The Family Panel love a good film that the whole family can watch, and whats better than Disney? We've been watching The Princess and the Frog on a wet afternoon to find out if it stands up to the old favourites.
As a family of three generations, us Parents have one thing in common- we were both brought up on Disney films. We both recall when a new Disney film was "an event" and meant weeks of excitement.
And they've continued, despite new trends cropping up for games and computers in general, to have a lasting place in childhood. But recently, Disney has embraced technology, and in the die hard oldie fans opinion, lost some of that magic of knowing that a cartoonist had spent hours on a single frame of film.
The Princess and The Frog marks a return to the old school, with less use of computer technology and wizardry and more of the hand drawn magic. It is also the first time that Disney has featured an African American Princess, in the shape of the loveable Tiana.
The film is in parts funny and at times scarily dark, with an evil villain of magnitude not seen since The Little Mermaid. This is a classic twist and turns Disney, with the heartwarming message at the end that you too can follow your dreams and create a wonderful life.
Its got an amazingly good soundtrack, and Disney hasn't stepped away from using music of African American, New Orleans styles, which would have been a travesty considering the film is based there, and New Orleans has such a rich and vibrant culture which I think fits into the film with ease. It lends to the colours and sounds that Disney love, and I think the depth of animation used is on a par with Fantasia.
The supporting cast of animal characters are the usual Disney lovable imaginings, and with all of their films, its easy for even the youngest viewer to gather whether a character is a "goodie" or a "baddie", down to their facial expressions alone, or the music that accompanies their entrance!
The use, by the arch villain of Voodoo may not be to everyone's taste, as black magic and the dark arts are never something to be laughed at, but they do fit with the tone and setting of the film, so it would be hard to imagine how they would go about the use in any other way.
With an impressive cast of voice talents, including Oprah Winfrey, John Goodman and Anika Nani Rose (co star of Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson in Dream Girls), you can also have fun spotting the name behind the voice.
This really is a film for everyone, with the usual peril, comedy and happy and fantastical ending one would expect from a Disney film. We really enjoyed it a great deal.
For the die hard fan or the plain bored, the Blu Ray and DVD box set also comes with an extensive extras role call, included deleted scenes, directors commentary, interviews with the people behind the characters voices, and the original Trailer, it does provide value for money for fans as well as the new to Disney starter. It ranges in price from £17.99 (single disc DVD) TO £27.99 (3 DISC DVD and Blu-Ray).
This is definitely recommended, a great return to form for Disney.