Frozen: a Warmhearted Review


Other than an initial favourable tomatometer rating and a couple reviews, the only thing I knew about Disney’s latest animated feature was that Kristen Bell (of my beloved Veronica Mars) starred in it and that my whole family wanted to see it. I managed to miss all the trailers and hype. So there we were on opening weekend, in a theatre full of kids, not knowing what to expect.

Wow! What a fun movie musical! Frozen is an extremely loose adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen. The tale revolves around two sisters Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) who are princesses of a fictional land called Arendelle. Shortly after her coronation, Elsa loses control of her secret power and leaves Arendelle trapped in a perpetual winter. After Elsa flees in shame, young Anna sets out to find her sister. With love, she hopes to help her sister regain control over her magic and return to rule the land. Along the way Anna is aided by Olaf (Josh Gad) an enchanted snowman and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) an ice peddler, whose livelihood has been hit hard by recent events and Kristoff’s trusty yet dim reindeer sidekick, Sven.

The animation was spectacular. The songs were fun, although not especially memorable. I never knew Kristen Bell had such a good singing voice. Of course Idina Menzel’s voice (Broadway’s original Elphaba from Wicked) was no surprise. Both my daughters recognized Josh Gad as Olaf (rather they comment on how he sounded like Elder Cunningham from their beloved Book of Mormon soundtrack).

Alas, the plot resolution was somewhat predictable, but it was an entertaining ride, enough to forgive the shortcomings. However, without getting too spoilery, I particularly enjoyed that this movie focused on the loving bond between the sisters rather than romantic love. What a refreshing message and diversion from the usual “Someday my Prince will come” claptrap that populates many of these types of films.

The voice acting was terrific. The comic relief in the form of Olaf was charming with broad appeal. I really liked the direction Disney has been taking with their Princesses. There were no damsels in distress waiting to be rescued here. In fact I loved when the film got meta as Elsa eyed her sister sceptically upon hearing of her engagement to a guy she just met. My biggest beef with this film is that recently Disney animators have a single anatomic aesthetic when it comes to female princess. Rapunzel (Tangled) looks just like Elsa who looks exactly like Anna except for hair colour and a few freckles. I understand that this was due to cost. But SHEESH, to have 2 sisters look identical, yet years apart in age, was distracting when there was so much attention to detail elsewhere. Couldn’t they have at least recycled the Merida (Brave) software from their buddies at Pixar? I am not alone in this thought. Click on the image below and the accompanying link to see what I mean.

click on the image above and the link below to see what I mean

click on the image above and the link below to see what I mean 

this clever gif is thanks to moopflop tumblr blog

Regardless, of these minor quibbles, the whole family left the theatre after watching Frozen with a warm glow.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Catching Fire: a review. | What is Ann Watching?

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