Studio: Cannon Films
Director(s): Jackson Hunsicker
Cast: Aileen Quinn, Helen Hunt
Genre: Family and Kids
Run Time: 95 minutes
MPAA Rating: G
Common Sense Says: Low-budget musical fairy-tale adaptation with a mean sister.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Frog Prince is a harmless, but charmless adaptation of an old tale which actually bears little resemblance to the traditional story. There are a few mildly suspenseful moments, and the Frog with his perpetual wide, gleeful grin and green coloring could be scary for very young or sensitive kids.
- Families can talk about Henrietta as a bully. How did Zora deal with her sister? What finally made Zora effective? What are some things a person can do to stop bullying (including cyberbullying)?
- The Baron had to decide which of the two sisters was a real princess. What qualities was he looking for? What qualities make someone special?
What's the story?
The Kingdom of Tartonia awaits a visit from an important baron who will determine which of the king's adopted nieces is the "real princess" and heiress to the throne. Twelve-year-old Zora (Aileen Quinn) is lonely, self-conscious, and in desperate need of approval. Her beautiful, but mean, older sister Henrietta (a young Helen Hunt) is out to undermine Zora in every way. When a lively, human-sized frog (John Paragon) becomes Zora's unlikely friend, everything changes. Henrietta steps up her wicked quest to win the baron's favor and Zora, with her slimy new ally, begins to find the courage and self-confidence she never knew she had.
Is it any good?
This film is one in a series of low-budget fairy tales made in the 1980s by Cannon Films. All of the movies can be identified by their shoddy production values, poor acting, and forgettable, derivative musical numbers. THE FROG PRINCE is actually one of the better entries in the group because of an engaging performance by John Paragon as Ribbit, the Frog.Still, the characters are one-dimensional; the story is silly, predictable and unrelated to the traditional tale; and there's very little wit or charm to be found.
The Good Stuff
Messages: Reaffirms the value of keeping promises. "Once you give your word, you can't erase it" and "The best you have to give is your honor." Also shows that friendship is far more important than personal gain. Reinforces the idea that you can't judge a book by its cover (and there might be a prince under all that frog).
Educational Value: Meant to entertain, not inform.
Role Models: The young Zora is generous, loyal, courageous, and has a strong sense of right and wrong. Though she seems to be victimized by her selfish, conniving older sister, Zora's refusal to give up sees her through. Zora's uncle (her surrogate parent) seems foolish and gullible, but behaves courageously in the end. The character who first appears as a frog proves that individuals aren't always what they seem to be; he's ultimately revealed to be a worthy and important friend.
What to watch out for
Violence & scariness: A very large frog startles the heroine when he jumps out of the water. One of the heroes is captured, thrown into a hole, and threatened with death. Trying to save her friend, Zora runs through a dark, windy forest with scary music and frightening noises.
Sexy stuff: Not an issue
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Not an issue