Author Topic: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]  (Read 1309 times)

The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« on: July 25, 2010, 12:17:56 PM »
It's not Pixar but John Lasseter was involved and I don't think it warrants its own thread so I thought I'd mention it here; I saw The Princess and the Frog the other day and was kind of disappointed.  Only "kind of" because honestly the story always sounded rather uninteresting, so it wasn't a huge shock it played out that way on screen. The animation looks nice at times, but on the whole it seemed a little bland somehow... I don't know the whole thing just struck me as kind of forgettable. The songs in particular are forgettable (with maybe one or two exceptions), which perhaps isn't surprising given that their written by Randy Newman whose been writting very same-y songs for movies at least as far back as Parenthood. And even if the songs had been good, I think it still would have seemed a little heavy on the musical numbers. It does get a little more interesting in the last 15 minutes or so. It's not a bad film, but it's a long way from being the Little Mermaid/Cinderella style rebirth they were going for, and frankly if it had been released around the time of Brother Bear I don't think anyone would have blinked.

Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2010, 12:28:12 AM »
As a general animation bod I do remember seeing a promo for this when I was a kid, if I recall it was on that BBC1 kids show The Movie Game, presented by that bloke whose name I've fogotten. So this must have been in like 93 or 94 or around then, since it's only been released recently it must have fallen into the works and just been completed as an on and off project and pushed out just to make some revenue on it. So it's not surprising it would be lacklustre and indescrete in its promotion, I've not seen it but it gives off that vibe which I guess is why it wouldn't have been a box office hit.

Similar in fate to stuff like The Cobbler and the Theif etc. I do remember seeing promos for The Black couldron in the 80s when I was tiny and wanting to see that but it never seemed to have been released since, at least in the UK. From what I understand it did get released at some point, it's probably on youtube if I go and look. Just lots of these older animation films seem to get promoted early on in production then disappear.

chocky909

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Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2010, 12:45:06 AM »
I saw The Black Cauldron at the cinema. In the UK.

phes

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Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2010, 12:59:02 AM »
I went to see The Black Cauldron but it was sold out and instead we saw young Sherlock Holmes, which gave me nghtmares.

Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2010, 01:25:45 AM »
Oh well, being all of around 6 years old I don't remember seeing any adverts for it on TV for the cinema, just promos on cartoon video tapes before the main feature saying coming soon. Was it any good?

Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2010, 01:48:35 AM »
As a general animation bod I do remember seeing a promo for this when I was a kid, if I recall it was on that BBC1 kids show The Movie Game, presented by that bloke whose name I've fogotten. So this must have been in like 93 or 94 or around then, since it's only been released recently it must have fallen into the works and just been completed as an on and off project and pushed out just to make some revenue on it. So it's not surprising it would be lacklustre and indescrete in its promotion, I've not seen it but it gives off that vibe which I guess is why it wouldn't have been a box office hit.


Interesting theory, but I don't think that's the case at all. Disney had to reinstate their 2D animation facilities to make this movie, so it was quite a big deal. It's not just something they pulled off a dusty shelf and said "Oh yeah, we'll release this old thing."

Also, you might be thinking of "The Swan Princess", which came out in 1994 - there was a frog prince character in that as well.

Generally, I don't think major animation studios have "on-off projects", there's two much money and manpower involved to have incomplete films hanging around for years at a time. Long term projects are usually the province of individual animators, like Richard Williams with The Thief and The Cobbler, working on their own time and money.

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2010, 12:07:12 PM »
Yeah - You're thinking of something else, Stevester.

And while it wasn't a Shrek-sized megahit by any stretch of the imgination, it still did fairly solid business.

I must admit, I really, really liked it.  I'm sure I've written a post on it somewhere here before.

Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2010, 01:28:35 PM »
After some scant research it seems The Princess and the Frog WAS cobbled together from two previous projects involving similar storylines that had been put on hold due to the shift into computer animation. From recollection it was announced as a new film called something like the Frog Princess and the promo featured the frog kissing scene just like the later promos of this release. I doubt it was the Swan Princess as looking up that it is shitty quality animation that looks like a straight-to-video jobbie and I would have noticed that at the time, it did seem like a Disney project or something. I was aware of different animation companes/styles, so I could recognise a Don Bluth film or whatever a mile off.

On a side note, I don't know if this was noticable to other kids. But if I was watching something like Tiny Toon Adventures I'd know whether it was going to be a good episode or not from the beginning by the animation. It seemed to me that it was pushed out to at least around 3 different animation companies from the script stage, and depending on how good the script was the better the studio they'd give it to. There would be episodes with pretty piss poor animation which I imagine would have been the cheaper companies in the far East. Another company always did the characters with big black borders around them and they would have very jerky movements and talk out of the sides of their mouth for some reason. While the best scripts would have much of a traditional and smoother quality in movement. This beared out for other stuff like Animaniacs et al too.

Disney also had that animation they made with Salvador Dali that went kaput, I think they were going to finally finish that at some point and push it out, or maybe they have already?

Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2010, 03:40:37 PM »
A lot of Tiny Toons episodes (maybe Animaniacs too)were farmed out to a company called Kennedy who are apparently infamous for their low quality animation. I must admit at the time I never really noticed it, but it was noticable to me, for example, that Duckula had at least two distinctly different animation styles, one of them notably inferior (although I'm not sure if that's due to farming out or not).

I think quite a lot of Disney films reach an early stage of production before being put on the back burner, sometimes serveral times and sometimes never coming to fruition.  Don Bluth's film Rock-a-Doodle for example was based on a film he was working on back when he was at Disney in the late 70s, and it had been under consideration since at least the 40s. When he was working on it Elvis was (allegedly) in line for the lead vocal! Even though neither Elvis nor Disney were at their best at that time, I consider that a personal great lost film.

The Black Caulderon is alright (I'd take it over something like Oliver & Company or even Robin Hood), but it was supposed to be this big game-changer for Disney, and it's actually pretty forgettable, not unlike Frog. It is one of the few Disney films (until Emperor's New Groove) without any songs, and I think that was a good choice for the material. It was given a VHS release (with a fairly big push) in the UK in the late 90s. It was later released on DVD in the UK, it is out of print but according to amazon a "25th Anniversery" edition is coming out in September. If you're interested, you can probably find the VHS in any charity shop with a decent kid's video section.

Dark Sky

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Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2010, 06:39:32 PM »
It's not Pixar but John Lasseter was involved

Technically it is Pixar...  Disney bought Pixar, and Pixar are now their animation branch.  It was Pixar who wanted to start up hand animated Disney films again.

I loved Princess and the Frog.  It wasn't perfect; it probably isn't a classic, either.  But it was absolutely the finest Disney animated film in years.  Anyone who saw Brother Bear, or Home on the Range, has to admit that this was an absolute joy by comparison.

Also I was eating dolly mixture whilst I was watching it, and dolly mixture is ace.

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2010, 07:01:04 PM »
Technically it is Pixar...  Disney bought Pixar, and Pixar are now their animation branch.  It was Pixar who wanted to start up hand animated Disney films again.

Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios are different studios.  They are both subsidiaries of The Walt Disney Company umbrella organisation and do share key personnel, however, chiefly John Lasseter as Chief Creative Officer.

Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2010, 04:53:00 PM »
A lot of Tiny Toons episodes (maybe Animaniacs too)were farmed out to a company called Kennedy who are apparently infamous for their low quality animation. I must admit at the time I never really noticed it, but it was noticable to me, for example, that Duckula had at least two distinctly different animation styles, one of them notably inferior (although I'm not sure if that's due to farming out or not).

Yeah the Tiny Toons with the black borders around the characters, the jerky movement and talking out of the sides of their mouths was Kennedy it seems. It's just a really odd style, very cheap and cheerful though. I remember a few of their episodes being actually half-decent, but the big flopping feet and side-mouths gets annoying after a while. I even found a video of someone taking the piss out of the Kennedy studio, the comments also show it did jar with other kids too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXuIEMpM1e8

I think quite a lot of Disney films reach an early stage of production before being put on the back burner, sometimes serveral times and sometimes never coming to fruition.  Don Bluth's film Rock-a-Doodle for example was based on a film he was working on back when he was at Disney in the late 70s, and it had been under consideration since at least the 40s. When he was working on it Elvis was (allegedly) in line for the lead vocal! Even though neither Elvis nor Disney were at their best at that time, I consider that a personal great lost film.

I remember enjoying Rock-a-Doodle, the whole Elvis motif works well for it. I like Don Bluth's style a lot, my earliest memories are watching the Secret of Nimh, just love the way he can get a nice blend between making a kids cartoons much more serious and spooky and still have some laughs in there. An American Tail etc. Something like Watership Down was just oddly non-stop depressing and mind-warping, and that other film I'm guessing the same company did which was also depressing and serious about those two dogs who escape from a vivisection unit and one has its brain hanging out through most of the film, errrr!

Don Bluth always has a character in every film with the same face, you know the one? Usually it's one of the young girl characters, was it based on a daughter of his or something? Because it shows up all the time and it gets a bit strange to have different characters in different movies all having the same face.

The Black Caulderon is alright (I'd take it over something like Oliver & Company or even Robin Hood), but it was supposed to be this big game-changer for Disney, and it's actually pretty forgettable, not unlike Frog. It is one of the few Disney films (until Emperor's New Groove) without any songs, and I think that was a good choice for the material. It was given a VHS release (with a fairly big push) in the UK in the late 90s. It was later released on DVD in the UK, it is out of print but according to amazon a "25th Anniversery" edition is coming out in September. If you're interested, you can probably find the VHS in any charity shop with a decent kid's video section.

I just watched a trailer for the Black Cauldron and can see why I must have missed it, it was obviously released a few years before I would have seen the trailer on some old cartoon video tapes so the COMING SOON was an anachronism. It looks a bit crap now but I guess the Lord of the Rings style setting appealed to me. They were going for a Disney-fied copy of Ralph Bakshi's Lord Of The Rings film. I sort of enjoyed that at the time too, but like I said before it mostly remains slightly boring and depressing like an emotional wasteland on a youngster. I'll give Cauldron a watch at some point, it's all on youtube, but I doubt I could place it above the old Disney Robin Hood like you have, but maybe I'm just looking at it with rose-tinted specs. There was a good video showing how Disney would re-use animation from various places to get out their cheaper productions. Oliver & Company I remember seeing and Disney seem to have wiped any reference to it off the face of the earth like a heretic pharaoh's cartouche, it was pretty shit though.

Here we are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjmaOj3_sKk

Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2010, 09:26:35 PM »
On a side note, I don't know if this was noticable to other kids. But if I was watching something like Tiny Toon Adventures I'd know whether it was going to be a good episode or not from the beginning by the animation. It seemed to me that it was pushed out to at least around 3 different animation companies from the script stage, and depending on how good the script was the better the studio they'd give it to. There would be episodes with pretty piss poor animation which I imagine would have been the cheaper companies in the far East. Another company always did the characters with big black borders around them and they would have very jerky movements and talk out of the sides of their mouth for some reason. While the best scripts would have much of a traditional and smoother quality in movement. This beared out for other stuff like Animaniacs et al too.

Yeah, it was exactly the same with the early episodes of Batman: The Animates Series. Due to the massive workload on the first season, production was divided between three or four Japanese studios, and the animation quality varied drastically depending on which one was working on a particular episode. This became glaringly obvious when you'd have a two part story and both episodes would be handled by different studios, like on the "Feat Of Clay" two-parter. Basically, anything from Tokyo Movie Shinsa would look absolutely stunning, whereas anything Akom produced would look like total dogshit.

Quote
Something like Watership Down was just oddly non-stop depressing and mind-warping, and that other film I'm guessing the same company did which was also depressing and serious about those two dogs who escape from a vivisection unit and one has its brain hanging out through most of the film, errrr!

The Plague Dogs, right? Yeah, that's tough going. Although it was made by the same production team as Watership Down, it doesn't have that same feeling of comforting nostalgia to balance out the darker aspects of the story. It's a really cold, alienating film.

Dark Sky

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Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2010, 09:33:15 PM »
Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios are different studios.  They are both subsidiaries of The Walt Disney Company umbrella organisation and do share key personnel, however, chiefly John Lasseter as Chief Creative Officer.

You're technically correct in that they release films under different studio "brands", but to all intents and purposes - as you point out - they're run by the same people, which are the Pixar bods.  But they share writers, animators...  To all intents and purposes, any Disney animation now is under the control of the people who make Pixar what it is, whether it is hand animated or not.

Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2010, 04:40:16 PM »
The Plague Dogs, right? Yeah, that's tough going. Although it was made by the same production team as Watership Down, it doesn't have that same feeling of comforting nostalgia to balance out the darker aspects of the story. It's a really cold, alienating film.

Thanks for the title, found this uncut on youtube last night and fuck it's as dismal as I remember it. It even gets the Black Plague in there too! Sounds like John Hurt and Patrick Stewart doing some of the dialogue, so the big star actors doing cartoon voices isn't such a new idea. The only way I managed to raise a smile despite everything is that the rogue fox sounds a bit like Roy 'Chubbie' Brown. Even the end is totally ambiguous because there's no real emotional resolution to the story, but I sort of prefer that, I think people hated Pan's Labyrinth because it 'cutesiefied' the ending, when the rest of the film had been warring between harsh reality and imaginary idealism.

Really don't know how I feel about cartoons like The Plague Dogs , Watership Down or When The Wind Blows being shown to children, they are definitely more adult-orientated, but I think children will understand the stories and emotions they put across. It probably does give them more of a varied mind-palette than just watching Tom and Jerry twatting eachother over and over again. I saw them all and it didn't do me any wrong. (starts twatting side of the head and grunting ala John Cleese)

Re: The Princess and the Frog [split topic]
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2010, 05:17:05 PM »
Some of Gene Deitch's stabs at T&J cartoons probably messed up more kids than Plague Dogs though:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03aWDqvLIuI