Movie Review: Frozen

GENRES: Animation, comedy, adventure, fantasy
MORE INFO: IMBD
DATE WATCHED: 05 January 2014
RATING: ★★★½
SUMMARY: Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna’s sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.

REVIEW: Despite the mediocre rating, I really enjoyed this movie. As I’m writing this post, I’ve watched it twice (oops? not really oops) and listened to my favorite songs definitely more than twice.

It was a little more musical than I expected, but not really in a bad way. Idina Menzel as Elsa made it sound more Broadway than Disney, which was a pleasant surprise.

Basic back story and premise: When they were little, Elsa and Anna were really close. One night, when Elsa uses her powers to make it snow in the palace so that she and Anna can play, she accidentally hits Anna in the head with a blast of ice, leaving her out cold (oops, pun) and with a white streak in her hair. (This reflects part of “The Snow Queen,” by Hans Christian Andersen, the fairy tale on which the film is based; in the story, a “devil” makes a magic mirror that shows only the bad and ugly in people, and when it breaks, the piece fly across the earth, lodging themselves into people’s eyes and hearts, making them see only the bad in others and freezing their hearts, respectively.)

The king (Hot Dad Alert, I’m not sorry) and queen take Elsa and an unconscious Anna to see the trolls, and the leader of the trolls heals Anna but also removes the memories she has of her sister’s powers, for Elsa’s safety. The king and queen decide it’s best to close the gates to the palace and restrict Elsa’s contact with people, including her own sister. They raise Elsa to “conceal, don’t feel” so that her powers don’t go out of control the way the grandfather troll predicted. Oh, yeah, and spoiler: they die. Instrumental part during “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” when the sea literally swallows their parents’ ship.

My favorite part was the dynamic between Elsa and Anna. Before I watched the film, I had read quite a few reviews that were generally negative in this aspect, so I walked in the theater with pretty low expectations on that front. Maybe it’s because the reviewers didn’t have younger sisters like I do, but I thought the relationship was realistic (excluding the whole “the crown princess has powers over snow and ice and a troll wiped the knowledge of that magic from her little sister’s memory” bit). When the present events of the movie begin, Anna is distant, almost wary, of her sister. Both have been isolated from each other, even after their parents’ deaths, so they never really had the opportunity to develop their relationship beyond playing as small children. But you can tell that they love each other, and I love that. (SISTERS.)

However, I felt the plot ran too closely along the story of Tangled. The styles of animation and adventure were way too similar. There are no specific moments in Frozen that I can directly compare to Tangled; it was mostly the feel of the movie. The dialogue was refreshing—Anna is the quirkiest Disney princess we’ve ever had, but she’s not so quirky that it becomes annoying and unrealistic. But I rated it three-and-a-half stars out of five because it didn’t feel like an entirely new movie. (This is still a solid score, in my opinion.)

Olaf, the magic snowman who doesn’t realize that he’s going to melt when summer returns, said most of my favorite lines. And “his” song, “In Summer,” is my favorite song of the whole movie (a very close second to “Let It Go,” obviously).

Also rugged but doofy mountain man Kristoff with a heart of gold.

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