The Princess and the Frog [DVD] £9 at Amazon
£8.99 at Play ( thanks to Erinath for the info)
After the visual bombast of many contemporary CGI and motion-capture features, the drawn characters in The Princess and the Frog, Walt Disney Studio's eagerly awaited return to traditional animation, feel doubly welcome. Directed by John Musker and Ron Clements (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin), The Princess and the Frog moves the classic fairy tale to a snazzy version of 1920s New Orleans. Tiana (voice by Anika Noni Rose), the first African-American Disney heroine, is not a princess, but a young woman who hopes to fulfill her father's dream of opening a restaurant to serve food that will bring together people from all walks of life. Tiana may wish upon a star, but she believes that hard work is the way to fulfill your aspirations. Her dedication clashes with the cheerful idleness of the visiting prince Naveen (Bruno Campos). A voodoo spell cast by Dr. Facilier (Keith David) in a showstopping number by composer Randy Newman initiates the events that will bring the mismatched hero and heroine together. However, the animation of three supporting characters--Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley), a jazz-playing alligator; Ray (Jim Cummings), a Cajun firefly; and 197-year-old voodoo priestess Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis)--is so outstanding, it nearly steals the film. Alternately funny, touching, and dramatic, The Princess and the Frog is an all-too-rare example of a movie a family can enjoy together, with the most and least sophisticated members appreciating different elements. The film is also a welcome sign that the beleaguered Disney Feature Animation Studio has turned away from such disasters as Home on the Range, Chicken Little, and Meet the Robinsons and is once again moving in the right direction.