Monday, December 30, 2013

Frozen review; Disney takes it up an notch

Believe me, I know I'm late to this party.  But when it comes to seeing Disney films in the theater, it usually involves waiting until I can take my nephews.  That being said, Frozen is a Disney film for all ages, a film that anyone can appreciate.  I don't want to waste any more time, let's go!

What I liked about the film:
The Story
Disney is so damn good at their storytelling.  They don't begin such a long, arduous, animated filmmaking process without nailing the story first.  Frozen tells the story of two sisters and how they realizing their importance to each other.  The film offers up a grand adventure, as most Disney films do.  But there was something a bit deeper in this film, that we only see in a few animated films.  On top of the adventure and emotional drama, there's a nice balance of comedic characters as well!  Speaking of comedy...

The Cast/Characters
Frozen offers up a slew of great new characters.  There is the female lead, Anna, voiced by the wonderful Kristen Bell.  She plays a princess who is eccentric and adventurous at heart.  She lives in a castle with her sister, Elsa, played by Idina Menzel.  Elsa is a Queen with magic powers that allows her to create ice/snow from her hands.  Menzel played the lead character on Broadway's Wicked.  The sisters have been forced to live apart, in the same house, for years.  So they are just now getting to know each other, in their adult years.

There are some great male characters in the film as well.  Kristoff is voiced by Jonathan Groff.  The character is a manly man who falls for Anna, while on a journey to find Elsa.  Josh Gad rounds out the main characters, as a lovable snowman that the sister's dreamt up when they were younger, and is now alive.  Gad's subtle, yet perfect comedic style worked perfectly for the character.

The Animation
Pixar has usually overshadowed the CG films made at Disney in-house.  But Pixar should look out!  For every bomb Pixar produces (Cars 2), Disney is creating some VERY good films (Tangled).  The animation in Frozen is among the best I've ever seen in an animated film.  And once you see the movie, it only takes a few scenes to understand the complexity of the animation.  Taking an entire city and showing us how it freezes over is a tough task.  The animators made Elsa a superhero of sorts, with her powers; but showed us her fear and vulnerability as well.  I really got lost in this world Disney created.

The Not So Cliche
The movie had several opportunities to jump the shark and fall back on cliche story devices.  Especially the climax of the film.  But it doesn't!  It goes down a different path, towards originality that we rarely see in animated films.  I'm trying to be discrete here; so if you see the film, Tweet me and let me know what you think.

What I didn't like about the film:
A Predictable Ending
For all the things the filmmakers did against the grain; I saw the ending coming about 30 minutes into the film.  I understand the plot device and why the writers wrote the 'surprise' the way that they did.  But as I mentioned above, the writers did so many things we WOULDN'T expect.  To have the twist be so predictable for me, let me down a little bit.  But just a little bit.

The Verdict:
Another 'One of my Favorite Disney Movie'
For me, Frozen was even better than Tangled, and I absolutely loved that film.  The story, the actors, the animation and the songs were all terrific.  It was entertaining, exciting and emotional throughout.  The climax will have grown men holding back tears.  Just really good filmmaking from the studio whose been doing it since the 1930's.  I totally recommend Frozen to people of all ages.

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