Last year’s Frozen was an unforeseen megahit that eventually surpassed Toy Story 3 as the highest grossing animated film, and it just recently dropped out of the global box office top 10. A welcome return to the musical princess genre for which Disney is famous, Frozen perhaps fed the hunger that family audiences had for new but familiar quality. It’s certainly a great fairy tale with gorgeous animation, catchy music, and (mostly) likable characters.
All that being said, I can’t help but point out some issues that detract from it and make its gargantuan success a tad puzzling. The actual storyline is innovative in its inclusion of two princesses, but Anna is a much better realized character than Elsa. I can sympathize with Elsa’s fear of herself, but that’s about it. All the characterization is given to Anna, while Elsa seems pretty directionless. What was she doing in that castle she constructed, just wringing her hands in worry? And the ultimate resolution is too rushed: just “love” and boom, she has perfect control over the powers she spent a lifetime repressing.
I also take issue with the character of Hans. The filmmakers tried so hard to make him seem like a nice guy that his sudden reversal was too out-of-nowhere. I mean, if he wanted to kill Elsa anyway, why didn’t he just let the Duke’s guards shoot her instead of valiantly rescuing her for no reason? I like the story, but I was expecting some different directions. Perhaps Hans could have been left as a good guy and paired with Elsa. I would have preferred that kind of reversal. I liked Anna’s sacrifice at the end, but it did remind me somewhat of the finale of Pokémon: The First Movie. I also thought that Anna may have hidden warming powers to offset Elsa’s, but no. Oh, well, maybe in the sequel.
After the previous two paragraphs, it might sound as if I dislike the film overall, but that’s not true. It’s a flawed tale but one I still very much enjoy viewing. Anna and Kristoff make a good pair, and though I was prepared to be annoyed by Olaf the snowman, I actually liked him more than I’d expected. The CGI animation is absolutely gorgeous, setting a new high for non-Pixar films.
Plus, the music is first-rate, even if it’s not from Alan Menken. The first song about ice is rather forgettable, but “Love Is an Open Door” and “For the First Time in Forever” are both excellent starting numbers. When I first heard the Oscar-winning song “Let It Go” on YouTube, I knew I had to see this movie. It’s Disney’s best song in years, and I’m sure most have seen at least one of the hundreds of parody videos out there for it. My VC also very much liked the “Fixer Upper” song by the trolls, even if they seem like an afterthought as characters.
Frozen may not be up there with Disney’s Renaissance classics of the ‘90s, but it’s not the worst (The Princess and the Frog didn’t make my list). It’s memorable, quality family entertainment. Let’s hope Disney will take the hint and not let the princess genre die.
Best line: (Olaf, singing) “Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle / But put me in summer and I’ll be a… [pauses in front of a puddle] …happy snowman!”Artistry: 7 Characters/Actors: 7 Entertainment: 9 Visual Effects: 10 Originality: 6 Watchability: 8 Other (aforementioned issues): -4 TOTAL: 43 out of 60
Next: #186 – The Way
© 2014 S. G. Liput
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