I will be discussing the movie Frozen so if you don't want to know about the movie, you might not want to read this review.
My daughter has been anticipating the release of this movie for a while now. She had the date marked on the calendar and gave us the countdown as the days neared Frozen’s entry into the theatres.
From the outset, we knew it was about an ice queen named Elsa and her sister Anna. What I did not anticipate was how much music is contained within. I could tell that the same writer’s that created Tangled created Frozen. I enjoyed that there are two strong young women that are in control of their own lives. I also enjoyed that there is a funny snowman named Olaf. Actually he is so darn funny and this gives the younger kids in the audience a character to hold onto because he is so literal.
Frozen also has the staple meta messages: be happy with who you are; you don’t need a man to complete you; and family, friendship and loyalty are important. These messages are contained in many of Disney’s animated movies geared towards the princess savvy audience.
So what’s missing? I left the theatre feeling unfulfilled in some way. I couldn’t really figure out what it was. Then I had my ahh haa moment. There was really no “evil” character to juxtapose the goodness of the other characters and this where the movie for me falls flat. Sure Elsa is struggling with her ability to control her ice making abilities, but she isn’t really an evil character. Even the prince that Anna falls in love isn’t terribly evil. Sure he’s heartless and a cad, but is he really evil? Not overly. His character is never fully developed and as an audience we just cannot buy into his story.
The literal level of the storyline is about the sisters—sure I get that. I have a sister and sometimes we love each other and sometimes we hate each other. Frozen shows this dichotomy in the relationship, but fails to really show the relationship between sisters. From the outset of the movie Elsa and Anna are very close but an accident pulls the sisters apart. We only see the development of their young relationship for five minutes of the movie. Elsa spends most of her adolescence and teen years in her bedroom because she can’t control her ice making powers. I actually think Disney borrows this plot from X-Men’s Rogue. Because of Elsa’s inability to control her powers, she withdraws from her sister and they virtually don’t see one another again until Elsa’s coronation. This is roughly about ten years later and long after the death of their parents.
Without giving too much away, there are these trolls that have magical powers and live deep in the woods. If you're feeling like this is an odd sub plot, you aren’t the only one. They serve two purposes: to cure Anna when she comes into contact with Elsa’s ice and to sing a weird song about acceptance. The trolls raise Anna’s travel mate, Kristoff, and in that relationship we see the trolls as enduring characters. But again, I have seen this plot before. Oh I know…the Ewoks. But alas, this sub-plot isn’t very well developed either.
I guess maybe my film memory is too vast and I can draw parallels between movies, but I really feel like this movie was rushed. I feel like Disney didn’t take the time to really write an exceptional movie for young viewers. They had such a great opportunity to take Hans Christian Andersen's the Snow Queen and make it great. But instead they made something that is totally cliché. If it weren’t for Olaf, Sven (the reindeer) and the CG, this movie would have been completely terrible; instead, it is mildly terrible.
Thank goodness for Disney that the younger viewers are less likely to have such a negative perception of the movie. After all, this age group will drive the sale of all the movie paraphernalia over the Christmas season.
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