Oh the 80's... A time where no shoulder pad was big enough, Hair Metal was the "totally awesome" tunes of the time, and our only real concern was Ronald Reagan and his "magical jelly beans".
But do you know another popular thing that came out of the 80's? Fantasy Movies. Now, it maybe because of how crazy this decade was or all the elements, and amounts of hair mousse, feel into place. But we were all treated to a crop full of epic fairy tales, all with an 80's twist.
There are probably ones you have heard of more then others (Jim Henson's films & Legend), but today we are going to be discussing probably one of these few "jems" you most likely have no idea it existed. But it's best to explain why it even exists in the first place..
During the later part of the decade, a company called Cannon Films (responsible for a collection of B-Movie Action flicks), decided that they wanted to make a handful of children's fairy tale movies that would mostly be shown in some of the UK theaters that they owned at the time. The owner of Cannon quoted that he "wanted to make movies for his grandchildren" and with that 6 films were made.
As I was deciding on which of these to review, I looked for one that was the most unique, and the one with the more "interesting" songs and acting. Sadly, many of these movies aren't exactly oscar worthy, but I think the one I will be discussing today is definitely one to check out. The movie... The Frog Prince starring Aileen Quinn and John Paragon.
The story is that of Princess Zora (Quinn), who is currently residing in the home of her Uncle, The King of the land. The time has come for one of the higher ups to pick the new heir to the throne, and Zora wants to be accepted as the Princess she is.
But someone gets in Zora's way, and who might that be? Well you'll be surprised to know that is none other then Helen Hunt (one of her first roles), as her Wicked Step Sister , who wants the crown. Of course, Henrietta is considered to be the top choice, due to her beauty (and not really anything else...), but Zora still wants to prove her Uncle wrong. Sadly, every time Zora tries to show her royal skills, Henrietta always ruins it.
Due to these events, Zora loses all hope in her friendless world. That's right, the poor girl has no friends, except for her lucky Golden Ball. But when she accidently drops her treasured item into the wheel , a Frog Man, appropriately named Ribbit (Paragon),appears. Ribbit goes on to tell Zora of how he is an outcast of his home too, being a "Too Tall Frog".
Deciding that these two have a lot in common, they quickly become friends. When Zora's Uncle arrives with a letter about the Sunset Ball (where the next Princess will be chosen), Zora doubts herself in thinking she can win. But Ribbit decides to help her by teaching her all the right moves. During their lesson though,
The good points? Well because I've watched a lot of the Cannon films, this one I think is one of the best. It's actually a unique twist on the story, and the songs are adorable. In some of the Cannon films, the songs are very out of place, or the voices are horrible (Trust me, they really are.) But this has the great distinction of having the songs mostly great all together. None of them are great lyrically, but they are simple and very pretty. Some can even get stuck in your head easily. Here are my favorites in audio streaming form ----
- "Friendship" This one is adorable, but again you have to think of it in the most innocent ways possible and that it probably was intended to mean something else originally. Both of the vocals are cute, and Paragon has such a nice voice.
- "Have You Forgotten Me?" This song is definitely my favorite. Quinn's vocals are adorable and just so painfully sweet. Again a lot of these are written in a lyrics 101 style, but still very cute.
Another good thing? John Paragon in my opinion steals the movie. He's very charming and very good with the part. Again, after watching a bunch of these movies, He's one of the better actors to be included. Good job casting!
So overall? I give this movie 3 Baby headbows and a wrist cuff (3.5)
It's not perfect, but its adorable and a fun movie to watch when your feeling blue. It certainly put a smile on my face !
But the question is, if you want to see if, where should you look? Unfortunately it isn't available anywhere in the US (except occasionally the VHS will pop up on Ebay), and the other international copies are in their respective languages. So here's a present from me to you. Here is the trailer and here is part 1 of the movie. The quality isn't great, but it's watchable at least.
Incase you are interested in checking out other Cannon films, here is the other ones I recommend...
- Beauty and The Beast - It's generally good, the "Beauty" character is dumb and can't really sing, but the Beast stands out in this version and has a neat costume. It has some interesting differences between the usual tale, and Beauty has a lot of siblings in this version.
- Puss n Boots - I recommend this purely for the fact that Christopher Walkin is in it, singing and dancing (and actually pretty good!) It surprised even me.