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Frozen: A Whole New World

December 16, 2013

Frozen movie poster

Frozen is a traditional Disney tale (princesses, true love, heroes, sidekicks and songs) that also features a snowman singing about his desire for summer. There is a modernized twist and freshness to it that proves Disney is once again relevant in the animation landscape.

Frozen is a refreshing blast of old meets new. The characters have a traditional foundation (based on Hans Christian Andersen’s 1800s fairy tale The Snow Queen) yet come into their own as the film progresses (Check out what the directors had to say about the characters).  At its core Frozen is about the love between sisters and I was happy to find out I wouldn’t be stuck with evil witches, angry stepmoms or villainous in-laws.

The film begins with two princess sisters playing in their massive castle. One of the girls can conjure ice from her hands and it provides endless fun. The younger daughter gets too adventurous and accidentally gets hit in the head with an ice blast. The situation was a total accident but their caring albeit wrong parents put the eldest daughter on permanent room arrest for fear of her power hurting other people. Eventually, the parents die when their boat is swallowed into the ocean and the two girls are left alone in the massive castle. Years later the eldest daughter comes of age and the entire kingdom gathers for her coronation.

Kristen Bell’s character Anna is stoked to open the doors and  can’t wait to meet the man of her dreams. Her sister Elsa voiced by Idina Menzel is hesitant because she doesn’t want her powers to be found out. Anna meets cute with a handsome/aloof prince and they decide to become engaged in true stock Disney fashion (e.g. immediately). The quick engagement doesn’t sit well with Elsa and a sisterly quarrel pushes the kingdom into a uber ice age. What follows is an adventure story and very effective marketing ploy to sell plush reindeer

Frozen Sven

Elsa runs away and decides to live by herself in a beautifully realized ice castle. She was afraid to let her powers go and now can she can finally embrace her power without fear. However, she doesn’t realize the entire kingdom is frozen and one local business is making a fortune on cold weather gear (Make that money Oaken!).

Oaken Frozen

Anna teams up with an ice harvester named Kristoff and his reindeer Sven to find her. together, they battle wolves, weather, broken sleds and a misunderstood ice creature in order to bring warm weather back to the kingdom.

There are unexpected twists that break the traditional mold and the songs prove to be incredibly memorable and bound for Broadway. Also, the 3D is spectacular and proves that modern-day animation has come close to mastering the process. I still think that How To Train Your Dragon has the most awe-inspiring visuals but Frozen isn’t far behind. I also loved the treatment of the snowman Olaf. He is a friendly little fella who is used the perfect amount and doesn’t fall into the overly loud sidekick bracket.

The press around Frozen has been interesting. Annoyed patrons claim the marketing was false and didn’t let audiences in on the sister subplot. Some reviews claim they got the feminism correct whereas others suggest the sisters take a back seat to the male characters. Also, this is the first Disney animated film to be co-directed by a woman. The discussion of feminism and women directors has abounded in regards to Frozen. In the end, you can tell that careful thought and lots of money ($150 million) went in to tweaking the Disney formula to fit with the modern times.

Watch Frozen. Appreciate the new approach. Don’t fight buying the Sven plush doll (you need it!).

Sven Reindeer

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2013 9:52 am

    Good review. It’s a fun-loving, joyous movie, however, what puts it over that hurdle is the fact that the movie doesn’t tell women that they need a man to get by in life. All they need to do is believe in themselves and have enough faith to where they can get past any problem in their lives. Sure, they may need some help along the way, especially from a man, but it’s not an absolute definite that they will and it’s a good thing to teach the little girls that will most likely go out and see this.


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