Disney/Pixar fans know they can count on a short cartoon before each of the animation studio’s feature films, but movie-goers who see the studio’s “Up” once it opens on Friday will get some Big Easy-flavored lagniappe.

The first full-length trailer for Disney’s animated fairy tale “The Princess and the Frog” — which Disney animation chief John Lasseter described in a November interview as a “break-out-in-song” musical set in New Orleans’ jazz age — will unspool before every showing of “Up,” a studio rep said.

Included in the trailer are several images that will be familiar to locals. A majestic shot of St. Louis Cathedral, with the city aglow behind it, drew a handful of gasps at a preview screening Thursday. It’s followed by glimpses of French Quarter street musicians, a paddle-wheeler, a streetcar, a horn-playing alligator and a Cajun firefly.

The movie tells the story of a young girl named Tiana — Disney’s first black princess — who attempts to help a prince turned into a frog by “a dastardly witch doctor.” When she kisses the frog, however, rather than turning him back into a prince, Tiana goes amphibian.

The movie is a return to traditional hand-drawn, 2-D animation for Disney, and so the trailer, appropriately, begins with a homage to the studio’s more recent animated classics. Following a montage of images from “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid” and “The Lion King” — with an emphasis on those films’ hand-drawn pedigree — appear the words, “After 75 years of magic Walt Disney Pictures brings a classic tale to life.”

That’s followed by a quick plot rundown and a series of snippets of the movie.

It’s only about 2½ minutes long, but that’s more than what the “Up” audience at the Cannes Film Festival got to see, according to “Up” director Pete Docter, calling Friday to discuss his film. In fact, the Cannes audience didn’t even get to see “Partly Cloudy,” the traditional pre-movie short from Pixar.

“In Cannes, the house rules are we couldn’t even put the short film on,” Docter said. “Just because that’s what they want — just purely the film. When in Cannes . . .”

The Princess and the Frog” opens in wide release on Dec. 11, and features the voices of Anika Noni Rose, Terrence Howard, John Goodman, Keith David, Jim Cummings, Jenifer Lewis and Oprah Winfrey. It is being written and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the same team behind “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid.

Article source: The Times Picayune