The Princess and the Frog
In Jazz Age New Orleans, an industrious but poor young woman raised to believe in fairy tales kisses a cursed frog prince, only to be turned into a frog herself. The Princess and the Frog is the first Disney animated film to feature an African-American lead character, a “bold” first step by the conservative company into the latter half of the 20th century. Fittingly, the cartoon is set nearly 100 years in America’s past, and traffics in outmoded racial stereotypes. Aladdin directors Ron Clements and John Musker shepherded this return to hand-drawn animation, but it’s only eye-popping in the scenes featuring the villainous Dr. Facilier. This occasionally entertaining film is one of the most jumbled pictures Disney has ever put on screen, with warring narratives, an ungainly clash of moods and styles, and Randy Newman’s too-safe song score.