Monday, January 6, 2014

Movie Review: Frozen



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Animation, characters, acting, songs - everything comes together perfectly
Cons: Only if you never watch it
The Bottom Line:
This funny movie
Hides some lessons, lots of heart
Make time to watch it




You'll Quickly Thaw to Frozen

I really must admit that I wasn't sure what to make of Frozen in the months leading up to its release.  That first trailer, while funny, told us nothing of the story.  And just what was it going to be about?  After it opened, I started hearing good things about it, but still I hesitated.  I was stupid.

The movie tells the story of two sisters who happen to be princesses.  Elsa is the older sister, and she has a power - she can create snow and ice all on her own.  When playing one day, she accidentally injures her younger sister Anna.  From that day forward, she hides from her sister and tries to learn to control her gift.

Things really pick up on Elsa's (voiced by Idina Menzel) coronation day.  For the first time in years, the palace will be opened, and Anna (Kristen Bell) is thrilled to actually get to spend time with people.  But then Elsa's secret gets out, and she flees.  Anna sets out after her, but can she find her sister in the frozen world that has been created?  And will Elsa be willing and able to reverse the winter wonderland she's created?

This movie is a bit different from your ordinary Disney movie.  While yes, there is a villain, the main conflict comes from the sisters, how they view the world, and how Elsa's gift affects them.  I realized this when the villain's comeuppance wasn't really the climax of the piece.  But I think that actually worked well for the movie.  I certainly am not complaining.

The film is so much fun.  I was laughing within the first few minutes but then I was feeling emotion just a couple of minutes later.  That continued for the entire course of the film, and it's easy to see why audiences are so drawn to this film.  It is storytelling at its best.

And that comes from the characters.  Elsa and Anna are both very real, and that makes the story that much more alive.  The rest of the characters are good as well, with Olaf the Snowman completely stealing the show.  Again, it's because of the characters you care about the outcome and are feeling the joy and sorrow of the piece.

The voice actors are outstanding.  They never miss a beat going from comedy to drama flawlessly.  You forget they are there and focus completely on the story and the characters they are bringing to life.

I can't leave out the songs.  Like the movie itself, they range from the purely comic to the heartfelt character building and will leave you humming as you go out the theater.  All of the cast sings their own songs.  Kristen Bell is not known for her singing voice, but she should be.  Considering she has duets with Broadway powerhouse Idina Menzel and more than holds her own, she needs more chances to shine.

The animation is stunning.  The winter landscape created for the movie is beautiful to look at - you can almost feel the cold creeping off the screen as you watch.  The ice castle is amazing to behold.

I don't necessarily go to the movies looking for the themes - I mainly go to be entertained.  And yet there are some great themes to this film as well.  Since they come out of the plot and struggle the characters grow through, I don't want to give anything away.  Just keep yours eyes opened and you'll pick up on them by the end.

Finally, I have to mention the Mickey Mouse short that starts things out.  It's a mash up of old and new animation.  I wasn't sure about it at first, but I got quite a kick out of it by the end.  Plus I loved to see Mickey's old pals Horace and Clarabelle being used in it.

While I blamed a busy six weeks on not having seen Frozen sooner, I should have tried harder.  This movie is charming and funny with some great themes.  I can't recommend it highly enough.

2 comments:

  1. So like you, I wasn't sure what this movie was even supposed to be about and, honestly, I had been disappointed in some of the previous Disney animation offerings. However, this is phenomenal. I love the strong female characters and their story... maybe because I have 3 younger sisters it really stuck a cord for me. I can't wait to go get 4 copies - one for me and for each of my sisters.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it. I think the sibling dynamic is something anyone can relate to. I know I felt it and I have a brother.

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