Hey, bloggers and readers! I hope you’re all having a great first week of April! My first week of April was marked by my viewing of the 2013 Disney film Frozen. Now, Frozen came out back in November, in time for the Christmas season, so admittedly I’m kind-of-really-late with this review. I’ve finally seen the movie everyone has been singing about, though, and here’s my review.
Frozen is the newest film to join the line of Disney musicals, which began in 1937 with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I’ve been a fan of Disney’s animated films since I was very young, and I still own my collection of Disney films on VHS that I watched and re-watched throughout my younger years. In recent years I have fallen a bit behind on the Disney animation train, though, and also did not see their films The Princess and The Frog and Tangled until a long time after their releases. Continuing this trend I waited to watch Frozen, and I can say now that I wish I had watched it during the Christmas season! Frozen tells the story of two sisters, Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell), who become estranged when the former’s dangerous ability to control ice and snow drive her into isolation.
What stood out most to me about this film was the beautiful animation. Much like Tangled, Frozen combines computer animation with elements of the hand drawn animation I grew up with. The snow and ice effects are very convincing, especially when the Snow Queen, Elsa, is using her chilling abilities. The character designs reflect the classic caricature-esque features of early Disney animated characters, which brought a smile to my face. It’s evident that the animators did their research concerning the cold Norwegian setting the film is based in.
Now, of course, I need to talk about the music. It’s a musical, after all! I’ve heard many of the songs from this film countless times since its release, and actually expected to be slightly annoyed by them in the film. On the contrary, the talent behind these songs really caused them to win me over. These songs are some of the best Disney has put out since Mulan, another film in the Disney repertoire that tried to break away from their traditional princess-themed flicks. The standouts are, without surprise, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Let It Go”, though I found “Love Is an Open Door” to be one of my favorite songs in the film, because of its style and humor.
This brings me to the final aspect of the film I’ll discuss. A large part of Frozen’s
popularity comes from its portrayal of female characters. Disney seems to have been working hard in recent years to break away from the mold they’ve set for themselves over the past seventy years, especially now that their old films tend to come under fire for teaching young girls the wrong lessons about what it is to be a woman. What I appreciated about Frozen was that it was not too heavy handed in its attempt at righting these old wrongs. Some of the changes made were more obvious, such as Kristoff being burly and blonde instead of tall-dark-and-handsome, but overall I didn’t feel like Mickey Mouse was beating me over the head and apologizing profusely for past sins. The princesses are still a bit too cookie-cutter in their design, with little risk or progressiveness on that front. When it comes to personalty, though, the female characters were done very well. Unlike Snow White and Princess Aurora, Elsa and Anna felt like real people for the most part, and real sisters as well.
Overall I think Frozen was a complete surprise, and was definitely a step in the right direction for Disney. They have captured some of the charm and warmth of the Disney Renaissance in this winter tale, while also making steps toward creating more interesting characters and relationships in their stories. If Disney continues to shoot for compelling personalities and relationships, their modern animated films stand a chance of becoming just as classic as the films I watched on VHS when I was a child.
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P.S. The trolls were a bit weird. I didn’t really feel like they fit in with the style and feel of the rest of the film. Was that just me?
Let me know your thoughts on the film! Next Review- Captain America: The Winter Soldier.