The film, loosely based on the Grimm Brothers' fairy tale, 'The Frog Prince', is relocated in Jazz Age, New Orleans and features a non-princess princess (it's all part of the plot, look it up on Wikipedia!) named Tiana and has been hailed as a landmark (or lambasted for being behind its time) for the fact that it features the first African-American Disney heroine.
However, as it happens, Tiana is not the first black character in a Disney animated film and she has several non-white predecessors including Pocahontas, Mulan, Lilo and Esmeralda.
The film is significant for another, less debated, reason in that it is the first hand-drawn Disney film since the studio chucked out all the pencil-wielders six years ago and turned animation over the digital whiz-kids of Pixar. Personally, I like Pixar animation and I like traditional hand-drawn animation and it is to the credit of Pixar (now Disney) supremo, John Lasseter, that he has brought back those traditional animation techniques to the studio whose fortunes were founded on that very art form.
The Princess and the Frog is a good yarn, rattlingly well told, filled with strong characters, great music, one or two frights, a typical dollop of Disney pathos and is, all in all, vibrantly brought to life in a medium that - due to the success of such films as Toy Story and Little Nemo - has been too long neglected.
And, for what it's worth, I think Tiana is portrayed as a proactive, self-determining character who'll provide a positive role-model for any child of any colour, since what she represents is the importance of what we all are beneath the skin.
Can't stop to tell you more, but on tonight's Radio 2 Arts Show - at around 11:30 pm if your Horlicks hasn't kicked-in by then - you can hear me interviewing the film's directors, Ron Clements and John Musker (who also gave us The Little Mermaid and Aladdin) and afterwards discussing the film with the show's host, Claudia Winkleman. And, as usual, it'll be there on BBC iPlayer for the next seven days.
Just one word of warning!
Before trundling your tots off to the cinema to see The Princess and the Frog you should be aware of a news story revealing that, last month, FIFTY children in the US (mostly girls under the age of 10) were taken to hospital suffering with salmonella poisoning after kissing frogs!
Both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (I didn't know reptiles and amphibians could become vets!) issued statements warning parents of the dangers of allowing children to handle and kiss frogs.
By the way, I hope you noticed "mostly girls", but obviously not exclusively!!
Here (if you've not already seen it) is the trailer...