You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would be on board with Frozen just by judging the trailers alone. There was just so much emphasis on introducing us to the characters, that may have caused some to have some build animosity or pent up rage against a cute an innocent snowman. The trailers’ lack of focus on what makes this film so incredible and beyond amazing: the music; should not hurt the film in any way though. And even if there was any music insert into those trailers, they don’t do the film any justice. Not in the slightest bit.
Disney’s latest animated film is told on a grand, bold, and very beautiful scale, one that is reminiscent of their classic animated musicals of yesteryear. In fact Frozen is the studio’s best since Beauty and the Beast, and maybe, just maybe one of the best films of the year. Hit the jump for the full review.
The film has an unconventional dichotomy. Instead of one princess, there are two, and they aren’t vying for the royal title. From the get go you can feel the genuine love and affection that Elsa (Idina Menzel), the eldest sibling, and Anna (Kristen Bell), the youngest, have for each other. It’s actually enough to warm your heart. It’s the kind of relationship that we rarely see in an animated film with siblings, but it is the kind that is a breath of fresh air in the sibling dynamic. But the wedge that drives the two apart is Elsa’s ability to control and create ice magic. It is a power that she was born with. That child-like innocence does not mix well with someone who has ice powers, and during a night of playful fun Elsa accidentally strikes Anna with her ice powers.
Elsa and Anna’s parents immediately takes the two to the Troll King (Ciran Hinds) to cure Anna, who was luckily not struck in the heart, because according to the Troll King, the heart is not so easily healed. The patriarchs seek the advice on how to handle Elsa’s powers. He advises them that they separate the two to prevent this from happening again. And to insure that Elsa doesn’t strike Anna with her powers, he wipes Anna’s knowledge of Elsa’s powers and the incident itself from her memory. To make matters worse, the king and queen reduce the staff,and shut the castle gates off from the people, thus forcing Elsa to live in solitude.
This separation causes a rift in the relationship, with Anna desperate to understand why Elsa is hiding from her. Elsa herself wants to connect but can’t because her fear takes over, and as a result her powers grow dangerously out of control. The sisterly relationship begins to strain even more after their parents’ voyage to another country proves fatal. With a reduced staff, and unable to speak to her own sister, Elsa becomes more isolated. Until that is coronation day begins, where the two sisters are able to reunite for a brief moment. That is until, Anna gets engaged to Prince Hans Of The Southern Isle (Santino Fontana) that same night and asks for Elsa’s blessing, to which she cannot give, and as a result displays her powers in front of various Dukes and royalty. Forcing her to isolate herself even more by running away to the North Mountain, while unwittingly setting off an eternal winter on her own kingdom.
Unlike some of the previous Disney films where the villain is prevalent and obviously recognizable to the audience, co-director and writer Jennifer Lee has us believe that the film is about Anna’s quest to bring Elsa back home safety and put an end to this eternal winter. Her adventurous spirit and playful determination is unrelenting and doesn’t even seem to cease for a moment, and that’s what makes the character so charming. Throughout the entire film, whether it is through dialogue or through song, Bell brings a kind of energy into Anna where you don’t even see the actress voicing the character, you just see the character. And that is the kind of enthusiasm you look for in a film like this.
And the same can be said for some of the other cast. Different voices bring different dynamics to the table. Menzel brings a strong sense of maturity to Elsa. Her powerful voice enthuses as she sings “Let It Go,” and you get to see her evolve as a character on a grand scale as that sequence plays out and she sings that song. To say that musical number and sequence is beautiful would be a huge understatement.
But Frozen does adhere to the rules of the Disney Princess movies. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing or something that weighs it down, it’s just you know what is going to happen at the end. Still the film has a wonderful supporting cast of characters. Anna recruits Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) an ice salesman who is having trouble selling ice during this eternal winter, to her troupe. Anna’s whimsy determination begins to warm up to Kristoff at first, but he starts to disrespect her and question her judgement when she tells him that none of this would be happening if Elsa just gave her blessing to marry the person she just met. But his disrespect is funny and clever in a way that isn’t overtly offensive. Just watching Kristoff develop feelings for Anna through the course of the movie (in which a lot of hilarious mayhem and adventurous dangers ensue) should remind a few guys what it was like to be around someone they had feelings for but couldn’t quite express themselves in the right way.
Perhaps one of the most surprising (or shocking depending on how you look at it is how Olaf (Josh Gad) is actually a great character and not as annoying as he is made out to be. The hugable Snowman is endearing and funny, and in Lee’s sick and twisted way, wants to find out what heat feels like. But that is part of the fun of the character as he sings the “Summer Song,” which he playfully sings and dances through various heat-related motifs. While he is certainly made out to be comic relief, he brings qualities like sentimentality and sensitivity to balance himself out.
The rest of the songs like “Do You Want To Build A Snowman,” and “Fixerupper” are the kind of playful cheery songs that will no doubt have a place in your child’s (or inner child’s) heart. The former song has that beautiful song that balances that child-like innocence and maturity that wasn’t seen in Disney’s last musical Tangled. The Bell and Menzel duet “For The First Time In Forever” should also be easily be a favorite amongst audiences as the song really brings the love the two sisters have for each other home.
But not all of the songs are perfect, “Love Is An Open Door” sounds like something pulled out of the rejected songs file cabinet. The music to it is nice, it’s the lyrics that are just a bit on the cheesy side. However the rest perfectly crafted, ironic, whimsy, and at times will make you want to break out in song as well. Combined with Chistophe Beck‘s (Paperman) score, Frozen‘s music will warm your heart.
Though the film does have some minor predictability, its slight twist should be just enough to surprise you. That being said, Frozen is full of wonderful performances from voice actors, clever and witty songs, beautiful animation, and a touching story, which makes the film one very unique snowflake.
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