Now for my typically cynical few cents.
To put it simply, this is one of the best Disney movies I've enjoyed in years. With the exceptions of WALL-E, Toy Story 3, and Wreck-It Ralph (my #1 fav recent Disney movie), I have lost interest in the majority of Disney's works since the turn of the century. Not that their other movies were bad, but I just found them passable and mediocre. If it were anyone but Disney, that'd be a compliment. And I can agree with some critics who say the Princess line-up past Mulan has been especially unimpressive. The Princess and the Frog was forgettable in the long-term and New Orleans does not interest me at all as a setting. Tangled's trailers did not impress and I still feel no obligation to see it. Brave was a committee-intrusive mess with horribly misleading marketing.
So for now it seems Frozen is tapping into something that Disney has been missing in a long while that I'm not sure I can convey reliably. The music is far more memorable and the comedy is as quirky and fun as ever (from the view of a 20-year-old anyhow). I usually hate comic relief gimmicks like Olaf, but his obliviousness to the fact that snow + sun = water is reality is hilarious. The animation is colorful, expressive, and gorgeous, especially the spiraling snow and ice during the "Let It Go" sequence, etc. It's Disney, people. But for some reason, something about the entire film, from the music to the story themes to the comedy and the art somehow struck gold with me. I haven't felt so happy to watch a children's film about princesses in years.
|Ok. Between this and gorillas riding horses and wielding two|
machine guns, I dunno which one is stupider-looking.
Anna is an energetic redhead who is narrow-sighted thanks in part of being isolated from others and especially her sister. She cannot relate to her at all, but she sure as hell wants to try anyway. That is something I admire. Yet, she lacks common sense (like forgetting to bring a coat or dress in pants on a hike in the mountains) and trusts so easily she cannot plan at all (to the point that all she choses for herself is finding Elsa and marrying Hans). She's sweet and kind, but she adorns a majority of traits seen as belonging to a Mary Sue: clumsiness, socially awkward, adorable, sleepy-headed, stubborn, etc.
|Guess she is not titanium, huh?|
But when you start to think more about the movie and bring in all sorts of social commentary, Frozen becomes a mess. (BTW, anyone who says "Let It Go" is a metaphor for coming out of the closet is - to be frank - an idiot grasping at straws that are nonexistent. In the context of everything that happens in Frozen that theme makes no damn sense.) Though I can say I like Anna and Elsa, I know they are very flawed and broken girls, absolutely terrified and trapped in their own little worlds their parents forced them into (with good intentions, mind you). They are not "strong" and "independent" as feminists keep toting. Yes, Anna is a female lead and Elsa a female antagonist, but they are not exactly bad characters. They are deeply troubled. I thank Disney for keeping mind of this fact, especially when either girl does something stupid for the plot, which is very, very often.
|Somehow, like Persona 4's Teddie, I end up liking the most|
annoying character in theory and practice.
Meanwhile, the rest of the movie was pretty solid. There were two or three too many songs that add nothing to the story and act as filibusters to keep children entertained just because. ADHD continues to be a concern we must accommodate for apparently. I didn't mind Olaf's silly song as it gave him some character, but the trolls' short period of time in the spotlight was the worst part of the movie, period. It was so bad, I felt my blood boil in rage. I was very much offended, only for me to slap myself and remember that this is just a movie... with a moment with a shitty message for engaged ladies, regardless of what kind of man she is supposed to marry.
Perhaps my biggest complaint of all is that this movie should have been its own thing, and not a loose "adaptation" or "inspiration" of The Snow Queen. It only seems faithful to the concept and trope of "defrosting the ice queen", which can be key in any kind of story. What could have been an intriguing, magical, and fantastic concept has been stripped to a personal story with limited external involvement or consequence. And almost no sensical magic. I know, it's Disney. They simplify everything. But whatever themes were present (mainly and only the "snow queen") in the original narrative only seem to be superficially referenced here. I know little of the original tale, unfortunately, but I'm sad that there's not even a possible reference to the corrupted glass that blinds the hearts and minds of mankind. The lack of fantasy and an explanation for the origin of Elsa's powers make this movie fall short when you start thinking about plot points, actions, and motivations seriously.
That being said, there is a lot I can rant about, but I still enjoyed Frozen. For once in over a decade I finally cared about a story about a Disney princess (or two this time). I can't say this will be a classic, but it's a step in the right direction. "Let It Go" may annoy some, but honestly, it's one of the most memorable earworms from Disney in a long time.
3.3 out of 5