For this review, I have to give a shout out to my friend Fabiana who managed to get me a free ticket to an early screening of Frozen through a twitter contest! I was dying to watch this movie as soon as possible! I couldn’t wait until December! I had to see this! I was jumping around my room when she told me the good news! I was so excited that I woke up so early for the screening, and arrived like an hour early! I was jumping in anticipation outside of the cinema in Leicester Square and was waiting for the others to arrive! It was so cool! No pun intended.
So to my dear friend Faby: THANK YOU SO MUCH! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
Alright, before my heart explodes, I’m gonna review Frozen. Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen, the story is about two princesses from the Kingdom of Arendelle: Elsa has the magical ability to create and manipulate ice and snow, which is all fun and games with her sister Anna, until Elsa accidentally freezes her sister and almost gets her killed. Her parents find a way to save their daughter, and also find a way to erase her memories of Elsa’s powers out of safety. They also lock them both in the palace to keep anyone from knowing about these powers, and Elsa keeps a distance from her sister. Cut to years later, Elsa (now played by the legendary Idina Menzel) is being crowned the new Queen of the Kingdom of Arendelle. Unlike Elsa, who’s concerned about opening the gates and letting people in the palace, Anna (now played by Kristen Bell) is ECSTATIC to finally meet new people, even if it is just for one day. She then meets Prince Hans (played by Santino Fontana) where they form an immediate connection and decide to get engaged. Elsa’s powers are then accidentally exposed to the kingdom, and she flees into the mountains, also accidentally putting the kingdom under an endless winter (Poor Elsa! She’s really prone to accidents, isn’t she?) So Anna decides to set out into the world to find her sister, and on the way she meets Kristoff (played by Jonathan Groff), a mountain man raised by trolls, his reindeer Sven, and a talking snowman named Olaf (played by Josh Gad). Together they set out on an adventure to bring back Elsa and have her to bring back summer.
I was really hyped for this movie, especially since we didn’t get a lot of good animated movies this year. Some weren’t even well received. Monsters University I liked a lot, but other than that, nothing mind-blowing. Unlike last year where we had a selection of great animated movies, not this year. I’ll be honest, at first I had mixed feelings about what I was going to expect: I didn’t know whether this was going to be great or really mediocre. But as I got more and more information about Frozen, the more and more interested I became. I felt it was going to be something outstanding!
In the end, Frozen was wonderful! I think that while The Princess and the Frog and Tangled were a welcome back to Disney fairy tales, this one surpasses them by a mile! I can’t decide if I prefer this or Wreck-It-Ralph more, as I love both films for their own reasons, but as a Disney animated musical… WOW! I love so many things about Frozen, but now that I brought up the musical aspect, let’s talk about that first:
The music in Frozen is some of the best Disney has come up with in recent years, and all of the songs are incredibly sung by this amazing cast! This is one of those musicals where you remember pretty much all of the songs after one viewing. Along with the score, the songs can be beautiful, sweet, catchy, emotional, funny, powerful, and like any great musical used to tell its story very well. Idina Menzel’s performance of the song “Let it Go” is the highlight of the entire film, and I’ve been singing the song everywhere before and ever since! It’s a song anyone can relate to in one way or another, and I certainly connected to it. It’s about the sense of letting yourself loose after having it concealed for so long, and even discovering a part of yourself you never knew you had. There’s just this sense of liberation you get from this song! Just listen to it while admiring the animation for that scene, as it has some of the most spectacular visuals you’ll ever see in an animated feature. The only complaint I have is that the musical numbers stop right after the third act. There’s not even a reprise. That’s what tends to happen in a Disney flick: the third act tends to leave out the musical aspect to focus more on drama. Still, the music in Frozen, I believe, is wonderful and could easily become one of Disney’s classics.
It’s also a really funny movie! It had lots hilarious moments, and I was laughing a lot throughout the film. By far the comedic standout was Josh Gad as Olaf! He’s hysterical! I loved this character every time he was on screen: he had great timing and delivery. I also have to mention Kristen Bell, who also made me laugh a lot, and made a great Disney Princess! Both Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell did make great Disney Princesses! I can’t decide yet if I’m Team Elsa or Team Anna, as I love both, but I bet Elsa is going to be more popular with the crowd.
I think that all these aspects, the music, the comedy, the animation, and the voice acting comes from a true understanding of what kind of story it wants to tell. This was absolutely superb storytelling, and it carried real emotional value to it. Frozen has great storytelling with surprisingly complex characters and themes.
The whole focus and driving force of the story comes from the relationship between the two sisters Anna and Elsa. This and Lilo and Stitch are perhaps the first animated Disney films to explore a sister relationship, although Frozen keeps this much more thematically focused and as the main conflict of the story. There’s a point early in the film which really got to me on a personal level, since I also have an older sister who’s a year older than me. I’m pretty sure that if I took my sister to see this film, she’d probably cry in this scene (or maybe not). In any given opportunity, our parents constantly remind us that they’re not going to be around forever, and that all we’ll ever have is each other, so we need to learn how to love and work with each other, even in the most difficult times. No matter what, we have to remember that we’re sisters and we need each other. The tragedy comes from the fact that Anna and Elsa were never given the opportunity to interact with each other since the childhood incident. They never learned to truly love and care for each other, or even share a conversation, and they never learned to prepare for situations when they need each other. And it’s not that they hate each other: it’s that they have any relationship at all (no bonding moments, no typical sister arguments, etc). The circumstances prevent them from allowing a true relationship to flourish. It’s like they don’t even know what the word “sister” means anymore. Dang! That’s freaking dark for a Disney movie.
During the film’s production, the creators were having trouble in trying to make the Snow Queen, originally a villain, a sympathetic character. That is until someone suggested to make her and the main character sisters, which got them excited and ended up changing everything in the production. This is one of the things that got me even more interested in seeing the film, because it seemed like they had a real care for the story quality of this film. This was a great decision, because it led to a very deep conflict, with great metaphors and symbolism, including a clever motif of opening and closing doors, and dealing with the themes of fear, isolation and true love.
Besides, we’ve seen conflicts between brothers, father and sons, recently mother and daughter with Brave, but not often a conflict between sisters in a Disney flick.
The film carries out elements you’d commonly see in a Disney flick, including, comedic sidekicks, and even has the really happy ending you’d expect in a Disney film, but they also explore some of those concepts and even turn some of these story elements on its head, including the classic notion and meaning of true love. It’s a perfect balance between keeping things updated and modern while bringing back its Disney magic. The characters didn’t feel like they were just following archetypes either: they all felt like real people (and very interesting characters, might I add). I was really impressed with the writing and the way they established each character’s relationship with each other. Like the scene where Elsa and Anna talk to each other for the first time after many years: I really loved the way they interacted, and some of the things they say there felt like a conversation I’d have with my sister! I would mention more, but this is the closest to spoilers you’ll ever get. So this works to the film’s advantage, as you don’t know where exactly the story will take you.
Also, did you notice that here we actually have a coronation of a princess into a queen! When did you ever see that in an animated Disney film? No, Princess Diaries 2 doesn’t count! It’s not animated! Neither is Princess Protection Program!
One last thing: in the premiere, there was an animated short called Get A Horse!, which plays homage to the old Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts while combining it with the animation we use today. It’s really creative, funny, and has a great use of 3D. You’re really going to like it! Afterwards, there was a live performance of “Let it Go” sung by Willemijn Verkaik who plays Elsa in the Dutch version of Frozen, and starring in UK Wicked as the new Elphaba. She was just marvellous! Come to think of it, I think “Let it Go” could actually be one of my favourite Disney Princess songs now! I haven’t decided on a list per-se, but if I did, it’d be pretty high up on the list! It’s such an amazing song!
Frozen goes back to the roots of the Disney classics such as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. It’s such a beautiful and stunning film! I’m so happy I saw this early! I have to take my sister to see this! I’m pretty sure she’d love it too! Frozen opened in the UK on December 3rd, unlike the states where the film came out much earlier. GO WATCH IT! It’s totally worth it! I’m rooting for this film to win both “Best Original Song” for “Let it Go”, and “Best Animated Film”! OH PLEASE! OH PLEASE! OH PLEEEEEASE!