The charm attributed to Disney’s latest feature animation is something that has passed me by. Exhibiting little originality in story, art or character, Frozen is nonetheless a double Oscar nominated film. Loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, this is a classic tale of Disney princesses overcoming adversity, finding happiness through hard work, perseverance and love. Following a typical first act tragedy, Princesses Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) are left alone in their Scandinavian castle. Though formerly very close, Elsa’s ability to create ice and snow from her fingertips is considered a danger to others and she hides away for years until she’s old enough to ascend the throne. Soon disaster strikes and the Kingdom is plunged into icy darkness while Elsa absconds to the mountains to lead a hermit like life. This leaves her younger sister Anna to bring her back and save the Kingdom from ruin.
I have to admit that I found very little to like in Frozen. I was bored by the predictable storyline and disliked the musical theatre style songs. The one ray of sunshine though in this otherwise cold film was the character of Olaf the snowman. One of the best Disney characters in years, everything Olaf says and does is funny or sweet and he brightened up what was otherwise a dull 102 minutes.
I have to admit that I am in the minority with my dislike of this movie. I understand too that I have an extra Y chromosome and twenty years on the target audience which is fine but I’ve been able to enjoy other Disney films in the past. My main problem was that it was all so boring. I barely smiled without Olaf on the screen and found that the humour was derived solely from that character. It didn’t feel very inventive either and just seemed to run from A to B without considering a fun or interesting diversion. The songs made me want to shove broken glass in my ears to drown out the over dramatic Wicked style singing. As a man with a Wicked obsessed girlfriend I was acutely aware of how similar the two productions sounded. As a man who’s sick of hearing the songs from Wicked, I really disliked the songs from Frozen. Despite my own personal dislike, Let It Go has been nominated for an Oscar and even I can admit it was catchy.
On the plus side, the animation is good but it’s a Disney film so you’d expect nothing less. It didn’t appear to push the boundaries unlike say Tangled but early scenes featuring blocks of lake ice were particularly well rendered. I also enjoyed the idea that the Kristoff character had a sort of split personality and talked to his reindeer Sven, changing his voice to speak Sven’s part of the conversation. This was a nice idea given all the talking Disney animals over the years. The film’s message is also something I approved of. The young female lead does almost everything herself and has little or no need for her Knight in Shining Armour. This empowering message for young girls is something I can get on board with.
So overall I wasn’t particularly impressed with Frozen. Olaf is a terrific character who will surely be seen again and the film features a nice message but I found it too long, really dull and the songs did nothing for me. I felt let down after the wonderfully inventive and amusing short that preceded the film and expected more from a film that I’d heard so many good things about. I’ll end by saying I also didn’t like The Lion King so feel free to discount everything I’ve written.
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