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The Movie Review: “Frozen”


Friday, December 13th, 2013
Issue 50, Volume 17.
Robert T. Nickerson
Special to the Valley News
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When it comes to Disney and fairy tales, there is no better match made in heaven. Walt Disney Animation is seen as the classical music genre in cartoons as the company has had a notion of taking a children’s tale and giving it a new dimension of artistry and class, therefore translating it for a general audience.

What’s amazing looking into the world of fairy tales is that there are so many of them to choose from. Works from the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Anderson are so large in stories that they have enough for Disney to continue producing animated movies for another hundred years.

Having said that, I do have memories of being told these stories at a young age. I don’t know if parents still do this, but my parents would love to spin a fairy tale story, so I was already familiar with Snow White, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid. But I’ll admit that I never read the tale of The Snow Queen. Written by Hans Christian Anderson, it tells the tale of a powerful queen who can control snow and ice. Apparently, Disney had been trying to get this made for a long time until they finally got around to telling it in the latest CGI movie, Frozen.

The story centers on a set of sisters, Anna and Elsa. Elsa has the magical ice and snow powers that I mentioned before. One day while playing, she accidentally hits her sister Anna with her magic, which could have killed her if it would have hit her heart. To protect the two, their parents, the King and Queen of the Kingdom of Arendelle, find a way to erase the memory of magic from Anna’s mind and chose to separate her from her sister. The parents are unfortunately killed in a boating accident, making Elsa the rightful ruler.

Now as adults, Anna (played by Kristen Bell) and Elsa (played by Idina Menzel) open the gates in recognition for the coronation. Dignitaries from all over the world come to visit, including Prince Hans who immediately sets his eyes on Anna. They think they have found true love and ask Elsa for approval. A fight accidentally reveals Elsa’s powers again, causing the entire kingdom to be covered in ice. Anna feels that she’s the only one who can get through to her sister who has run away. On her journey to get to her sister’s ice castle in the mountain, she comes across Kristoff, an ice trader who has a couple of lessons on true love, and a talking snowman named Olaf (played by Josh Gad) who dreams of experiencing summer.

Frozen definitely feels like a fairy tale, though part of me gets the feeling that a lot of it is taken from Disney’s other recent movie, Tangled. The journey that Anna goes on with Kristoff has that same buddy-buddy tone from before. But that’s alright, because Frozen has enough on it’s own to make the concept original again.

Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel are amazing. Bell gives Anna a clumsy but funny personality that’s just so optimistic and likable, that I would find it hard for anyone to hate her. Menzel just has that caring and royal voice needed to give Elsa that extra burst of class. Both voices have good singing voices, but I’ll get to that in a second.

I’ll say that while plenty of people were laughing at Olaf’s antics, I found him a little annoying. I blame that on underdeveloped writing, but he doesn’t ruin the movie.

It wouldn’t be a classic Disney fairy tale without songs, and this time, they hired Robert Lopez and Kristen-Anderson Lopez, the same team from Avenue Q and Book of Mormon. The songs blew me away. Tangled’s music was good, but Frozen’s took me back to the Disney Renaissance of the 90s.

It’s been a while since I could hum a tune from one of these movies (I’ll be mad if the Idina Menzel show stopping "Let it Go" does not get an Oscar). The only problem I had with this movie that prevents it from being one of the best is the villain. Without giving anything away, a character turns against the sisters in an attempt to gain the kingdom. Why does Frozen need a villain? The conflict between the sisters’ love for each other and Elsa’s struggle for control over her power should have been fine enough on it’s own without a bad guy.

 

I’ll give this four Olaf snowmen out of five. Frozen is definitely worth the watch if you’re any kind of Disney or musical fan.

Robert T. Nickerson is a film critic. His work can be seen at mastermindfilmproductions.com.


 

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