5 January 2014

Frozen Review

Over the past few years the animated Disney films have seen a great return to form. The Princess and the Frog and Tangled got great reviews and Wreck It Ralph was a lot of fun. However, I was still unsure about Frozen. The trailers made it look like a boring, action-comedy film and I wasn't really sold. Then I started seeing the reviews saying that Frozen was one of the best animated films of the year and after seeing the film, the reviews are right. Frozen is one of the best animated films to come along in a long time.
The plot concerns sisters Anna and Elsa. Elsa was born with the power to control ice and one day, she accidentally hurts Anna, leading to Elsa becoming withdrawn and Anna to wonder what happened since the magic used to save Anna also erased her memory of Elsa having powers. A few years later, Elsa is crowned queen of the kingdom and Anna gets engaged to someone she just met, leading to Elsa accidentally revealing her powers, the other people being horrified and Elsa running into the mountains to isolate herself from the world. However, during this, Elsa accidentally plunges the world into eternal winter so Anna goes off to find her teaming up with the ice salesman Kristoff and a snowman Elsa accidentally brought to life named Olaf. What I love about the plot is the different directions it takes by the end. It starts out as a typical Disney princess movie but as it goes along it becomes much more subversive in ways that I won't spoil here. I also really like that the central relationship of the film is between Anna and Elsa and whether or not they'll reconnect with each other.

One of the best aspects of the film is the performances. As Anna, Kristen Bell brings across the sense of naivety that someone in her position would possess, making the one-day romance a lot more believable and as the film goes on, her performance brings a real sense of caring for the people she meets. As Kristoff, Jonathan Groff brings across the sense of reluctance and annoyance at his position at the start of the film but as it goes along, the character starts to warm up so the performance becomes a lot softer as well. Josh Gad is great as Olaf, the character I thought would ruin the film. He's really funny in the part as a snowman who wants to experience summer (despite not knowing the concept of temperature) and a lot of the best laughs in the film come from Olaf. Santino Fontana is great as Hans, bringing across a really friendly, likable performance, aided by the actions of the character and he gets a lot of great stuff at the end of the film, although talking about it would spoil a major part of the film. Alan Tudyk as the Duke of Weselton, whilst giving a good performance, is a bit wasted in the film due to the character feeling fairly pointless, I feel that you could have cut the character out and nothing would have changed about the film. The standout though is Idina Menzel as Elsa. Her performance brings a lot of fear over her powers, a great sense of acceptance later on and a lot of sorrow at the end. All of these emotions are handled brilliantly by Menzel and Elsa is clearly the standout character of the film.

Since this is a Disney musical, it's worth talking about the songs. While songs like Do You Want to Build and Snowman, Fixer Upper and Love is an Open Door are okay, For the First Time in Forever, Let It Go and In Summer are excellent songs. In Summer is a great comedy song with a great performance by Josh Gad which reminds me a lot of Jolly Holiday from Mary Poppins in terms of the lyrics and the animation. Let It Go meanwhile is the best scene of the film. The song is about Elsa coming to accept her powers and is a great song of empowerment, but it's also quite dark when you think about it. It's a song about Elsa isolating herself from the rest of society, leaving everyone, including her sister, behind while she comes to accept her powers. There are also some great themes brought in with For the First Time In Forever in regards to the different personalities of Anna and Elsa being the polar opposites of each other, mainly in regards to teenage emotions, the overconfidence and naivety of Anna and the withdrawn nature of Elsa, the song itsel I feel though that there's a musical number missing at the end of the film, it feels like there should be a reprise of Do You Want to Build a Snowman but it never happens and it does give the ending a quite abrupt feel.

The technical aspects of the film are excellent. The animation on Anna and Elsa is excellent, really showing off everything that the characters are going through with the exaggerated movements of the characters, along with the wide range of facial expressions given. The animation for the snow and ice is also excellent, especially in regards to Elsa's powers with Let It Go being the highlight of the animation and the different aspects of the animation for the snow reflecting Elsa's personality at the time, mainly seen with Olaf and the Marshmallow. A lot of the humour in the film also comes from the great animation, particularly with Olaf and Sven the reindeer, providing a lot of laughs throughout the film for me, especially the pairing of the animation for Olaf with Josh Gad's voice.

Overall, Frozen is an excellent film. Whilst some of the characters were fairly pointless and some of the musical numbers weren't as well executed, the voice acting, animation and the other musical numbers (especially Let It Go) were excellent, making Frozen the best Disney animated film for a long time.

My Rating: 4/5

By the way, before Frozen is a new Mickey Mouse short Get A Horse which is a really funny short film, showing a lot of affection for the Disney animation of the past and present, with a great mixing of the old and the new for Disney, which weirdly makes it the perfect short film to show before Frozen.

No comments:

Post a Comment