Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The magic of Disney!

And this will teach us all not to judge a book by its cover ever again.

When the trailer for ‘Frozen’ was dropped a few months back, I predicted a dud.  It looked so generic and obvious and unfunny and repetitive and just everything I didn’t want it to be.  When news of the film broke I was ecstatic.  Disney, doing another musical, basing it off of a very dark and disturbing tale.  I knew it would get white washed a bit (which I was fine with), but it was a MUSICAL and so I was automatically game for it. 

Then that trailer deceived me. 

Still, my daughters were hooked with the very first television spot, and they’ve had the dolls for nearly a month already, and so we were going to see this opening night.  With expectations low (despite some good early ink), there was nowhere to go but up for this film, and it didn’t just go up, it blew through the roof!  Yes, ‘Frozen’ is easily Disney’s best film since ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and honestly, one of the best musicals since.  It’s a visual feast, charming and sincere, and an unexpected twist on a tale of love, family and acceptance with beautiful shades that make this something truly special.

The film tells the story of two sisters, Anna and Elsa.  In early childhood, they are joined at the hip.  Elsa has an ancient power to create ice (a power that is never explained, and quite frankly doesn’t need to be) and they use her power as an advantage to their playing.  When an accident occurs and Anna is injured, Elsa becomes terrified of her ‘gift’ and basically locks herself away from everyone and everything, including Anna.  The two obviously drift apart (‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman’ is a marvelous musical moment and brought tears to my eyes) and after the loss of their parents things only get worse.  Now fully grown, Anna is a naïve and desperate young woman seeking any attention she can get, and Elsa is distant and misunderstood.  On the night of Elsa coronation things go amuck and her secret is exposed to disastrous consequences, and soon Elsa is forced to flee and Anna is left to track her down and ‘thaw’ her town.

Now, many have balked before seeing the film that Anna is reduced to yet another Disney stereotype, a girl who needs a man to get the job done.  Ignorance is bliss, I suppose, but ‘Frozen’ certainly takes a different approach that the one expected and presents us with a lovable tomboy, a klutz who takes risks and places faith and is willing to ‘take the bull by the horns’, even when its beyond her reach.  Sure, she is aided by a man, but she doesn’t need him around (and even the twist at the end where it could have easily fallen into stereotype of ‘man saves the day’ turns out to be even more sincere and honest in the way it finally comes out).  Anna is a great role model for young girls (and surprisingly, so is Elsa) and the beautiful bond created by Disney here is unlike anything I’ve seen them do before.

Yes, while the film does eventually give is an antagonist (albeit ever so briefly and the way the villain is handled is light and a very nice change of pace), the beauty of ‘Frozen’ is that the chief antagonist is not a singular person but the inner struggle to be accepted and understood.  Elsa is not a monster, she is simply scared or herself and what she may do to those whom she loves.  ‘Frozen’ does a marvelous job of portraying the bond between sisters and the lengths each will go to protect and love the other.

My daughter was in tears over their separation; that is how heartfelt this portrayal is.

‘Frozen’, in my eyes, is one of the best things Disney has done; ever.  The film is a modern-day classic and one that is sure to be remembered and regarded as a beloved nod to the Disney Renaissance with obvious modern twists and its own identity.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that I can see this being spoken of in the same circles as ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Cinderella’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’.  While ‘Tangled’ certainly helped Disney regain their footing after some serious dips in quality, ‘Frozen’ completely redeems them and proves that they are still as magical as they ever were.

Take that Pixar!

And let’s just talk about the musical angle for just a moment.  This is one of those rare gifts that actually feel like a true Broadway show.  The use of music is integral to the feel of the story, and the glorious visual expanse helps create an epic and ‘larger than life’ reality.  When Elsa has her big number (‘Let it Go’ is one of the greatest Disney ballads of all time, easily) you can feel the goose-bumps and your heart starts beating faster.  This is a beautifully nostalgic reminder of the power of Disney, and it helps bring those same chills and thrills to a new and younger generation.  I have never seen my daughter so excited to be watching a film as I saw her while watching ‘Frozen’. 

It carries a different feeling.

I give this an A+ in a heartbeat.  It filled me with so much joy!  Instant classic and one of the best times I’ve had in the theater in a LONG time.  Oscar better bite here, and I mean Best Animated Picture and Best Original Song (and please nominate ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman’ too) and Sound Mixing should be on their radar as well.  I’d easily throw this a Screenplay nom at the moment, but I highly doubt Oscar will even consider it (especially since it would be Adapted) but they could ignite with passion for this.  This really should be considered for Best Picture, especially in an expanded field, but I have a feeling that isn’t going to happen. 

Oh, and Demi Lovato has to perform at the Oscars...she just HAS TO!!!

I loved, loved, loved this and I highly recommend it!  Disney has returned!  


  1. Great review man. I wasn't expecting much either, but you've really got me excited to see this now. I should catch it by next week. Can't wait!

    1. I honestly couldn't have asked for more here.

  2. I was judging this at first as well and man was i wrong! and i'm with you for the musical aspects! But i'd want Idina Menzel to perform instead! XD

  3. Awesome review Andrew! I'm still reading your answers to my Five for the Fifth but when you linked your review I just had to read it! I too felt underwhelmed by the trailer but glad that it's another case of 'meh trailer, great movie!' I can't wait to see this now, as you know I grew up w/ Disney Princess movies and I adore Tangled!

    1. You'll love this! I can't wait to hear what you think of it.

  4. Excellent review. I absolutely love this movie, not just because it deals with the bonds of siblinghood and the struggles of acceptance, but also because of how it breaks and pokes fun at typical tropes of Disney princess movies (i.e, people pointing out how Anna gets engaged to a man she just met, etc.). It certainly deserved the two Oscars it won. While it winning Best Animated Feature was a given, I was relieved "Let It Go" won Best Song over "Ordinary Love" because of the latter won, it would've been mostly politically based like how "Glory" won over "Everything Is Awesome" this year.

    1. Yeah, I was afraid that this would lose that Song Oscar to the Mandela movie for a brief minute, but the force was strong in this one and it prevailed, thank god!