Monday, December 2, 2013

Review 222: "Disney's Frozen"

"Oh, hey look at that. 
I've been impaled."

Let's All Go

      Frozen is a 2013 animated Disney film. It's Disney's 53rd animated feature and is loosely based on The Snow Queen fairy tale. The film is directed by Jennifer Lee (In her directorial debut) and Chris Buck (Tarzan) and was written by Lee (She wrote Wreck-It Ralph) as well. It follows Anna (Kristen Bell), as she attempts to help her sister Elsa (Idina Menzel) as she accidentally freezes her entire kingdom with a blizzard. Teaming up with ice salesman Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), handsome prince Hans (Santino Fontana) and snowman Olaf (Josh Gad), Anna sets off to help her sister control her powers and bring back summer to the frozen kingdom. 

A little too much cute going on here.
Never Judge a Movie By It's Trailer
      I'll admit that I was pretty much on board with everyone else when it came to the advertising of Frozen. It looked like yet another lame Disney film trying to cash in on a lame comic relief with characters and a story that were superficial to the humor. Essentially, it looked like another Dreamworks movie. But, in one of the strongest instances of "trailers are wrong", Disney's Frozen is not just a good movie, it's a great one. Probably the best Disney animated film outside Pixar in years, probably going all the way back to the 90s. Sure, I really liked Tangled and Wreak-It Ralph, but Frozen marks what could be a new era of Disney films. If Tangled and Ralph were attempts to please families with comedies they could bring the family to, then Frozen is an attempt to return to the more serious fare they did previously. And it works beautifully. What probably works best in the film's favor is how strong the film's two leads are. Elsa and Anna are two of the most like protagonists of the year and of Disney in general and the relationship makes for a great driving force of the movie. The side characters also work well, with even Olaf turning out to be pretty darn funny thanks to a great performance by Josh Gad. Plus, for even more comic relief, there's even a cute and funny Mickey Mouse short Get a Horse! before the films. Great 3-D too. 

Something New

      The film also looks and sounds great. The animation, especially on the snow, is spectacular and the film's musical numbers (Oh, yeah, it's a musical. Thanks, trailers!) range from solid to fantastic, with there not really being a bad one in the bunch. Elsa's big sweeping "Let It Go" is easily the best song though and hopefully a show-in for best Original Song at the Oscars next year. Frozen, also and importantly, marks the first time a Disney movie had character relationships and messages that actually feel like they came from this century. I won't spoil a big twist that gives the film it's best and most powerful message, but Elsa and Anna both break the mold of the typical Disney princesses thanks to an unreliance on a classic trope of other princesses. Hans and Kristoff also break the mold of the traditional Disney Prince for reasons I can't get into. Plus, it all feel natural, like they weren't purposefully going for something different. The whole film just comes off as a... cool piece. (Note: I apologize for that.- The Smart Side of CW's Brain). Kids are getting a great lesson for the 21st century, the film is extremely entertaining and is probably the most well-written film of the year. Sure, some scenes feel a little rushed and some characters don't get enough screentime. But honestly, what more could you want? A cameo from the characters of Tangled? Well guess what...

It's been over 24 hours and I'm still humming
"Let It Go".
The Verdict

      Easily the best animated film of the year, one of Disney's best film and one of the best films of 2013 in general, Frozen is a marvel to watch, a ton of fun to enjoy and actually leaves you thinking in the end. Kids will get a lot out of it, adults will have a great time. Smart, funny, clever and filled with great characters, with only a few flaws to nitpick. Frozen is a grand return to the Disney we all remember and love. Disney's Frozen gets 6 stars out of 6. 

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