). What’s this? Tiana has a father? Well, don’t worry, the staples of Disney are still with us as we flash forward to when she’s older and her father has, of course, passed on.