I was pretty darn excited to see Disney's latest animated feature, Frozen. The trailer looked promising with a cute reindeer and a snowman battling over a carrot. I liked that the trailer introduced two of the characters, without giving away any of the plot. All trailers should follow this model.
I wasn't able to see this on opening weekend and this made it impossible to escape hearing early reviews and reading about how much my friends (many big Disney fans) loved Frozen.
I went in with sky-high expectations.
The short shown before Frozen was bizarre. Get a Horse highlights the dangers of angering someone that has road rage! Visually, it's kind of neat, taking an old Disney short and making it modern. They characters jump in and out of the movie screen, switching from black and white to color with modern touches. It's a cool idea, but I didn't care for the overall story, too much slap-stick.
Set in the fictional Scandinavian Kingdom of Arendelle, Frozen is the story of two sisters who are divided because of a family secret. Elsa, the older sister, has the power to freeze objects and must keep this a secret from her sister Anna, whom Elsa accidentally injured with her power when they were children. Elsa and Anna, once the best of friends, have grown into adults that are strangers as Elsa lives in fear of endangering her sister. She would rather distance herself, than risk causing harm. Elsa's secret is revealed to the whole kingdom during her coronation party and her power threatens all of the inhabitants of Arendelle. Anna must find a way to reconnect with her sister and save their kingdom.
The story has some great themes. In particular, I liked that Elsa learns to be comfortable in her own skin. There was a good moral lesson about the dangers of holding in secrets. Anna and Elsa love each other, but they must learn how to communicate. Elsa and Anna are both strong characters, which is in line with most of the recent Disney films, featuring female heroines. Although the story has a villain, the villain is a very minor character. Anna and Elsa's biggest battle is with their own issues and assumptions.
This is easily the most beautiful Disney film. It's visually stunning. It even has two magestic castles! I loved all of the different ways that the ice is formed and utilized. I hope that this movie becomes a dark ride in a Disney park or maybe an ice themed coaster.
I can't give this movie a completely glowing review. It was good, but not great.
The songs were just average. Nothing was very memorable. The only song that really caught my attention was Do You Want to Build a Snowman?, which sets up the transition from childhood to adulthood for Anna and Elsa. It got to the heart of the problem between the two sisters and explained the severity of their estrangement. The songs are unevenly paced in the film. There are a lot of songs in the beginning and then they drop off to the point where I kept forgetting that the movie was a musical. It didn't need to be a musical.
The movie wasn't very funny. It tried and there were plenty of opportunities. Only a few lines made me laugh out loud. Olaf, the magical snowman, absolutely drove me nuts. He was the Jar-Jar Binks of Frozen. The trolls were also fairly irritating and their musical number could have easily been eliminated. The male characters were very one-dimensional. This is Anna and Elsa's story and everyone else really doesn't matter.
Overall, I'm glad that I saw it and I felt that it was an enjoyable morning spent at the theatre. It was a better than average Disney film, but not one of my favorites.