Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Undefined Gamer: "Frozen (2013)" Review

Could Frozen melt Mitch's heart?
Of course not!

      So I've finally seen Frozen. Was I impressed?
      Now, before you rip me apart, let me explain.
      First of all, the internet and friends ruined the effect of most of what otherwise would be very effective sequences. Seriously, the internet just won't shut up about this film months and months after the fact. Secondly, this movie does have really large, embarrassing faults. It's still a good flick, but not nearly as good as people make it out to be, at least to me. At best, this film is on the same level as Pixar at their worst.
     The main problems lay within the tired princess tale Disney has been playing out for decades. Many reviewers said this to be a smart twist on this tired tale, however, I disagree. The princess tale model modifications are not as smart or fresh. The plot is still very predictable. Mom and Dad still die for no good reason. There is a character designated as the "bad guy." Girl gets guy in the end. 
      The only major twist on this tale is the dynamic between the sisters. It simply works, and is truly beautiful, though I feel that Elsa's character could have used some more character development. The problem here is that we largely don't see Elsa's journey from child to monarch the way we see Ana grow from little twerp to bigger twerp. In all that time locked up without parental supervision, Elsa's character essentially remains unchanged, only veering off the path set up by her questionable parents ten years afterward, and only when circumstances force her to do it. 
      For most of the film, Elsa isn't a real person. Neither is the real antagonist, Hanz. They are surprisingly flat for major characters, with Elsa being the almost stereotypical unrealistically "good" character, and Hanz, the nothing-but-pure-evil character. the sad part with Hanz is he actually had a very prominent and fleshed out character until they decided to make him the villain at the last minute.
      And it really feels like they did it at the last minute, for his villainy makes absolutely no logical sense in the plot. The one major factor that destroys this twit is the fact that Hanz actually achieved his goal of ruling once Ana went after Elsa. Hanz sends for a rescue party, and goes out of his way to make sure that nobody hurts the royalty. Now, if Hanz was planning to kill these two all along and seize power for himself, wouldn't he ensure that the two die in the wilderness, where only his men are witnesses? With none of the heirs there, he would remain the de facto king. At the very least, he could have killed Ana, for Elsa was perfectly content in her desolation. 
      The fact is, Disney ruined a perfectly good character for a twist that doesn't work and makes absolutely no sense. If they had Hanz realize later that he had no feelings for Ana, and had him act off that instead of his generic "take over the kingdom" plan, then it would've worked. Instead, Disney squandered an opportunity. 
      The rest of the movie is fine. The cinematography is nice and the soundtrack really works, though I feel that the lighthearted modern perspective might date the film. I rank it under Wreck-It Ralph, as this movie in truth is Tangled II in spirit. Little of what it accomplishes have not been done by previous films, and done better at that, yet it is still the far superior film to Tangled. Why? The film just flows better. Disney is more confident here, more things are working, and to be fair all elements here are presented in a more interesting fashion than Tangled. The only thing that Tangled does better is in the male lead department, with Christof and Hanz poor substitutes for Flynn. 
      Not as original as Wreck-It Ralph or well written for that matter, but Disney Animation has yet again taken a step in the right direction, showing the world that it's maturing into something wonderful.

Frozen gets 3 and a half stars out of 6.

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