As someone who unabashedly loves Disney movies, I was incredibly excited for Frozen. After a decade of poor offerings from the company, their new animation studio seemed to be on track with offerings like Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph. My expectations were fulfilled. Frozen is everything a Disney movie should be: fluid animation, powerful messaging, and an amazing score.
Frozen tells the story of sisters Princesses Anna and Elsa. Elsa was born with magic to create ice and snow. Elsa accidentally injured Anna when the young girls were playing, but the mountain trolls healed here, and Elsa took away Anna’s memories of her sister’s abilities. From there, the King separated the girls, hiding Elsa away so people wouldn’t see her powers. The once close girls now grew up apart, though they lived in the same palace. One song montage later, the girls are grown, their parents tragically dead, and it’s Queen Elsa’s coronation day. During the coronation, the girls get into an argument, and Elsa accidentally reveals her powers. Scared, she runs into the mountains, freezing everything in her wake.
The weakest part of the film was the premise. I didn’t understand where her powers came from or why they needed to be concealed. The movie did a poor job setting this up. Granted, we didn’t need to know why she had these powers, but I never understood the King’s decision to hide Elsa away. Since we were introduced to a few magical elements immediately, I thought this was commonplace. It wasn’t until her reveal 20 minutes in that I fully understood that she was an exception, not the rule, for this world. A minor gripe, but a notable one.
All the classic Disney hallmarks were present here. Not one, but two funny sidekicks were present with Sven the reindeer and Olaf the snowman. I was worried that Sven would be a repeat of Maximus the horse from Tangled with his dog-like qualities. He differed in enough ways that it didn’t matter. Sven was fun and a worthy addition. Olaf was just as amusing and one that kids will surely gravitate towards.
The most important aspect of any Disney movie is the score. While both Tangled and Ralph used mostly popular music, Frozen featured an original score that was a lot of fun and catchy. The movie opened with “Frozen Heart,” which had a fun, folk sound. There was the powerful duet with the sisters in “For the First Time in Forever” and the comical “In Summer” from Olaf, both of which were equally enjoyable. The song of the movie was easily “Let It Go.” There’s a version covered by Demi Lovato, though I think the film version is far superior.
Finally, there’s the cast. Aside from Kristen Bell (Anna), I didn’t know any of the voice actors. I think this is a good thing, as it signifies that Disney cast them based on talent, not on marquee. Eschewing tradition, the actors also performed all the songs. Bell did a fantastic job as Anna, both in voicing the character, bringing to life her cute, quirky, and clumsy nature while simultaneously delivering powerful singing performances. Again, the best song came from Idina Menzel (Elsa) with “Let It Go.”
Whereas Tangled shared the spotlight between Rapunzel and Flynn, Anna was most definitely the main character. Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) was a fun character, but wasn’t the hero, nor was Anna helpless without him. Both proved to be equally capable. I commend the writers for breaking the old traditions of falling in love instantly and even pointing out the flaws. I applaud Disney for this, though it flies in the face of nearly every Disney movie prior to this.
Frozen is everything I wanted from a Disney movie. If you have any affinity for the movies of the ’90s, this will bring back the feelings you’ve been missing.
What was your favorite song? Sven or Olaf? Comment below!
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