Sunday, December 29, 2013

Disney's "Frozen"

The day before I saw “Frozen”, it was eighty degrees outside. My roommate and went for a long drive and had to turn on the air conditioning. 

The day after I saw “Frozen”, Texas was hit by an ice storm. As I chipped away chunks of ice and snow from my car, I mused that I’d moved to Texas from Colorado because I was tired of winter.

For a week we were sequestered in our house as north Texas had essentially been.... frozen.

I’m not saying that Disney’s new animated feature is responsible... but I could definitely relate to the good people of Arendelle. Within moments, their summer turns into eternal winter, and that is when “Frozen” really takes off.

In my previous review of “Fullmetal Alchemist” I lamented that family stories- especially stories about siblings, are  largely ignored by poplar entertainment.

“Frozen” was in production long before I wrote that, but I can’t help but feel like my plea was heard.

This story revolves around two sisters, and I love it! Obviously the screenwriters know how siblings act, and the result is touching. As usual, I identify with the oldest, Elsa. She is in fact the “ice queen”, having been born with magical abilities that allow her to control wintery elements.

In typical first-born fashion, she feels pressure to tow the line, be the perfect child and protect her little sister, Anna, at all cost.

After a magical mishap, Elsa is kept isolated and away from Anna- for years. All Anna wants is to have her big sister back, and you might say that this is the backbone of the story.

I think Disney is finding a new foot in 3D animation. “Frozen” has a very similar feel as “Tangled”. This time though, instead of pop, the songs have a Broadway Musical quality. My favorite song, “Let it Go”, reminds me a lot of the “Wicked” soundtrack.

I really loved “Tangled” so I don’t mind the similarities. They take a few unexpected and refreshing detours from the typical fairytale plot-line, all the while keeping a good sense of magical awe.

The script isn’t as tight as “Tangled” though, and I felt like it wandered a bit. There were also bits of dialogue that seemed too modern for me and sometimes felt at odds with the magical setting.

If I had to choose one bone to pick, it would be that I wished Elsa’s character had been given more development.

I’ve never really been a “princess” girl, but if I were a kid, I would totally be Elsa for Halloween! (And by the way, she’s not a princess, she’s a queen!) She’s a complex character, and at the end, I wanted to go back and find out more about her. Maybe giving her more screen-time would have made the picture too long, or too complicated. 

I understand the decision, but I still think it’s a loss.

To end my review, I will make a confession: I did not think I was going to like this film. Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, I made that assumption based off the snowman character in the trailer.

I was afraid that the presence of the goofy wisecracking sidekick would annoy me to death. I’m not sure if I’m pleased or embarrassed that I’m wrong...

Sometimes he is the typical comic relief, and sometimes he borders on annoying. However, in general, Olaf is just so clueless and happy about being alive that I found myself warming up to the little guy.

After exiting the theater, I mentioned Olaf the snowman to my roommate and voiced that I’d been worried he’d ruin the movie for me. She laughed and we both admitted that he was one of our favorite characters.

“Frozen” is a fun adventure, with some stunning visuals and a decent soundtrack. I’m enjoying Disney’s return to the classic fairy-tale piece and looking forward to more. You may enjoy it too! Just don’t forget to bring your ice scraper.

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