Friday, November 29, 2013

Review of Frozen

Hi. Sorry this is so late. I kept getting distracted all day, and I also was eager to finish up Beyonders: Chasing the Prophecy. But enough of my excuses! You want to read a review I promised last night, so here it is.
Frozen is the next Disney animated film based off Hans Christian Anderson's classic tale of The Snow Queen. The story to me seems like a story that takes place before the events of the fairy tale we all know. It features Anna, one of the princesses of the kingdom of Arendelle, is excited because the castle is finally being opened in celebration of the coronation of her older sister Elsa. However following a little argument the two sisters have during the celebration Elsa reveals a secret she had been hiding for years: She has power over winter. Turns out Elsa hurt Anna during their childhood and had been fearing that she might hurt her again. Fear takes hold of Elsa, who is the Snow Queen if you haven't connected the dots yet, and she flees the kingdom. Anna goes off in search of Elsa firmly believing she can stop the winter she unintentionally brings upon the land. Along the way she makes several friends and learns many important lessons, including that love truly is one of the most powerful forces in existence.
I'll try to talk about some of the concepts of the film that I enjoyed without revealing any spoilers. I enjoyed how they gave a Norwegian feel to the setting of the film and its inhabitants. It serves to put everyone in a pretty far north locality which as we remember from the classic story was where the Snow Queen resided. The mountains definitely looked like they were cut by glaciers long ago and the architecture is definitely similar to what you would find in that area if you were able to take a tour. They even added some elements of the mythology of the area. I think I should stop there so I don't give away anything that might be fun.
Now let's talk a little about the characters. I still view this film as a good back story for the Snow Queen. We don't really have a clear understanding of who she is in the original tale and a lot has been left up to speculation. This may not be what Hans Christian Anderson would've gone for, but I think it does do the story justice because now, in Disney's version at least, she won't be written off as some evil sorceress as a result of what she did. Anna is also a very fun person because she's so innocent and understanding (and a little clumsy). She has the traditional feel of the Disney Princesses while still maintaining her individuality. Also she has plenty of moments in the movie where she isn't just standing around naively. She takes action and helps make some of the most important decisions. Kristoff was also a good friend in this tale. He may appear rugged and rough on the outside, but his mountain expertise and outdoor skills help out more than once and we see he does have a kind heart. Of course one person I can't leave without talking about is Olaf the snowman. He is truly a great Disney sidekick, not only because of his humor, which makes up some of the best moments in the film, but because he is also warm and loving despite being made of snow.
The animation for this film was pretty incredible. They were able to pull off some incredible feats with the ice and snow that I doubt would've been as good had they done this traditionally animated. I'm not saying traditional animation is bad because I've grown up with it and I still love it. I'm just saying a lot of the feel would've been really difficult to capture. In some moments you can still see some of the grooves in the ice and the individual snowflakes being caste up or blown in the wind would've been hard to do without the use of computers. There were plenty of moments where the light reflecting off the snow and ice really did a good job of capturing the emotions of the moment, from fear and anger to love and happiness.
The music and sound within this movie was also pretty cool. At times the music was just like traditional Norwegian melodies while other times the people at Disney were just doing their thing. Yes there are some pretty good songs in this movies which do help to establish more of the personalities of some of the characters. The wind blowing in this movie sound incredibly realistic, almost like they recorded actual winter winds. There's also plenty of convincing ice cracklings, freezings, and snow crunching throughout the movie.
While the movie isn't a one-hundred percent adaptation of the fairy tale there are still elements from the story in this movie. One thing I recognized a reference to was the splinter of ice that infected Kay's heart. I'm not saying Kay's in this movie. For all we know this could take place a while before Kay and Gerda come on the scene. However if you are familiar with the original story you'll know what I'm talking about. There are other moments when people do need to ride on Sven the reindeer, which I'm reminded of as something Gerda did in the original story. I'm glad they chose to include those references in this adaptation.
One thing I do want to talk about is the lessons we can walk away from this film with. Yes love is a big feature, but Disney breaks a lot of the cliches here. One of the biggest topics early on for Kristoff and Anna is about true love. Kristoff is saying that marrying a person you just met isn't a good idea, especially if you know next-to-nothing about them, while Anna firmly believes that you just know when you meet someone. I just realized one lesson that I didn't notice last night was to not judge others by appearances. Anyway, the biggest lesson, and one that I liked most was that they shared a lesson that love isn't just the attraction between a man and a woman shared with a short dance and brief kiss. Some of the characters explain that love is also helping others even when it's not convenient for us and giving up our wants for the needs of others.
All in all I have to say this was a well done story. I've been thinking for a while now that maybe film adaptations would be better off creating new stories set within the universe established within a book or a classic tale, and now we have another film as evidence of that. I hope I didn't bore you out with this review. I wanted to do a good job with actually analyzing it.


  1. Good review David. It's a sweet little movie that will most likely be enjoyed by everybody in the family. Not just the kiddies, but the parents as well and I think that does matter.

  2. Yep. I like it when a movie or book is capable of being enjoyed by kids and adults.