I took my four kids to see Disney’s return to hand drawn animation on Saturday. The two boys wanted to go see “The Fantastic Mr. Fox;” the girls the princess movie. Since we’ve been renting mostly action adventure movies lately as a family, despite the protests of my tween girls, I figured a princess movie was overdue.
After a decade or more of a steady diet of CG movies, I wondered if the hand drawn animation feel choppier or distracting, but it wasn’t. There were only a couple of times where the animation flickered enough to knock me out of my suspension of disbelief. The most distracting part of the movie was when the characters broke into song. I was so relieved when Pixar came a long and made animated movies that didn’t involve characters singing to move along the plot. The lyrics and songs for Princess and the Frog just were not memorable either. Two days later, I can’t remember any of songs or melodies – unlike the Lion King where I could easily remember “I can’t wait to be king” or “Hakuna Matata.”
The writing was typical Disney fair. The prince’s transformation from carefree rascal to prince charming was too quick and dramatic. I would have liked to see the transformation strung out a bit. Characters were funny and suitable for their roles. Voice talent was spot on. My girls (age 10) enjoyed the movie, but I suspect they would admit they’ve seen more engaging movies. The boys survived. During the movie I would look over and see them slouched in their bored posture.
For me the telling moment was reflecting about the movie afterwards. Pixar and Dreamworks’ movies are written so that they’re entertaining for adults as well as children. I’ve purchased every Pixar film that has come out since 2000 because as a 36 year-old guy, I enjoy watching them too. I have zero inclination to buy the DVD version of this film; its appeal just isn’t broad enough.