Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
This movie is gorgeous, it's like a Mucha painting come to life. Brilliant colors, dancing light and seamless animation. I would've liked to have seen it in traditional animation like THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, but I could tell the animators and artists were determined to close the gap between the soft and flowing style of traditional animation and the crisper, more deliberate style of computer animation. There are a handful of scenes where the animation seems too dimensional and awkward, but most of the film is stunning.
The story is familiar, but fresh enough to hold your interest. There are typical Disney shenanigans (bad guys with hearts of gold, silly animal sidekicks), but there is also a refreshing omission of trite and cliched plot twists. Mercifully, no "you gotta believe me" nonsense. The backstory is actually depressing as hell, which is nothing new to Disney films. However, here the heartstrings are pulled for much longer than the usual Disney tearjerker scene. (Remember poor Simba? "Wake up Dad"? Screw you, Disney) But of course, if wouldn't be a Disney movie without a happy ending right?
If I had to make a complaint it would be the music. The voice talent is great, its just the songs are so lacking. Clearly, the golden age of Disney songs is over. Each song falls flat or relies too heavily on its predecessors. ("I See The Light" is basically "A Whole New World" 2.0)
Original Storybook Intros: The film originally had a storybook opening sequence (think SWORD AND THE STONE) that was replaced with an animation sequence. Although the opening they ultimately went with gets the same story across, the original illuminated illustrated storybook opening would've been very classic and appealing also.