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As everyone knows, this film came out last year in the fall and has been called the first great Disney film since The Lion King (1994). My first thought when hearing that was “What about all the other great Disney films that came after it?” (aka Mulan (1998), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), and Tarzan (1999) ) My next thought was “Didn’t they say the same thing abut Tangled (2010)?” What bothered me the most about Frozen’s release was how obsessive people became over it. The same thing happened with Aladdin (1994) and Tangled (2010). Just to be clear, I don’t hate it. In fact I loved it the first time I saw it in theaters. However, I would not say it is one of the greatest things I have ever seen.

PLOT: 4/5

Just for clarification, I will go over the basic plot. Taking place sometime probably in the 16th or 17th century in Arendale (probably in one of the isles outside Ireland, New Zealand, or England) the story centers around two sisters Anna and Elsa whose relationship, since they were young children, had become strained and cold {it is okay to laugh at this pun}. Kept separate from Anna since she had accidentally hurt her with her ice powers, Elsa remains enclosed with her family in the palace so that she could learn to gain better control of her wild, unpredictable power. Several years after their parents tragic death at sea, Elsa finally was to be crowned queen. Though Elsa was scared of being exposed to people after so long, Anna was excited, especially at the thought of finding true love. As the story progresses, Anna becomes infatuated with the young Prince Hans and tells her sister, even though she had only been with him several hours, that she and Hans wished to be married. Refusing to give them her blessing, Anna looses control of her emotions and pushes Elsa to use her powers, resulting in Arendale becoming frozen over. From there, Anna decides, after Elsa flees the palace, to bring her sister home and renew summer.

WHEW…. I think the plot is engaging and fun to watch. The dialogue is witty, the action scenes are interesting, and there is a powerful lesson that Anna and Elsa learn that brings them back together and heals the bridge between them. I also like its complexity and how in the end true love healed all wounds and erased all fear. The only reason I don’t give it 5/5 is because it went way to fast for me. Movies need moments of release and silence in the story. In Frozen most climatic events happened in only maybe two days and I don’t think the characters were given adequate time to grow into the decisions they made and the feelings they developed. Nowadays, I think that movies are too fast paced and don’t take the time to sit and rest. This is probably a result of our culture. Personally, I believe that great films do not need to fight so hard to keep their audience entertained in their stories. There need to be times where the plot paces itself and shifts between moments of intense action and quiet contemplation. For example, in Lady and the Tramp (1955) the Spaghetti Dinner scene accentuated by the beautiful song Bella Notte is not flashy, rather the animation is simple and at one point only shows the two dogs sitting together watching the stars. There were no blazing lights or passionate kisses, however, it is still regarded as one of the most romantic, iconic scenes in cinematic history.  Another example is a scene in the Japanese film Metropolis (2001) (Not to be confused with the 1927 silent film directed by Fritz Lang) where Tima, a recently created cyborg, stood on a roof and absorbed the sunlight while the Blues song St. James Infirmary quietly played and emphasized the unpleasant world beneath the surface of the city Metropolis. Before, she and Kenichi had frantically fled for their lives from Brock and his comrades, yet with this short 30 to 40 second clip everything seemed to settle down as she angelically glowed in the ruins among a broken people. That is what I wished would happen in Frozen. Yes, there were quiet moments but even Anna and Kristoff were not given time to have a sitting conversation without almost immediately being attacked or put in danger.

EXECUTION/SCREENPLAY: 4/5

Now we come to the plot’s execution. Again, it was almost great yet I didn’t find it believable. Watching the film, I kept thinking too linearly, almost like I was solving a painful math problem that determines how long it will take Jimmy to go from point A to point B. As I watched it the third time I fell into that silly pattern; (they are at point A now they are at point B, Point C, so on and so forth….). What would have made this film’s execution and screenplay great would have been more scenes showing their journey to and from each of these points. In one of my favorite films made by Hayao Myazaki Princess Mononoke (1997), the main protagonist Ashitaka’s journey from his village to Iron Town, though it obviously took weeks or possibly months, was effortlessly and gorgeously portrayed through simple scenes like him passing through a river, riding over a hill with a view of the misty mountains, or even sitting, waiting for the rain to stop without relying on dialogue, chase scenes, or pointless confrontations. The difference is this: in Frozen I felt like I was being pulled frantically through the story without being given the chance to fully experience the places they went to, whereas in Princess Mononoke  I felt like I could truly experience the story’s multiple dimensions, and let me tell you the experience is truly fulfilling and life changing. This is the contrast between a relatively good film and a masterpiece.

CHARACTERS: 5/5

I absolutely loved the characters, though I was disappointed that there wasn’t a satisfying villain (I have a thing for good villains like Ursala, Scar, Cruella de Ville and Maleficent). Anna’s bubbly and positive attitude was truly refreshing and I like how she stepped up and tried so hard to fix the wrong she had done. The love she had for her sister Elsa also touched me, especially in the end when she saved Elsa from Hans by sacrificing herself, even though she knew it would cost her her life. In my opinion, though she was obviously naive about love and people, once she left the palace and acknowledged her mistakes she grew out of her imperfections. Elsa also intrigued me, though for different reasons.To me, she represents all of us as we try to accept ourselves and our faults. Shutting it in isn’t the answer, nor is haphazardly removing all inhibitors on our feelings or actions. The answer was love; love yourself, love others, and you will attain freedom in yourself while still retaining self-restraint.

I probably liked Kristoff the most because of his honesty and calm demeanor. He seemed to me someone who lived life fully, without depending on people to make him happy. I was very satisfied when he and Anna were together in the end, because though he wasn’t perfect he was someone who I could see changing and growing with her and accepting her even though (to be frank) she was a bit odd, but then again so was he. Now Olaf is a puzzling character. How to describe him? Maybe ADORABLE is the right word. His childlike view of the world was nice and I think out of all the characters he understood best what love was and how to love others unconditionally. I congratulate those who did the character design for this movie. The movie was a joy to watch just for them.

Frozen-Keyscene-Waterfall-Animation-WallpaperANIMATION: 5/5

Frozen‘s animation is breathtaking. Moment by moment I was taken aback by how beautifully they captured winter, in its harshness and its natural splendor. Every time I watch this movie I wish that somehow I could step into the screen and see places like Elsa’s ice palace with my own eyes. One of my favorite scenes is undoubtedly the climax where Anna and Kristoff tried to find one another and Elsa fled from the prison. When Elsa succumbs to grief after hearing that Anna is dead and the air goes still, it is almost as though time itself stops and the background, cold and at the mercy of Elsa’s tumultuous emotions stops in anticipation. Undoubtedly, the animation was the highlight of this film for me (to be honest it is the first thing I notice when I watch animated movies) because if done wrong it ruins a film no matter how good the plot or characters.

MUSIC: 3.5/5

My favorite song was actually the opening Vuelie and its transition into Frozen Heart and as far as I know it was not even written by the couple who were in charge of the lyrical songs. When I heard it in theaters I was brought to tears. I was not as impressed with the music as I expected, especially the sing-a-long songs. Some of the lyrics I thought were too crass or impoper. Though the songs were fun and engaging, I was dissatisfied and I missed the magical effect that the music in earlier Disney films had had for me. Here is the issue with most of the songs. I am a purest, especially when it comes to music and films. If they were going to show a film about an 16th or 17th century country, in my mind the music needed to demonstrate or at least reflect the mature styles and culture of that time more. One could argue that Beauty and the Beast does something similar. Yes, it has a Broadway style but the music fits! That, and it guides the audience through the film. Most of Frozen’s songs could have been cut and nothing in the plot would suffer for it. Yes, there were songs like at Elsa’s coronation that reflected traditional Polyphonic styles but those moments were few and far between.

  1. I also did not like how, in order to make the movie more marketable they slipped in modern culture and phrases into the lyrics. (Don’t know if I am elated or gassy  But I am somewhere in that zone?) I have the same issue with Aladdin (1992) but not nearly to this extent. At least that film’s music was brilliantly executed.  One movie I think incorporated proper musical styles was The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I can’t say how many times I get chills hearing The Bells of Notre Dame and Heaven’s Light/Hellfire. There is a grace and artistry to the movie’s music that can only be described as heavenly. Now, the songs in Frozen are good, and I enjoy them. However, I don’t think they are as great as other Disney soundtracks. (Disclaimer: Let it Go is a phenomenal song  and one of the few exceptions, though I could do without all the remakes).

PERSONAL ENJOYMENT: 4/5

Sigh….. I have been putting off writing this review for several reasons: 1) My contrary feelings about it winning the Academy Award for animated feature (and basically every other reward that year) 2) How much people have been OBSESSING over it 3) Fear of being lynched by the haters or the lovers 4) I hate confrontation 5) Thinking about this movie makes me angry for reasons people won’t understand. That out of the way, I think it was finally safe for me to write about my opinions of this movie. You should ask me what I think of it in maybe a year or so after I cool down. I am still mad at it (though just so you know I have judged this movie as fairly as I could despite my feelings). I will gladly watch this movie many times, but I doubt that it will ever become one of my favorites. To me, it doesn’t have that same magic that other Disney fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast (1991) and The Little Mermaid (1989) have. When it comes down to it, I really think if they had not put in so many modern cultural inferences and expectations it could have been a great film.

OVERALL SCORE: 4.25/5

FAVORITE QUOTE:

Anna: [after explaining the features of the new sled] Do you like it?

Kristoff: Like it? I love it!

[spins her around]

Kristoff: I could kiss you!

[puts her down]

Kristoff: I could. I mean, I’d like to. I – may I? We me? I mean, may we? Wait, what?

Anna: [kisses him on the cheek] We may.

[Kristoff kisses Anna]

AND

Olaf: [singing] Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle / But put me in summer and I’ll be a…

[pauses in front of a puddle]

Olaf: … happy snowman!

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