Freddie as FR07 (1992)

Well, it was nice while it lasted.

Some of you in the comments have noted that I’ve been a little, shall we say, down on the movies I’ve reviewed this year.

And some of you likewise professed that you enjoyed my review of Batman ’66 purely because it was nice to see me actually praising something for once. I get it, I do. Negativity can be draining.

But, if it helps, this review will be less “negative” than “absolutely incredulous”.

What. The. Fuck. Is. This?

You know what’s weird? I remember seeing trailers for this movie! I remember thinking it looked quite good!

This was not some obscure direct to video release, this was in theatres! With a pretty top-tier cast!

This is not an amateur production, this clearly had a lot of money behind it and was released in the early nineties, an absolute golden age for feature animation where even lesser known (or, to be frank, lesser quality) films still have passionate fanbases of ageing elder millennials desperately clinging to the nostalgia of their fading childhoods in the face of an increasingly bewildering and terrifying present (no judgement, we’re all in the same boat).

And THEN I learned that this is the first and only film written and produced by Jon Acevski, a British businessman who decided to make an animated film based on stories he told his son about his toy frog (his son’s toy frog, I mean. I don’t believe Mr Acevski has a toy frog and if he does it is none of my business). And that’s sweet, that really is.


See, the thing about making movies is, they’re very expensive. And the people who back movies usually give their money to people who have demonstrated at least some competence in their field. But every so often, every so often, someone comes along who has no experience with writing, directing or anything really to do with the film-making process. But they do have money.

And when that happens? Oh, my friends, when that happens. That’s when you get the shit that makes my life worth living.

Watching this movie is like shepherding a hyper-active three year old with sticky hands through the world’s biggest toy shop: No! Stop that! You can’t do that! That’s not allowed! PUT THAT DOWN YOUNG MAN! This movie just has no idea of what it’s not allowed do.

The first thing we see is a fuzzy, indifferently drawn Paris skyscape and then the movie helpfully tells us what kind of movie we’re watching:

I….have never seen that before. I have NEVER seen a movie that tried to be its own hypeman. It’s not technically lying, I suppose. It’s certainly the first “secret agent who’s a giant immortal frog with magic powers” movie that I can recall seeing, and it is amazing that this thing got made but still, this is just gauche.

Then we get the title which is, again, completely incompetent. “Freddie as F.R.O.7.”.

That’s not a title. That’s a credit, that goes at the end, you silly film. This was the easiest part and the movie failed.

Over the credits we hear Keep Your Dreams Alive sung by George Benson and Patti Austen and it’s one of those late eighties/early nighties adult contemporary ballads that sounds like having cough syrup ladled into your ears. While this happens, Freddie, our main character, drives around Paris in an anthropomorphised green car that…um…is clearly horny for him.

It’s a new mania, Mole! MOTOR-MANIA!

This is literally the first scene and I already have so many questions.

  1. Why this song?
  2. Why did you think it was appropriate for a fast paced driving scene?
  3. What is the purpose of the driving scene? It has nothing to do with the following film.
  4. Why does the car want to fuck him?
  5. Answer 4 first, please.

I will get the positives out of the way. The animation is wildly inconsistent but quite nice in places. Particularly in this scene, the car zips around around the streets with a nice, smooth zippiness that impressed me. Also, the designs are…I mean, they’re not exactly breaking the mould here:

But they’re pleasing to look at, they’re expressive, they convey the essence of the character well. I didn’t need to tell you that the second image is of the villain, did I? Well there you go. That’s solid design. Give this animation team a better script and concept and I could absolutely see them making a good cartoon. Okay, so we get what would, in a sane world, be the start of the movie with a flashback to the magical ancient kingdom of…France. The king of France is apparently a wizard and has a son, Prince Frederick who he has taught his magic to. The king also has a sister.

Yeah, you know exactly where this is going.


“Money. They paid me money. That is how it works.”

Okay, well as you’ve already guessed, Messina kills Frederick’s father and then tries to kill him. What you did not guess is that she turns the kid into a frog, turns herself into a snake, chases the frog into the sea where he meets the Loch Ness Monster who is chilling in France, for some reason, and who helps him escape from his evil snake aunt.

“I guessed that.”
“That’s because you’re an opium fiend. You chase the dragon, that’s why.”

Messina declares that one day she will destroy Freddie and “rule the world”. I’m guessing there are some intermediate steps to that plan but if there are she elects not to tells us.

Freddie finds a community of jazz-playing frogs in a swamp and lives with them for a few years and then grows to human size for some reason, gets some clothes and joins the French secret service. All perfectly standard boilerplate, but here’s where the movie gets a little odd.

In London, Nelson’s Column vanishes in a strange blue light.

Then, we see two American ravens flying into the Tower of London to visit their “British cousins”. The tower disappears, leaving all the ravens very confused. And all the ravens, regardless of whether they are American or British, speak with fake African-American accents that would make the crows from Dumbo cringe. It’s so bad this whole sequence had to be re-dubbed for the American release.

After Buckingham Palace gets taken too, the British secret service snaps into action and the Brigadier played by WHAT, WHAT?!

Nigel Hawthorne?!


“Well, you see, while any practitioner of the noble thespian arts strives at all times to choose work which advances the state of the craft, challenges one as a performer and enlightens the audience as a whole, certain, shall we say, pecuniary considerations must also enter into the complex web of motive and interest which ultimately inform ones choices as an actor.
“You mean money?”

“Ha doy!”

Sorry, massive tangeant here but I’ve just noticed that WordPress has included a new AI feature that can…write blog posts apparently. I decided to test this out by asking the bot to write a paragraph continuing on from the previous sentence. This is the result:


Yes, you read that right. Sir Nigel Hawthorne, star of The Madness of King George and Yes, Minister, lends his talents to the role of the Brigadier in Freddie as FR07. It’s the kind of casting that makes you do a double-take and ask, “Wait, is that really him?”

Hawthorne brings a sense of gravitas to the role that elevates the whole film. It’s not often you see an actor of his calibre slumming it in an animated comedy about a frog spy, but he throws himself into it with gusto. His scenes with Freddie are a delight, as he tries to wrangle the impulsive frog and keep him on task.

But let’s be real, we’re not here for the plot or the voice acting. We’re here for the comedy, and oh boy, does Freddie as FR07 deliver. The humor is slapstick and silly, with a healthy dose of puns and wordplay thrown in. Some of the gags are cringe-inducing (did we really need a song about frogs being “soulful”?), but more often than not they hit the mark.

If you’re a fan of ’90s animation and don’t mind some cheesy jokes, Freddie as FR07 is worth a watch. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, but it’s a fun way to spend 90 minutes. And if nothing else, you’ll get to hear Sir Nigel Hawthorne say lines like, “I’m going to have to put you on a leash, Freddie.” What more could you want?


Well, that settles that. AI does not have a soul. Or, it is into some weird, weird shit.

Moving on, having no available spies of their own, the British ask for aid from the French secret service.

This is, without a doubt, the single most unrealistic part of this entire movie. Immortal frogs? Fine. Loch Ness Monster? Okay. Horny athropomorphic cars? Practically scène à faire. But the idea that the British government would willingly seek the aid of the French before mass suicide is gibbering lunacy and I hope this movie realises that it looks like a fool.

Anyway, Freddie arrives and we get the funniest exchange in the whole movie:

Valet: Sir, F.R.0.7. has just arrived, in an incredible automobile.

Brigadier G: Ah! Good. Show him in.

Valet: Um, yes sir, just to warn you, though… he’s a frog.

Brigadier G: That’s no way to talk about our loyal French allies!

Valet: No, sir, what I mean is, he’s green.

Brigadier G: Nonsense! He’s their most experienced man!

Yeah, I know. But it’s at least coherent. I understand the joke it’s trying to tell. That’s impressive feat for this film. Freddie is voiced by…

“Ha! I’m sure you’re surprised…”
“Not in the slightest.”

Although, I’m not entirely sure they had Sir Ben Kingsley for that long. His line readings in this are so goddamned weird. When he’s introduced to Scotty, the weapons expert, he says “I’m afraid…the only weapon…I…use…is…my thoughts” and it sounds like they chopped the line together from existing recordings like that one episode of South Park where they killed off Chef.

He also meets Daphne “Daffers” Fortescue, the gadget expert. Freddie turns down the gadgets, but does take the time to compliment Daphne’s tits (I wish I was making that up, I am not). Oh, and then she flashes him.

Yeah, you didn’t believe me, did ya?

I swear to God, if you drew a Venn diagram of the kid’s cartoons that are terrible and weirdly horny it would be a circle.

Freddie agrees to take the case (no shit) and he, Daffers and Scotty head to Ascot because he heard that’s where all the criminals go. At the horse races Freddie is jumped by some thugs and proceeds to non-violently kick the shit out of them with his thoughts. The leader of the thug (named “Leader” because of course he is) puts in a call to his boss, El Supremo who is voiced by OH COME ON! HOW?!


So El Supremo is allied with Messina who is a) still alive and b) still a snake and weirdly never actually speaks except during her big villain song. Also, it’s implied there is some kind of sexual relationship between El Supremo and Messina who is, as already mentioned, a snake. El Supremo tells his goons that their next target is “BIG BEN” and he says it so loudly that it is overheard by Freddie as well as, I presume, most of the Western Hemisphere. Messina then gets her villain song, “Evilmania”, which you’re just going to have to watch because you will absolutely not believe if I have to describe it to you.

Oh, and Messina’s singing voice was provided by NO WAY, GRACE JONES?!


Fair enough. Freddie, Daffers and Scotty hide in Big Ben which is then abducted by El Supremo’s flying snake fortress.

Well. SOMEBODY’S compensating.
“Well ACTUALLY, Big Ben is the name of the Bell. The tower is now called Elizabeth Tower and at the time the movie was made was called the Clock Tower.”
“ACTUALLY you’re not even a nit, you’re an adult louse, now shut up!”

The snake fortress tractors tower inside the snake fortress and our “heroes” are brought face to face with El Supremo and Messina. He reveals his master plan which is…oh boy.

His plan is to shrink all of Britain’s greatest tourist attractions and then use the tiny attractions as batteries to power a sleep ray which will put the whole nation to sleep and allow his army to take over. It is a brilliant plan, no notes.

El Supremo takes Daffers to brainwash her into being his slave, gross, and leaves Freddy and Scotty trapped underwater surrounded by ferocious sea monsters. And Scotty has to decide whether to drown or let Freddy give him the “French kiss of life”.

Why are you looking at me Freddie? Is this what gets you off? Having an audience? It is, isn’t it, you sick fucking frog.

Anyway, he doesn’t actually kiss him (because THAT would be too far for this movie) and he calls on Nessie who rescues them. They sneak back onto El Supremo’s island, free Daffers, couple of fight scenes and they finally defeat El Supremo by using his own shrink ray that he used to shrink others to shrink him.

Britain is saved until 2016 and our heroes get a call from Washington that Messina is over there and trying to take over.

And they head off for the sequel!

They were never seen again.


If you’re a fan of ’90s animation and don’t mind some cheesy jokes, Freddie as FR07 is worth a watch. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, but it’s a fun way to spend 90 minutes. And if nothing else, you’ll get to hear Sir Nigel Hawthorne say lines like, “I’m going to have to put you on a leash, Freddie.” What more could you want?

“What? I’m lazy.”


Animation: 08/20

Real “lions led by donkeys” situation here. There were clearly some talented animators and artists working on this.

Lead: 02/20

Ben Kingsley is an Academy Award Winning actor and one of the all time greats. He is also utterly shameless and I’m pretty sure he would fuck a pig on camera if a movie producer paid him enough.

Villain: 04/20

How amateurishly bad is the writing in this movie? It has BRIAN BLESSED as a Bond-esque supervillain and Billie Whitelaw as an evil snake-witch AND THAT’S NOT ENOUGH TO SAVE IT.

Supporting Characters: 01/20

Terrible. Terrible. Terrible.

Music: 06/20

The original songs are awful but there’s some Boy George, Asia and Grace Jones on the soundtrack.


NEXT UPDATE: 05 May 2023

NEXT TIME: Am I going to go on long tangents about early 20th century sci-fi? Maybe, reader, maybe…


  1. You know, if you imagine that it’s Trevor Slattery doing the voice of Freddie, it both kind of explains this movie and kind of explains Trevor Slattery.

    I actually watched this one just because I knew you’d be covering it. Actually that’s a lie, I watched it twice. Just putting that in writing in case you ever get called up as a witness when I eventually snap, you can confirm it was Freddie’s doing.

    The first time I accidentally stumbled across the American cut which, among the changes you mentioned, featured James Earl Frigging Jones as narrator. But it also turns out that version is 20 minutes shorter because it cut out the wholesome boob jokes and dancing nazis. So naturally I had to watch it again and get the Full Freddie.

    Worst animated film I ever saw? I think that honor goes to Titanic: The Legend Goes On, which I genuinely hope you never subject yourself to just to entertain us (I think I’d feel less inhumane watching Elizabethan bear baiting than someone having to watch T:TLGO on my behalf). But this may be the most utterly baffling.

    Do…do you think the boob jokes and dancing nazis were part of the original bedtime stories? Probably a couple decades too late to call child services on Jon Acevski, huh?

  2. Mouse, I don’t care what you’re doing right now, go watch Suzume. Are you driving to work? Blow it off and go watch Suzume. Are you on the verge on enlightenment? Procrastinate Nirvana for a bit and go watch Suzume. Is it the middle of the night? Find a theater that’s still open. Has war been declared? Cut a bloody swath through the enemy lines to the nearest theater and go watch Suzume.
    That movie made me cry six times over its runtime. It’s written and directed by Makoto Shinkai of Your Name fame and the animation is absolutely smurges. The backgrounds are the last thing I want to see before I die. The script was so genuine and heartbreaking and real (I watched subtitles, so no idea if the dub is equally good) The soundtrack is something truly special – the first time I cried we barely knew the characters yet, the music was just affecting me that much. One of the main characters is a chair and he’s more expressive than most actual actors.

    Gushing aside, after reading this review I aspire to be so rich I can just throw money at a project until it gets completed. How does a WtSF movie sound?

    1. I will definitely check it out. A WTSF movie/TV show would indeed be a hell of a thing. Were such a project in the works, of course, I could not possibly comment.

  3. I vaguely remember seeing a VHS of this at a Blockbuster back when I was a kid.

    I kinda think I saw a Youtube video on it some years ago, like covering forgotten films or stuff you never knew existed.

    And before you announced your intent to review this, I believe all knowledge of this film only existed in the back of peoples’ brains in a “No that doesn’t sound real, I must be misremembering things.”

    As such, I propose that “Freddie as FR07” exists in a superposition wherein physical or digital proof of its being only manifests when someone actually remembers that it’s a thing.
    What a bizarre-ass movie.

    But John Carter? That’ll be fun. I think that was the point when studios realized they weren’t going to be able to make Taylor Kitsch a thing.

  4. In all fairness, 1992 DID fall into the ‘Great Hiatus’ between LICENSE TO KILL and GOLDENEYE, so it’s possible some ignorant rascal was convinced that Bond, James Bond (Dalton) was busy doing his own thing as a rogue agent while being innocent of the fact that Bond, James Bond (Brosnan) was on his way.

    Either that or they forgot that there’s rather more than one British spy hero (and that the only sort of French professional on whom the British Government would call for help would be a chef … or a seamstress).

  5. Honestly “absolutely incredulous” is actually fun, person being disappointed after being excited is sad. Also I doubt anyone has actually seen this.

    The AI did sound like you even if it didn’t say anything insightful. It’s a big scary but maybe kind of useful if you want to write fast and remove parts that are bad and add insightful stuff in middle.

  6. A prince that becomes a human-sized frog secret agent? I’ve heard worse superhero origin stories.

    Thankfully, since this movie is free to watch on Youtube, I was able to watch it at 1.5 speed. That probably made it funnier.

  7. You know what have I thought would be a great extra installement of Bats vs. Bolts, fitting a (mostly. Well, formerly mostly and that’s fine too) Disney reviews site?

    Disney’s Dracula Starring Mickey Mouse vs. Disney’s Frankenstein Starring Donald Duck. Which are two comics (made in Italy, like most current Disney comics output) that actually do exist and adapt both stories with Disney casts. You have talked about comics here before so it still fits!

    You know what, I get that you’re way too busy, but I’d be willing to pitch in with help for that, I have some ideas on how such a thing could go. (Without spoiling too much, I think this is a very rare case where Mickey would actually beat Donald, though).

  8. The tale of the Fox had similar self hype to open with. Of course that is the second oldest surviving animated film in history, so it really was a novelty then.

    With how much you seemed to be enjoying tearing this movie apart I figured the final score would actually be high.

    I saw the latest batman movie (Doom that came to Gotham). I cannot wait for your review of it in 2030ish.

  9. Freddie just annoyed me as a character. He hardly takes anything serious and when Daphne asked if he’s ever afraid of anything, he’s like, “Nah. Never.”

    A character whose never afraid is a boring character – especially when we’re supposed to take tense scenes serious but if the main hero isn’t afraid in any situation then why the hell should I care? They could have done something with his lack of fear if they did a scene where he sees his aunt again in the first time in years and that fear resurfaces as he remembers what she did to him and his father. But nah, nothing like that.

    Also Daphne is a bitch. Freddie and Scotti are sent to the ocean to drown and she only calls for Freddie name in terror even though he’s a frog and therefore would be fine – Scotti not so much. I mean, she’s known Scotti longer and worked together but she only cares for Freddie’s safety cause… she’s a furry I guess?

  10. For what it’s worth, this is more the fun kind of negative. The negative Marvel and Disney reviews tend to just feel betrayed and sad, this is just gathering around a barrel and taking it out on some motherfucking FISH.

      1. Well, also, i’ve just disagreed with a lot of your recent reviews, but, eh, that’s how being a critic works.

        (I liked both Hawkeye and Moon Knight. I’m sorry.)

  11. You’re right Mouse, I was in complete disbelief during your recap of the movie. Maybe I’ll add it to the list of terrible movies I like to watch with my brother. We’re masochists, clearly, watching such horrible movies just for the bile fascination. We’ve already seen Felix the Cat, btw. I had to read your review of that one to recover a little of my sanity.

  12. Mouse you forgot another burning question about that opening sequence: why is there not a living soul in the entire city of Paris?

    That was quite possibly the weirdest thing about that scene. The dude is driving around Paris and never encounters another vehicle, or pedestrian. Not even a giant pile of uncollected trash festooned with rats.

    It’s like the apocalypse happened and killed everything but Freddie and his goldfish.

  13. Dear Mouse, I’m having problems with Patreon at the moment and can only apologise for what may be a rather late payment.

    I will, however, work to clear up this issue and get you the payment as soon as technology cooperates.

  14. . . . . Are we really, 100% sure that Jon Acevski wrote this and not his son at age 8 or so? Either that, or Jon Acevski was fond of, shall we same, consuming certain substances.

    The name of the evil queen is an interesting choice. “Messalina” was an empress who was also nicknamed the Viper of Rome. And “Melusina” is a woman from folklore who was a snake (or sometimes a fish) from the waist down. Could either or both of these women been the basis for a queen named “Messina” who takes the form of a snake?
    (Yes, I’m stretching. Yes, I’m reaching. Just . . . just let me try to make sense out of one measly thing in the vast wasteland of nonsense that is this movie!)

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