The Austin Chronicle

Freddie as F. R. O. 7.

Rated G, 91 min. Directed by Jon Acevski. Voices by Ben Kingsley, Jenny Agutter, Brian Blessed, Prunella Scales.

REVIEWED By Hollis Chacona, Fri., Sept. 4, 1992

Don't look now, but a dastardly plot is afoot in Freddie as F.R.O.7. And if you go to this show you, too, could be drawn into its devious web of deception. Nah, you couldn't. No one could mistake this overgrown Saturday morning cartoon for a real movie. But that's what the forces behind this work want us to believe. And that's a more interesting plot than the one in this animated feature. A story about a French prince with magical powers whose wicked aunt turns him into a frog who (four or five hundred years later) turns into a secret agent who then must help Britain save its national monuments from El Supremo, backed by, you guessed it, evil Aunt Messina, is all over the place (and time) and no place at all. The best children's movies transcend age levels with wit and intelligence. But Freddie tries to do that with lewd allusion and snide historical references. One of its main jokes is the fact that Freddie is French. French Frog -- get it, huh, huh, get it? There are no laughs in this picture. There is a cute Loch Ness monster, a pretty scary cobra (Aunt Messina in her fauna form), and one good musical number, “Evilmainya”, performed by Grace Jones. There is also a weird choice of color and tone in Freddie. All the colors are drab and muted, khakis and mauves. Rather than giving it a dreamy, watercolor look, though, it merely looks like an old print. If you think you must take your children to any G-rated picture that comes to town, so be it. But don't say you haven't been warned. Five dollar popcorn and a cold dark room do not a movie make. You're better off popping up thirty cents worth of kernels, adjusting the AC down, turning out the lights and sticking Old Yeller or The Brave Little Toaster in the VCR.

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