It took me long enough but at last, I got to see the Disney movie that everyone has been talking about, Frozen. This film has been intriguing me since its release in late November of last year and the comments from critics across the internet have been almost unanimous praise. They have stated it is a return to form for Disney Animation Studios and a film that has not been seen from them since the Disney Renaissance of the 90’s… So when I hear that the first thing that comes to mind is ‘DAMN!’ that is a bold claim to make all things considered.
It isn’t like Disney Animation Studios has been in trouble since the end of the Disney Renaissance. Just look at movies like Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph has proof that they have released some amazing stuff. But even they were not given the high praise that Frozen has been receiving. So needless to say, when you hear this coming from the mouths of critics everywhere you need to go see what all the fuss is about. After seeing it… I have to say they are right… This movie is absolutely phenomenal and one of the greatest movies to ever come out of Disney Animation Studios AND THAT is saying something.
Frozen is the story of two sisters, Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel). They are Princesses of a land called Arendelle. Elsa has the magical power of creating snow and ice. One day while playing, Elsa accidentally hurts her sister Anna with her powers. In order to save her life, her parents take Anna to a group of trolls who heal her, but remove all knowledge of Elsa’s powers in order to protect Anna. As a result of this, the family locks themselves away in their castle until Elsa can control her powers. Of course it is Disney and the parents quickly get bumped off and Elsa is named the Queen of Arendelle. However during her coronation, she loses control of her powers when Anna asks her permission to marry a boy named Hans (Santino Fantana), whom she just met. This causes Elsa to flee Arendelle and cast the city into an eternal winter as she flees to the mountains and creates an ice fortress in what is by all means one of the most awesome animated sequences I have ever seen. So with her sister fled and the city in peril, Anna sets off into the mountains to rescue her sister and along the way meets a young man named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his reindeer/dog Sven, and an enchanted snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad).
The Music (Let it Go)
Of course it is Disney so the music is wonderful. The only one that I found to be sub par as compared to the others was the scene where the trolls are singing about how Kristoff and Anna should hook up which was by no means bad, but just a quick filler song. The rest though is on par with some of the best that Disney has ever created. Do You Want to Build a Snowman is a touching song and really sets the tone of things to come for the rest of the movie. For the First Time in Forever is that classic Disney style song of a someone finally getting their wish complete with big sweeping shots and grandiose feel. I even find Love is an Open Door charming in a cheesy puppy love romance sort of way… Which is what I think was the goal of the film in the first place.
But of all the songs… The one song that I have to say blew me away is none other than ‘Let It Go’ performed by Idina Menzel as Elsa… My word, this music scene alone is enough for Disney to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. It is simply astonishing. The graphics are breathtaking, Idina Menzel has that right voice and level of sass to pull off the liberation that Elsa is feeling, the movement, the animation of the stairs, the animation of the ice castle being created, and all points in between. There is not a single flaw from the start of this song to the finish. I mean this with no hyperbole… This scene is one of the greatest scenes in the history of Disney Animation.
Please watch the clip below and be blown away!
The Animation, The Characters, and Voice Acting
All of these I want to praise, but I do not want to turn this review into a five category long book dedicated to the mere review of Frozen. So I will just clump them all into one decently long category. All areas Frozen excels. The Animation is beautiful, the characters are all amazing, and the voice acting is fantastic across the board. All three areas I cannot find a single fault of criticism.
The animation itself is awesome and one I haven’t experienced in years. Granted this is an area where Disney is supposed to be phenomenal in but it deserves to be credited when credit is due. For the first time in a long time from Disney, the animation was something that you could ‘feel’. I felt the icy chill throughout my body as I was watching this film which is something I have not experienced since watching John Carpenter’s The Thing. As I mentioned before in my pro of the song ‘Let it Go’ performed by Idina Menzel, the animation in that scene alone is breathtaking! The scene alone when Elsa raises her ice castle out of the snow will become a staple of Disney Animation for years to come.
As far as voice acting is concerned… What can I say, everyone gives an awesome performance across the board. Idina Menzel’s singing is phenomenal, Kristen Bell does a wonderful job as Anna, and I’ll throw some special props to one of my favorite actors Alan Tudyk for doing a good job as the weasily secondary villain, the Duke of Weselton. But out of all the characters, I have to give special props to Josh Gad who voiced the enchanted snowman Olaf. This will also fall into the category of characters but I will talk about it now, when I first saw Olaf in trailers, I thought I would hate the character, seeing him as the annoying comedic relief that would bring down what was by all means a great film… But in this one Olaf is a wonderful comedic relief. Not only is he funny and enjoyable, but he can also be very charming and serious when need be. He is even willing to sacrifice himself on more than one occasion just to make his friends happy. Now that is one hell of a character! A snowman who will not even bat an eyelash at the idea of melting into nothingness for the sake of his friends. (Spoilers) Even near the end when they pull the fake out ‘time for Olaf’ to go, he wasn’t even that upset at the idea of dying. He is that breath of fresh air that you hope to see in all comedic reliefs and all of this can be attributed to the fact that Josh Gad has that heartwarming performance.
(More spoilers in this paragraph)
Finally… We have to talk about the characters. I love all the characters, across the board in this movie. From main characters, to bit parts, and all points in between the characters of Frozen are just awesome. Hans is a great villain for the film, and one that the film does not out right throw up the glowing red letters and say ‘HERE IS THE VILLAIN!’ They do not patronize their audience and allow a really intense reveal to occur near the second half of the film. Kristoff and Sven are also wonderful characters and a great romantic lead. I also love the fact that Sven does not talk in this film and instead is voiced by Kristoff ‘talking with himself.’ As I said earlier, I love Olaf and the Duke of Weselton is a hilarious villainous character. One of my favorite characters in the film is a trader named Oaken who Kristoff and Anna meet in the middle of the woods. He has a pretty thick Swedish accent and just seems so fun-loving and gentle. Even whenever Kristoff insults him by calling him a crook, the large brute of a man doesn’t even get angry. He looks positively hurt by the comment as if it was his best friend calling him a crook. When he tosses Kristoff out, he still seems so nice about it.
But of all the characters Elsa and Anna are clearly the best. Their relationship with each other is so unique to a Disney movie and such a touching tell of how two sisters can love each other. Elsa is that wonderful reserved person who finally comes crashing out of their shell after being pushed to the edge and Anna is a great example of someone who learns from the experiences that life gives her. They work off each other so well and is by far one of the best relationships in Disney history.
Disney’s Extreme Attempt to Step Away From The Criticism of their Former Movies
Oh Disney… You are still on this tirade aren’t you? I do feel bad for Disney, they are hamstringed more than any other film studio to be the most politically correct company out there. I guess being synonymous with the making childhoods wonderful has a downside to it. Considering that the majority of Disney’s past films have had the habit of being a little heavy with the concept of gender roles, it seems like the movies past the Disney Renaissance have been an attempt to back as far away from these concepts as possible.
Tangled is probably the biggest culprit of this. Even though I really liked Tangled, you can tell that this was the movie that Disney was attempting to as PC as possible and hints at self parody. The first example is when Flynn/Eugene questions why everyone is suddenly breaking out into song and dance and especially near the end when Flynn/Eugene has his line of dialogue saying that after several proposals of marriage, he finally said yes to Repunzel.
Frozen luckily backs away from this… But it is still there. The biggest case from this film is the fact that they attack the concept of ‘love at first sight’. The whole movie tends to hammer home the fact that you can’t marry someone you just met. When Anna and Hans attempt to immediately get wed after knowing each other for ten minutes and sharing a cheesy singing number. Of course this is a jab at tons of Disney movies before it. Something that newer fans might not get, but the older generations can kind of laugh at. Some people might find these nods to be funny that Disney is aware of their past, but for me it has reached the point where it is just distracting. It is by no means a con of the movie because they do it well and it is a good message to send. But I would enjoy seeing a movie where they are not blatantly attempting to correct their not so PC decision-making in the past.
This movie is a masterpiece and one of the best to be produced by Disney. The animation is breathtaking, the characters are awesome, the music will make you want to sing a long every time, and the relationship between Elsa and Anna is one of the best I have seen in a long time. Sure, Disney is still in the age where they are trying to almost self parody themselves. But that is so minuscule that it isn’t even bothersome. This movie is a Disney Classic and for the first time I will make the hard statement and say that Frozen and Disney Animation deserves the Academy Award for best picture over Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises. It is that good!
Final Score 5/5
Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this review than please like and subscribe for more. Please return Tuesday for another installment of Cheesy Romance Month with the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and on Thursday for another episode of The Nerdiest Talk Show on Earth where Brandon and I discuss our most hated movies of all time.