I finally made the time to sit down and watch the latest offering from Disney. I’ve heard nothing but overwhelming positivity about this film and that includes the most overplayed track of the century, “Let it Go”.
Did it live up to the hype? I’m not quite sure…
Frozen tells the story of Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) – two sisters, one born with icy powers. Worried about her gift, both sisters are kept separated in fear that Elsa (the sister with the powers) would hurt and destroy people who came into contact with her. When an incident occurs that forces Elsa to run away, Anna, along with the help of Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Sven and a talking snowman, Olaf (Josh Glad) attempt to save her and the kingdom from an ever-lasting winter.
Don’t get me wrong – I completely understand the appeal with this film and why it’s so successful. I understand the messages presented. Frozen feeds off the energy of past Disney films by going back to its roots of adventure and music. It features the classic Disney princesses that will appeal to kids aged from 5-11. But I didn’t fall head over heels loving it. Was it something to do with hype? Possibly – maybe a tad overrated. At the end of the day I didn’t really engage with it and that sentence alone feels wrong especially when you talk about a Disney film. Frozen was just ok.
“All right! Let’s go kiss Hans! Who is this Hans?” – Olaf
I understand the film paying its respect to tradition but felt the singing was too much with almost every character bursting into song every time a new situation arose. Besides “Let it Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” (which was fun), the rest are forgettable. With so little actual dialogue, some of the song numbers just took me out of the moment and it was bordering on annoyance.
Without sounding like a total grinch, no matter how many cute, whimsical characters you throw into a film, does not cover up the issues with the plot. For example, we are told that Elsa was born with her magical icy powers, living a life of fear isolated inside her room by her parents. That’s some serious psychological issues! No wonder Elsa was always afraid – but seriously how did these powers evolve within her? Were her parents cursed or something that naturally passed onto their child? Sadly you don’t get presented with that information or any kind of reason to include the rock trolls other than to come off like a poor man’s smurf. Seriously, their “magic” is never explained and all they are good for is removing ice from people’s minds (and robbing memories in the process) and not from their hearts. We just simply go along and accept it because damn it, they are so cute and they sing a song too!
“This is awkward. Not you’re awkward but just because we’re – I’m awkward, you’re gorgeous – wait what?” – Anna
Anna falling in love/getting engaged with Hans in one day – yeah that happens a lot. Maybe I should write a song called “slow it down” and get Adele Dazeem to sing it. Again it’s understandable because she’s never seen the outside world but as far as I could tell, she could have left the castle at any given time. I mean other than being lonely, craving for human contact and loving her sister, there was nothing physically stopping her. Her sister was the one locked up! An oversight from the script? Maybe. Her sister Elsa on the other hand could have gone further. Not once did she (or even the script) mention to Anna what happened to them as kids! Her powers seemed to be ever changing – she can make an ice dress, an ice palace and even create life. It’s clear that Elsa was shaped to be the villain, however it’s in the third act where the true villain arises. Personally I don’t have a problem with Hans as the villain. It wasn’t an over-the-top villain performance. In fact it was very subtle, pretending to love Anna and exploiting her naivety when he had other interests. Yet with no indication or hint of his wicked ways, his reveal could be interpreted as coming out of the blue. Despite the best efforts of Olaf, I didn’t laugh at many of the jokes. The story was very basic and thin, skirting around the plot, focusing greatly on the musical aspects.
Not all of Frozen was bad. I did appreciate certain aspects. For instance I did like how Anna grew from someone caring about herself and her dream like impulses to someone who sacrificed herself for the sake of love and her sister. She took matters into her own hands. It goes against the grain from the usual “Prince Charming will save the day” that is usually fed from the classic Disney films. I did enjoy Elsa deciding to embrace her powers, accepting it was ok to be different and when not in song mode, I enjoyed the dynamic between Elsa and Anna. To be fair it’s a dynamic that’s never explored in a Disney film, examining Anna’s naivety and Elsa’s isolation. The impressive CGI animation was another big plus.
I’ve heard the comments saying it’s the best Disney film ever and has recently top the chart as the highest grossing animated film of all time. Mine will always be The Lion King just for it’s sheer brilliance of story, emotion and musical brilliance. It happily sits in my blu-ray collection. I don’t look at Frozen as re-defining as everyone is making out. In fact, I think The Princess and the Frog was more of a significant Disney film – not only because it featured a black princess but because it was severely underrated.
Frozen in parts was entertaining and fine as a feature film but its not consistent enough to grab my attention for long periods of time.
I know what you’re thinking – my heart has turned into ice. Guess I’m waiting for that next Disney film to melt it.