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“Frozen” – Early Review (SO-SO)

November 21, 2013

Screen shot 2013-11-21 at 7.21.16 PMWalt Disney Animation is one of the finest institutions in cinema, since their debut feature of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”, the continued to challenge themselves with new and exciting ideas. Sure, they’ve had highs and lows, with over 51 titles in their animated library (Pixar doesn’t count), but they’ve all garnered the title of being known as a classic in their own right. And I’m sure “Frozen” will someday, if not sooner, will be called a classic, but for me I do not see it that way (no quite).

Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell), a fearless optimist, sets off on an epic journey – teaming up with a mountain man by the name of Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven – to find her sister Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering frigid conditions, a snow monster, trolls and a goofy snowman named Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad), Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom and Elsa.

The last two films Disney Animation produced was some of the best work they’ve done in ages; “Tangled” revitalized the Disney Princess in a whole new light/direction, while “Wreck It Ralph” proved that video game characters can be flawed and compassionate all at once. Now, the thing about those two films was the fact that they weren’t the typical Disney animated film. Many of us who’re in our mid-20s are familiar, even fans of, the Disney Renaissance.

Films like, “Aladdin”“The Lion King”“The Little Mermaid”, and “Beauty & the Beast” are grand in scope, backed with powerhouse scores and catchy musical numbers, that have inspired Broadway productions. What I liked the most about “Tangled” was the fact that it didn’t try to be like those other movies, there are probably 4 musical numbers in “Tangled”, and they all serve a purpose to drive the story. While the films I listed have at the least a dozen songs in each film. “Tangled” did something outside the box, it changed the status quo on all levels, not just the animation and music, but the roles of the Princess and love-interest were completely reversed!

Screen shot 2013-11-21 at 7.21.50 PM“Frozen”, while it is an entertaining affair for kids, I think it’s biggest problem for the rest of us was that it played it too safe, and too close to home. It felt like one of those old Disney movies we grew up with, except, it was trying too hard to impress us. To the films credit, it does hit the right notes with themes of female empowerment/leadership, but not in the same, unique, way “Tangled” did. The musical numbers were over-excessive, and not very memorable, with the exception of Olaf’s delightful summer tune.

I have a younger brother who attends CalArts, majoring in Character Animation, so animation is his bread and butter. He was telling me that there were issues regarding the conceptual design of the characters. That they didn’t look as good as the rendered models from “Tangled”, that Disney wanted to do a sequel to “Tangled” but there was nowhere to take the story, so they did “Frozen”. I think going in without my brothers in-sight behind the project I would’ve picked up on these issues, because the long and short of it, “Frozen” doesn’t really look all that impressive. The animation is soft and sometimes cold (no pun intended), the grand scale shots look cheaply put together, it just didn’t have the same affect on me like when I saw “Wreck-It Ralph” last year. Shame.

But, on a brighter note, the short film that plays in front of the movie is AMAZING! And I plan to write a separate review for that little number, without giving away too much, it was like being on one of those 3D rides at one of the Disney Theme Parks. Look for that review fairly soon!

3D GRADE: C-

MOVIE GRADE: C+

FINAL GRADE: C+

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. jones permalink
    November 22, 2013 8:26 am

    “While the films I listed have at the least a dozen songs in each film.” – you may want to check that again… 5 to 7 would be more like it…

    • November 22, 2013 1:29 pm

      1. Frozen Heart (Performed by Cast)
      2. Do You Want to Build a Snowman? (Performed by Kristen Bell, Agatha Lee Monn and Katie Lopez)
      3. For the First Time in Forever (Performed by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel)
      4. Love Is an Open Door (Performed by Kristen Bell and Santino Fontana)
      5. Let It Go (Performed by Idina Menzel)
      6. Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People (Performed by Jonathan Groff)
      7. In Summer (Performed by Josh Gad)
      8. For the First Time in Forever (Reprise) (Performed by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel)
      9. Fixer Upper (Performed by Maia Wilson and Cast)
      10. Let It Go (Performed by Demi Lovato)

      that’s close to a dozen. at the least is what i said.

      • jones permalink
        November 23, 2013 8:12 am

        Sorry, but you spoke about “the films i listed”, i.e. “Aladdin”, “The Lion King”, “The Little Mermaid”, and “Beauty & the Beast” – not about Frozen (and the usual end credit song does not count, does it?).

      • November 23, 2013 10:00 am

        if you really want to know, just look up those films i listed on amazon

  2. November 30, 2013 2:48 pm

    While it definitely will have the kids happier than the parents, they still won’t feel bored, which is probably what matters most. Nice review.

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