Original Release: November 27, 2013
Runtime: 102 Minutes
Directed By: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Notable Actors: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad and Santino Fontana
I know what you’re thinking. Oh great. Frozen. That means that Jaysen is going to take every opportunity he has to make Let it Go jokes. Well guess what?! You couldn’t be more wrong. This is our second to last film and I’m feeling sentimental. I’m going to spend this time talking about how far Disney has come. How wonderful it is to have two female characters whose love for each other is what drives the story. How great the scenery is. How cute Olaf and Sven are. I am going to make this a beautiful write up with absolutely no silliness so get that right out of your head. You hear me? Just let it go! Let it go! Can’t hold it back any…oh dear. This might be harder than I thought…
The days of Walt Disney trying to make an animated film based on the stories of Hans Christian Anderson date all the way back to 1937 when the studio wanted to make sequences of classic stories like The Little Mermaid, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and The Snow Queen. The Snow Queen, however, was put on hold as they felt that it would be too difficult to get an audience to sympathize with the Snow Queen’s character. The story was once again picked up in the late 90’s but by 2002, it was scrapped once more. It wasn’t until 2008 that the project would be picked up once more under the working title Anna and the Snow Queen. The story would go through several changes, including the biggest change of all, making Elsa not a villain, before finally becoming Frozen.
Alright everyone. I’m going to level with you here. In the entire Disney canon, there is only one film that I am super divided on and can’t make up my mind about. That film is Frozen. I go back and forth. Do I like this movie? Sure. Do I think it deserves the insane amount of praise and adoration that it has? Not so sure. Are Anna and Elsa fantastic female characters from a company that typically likes to do damsels in distress? Yes! Are they the most prolific female characters in the Disney canon? I don’t really think so. Is ‘Let it Go’ and excellent song? YES! Is all the music in this film as wonderful? Not really, no. See what I mean about being divided? I want to like this film as much as its adoring fans do, but something always stops me.
I think my biggest issue comes from the fact that this is a plot full of coincidences. The trolls take out the magic in Anna’s head, but leave all the fun. But why? I can’t get over that this very significant moment that shapes the film never really has a lot of reasoning behind it. Elsa coincidentally loses control and sends ice into Anna’s heart. Yet every other moment of the film, she’s got super great control of her powers. In fact, she only loses control when the plot needs to move forward. As Carl pointed out to me while we watched, when Elsa shows her power accidentally to the townspeople, why on Earth does she run outside, as opposed to back to her room and lock the door? The only reason is that she has to run away for the story to work. There’s a lot of this that seems to keep happening throughout the course of the film.
All of that being said, I now have to say that I love the cast. Anna is adorable and she really plays off that whole thing I’ve talked about in this series that people just fall in love so fast. She’s naive but brave and I like that. She’s such an easy character to sympathize with because we know that all she wants to do is be with her sister during a difficult time in her life. Elsa’s a great character too. I love this idea that she represents someone who doesn’t know how to deal with her frustrations or emotions so she lashes out. I get you Elsa. I get you.
Then there’s Kristoff and Sven and Olaf. All three of them present this great charm and kindness to the story and Olaf is just so friggin’ cute. While I don’t think Sven measures up to some of the other horses in the canon, he still manages to provide a nice level of adorableness to the film. Olaf’s song about wanting to experience summer is completely pointless in the course of the film, but is one of the funniest songs here. And it really pays off when he finally says that fantastic line, “Some people are worth melting for.”
The music, for me, is inconsistent. Let It Go, First Time in Forever, Do You Want to Build a Snowman, and Love is an Open Door are pretty great, but they are all in the first half of the film. From there, the only song we really get is Fixer Upper which is awful. In fact, Hollywood Studios doesn’t even include it in their Frozen Sing-a-Long. The first half of the film is filled with good music and then it just sort of falls off. It’s easy, in the second half, to forget that this is a musical all together.
As a franchise, I like the idea of Frozen. I like that it involves princesses, something Disney is famous for, who can think and act on their own and who don’t need a prince to save the day. I like that the act of true love in the end is between sisters and not to do with a man. I like this is a world filled with magic and reindeer and ice. I just wish there was a bit more consistency throughout. I wish the story had more structure and followed more rules so that plot points made more sense. Frozen is a good movie. I promise I think it is. But I go back and forth on whether it is a great movie. If you sat Tangled and Frozen in front of me and said, you can only watch one of these for the rest of your life, I would always pick Tangled but I know plenty of people would go the other way. And that, my dear friends, is why we all get to make our own opinions about things. That is why if you don’t like something I say here, you can simply choose to let it go.
See, I only did the Let it Go thing maybe two times. Aren’t you so proud. On Sunday, I will have my very last Disney animated film Vault Disney article! Gasp! I’m scared and sad and excited because next week I will be revealing two new segments on the blog that will take the place of the Sunday/Wednesday schedule that this series has been eating up. I’m also planning to do a bit of a retrospective on what this series has meant to me and let you know a little behind the scenes of how I managed to pull off watching all 55 movies without giving up. One more film. Let’s do this!
Next Up: Big Hero 6
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NOTE: Obviously all the photos are courtesy of Disney Entertainment and I would never in a million years claim them as my own. That being said, all are actually taken with my phone during our viewing in order to capture the moment in a slightly different way than originally intended.
ALSO: My Fiancee has a blog too and he is talking about all the classics we are currently watching, which involves more than just Disney. Head over HERE and check it out!
Categories: Vault Disney
I loved this review. I mostly really love Frozen but I constantly feel divided on it too. I notice how it constantly cheats the narrative, but to me that really the biggest problem. With what you said about coincidences, though, while you’re totally right, I think that’s a driving force in tons of great Disney movies (Tangled, Aladdin, Inside Out, and Beauty and the Beast come to mind) and not nessicarily something I would hold against this particular film. Really great review. I’m so sad that there’s only one more of these, I love this series!
Thank you thank you thank you for loving this series. I’ll talk more about how this silly little series has changed my life next week. But also, spoiler alert: I’m doing Pixar next 🙂
Yeah, when I saw this movie, I realized that I thought it was ok at best. Then, I tried to decide whether I preferred this film to Tangled (which I also liked, but didn’t love) and it took me FOREVER to make up my mind. Finally, I decided that I do prefer Tangled to this one.
You’re almost done! Congrats!
Thanks! Next I have to do Pixar 🙂
I enjoyed this movie! I’m not a huge fan of Elsa, though. Another thing is the prevalence of “Let It Go”. I can’t stand that song, but only because it is everywhere, and Disney is doing a great job of making sure everyone hears it as often as possible in their parks. It has resulted in Frozen overload. Let it go, Disney. You’ve killed it.