Disney shows us the beautiful world of “The Princess and the Frog”

Sometimes, when you wish upon a star you get a really gorgeous movie in return. A rough cut of the first five minutes of the new Disney animated film The Princess and the Frog has been released online. The movie is set in New Orleans and features Disney’s first black princess, Tiana (voiced by Dreamgirls star Anika Noni Rose).

The musical is done in lush hand-drawn 2-D in the tradition of Disney’s other classic princess films like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella. Some of the animation in the clip is unfinished, but it sets the mood right away. Take a look:

Based on the fairy tale by the same name, it follows Tiana as she encounters a frog purporting to be a prince who asks for a kiss to break the amphibious spell. The previously released trailer reveals a key plot point. But instead of turning him into a Prince, the kiss turns her into a little green hopper as well.

Now I’ve had my reservations about the story in the past. I mean, it’s wonderful for them to create the first black princess, but then why make her into a frog for most of the film? Still the first few minutes are enchanting enough for me to give the film the benefit of the doubt. Plus, you can tell the animators went all-out to create the rich, multi-cultural backdrop of the Big Easy.

My only concern now? I’m a little worried for Tiana’s parents (voiced by Oprah Winfrey and Terrence Howard). The bulk of the movie is set later, when Tiana is older and an aspiring chef. Given Disney’s track record on letting loving parents live, I sense I should bring some Kleenex. I saw Bambi, you can’t fool me.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to make that wish with Princess Tiana and buy your ticket when the movie premieres Dec. 11?

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