THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG is a welcome return for hand-drawn animation

Critics say it's doesn't match up to the classic 90s era of Disney flicks, but it's good, and that's a nice place to start after a five year absence.

"The opening scenes of Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" are like a cool shower after a long and sweaty day" begins Roger Ebert in his positive review of Disney's first 2-D animated movie since the appalling Home on the Range five years ago - a movie so bad it forced Disney's hand in shutting down production on the medium altogether. In truth I guess, Disney had been pushing towards an end for pencil animation for years prior to 2004, and Home on the Range was simply the straw that broke the camels back. A string of flops after Tarzan in 1999 ended an incredible decade long animated renaissance for the mouse (Little Mermaid in 89, Beauty and the Beast in 1991, Aladdin 1992, The Lion King in 1994 and more) which were counter-point to the massive success of the Pixar and Dreamworks CGI animated movies in the 21st century. princessandthefrogconcept1-580x322 Ebert continues...
This is what classic animation once was like! No 3-D! No glasses! No extra ticket charge! No frantic frenzies of meaningless action! And . . . good gravy! A story! Characters! A plot! It's set in a particular time and place! And it uses (calm me down here) lovingly hand-drawn animation that proceeds at a human pace, instead of racing with odd smoothness. I'm just gonna stand here and let it pour over me.
Ebert's enthusiastic review is atypical of most out there, and I don't think I need to go through a usual run-down of the whole community. There's a couple of more negative murmurings from the likes of Justin Chang at Variety and Michael Phillips, but they sound a little humbug-esque, like they needed it to rock their world to give it a full-on praise. Ebert, like most of the reviewers, goes on further to say that The Princess and The Frog isn't by any means a classic, the Randy Newman musical numbers haven't quite got the catchy feel of say writer/director Ron Clements and John Musker's own previous films The Little Mermaid or Aladdin and the movie doesn't live up to it's opening scene promise but it's a start, and very much a welcome return for the medium. It's good, and the first attempt back at this animation style is all that it needed to be.

Anything that gets Disney back into the groove of spending money on getting hand-drawn animation back on our screens, should be applauded. The picture is sitting pretty on an 83% fresh rating, as it expands it's release wide in the U.S. this weekend, though shockingly we won't get it until February here in Britain.
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.