Frozen

Although I am, allegedly, an adult, I don’t think a time will ever come when I won’t love Disney. Disneyland, Disney movies, Disney straight to DVD sequels... Wait, scratch that last one. So, of course, when I found out they were making a new Disney princess movie with two of my favorite actors no less, I was in.

This movie is exactly what you would expect it to be. There is a scene stealing sidekick, a horse (or in this case, a reindeer) who acts like a dog for no reason, there’s love, there’s music, there’s some truly amazing animation. Frozen certainly didn’t reinvent the animated wheel, but it was cute. It was really cute.

When Elsa, born with the magical power to create snow and ice, accidentally injures her sister with her gift, her parents do what any rational people would do. They lock her up and teach her that her power is dangerous and to be hidden, turning her into a complete neurotic. Bravo. We have two new entrants for the crappy fairytale parent hall of fame. When this awesome plan inevitably backfires, Elsa runs away and her sister Anna chases after her. It got off to quite a slow start, but things picked up in due course.

For the first time ever, a Disney princess movie has two princesses. I like that the main relationship of the movie was between the sisters as opposed to a romantic relationship. As has been the norm in recent years, Disney seems to be making a concerted effort to make their female characters stronger and less dependent on their male counterparts. They did a really good job here. Like Rapunzel and Tiana before them, Anna’s and especially Elsa’s lives do not revolve around prince charmings.

Anna is voiced by Veronica Mars Kristen Bell (who knew she could sing?!). It was a perfect choice. Anna reminded me a lot of Mia from The Princess Diaries. Awkward and clumsy but adorable, impulsive, and irrepressibly optimistic. Broadway veteran Idina Menzel voices Elsa. I was honestly expecting more singing from her and I was a little disappointed they kept it to one song. It was a beautiful song (listen to it on my Tumblr), but I wanted more.

Along for the ride with Anna is Kristoff. Played by certified cutie Jonathan Groff (Glee), Kristoff seems to occasionally channel Flynn Rider. When his sled is destroyed, he’s upset because “he just paid it off.” He has a weird habit of talking to his reindeer, Sven, and pretending he’s talking back to him. He’s a loner and wary of other people (which is never explained). Rounding out the cast is Olaf, the magical, talking snowman (Josh Gad), who dominates every scene he’s in per Disney sidekick tradition.

The animation was beautiful, but the critics who pointed out the visual similarities between Frozen and Tangled were certainly not wrong. Not only do the characters have a similar feel, the scenery is such that Frozen could take place just north of the unnamed kingdom in Tangled. I’m not an animation connoisseur, so it didn’t bug me.

Arendelle, the kingdom the story is based in, is really reminiscent of the waiting area for the Matterhorn at Disneyland. I can’t help but wonder if Disney did this so they could insert characters from Frozen in the ride. I would really like them to stop doing this. Please.

Some stuff in the film might be a bit scary for very small kids. I know the wolves would’ve terrified me when I was little. Still, this one felt geared for a younger audience than Tangled. On the scary meter, I’d put in on par with Beauty and the Beast. It wasn’t as funny as Tangled, but I think it rates higher than The Princess and the Frog as far as laughs are concerned. It won’t have you rolling in the aisles, but it’ll put a smile on your face. Particularly Olaf. I really loved Olaf.

If you’re not a Disney fan and you don’t have kids, feel free to give this one a pass without feeling like you’re missing out on much. If you are a Disneyphile, this is a definite must see.

three and a half out of four snowflakes

4 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Loved the review, sunbunny. It sounds lovely. I'm not a Disneyphile, although Beauty and the Beast is a huge favorite of mine, so it's probably not one I'm going to see. Maybe on DVD.

ChrisB said...

I saw a preview for this on TV the other night and thought it looked like fun. I'll probably wait until it comes out on DVD as well, but it has definitely been added to the Netflix queue.

Jess Lynde said...

Sunbunny, I just figured out over the weekend that your avatar was a sketch of Elsa, and I was wondering if you'd review this movie. Delighted to see that you did!

I thought it was enjoyable, too, after it got going. It was a little bumpy for awhile there. My kids loved it, and neither seemed particularly scared, which is pretty unusual for them.

I was pleased that even though Anna's central drive seemed to be finding love, it was clearly grounded in her intense need for any human connection, not necessarily that of a man. Although she initially fixated on finding "true love," everyone treated her desire to marry the first cute guy that came along like it was nuts, and ultimately, it was her love for and need to have a connection with her sister that was her true driving force. Definitely a refreshing change up that appeared to play into princess story stereotypes, but then turned them on their heads a bit.

On the whole, I'd say that Tangled was a better flick, but Kristen Bell and Jonathan Groff are rather goofy and delightful here, and I agree that Olaf is a real highlight. His boundless positivity was quite infectious. Our whole family adored him.

J.D. Balthazar said...

Just saw this one, and I have to say I totally loved Olaf. Seeing the trailers for this, I never imagined I would even like the goofy snowman, but you're right he stole every scene he was in.

I thought it was nice, mild departure from the usual Disney princess trope. A good step in the right direction for the company. It wasn't ground breaking, but it was nice that the sole focus wasn't romantic love.

Thanks for the review Sunbunny!