If you follow my Tumblr, or Twitter, you probably know by now that I have a serious weakness for Disney’s animated films, and so will not be surprised to learn that I went to see “Frozen” Saturday night. Perhaps you will also understand my deep need to talk about the movie in astonishing detail —
I enjoyed it MUCH more than I expected to – for some reason, the concept art didn’t really captivate me. But I skipped “Tangled” in theaters for the same reason, didn’t see it until it was on Netflix, and since then have been president of the unofficial Rapunzel/Eugene 4-eva Club, so you’d think I would have learned my lesson. That said, while I thought “Frozen” was a lot of fun, I didn’t consider it one of Disney’s very best. Discussion below – and need I say, here be spoilers?
STUFF I LIKED:
1) All the points forever for the relationship between Elsa and Anna, particularly for the fact that, for once in a Disney film, “true love” wasn’t romantic love. I liked how much pain there was in their separation for each of them, and how neither ever gave into the temptation of demonizing or belittling the other despite that.
2) Olaf was about eight times funnier than I expected him to be. His complete cluelessness was hilarious, but the fact that he was the embodiment of the snowman Elsa and Anna had made together added just enough emotion. And the song “Whatever Snow Does In Summer” was one of the best in the movie.
3) Yay also for a case where the handsome prince wasn’t all he appeared to be (though I have a caveat about this, which I’ll get into later). And I found Kristof adorably doofy most of the time, plus it was great to have his relationship with Anna be important but not the be-all, end-all of the movie.
4) The whole beginning musical interlude, complete with the disappearance of the parents’ ship, was a gorgeous example of compressing a whole lot of time/storytelling into a brief and gorgeous passage.
5) It was a gorgeous movie, which counts for a lot. Everything from the look of the gowns to the crunch of the snow to the beautiful way water would instant-freeze: It was all so spectacularly and beautifully done.
6) And oh, oh, the snow monster! He was awesome! Can he have a sequel of his own?
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE THAT MUCH:
1) While the twist with Prince Hans was definitely shocking, I wound up being slightly disappointed by it. I had wondered whether or not he might prove to be the guy for Elsa, rather than Anna, but more to the point, I was thinking, “It’s so great that they’re going to have a romance fall apart just because it was an illusion, a bad idea, and not because one person is made of pure total evil!” And then of course Hans turned out to be pure total evil. It is to sigh. I mean, it worked story-wise, but I still feel like it was a missed opportunity.
2) The songs weren’t bad – a few of them I really liked – but I didn’t think they were strong enough to carry as much of the movie as they had to. (And there was a LOT of singing.) In the end I’d have preferred fewer musical numbers, more dialogue (especially given that so much of the dialogue was funny and snappy.)
3) This ties into the objection above: There were so many significant characters and relationships that, in the end, we didn’t get to focus enough on any of them. In “Tangled,” the two main sidekicks are Pascal and Maximus, who don’t speak (or sing), and the most important secondary character, Mother Gothel, drops out of the story for long sections – which means we spend a lot of time with Rapunzel and Eugene, just them, and as a result get a really good feel for their personalities and the relationship they build together. There’s no such focus in “Frozen.” I felt like we got off to a great start with the sister relationship, but that could’ve been developed more. Then we get a lot of screen time for Prince Hans, which sets up the later twist, I guess, but he’s not someone we spend a lot of the rest of the movie with. Ultimately this meant we didn’t get a whole lot of time with Kristof, especially with Kristof and Anna, which I felt was important. We learned Kristof was a good guy – but the whole, “Hey, I was raised by trolls” thing, that came out of nowhere, right? Wouldn’t that be just the kind of reveal you’d normally expect to be really important overall? Instead it’s this throwaway detail. I felt like the movie would’ve been better if the plot had been more tightly focused – maybe just on Anna and her most important relationships.
That said, I still really liked it. What did you guys think?