Movie Review: Frozen

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Stars: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Johnathan Groff, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk

Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor, Running time 108 minutes, Adventure/Animation/Comedy

Compare to: Tangled (2010), Brave (2012)

It’s tough when reviewing a movie like Frozen as you’ve already got the expectations that Disney is going to deliver and it’s more of a surprise when they haven’t.

As much as I wanted to criticize and dismiss Disney itself as a multibillion dollar monster that eats smaller studios alive with no thought of anything but the next massive paycheck….but quality in the films they release just show that they know what they’re doing and are content just being a name.

After a childhood accident, young princess Anna (Bell) has her mind erased of her sister Elsa’s supernatural power that accidentally caused it. Unsure exactly how to control her ability to create and manipulate the cold, Elsa withdraws from her sister and the rest of the world until her power spirals out of control one day and she decides to leave for good. With the world in eternal winter, Anna decides to go after her sister with the help of Kristoff, an ice salesman whose business is going to plummet if Elsa can’t undo her own misfortune.

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I’m not sure if this is meant to be set in the same world as Tangled, but what the 2010 Disney film did for evergreen forests, Frozen does for an arctic wasteland. Except that while much of the scenery is in fact barren, it never gets old to look at. This goes for every scene but especially the moments of Elsa and experimentation with her abilities to do…whatever she wants with ice.

The snow, the fire, the northern lights; it all makes you think that if you had to be in a cartoon, this would be it- even when the weather is at it’s harshest. All this scenery while the story is something like if one of Disney’s evil queens had a younger sister that wanted to stop her from becoming the evil queen.

While the Disney/Pixar separation is noticeable in one way or another, one welcome reinsertion to these cartoons is the music. Never having been a fan of musicals (Sorry Black Nativity), the way the songs are integrated into the plot don’t take you out of the moment but draw you in.

Even the simple ones.

Even the simple ones.

An animated film doesn’t have to be full of jokes every three seconds, but they do have the fine line to walk of being too much or too boring. Yet with the music numbers, we never get the sense of boredom and the story never keeps moving us forward.

There’s also an interesting play on the “Princess in distress/Valiant Prince” ploy that Disney is famous for helping solidify into legend. The way the story flips it around and toys with it is something I won’t give away entirely but it’s a welcome way of not leaving out the males in the audience and a relief that the entire plot doesn’t revolve around a Prince and a Princess getting together. Sure, it’s in there, but not as the main focus.

One complaint I’ve got is the comic relief. While everybody plays their part and nobody’s ever really a drag, Olaf the living snowman (Gad) just stuck out like Jar Jar. A role created as something like Frosty’s “special” nephew, I’m interested to see how accepting people are to his character. I realize the humor behind a being made of snow that’s got a very “warm” personality, I just found him a bit much. Every time he showed up was another moment I didn’t mind being skipped.

Funny, nope, funny, funny.

Funny, nope, funny, funny.

Still, he’s nothing to ruin the enjoyment of the movie. You’re going to like this one and so is anybody else that watches it, even the eyes-rolling teenager that has to be seen in public with the family.

Enjoy all the money off the dolls made of these two princesses this Christmas, Disney!

Grade: B+

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