Category Archives: Magical Adventures

Bear Necessities

Is watching The Jungle Book and having elevenses 🙂 The original animated film turns fifty today!

The Jungle Book, based on the Mowgli stories by Rudyard Kipling, was the last cartoon feature personally overseen by Walt Disney, and its release one year after his death marked the start of a period of creative wandering for the company. Like a lot of the company’s 1960s and ’70s output, it was relaxed to a fault — a succession of beautifully rendered, mostly jokey set-pieces strung together by memorable songs, including The Bare Necessities, I Wanna Be Like You and the anaconda’s seduction song Trust in Me — but it still made a deep impression on the ’60s and ’70s kids.

Published in 1894, Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book proved to be a hit with young and old alike. The Jungle Book‘s stories of a human boy named Mowgli raised by animals in the wild made for riveting reading. In these tales, the animals proved to be both Mowgli’s allies and adversaries. Baloo the bear, Bagheera the panther and Shere Khan the tiger have all become famous characters in children’s literature. They even appeared in Kipling’s sequel, The Second Jungle Book, which debuted in 1895.

Rudyard Kipling

Kipling wrote The Jungle Book while living in the United States. Kipling had been good friends with American writer and editor Wolcott Balestier, and he ended up marrying Wolcott’s sister Caroline “Carrie” Balestier, in January 1892. The couple bought land from one of her other brothers, Beatty Balestier, in Vermont where they built their dream home, called The Naulahka. Naulakha means “jewel beyond price” in Hindi, according to the home’s website. The name is also shared with a book Kipling worked on with Wolcott Balestier.

Becoming a father inspired Kipling to write for children. He had started The Jungle Book around the time he and his wife were expecting their first child together. Daughter Josephine was born in 1892. According to BBC News, he gave a special copy of The Jungle Book to his daughter, in which he wrote: “This book belongs to Josephine Kipling for whom it was written by her father, May 1894.” The Kipling family soon grew to include daughter Elsie, born in 1895, and later son John in 1897. Sadly, Josephine only lived to be six years old. Both she and her father came down with pneumonia in 1899, and she ended up succumbing to the illness. Her death left Kipling heartbroken, and he never fully recovered from this tremendous loss.

Kipling never visited the jungle mentioned in The Jungle Book. Despite spending years in India, he chose to set his stories in the Seonee jungle (now known as Seoni), an area he’d never visited. Kipling instead drew from the experiences of others. According to Angus Wilson’s The Strange Ride of Rudyard Kipling: His Life and Works, Kipling saw photographs of this jungle taken by his friends, Aleck and Edmonia “Ted” Hill, and listened to their experiences there. He also likely found inspiration from the works of Robert Armitage Sterndale, including Mammalia of India, according to Martin Seymour-Smith’s Rudyard Kipling: A Biography. Others point to Sterndale’s 1877 book Seonee: Or, Camp Life on the Satpura Range, as an important influence on Kipling’s tales.

An illustration from The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.

Another significant source was likely to be Kipling’s own father, John Lockwood Kipling. The elder Kipling was an illustrator, museum curator and art teacher. He produced Beast and Man in India: A Popular Sketch of Indian Animals in Their Relations with the People, which was published in 1891. John Lockwood Kipling also provided the images for some of his son’s works, including The Jungle Book and the 1901 novel Kim.

The Law of the Jungle
(From The Jungle Book)
by Rudyard Kipling

Now this is the Law of the Jungle —
as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper,
but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk
the Law runneth forward and back —
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf,
and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip;
drink deeply, but never too deep;
And remember the night is for hunting,
and forget not the day is for sleep.

The Jackal may follow the Tiger,
but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown,
Remember the Wolf is a Hunter —
go forth and get food of thine own.

Keep peace withe Lords of the Jungle —
the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear.
And trouble not Hathi the Silent,
and mock not the Boar in his lair.

When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle,
and neither will go from the trail,
Lie down till the leaders have spoken —
it may be fair words shall prevail.

When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack,
ye must fight him alone and afar,
Lest others take part in the quarrel,
and the Pack be diminished by war.

The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge,
and where he has made him his home,
Not even the Head Wolf may enter,
not even the Council may come.

The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge,
but where he has digged it too plain,
The Council shall send him a message,
and so he shall change it again.

If ye kill before midnight, be silent,
and wake not the woods with your bay,
Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop,
and your brothers go empty away.

Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates,
and your cubs as they need, and ye can;
But kill not for pleasure of killing,
and seven times never kill Man!

If ye plunder his Kill from a weaker,
devour not all in thy pride;
Pack-Right is the right of the meanest;
so leave him the head and the hide.

The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack.
Ye must eat where it lies;
And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair,
or he dies.

The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf.
He may do what he will;
But, till he has given permission,
the Pack may not eat of that Kill.

Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling.
From all of his Pack he may claim
Full-gorge when the killer has eaten;
and none may refuse him the same.

Lair-Right is the right of the Mother.
From all of her year she may claim
One haunch of each kill for her litter,
and none may deny her the same.

Cave-Right is the right of the Father —
to hunt by himself for his own:
He is freed of all calls to the Pack;
he is judged by the Council alone.

Because of his age and his cunning,
because of his gripe and his paw,
In all that the Law leaveth open,
the word of your Head Wolf is Law.

Now these are the Laws of the Jungle,
and many and mighty are they;
But the head and the hoof of the Law
and the haunch and the hump is — Obey!

Rudyard Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907, “in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author”. Nobel prizes had been established in 1901 and Kipling was the first English-language recipient. Rudyard Kipling was 42 years old when he was awarded the prize, and he remains the youngest Literature Laureate to date.

The Jungle Book has inspired countless adaptations. The first live action film debuted in 1942, but the best-known movie version up until now was the 1967 animated Disney tale. Disney took a lot of license with the original story and transformed it into a feel-good family musical. One of its songs, The Bare Necessities, credited to Terry Gilkyson, was nominated for an Academy Award. An interesting mix of actors lent their voices to the project: Sebastian Cabot played Bagheera; Louis Prima played King Louie of the apes and Phil Harris played Baloo. The voice of Mowgli, however, came from a rookie performer. Bruce Reitherman, the son of the film’s director Wolfgang Reitherman, played the endearing “man cub” in the film. He told the Express newspaper that “The voice of Mowgli required something special, in the sense that he had to be absolutely ordinary. It had to feel like a really average kid.”

The 1967 animated adaptation was filmed at a declared cost of $4 million over a 42-month period. Full directorial credit is given to Wolfgang Reitherman, a 35-year Disney vet. Reitherman was one of several Jungle hands who worked on Disney’s first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, released thirty years earlier!

Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman wrote five other songs, best of which is ‘Wanna Be Like You’, sung in free-wheeling fashion by Louis Prima, vocalizing King Louie.

Little Puffles and Honey met Baloo and Louie at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park in Orlando 🙂

Lego’s Frank Lloyd Wright Collection

This is new!

It is, Lego has released the latest kit in their architecture series, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, for the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth. It is a new rendition of the building. The original interpretation of the building was released by Lego in 2009. The new set provides a much more realistic portrayal of the Wright’s original building as well as the 10-story limestone tower added by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects in 1992 (based on Wright’s original sketches). Arch and bow bricks make up the swooping lines of the main rotunda and the rounded edges of the base. Even the porthole side windows are represented, as well as little taxis — rendered as two yellow bricks each — and other street details.

We took the little model to Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

The Lego Group and Adam Reed Tucker of Brickstructures, Inc. officially introduced the Lego Architecture line in 2008. In 2009, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation announced that the Lego Group was the exclusive licensed manufacturer of Frank Lloyd Wright Collection® Legp Architecture sets.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Fallingwater models were shown at the opening of the Frank Lloyd Wright Exhibit: From Within Outward at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2009, to commemorate the 50 years of the death of Frank Lloyd Wright and the 50th anniversary of the opening of the museum.

Fallingwater is one of the most famous and ingenious houses in the world.

In 2011, Lego released a model of the Robie House. Robie House was the first property to be declared a National Historic Landmark based on its architecture alone.

In 2013, the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo was the fourth Wright design to achieve micro-scale Lego-dom. The Imperial Hotel was the first set in the Lego Architecture sub-brand that is no longer with us. Having survived both 1923’s Great Kantō Earthquake and the American bombing of Tokyo during World War II, Wright’s dramatic Mayan Revival-style structure proved to be no match for the wrecking ball when it was decided, not without protest, to raze the ailing H-shaped building in 1968 and replace it with a more space-efficient modern hotel tower. Portions of the hotel including the main entrance were, however, relocated and rebuilt at an open-air architectural theme park north of Nagoya, Meiji-Mura.

We’ve been there!

Time for cupcakes!

The LEGO Batman Movie

Ready!

Have fun! And don’t expect to find any chocolates or macaroons when you get back 🙂

It’s nice to have a boy’s night out!

Universal Italian Restaurant, 139-141 Lygon St, Carlton

IMAX has very comfy chairs…

Baby Groot is coming!

Little Puffles and Jay are excited there is finally a Batman movie they can watch 🙂

The first thing to say about The Lego Batman Movie is that it’s kicky, bedazzling, and super-fun. The second thing to say about it is that, like The Lego Movie (2014), it’s a kiddie flick that’s been made in a sophisticated spirit of lightning-fast, brain-bursting paradox. Again just like The Lego Movie the majority of The Lego Batman Movie moves at such a breakneck pace that it almost becomes wearying, as the picture occasionally feels like high fructose corn syrup being injected directly into your veins. The movie looks simply fantastic, even if the 3D is wholly unnecessary, and the frame is filled with endless bits of visual imagination and genuine wit.

The movie uses digital animation to create the illusion that it’s set in a herky-jerky universe of plastic Lego bricks — but it has such a kaleidoscopic, anything-goes flow that it trumps the imagination of just about any animated feature you could name. The characters are Lego minifigures with pegs for heads and crudely etched faces that barely move, yet they have more personality than the majority of human actors. Most delicious of all: The Lego Batman Movie comes on like a kid-friendly sendup of the adult world, yet there’s a dizzying depth to its satirical observations that grows right out of the spectacularly fake settings, which are hypnotic to look at but have the effect of putting postmodern quotation marks around everything.

In The Lego Movie Will Arnett was terrific as a G-rated take on Frank Miller’s “the God-Damned Batman”. Will Arnett is back as Batman in The Lego Batman Movie with a deep low husky rasp and with a narcissistic personality disorder that’s fantastically out of control. He somehow combines the voice of Clint Eastwood, the conceitedness of Derek Zoolander, and the fast-break observational avidity of Stephen Colbert. “We’re going to punch those guys so hard,” he growls, “words describing their impact are going to spontaneously materialize.” The movie opens with Batman offering the play-by-play of his own film (“All important movies start with a black screen”), followed by a sequence as madly choreographed as anything in an Indiana Jones film, as he takes on a screenful of famous and obscure villains led by the rascally but secretly sensitive Joker (voiced by Zach Galifianakis).

This Batman, still scarred by the loss of his parents, roots his competitive identity in being a lone avenger, valiant and guarded, with no feelings, no vulnerability, no need for anyone else. In his bat lair, feasting on microwaved lobster thermidor, watching Jerry Maguire as if it were a comedy, he’s the ultimate male who won’t commit, a cowled mask of solo cool whose only loyalty is to Gotham City — but deep down, he’s doing it for his own glory. Ever since Tim Burton’s Batman, the movies have acknowledged that the Caped Crusader is a dark freak, but The Lego Batman Movie doesn’t just freakify Batman. It subjects him to nothing less than a playfully merciless psychoanalysis. The main satirical target of The Lego Batman Movie is Batman himself.

Lego Batman is brash, self-centred, obsessed with his own fame and reputation, self-delusional with regard to his influence on Gotham City (which is much worse than he notices) and the Justice League, incapable of expressing vulnerability and emotional connections to other people, rude, overall emotionally stunted, and shamefully opportunistic. He’s also talented, tough, resourceful, prepared for almost any eventuality, capable of saving the city against all odds, heroic, willing to risk his own life on a daily basis to rescue and protect society, and harbouring suppressed trauma and emotional need that causes him to push away anyone he cares about because he’s afraid of reliving the pain he experienced when he lost his parents. Heady stuff for a cartoon Lego guy.

What’s amazing is how well The Lego Batman Movie portrays these complicated personality traits and behaviours, these conflicts and contrasts and parallels, so easily and through experiencing them within the story. It’s terrific characterization and demonstrates as thorough a grasp of Batman’s psychology as any film or comic to date.

The movie pulls off a nifty balancing act: It gives the PG audience its own Batman movie (it’s a superhero starter kit) and takes swipes at the subgenre, mostly by gently mocking the seriousness that has become a deadening Warner Bros. default. The Lego Batman Movie can’t atone for a movie as grindingly bad as the studio’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice but at least someone on that lot gets the joke.

The cast and crew of The Lego Batman Movie sustain that joke admirably, filling in its 104-minute running time with loads of busy action, deadpan humour, visual comedy, reflexive bits and an overfamiliar story line. It features the usual cavalcade of marquee-ready talent (Rosario Dawson, Conan O’Brien, Mariah Carey), the comic and less so, but owes much of its pleasure and juice to Will Arnett. The movie puts a goofy spin on the Batman saga, but it squeezes its brightest, most sustained comedy from Mr. Arnett’s hypnotically sepulchral voice, which conveys the entire bat ethos — the Sturm und Drang, the darkness and aloneness, the resoluteness and echoiness — in vocal terms. It’s blissfully self-serious, near-Wagnerian and demented.

Why can’t non-Lego movies be as funny, exciting and weirdly moving as this?

Brickman Wonders of the World

The Brickman Wonders of the World exhibition has already been to Brisbane and Sydney and it opened in Melbourne on April 1. More than 50 awe-inspiring are on display, taking visitors on a hands-on journey through history. Brickman Wonders of the World took 4,944 hours to build.

St Basil The Blessed, Red Square, Moscow (71,689 pieces, 320 hours to build)
Ryugyong Hotel, North Korea (36,211 pieces, 97 hours to build)
Sinking Titanic (133,900 pieces, 240 hours to build)
Big Ben, London (18,437 pieces, 94 hours to build)
St Mark’s Square, Venice (21,185 pieces, 119 hours to build)
Mona Lisa, Louvre (27,011 pieces, 102 hours to build)
Leaning Tower of Pisa (41,806 pieces, 127 hours to build)
Flying Scotsman (164,611 pieces, 217 hours to build)
Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai (11,260 pieces, 83 hours to build)
Tokyo Subway Map (31,280 pieces, 225 hours to build)
Tokyo Subway Map detail
International Space Station (32,821 pieces, 145 hours to build)
Arc de Triumph, Paris (30,000 pieces, 170 hours to build)
Trojan Horse (9,500 pieces, 53 hours to build)
Macintosh Computer (4,500 pieces, 22 hours to build)
Macintosh Computer detail
Hanging Gardens of Babylon (24,585 pieces, 79.5 hours to build)
Hanging Gardens of Babylon (24,585 pieces, 79.5 hours to build)
Statue of Zeus at Olympia (10,000 pieces, 42 hours to build)
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (14,517 pieces, 71 hours to build)
Great Barrier Reef (75,000 pieces, 62 hours to build)
Great Barrier Reef (75,000 pieces, 62 hours to build)

The exhibition will open in Perth on 22 June 2017.

The Beauty And The Cutie

Shhh, little Honey and Isabelle are finally watching the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast. For some unknown reason the release date in Australia was delayed a week.

The movie adaptation brings some of the biggest names in Hollywood together for a fresh take on the classic story.

Emma Watson as Belle
Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, the teapot
(Emma Thompson was the voice of Queen Elinor in Brave)
Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra
(Ewan McGregor was the voice of Valiant in the film of the same name)
Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord
Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock
Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, the wardrobe
Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster
Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle
Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp
(Josh Gad was the voice of Olaf in Frozen)
Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father
(Kevin Kline was the voice of Phoebus in The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Dan Stevens as the Beast

The 1991 animated film was the Frozen of that generation. It was nominated for several awards, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (for the first time in an animated movie), with two other awards for its music. Famously, Beauty and the Beast was the first ever animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, and was the only animated film to hold this honor until 2009. It received a total of six nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original Score, Best Sound, and three nominations for its song. It ended up winning two, for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for the song Beauty and the Beast.

So the live action remake was a film Disney couldn’t afford to have fail. To ensure a success, they deployed the full creative might of their empire and a very generous budget ($160 million, $10 million more than Frozen, plus another $140 million for marketing). The film honours everything that came before, without being slavish to it. There is even a tribute to Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film La Belle et le Bete, which is the original French version of Beauty and the Beast, through the lights on the terrace and staircase in the Beast’s castle and the rose colonnade on the castle grounds. There is excellence everywhere, from the superb cast, to sumptuous costumes and detailed design.

Emma Watson is faultless as the winsome, brave, loyal, kind and independent-minded Belle. And if you’re wondering if Emma can sing or not, wonder no more.

Emma worked hard to create a strong, individual, modern, emancipated kind of Belle. But she still had to wear the iconic yellow ball gown which can work against a modern Belle in a sense of being a pretty, princess-y kind of dress. The dress designer worked with Emma to try to find balance and design a yellow dress that would work for the new Belle.

The dress was made from about 55m of feather-light satin organza, accentuated with 2160 Swarovski crystals. The crystals were part of Madame Garderobe’s finishing touch to the yellow gown, when added to the dress’ golden print they provided the final magical flourish. (You’ll understand this if you see the movie.) It took more than 12,000 hours to make the dress and 914m of thread.

Swarovski also made the glass bell jar for the rose, based on Disney’s original design. And the film has inspired a new jewelry line by Atelier Swarovski.

The yellow ball gown is not the only gorgeous dress in the film, check out this celebration dress.

Little Honey and Isabelle want to know when exactly will the dress be available in their size?!?

While one of the messages of the film is that beauty comes from within, Disney spared no expense on the set and costumes. About 27 mammoth sets were built to bring the film to life, including the Beast’s castle, library and ballroom, the enchanted forest and the town of Villeneuve. About 1500 red roses and 8700 candles were used during the research and production stages of the film.

The 10 glass chandeliers in the ballroom are real and are based on chandeliers from Versailles and each measure 4.26m by 2.13m. The enchanted forest surrounding the castle features real trees, hedges, a frozen lake and 20,000 icicles. It took 15 weeks to create.

The massive sets and huge stages were connected. The actors could go from the dining room of the castle and walk all the way through to the entry way, to the front stairs, and into this massive ballroom. That aspect emerges clearly in the IMAX format. The film is being presented in an expanded aspect ratio which means you get to see 26 per cent more of the scenes. Which worked beautifully for the ballroom. The ballroom is framed by the chandeliers even though they are high in the air.

The turret fight between the Beast and Gaston looks great in the new ratio because of the sense of being high in the air and the sense of danger you feel as the Beast is forced to jump from turret to turret, twenty stories in the air.

While Beauty and the Beast is packed full of memorable tunes and stunning dance numbers, there was always one scene that was going to have the highest of expectations — when Lumière sings Be Our Guest. Just like in the original 1991 animated movie, Be Our Guest was the pivotal scene of the live action remake full of colourful dishes and sparkling cutlery dancing across tables.

The scene took over a year to put together — and six months before that to plan it. It was one of the most intricate and elaborate musical numbers ever shot.

The visual effects team approached it as though they were going to put on a stage number on a Broadway stage. And the animators had a challenge on their hands. They had to make a knife dance like a four-limbed dancer. After choreographing the extensive routine, the team then shot footage of real plates and silverware to understand the way the light would hit each object. The incredible planning (and generous budget) resulted in a four minute musical number that rarely relied on CGI and has set the precedent for live-action remakes.

Full poster showing all the cast – enchanted and human, though there is one person missing. Prince Adam.

Time for a treat and to plan a shopping trip to Swarovski 🙂

Princess Day

Little bears love to dress up in princess clothes, but they have little in common with the Disney princesses. Little bears are no damsels in distress!

Princess Day

Snow White started the whole “I’ll just rest my eyes until Prince Charming comes along” trend, which just prevents her, and the other damsels in distress, from living up to their full potential. Plus, lying around waiting for some dude to come rescue you? Lame! At least she taught us to never take food from strangers.

From her evil step sisters to her even more evil stepmother, Cinderella just can’t seem to catch a break. We sympathize with Cinders, but we wouldn’t have blamed her for teaching her evil step siblings a lesson or two! Cinderella was the first princess who was not from royal descent, yet she turned out to be one of the most glamorous! Some people who worked closely with Walt Disney say that Cinderella was his favourite princess. The magical moment when Cinderella’s dress transforms from her housemaid threads into a gorgeous ball gown was Walt Disney’s all-time favourite animation. Really, who can argue with him? And she is still the most popular Disney princess. Even with Frozen on the scene.

Isabelle loves Aurora’s (Sleeping Beauty) pink dress, but she finds the story a bit of a snooze, literally 🙂 The most interesting thing about Aurora is that she sleeps, for a really long time! That means she also has the least amount of dialogue of all the Disney princesses. Unlike little Isabelle who is a chatterbox 🙂

Princess Day

While we love Ariel’s adventurous side, does it not bother anyone else how much she was willing to give up for Prince Eric? Meanwhile, he was ready to marry the first girl who sang him a pretty tune. It’s time to re-evaluate your life when the crab makes better decisions than you do!

Belle is a small town geeky girl who loves nothing more than to curl up with a good book. While she doesn’t have magic powers or serious fighting skills like some of the other princesses, she manages to show the beast there’s beauty in kindness. And she rescues her prince from an evil spell.

At least Jasmine and Aladdin take turns rescuing each other. Still, the princess can be super judge-y. She isn’t “a prize to be won”, but she doesn’t give anyone a chance because she thinks all the princes are show-offs – that is until Aladdin shows up on a magic carpet, which sounds a little show-off-y …

When do you think it's going to be Prince Day?
When do you think it’s going to be Prince Day?

Pocahontas managed to create peace and understanding between two feuding groups. Plus, she can paint with all the colours of the wind! Pocahontas is the only princess based on a real person – the real Pocahontas was born in the late 1500s! Pocahonta’s outfit is the only princess outfit little bears are missing 😦

We love Mulan! Not only she is no one’s damsel in distress, but she is the most kickass princess of them all! She joins the army and no one finds her suspicious, because she’s just as good, if not better, than everyone else. She also saves her entire country! Mulan is not actually a real princess. All of the others are princesses by birth or married princes, but Mulan was just so kickass, she had to be the exception!

Princess Day

Tiana is the first and only princess who not only has a full-time job, but starts her own business, too! She proves that with hard work and determination, nothing, even turning into a frog 🙂 , can stand in your way.

Rapunzel spends the first 18 years of her life locked in a castle, and yet she still learned how to wield a weapon (a frying pan, but hey, it still counts!) like a trained professional.

Merida gets props for wanting to do things her own way, and her bow and arrow skills give us a total Katniss vibe. Okay, so she did turn her mom into a bear and all, but she realized she was wrong and changed her back. That counts for something, right?

Princess Day

Anna, Elsa and Moana are not yet officially part of the Disney Princess franchise.

There’s Magic In The Air Tonight

… and anything can happen, even frogs made of cake!

The Princess and The Frog

The Princess and The Frog

So the opening song from The Princess and the Frog says, minus the frog cakes!

Today we are celebrating the anniversary of The Princess and the Frog. The film is set in New Orleans where music plays such an integral part of the lifestyle that filmmakers felt it important to reflect that diversity in the film. Oscar-winning composer Randy Newman (Cars, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story) created an all-new score for the film in a range of styles, including jazz, blues, gospel and zydeco; and featuring seven new songs.

Miss Honey’s ball gown is modelled on Princess Tiana’s dress 🙂

The Princess and The Frog

The Princess and The Frog

Puffles and Honey met Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen at Magic Kingdom!

Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen
Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen

Have you noticed all the details about the film? What do you mean you’ve never watched the film?!?

It took three and a half years to make the film. (No frogs were kissed in the process, but no guarantee that frog princess cakes were not eaten 🙂 ) The film was hand-drawn and the style was inspired by Bambi and The Lady and the Tramp.

The Princess and The Frog

Directors Ron Clements and John Musker pitched the film to Oprah on a trip to Disneyland, just for fun. She loved the idea so much that she asked to be a part of it.

Tiana's Mum (voiced by Oprah)
Tiana’s Mum (voiced by Oprah)

The women who fawn over Prince Naveen are all caricatures of women who work at Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Prince Naveen
Prince Naveen

Anika Noni Rose, the voice of Tiana, requested that Tiana be left-handed, just like her. (Tiana’s dimples are also borrowed from Anika.)

Anika Noni Rose
Anika Noni Rose

Tiana was animated by Mark Henn, who also animated Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas and Mulan.

Tiana turns into a frog when she kisses the prince frog!

Tiana and Naveen
Tiana and Naveen

Oh yeah, spoiler alert!

Ray was animated by Mike Surrey who also animated Timon in The Lion King. He’s voiced by Jim Cummings, the voice of Winnie the Pooh!

The Princess and The Frog

Louis the alligator was named after Louis Armstrong and was animated Eric Goldberg by who also animated Genie from Aladdin. Louis realizes his dream of playing with a jazz band and the band is called the Firefly Five Plus Lou after a Disney Animation ragtime band from the 1940s-50s known as the Firehouse Five Plus Two (the film’s piano player is even modeled after Disney Legend Frank Thomas was the piano player for the Firehouse Five Plus Two). Terrence Blanchard, who is a native New Orleans jazz legend and trumpet player, played all of alligator Louis’ trumpet parts in the film.

Louis the alligator
Louis the alligator

During Down in New Orleans early in the film, the carpet from Aladdin is being shaken up on a wrought-iron balcony. Mama Odie comes across the lamp from Aladdin during Dig a Little Deeper.

The Princess and the Frog

A Mardi Gras parade float is modeled after King Triton from The Little Mermaid — on it are caricatured versions of directors John Musker and Ron Clements (who also directed The Little Mermaid).

The Princess and the Frog

This interlude is an homage to Dick Van Dyke’s dance with the penguins in Mary Poppins.

Dr Facilier
Dr Facilier
Dr Facilier
Dr Facilier

Time to watch the film!

The Princess and The Frog