Freddie as F.R.O.7 (or “Freddie the Frog” in North America) is a 1992 British animated musical action fantasy film written and directed by Jon Acevski
The storyline is a parody of James Bond.
|Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
The film begins in the Middle Ages at Monaco, Monte Carlo, France.
A 10-year-old boy named Prince Frederic with his kingly father in a huge castle by the ocean at Monaco, and was taught magical powers. His mother, the queen, has been dead for over a year after she drowned at sea in a storm. One day, while the prince and his father are out horse riding in the forest, Frederic loses his father who is thrown to his death from a great height after his house is spooked by a strange red cobra.
Now an orphan, Frederic is taken in by his paternal aunt, Messina (who as the king's sister) accedes to the throne, but only as the regent until Frederic comes of age to assume responsibility as the next ruler when she must step down. Soon Frederic realizes that the cobra he saw in the forest was Messina (who was also responsible for conjuring up the storm that took the life of his mother) .
Instead of killing Frederic, Messina transformed him into a frog and tried to capture him. Soon, both of them fall from the castle window and into the raging ocean where Frederic is saved in the jaws of a giant sea monster.
Messina vows to rule the world and destroy Frederic & the monster really turns out to be Nessie After Messina leaves, Nessie's tail became trapped under a boulder. She befriended Frederic, who in turn used his powers to free her tail from the boulder. Nessie took Frederic near dry land & notes that if he ever needs her, he would whistle.
Then, Frederic leaped into the night sky, jumped through time zones until the late 20th century and landed in a swamp full of frogs where he would spend the rest of his childhood in his new life as Freddie the Frog.
Freddie eventually grows up to become a member of the French secret service known as F.R.O.7. and has an anthropomorphic car. He is then called to London, England by the British Secret Service because the famous buildings in the United Kingdom are vanishing. By the time, he arrives as he left Paris, France. Nelson's Column, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, St. Pauls Cathedral and Stonehenge are already missing.
Freddie meets the Brigadier G, who seems to have trouble keeping himself and his comrades from getting tangled up in the phone cord. Freddie is introduced to Daffers, an Englishwoman who is an expert in martial arts and Scotty, a Scotsman who is a weapons expert.
Things get worse as Canterbury Cathedral disappears. Freddie also meets Trilby, a sneaky member of the secret service. During a trip to Ascot, Freddie discovers that the villain capturing the buildings is called El Supremo, and he's working alongside Messina, who spends most of the time in her cobra form. He also learns that El Supremo is planning to steal Big Ben next.
Knowing that Daffers and Scotty wouldn’t want to be taken, Freddie tells them that the next target is Windsor Castle and they hide on Big Ben where they are promptly captured by a giant robotic snake. They go to a secret island in Scotland and learn that El Supremo plans to use the buildings, by shrinking them to a size of a trophy and using them as batteries to a giant crystal which will send a powerful sleeping virus across the world (starting with the UK), which will put people to sleep, allowing him to invade and enslave them.
Then, Scotty freaks out as the last required building is captured: Edinburgh Castle.Then, Freddie and Scotty are thrown into a pool of sea monsters while Daffers is taken to be brainwashed into a mindless follower of El Supremo and Messina. El Supremo uses the crystal to send his sleeping virus across Great Britain and the whole country shuts down.
Freddie whistles and Nessie appears to save them both from being devoured & Scotty is saved from drowning. Nessie shows her family to Freddie, who then asks them to help defeat El Supremo by submerging the patrolling submarines.
Freddie and Scotty save Daffers from the snake guards in disguise and the three return to stop El Supremo from conquering the world. They have to battle an army of soldiers, but in the process, Daffers and Scotty get too close to the crystal's energy and they fall unconscious. Freddie manages to infiltrate the crystal's energy with his mind powers and destroys it, but he also falls unconscious.
Meanwhile, El Supremo and Messina (who are preparing to attack their next target: The United States) arrive to kill Freddie, but he, Daffers and Scotty defeat El Supremo by shrinking him down to an ant's size and trap him in a matchbox.
A final battle then ensues between Freddie and Messina, who attacks by shape-shifting consecutively into a bat, hyena, scorpion, and boa. As Messina begins to crush Freddie in her boa form, Freddie remembers the comforting words from his late father. He is able to find the strength to escape and tosses Messina into an electrical pole high up and she gets electrocuted. Brigadier G and his team arrive in time, and Trilby is discovered to be a spy for the villains.
In the end, Britain is restored to normal and Freddie heads off to deal with some bad guys in the United States.
- James Earl Jones (American release) as Narrator
- Ben Kingsley as Freddie/Prince Frederic, a French prince. He is orphaned and turned into a frog by Messina and eventually becomes a member of the French secret service and the British secret service.
- Edmund Kingsley as Young Freddie
- Jenny Agutter as Daffers, a martial arts expert and Freddie's love interest
- Brian Blessed as El Supremo, the main villain responsible for capturing various monuments, which he plans to use to create a sleeping virus. He is also married to Messina, which would make him Freddie's uncle.
- Billie Whitelaw as Messina, Freddie's wicked power-hungry aunt who kills his parents, steals the throne and turns Freddie into a frog. She has the power to shape-shift into any animal, most notably a cobra.
- John Sessions as Scotty, a weapons inventor who befriends Freddie and Daffers / Additional Voices
- Phyllis Logan as Nessie, a Loch Ness monster that Freddie befriends as a frog. She assists him with escaping the sea in the climax of the film.
- Nigel Hawthorne as Brigadier G, the head of the British secret service
- Sir Michael Hordern as King, Freddie's father who is killed by his sister Messina
- Victor Maddern as Old Gentleman Raven
- Jonathan Pryce as Trilby, a sneaky member of the secret service
- Prunella Scales as Queen, Freddie's mother who was killed by Messina one year prior to the events of the film / Additional voices
The movie was inspired by bedtime stories that directed Jon Acevski told his son about his favorite toy frog working as a secret agent.
In 1995, MCA/Universal Home Video (in conjunction with Shapiro Glickenhaus Entertainment) released the movie on home video under an alternate re-edited version under the title of “Freddie the Frog” with new narration from actor James Earl Jones.
Odds and ends (including moments of conversation) were cut and sequences were re-edited, supposedly in the hope to make the film easier to follow & potentially racially sensitive elements were removed or changed (such as the KKK-members and Nazi axis-like soldiers during the "Evilmainya" song sequence and the tourist and punk crows were re-dubbed).
Miramax Films purchased “Freddie as F.R.o.7.” for distribution in North America.
A week after its release in the United Kingdom, it was released on August 28, 1992 in 1,257 theaters where it was released with a PG rating. It was also released theatrically in Spain during the 1992 Christmas season.
In the United States, the movie only grossed $501,230 showing in only 1,257 theaters and also grossing $1,119,368 domestically.
“Freddie as F.R.o.7” received unfavorable reviews from critics.
Animation critic Charles Solomon said, "this 21-gun stinker makes Saturday-morning television look good” and continued by saying "the improbable story is so full of gaps, it's difficult to believe writer-producer-director Jon Acevski ever read his own screenplay."
Derek Elley of Variety said, "A shake ‘n’ bake mixture of virtually every toon genre going, it makes up in energy what it lacks in originality".
Stephen Holden of the New York Times wrote in his review: "The movie, which bills itself as the most ambitious animated film ever to come out of Britain, is a convoluted adventure story that swirls classic fairy-tale mythology together with modern pop-cultural iconography into an unwieldy hodgepodge.”
Hollis Chacona of the Austin Chronicle said, “No one could mistake this overgrown Saturday morning cartoon for a real movie.”