“The cold never bothered me anyway.”
GUESS WHO’S BACK…it’s me.
I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving/Hanukkah/Thanksgivukkah/Christmas/any holiday with a year’s worth of calories! And GET EXCITED. Because I bring news of great joy: Disney is officially back in the game…without Pixar’s help.
I know, right?
This is just one girl’s personal opinion, but I think that Disney has been off-kilter for quite some time now – specifically in the musical department. I wasn’t a huge fan of The Princess and the Frog, and something about Tangled reminded me way too much of Shrek. During the 1990s, I could always count on Mickey Mouse for some musical magic…but, lately, it’s just been lacking. I was honestly beginning to think that an original story and Broadway-worthy songs are things of the past – at least in animation.
But I do love when movies surprise me.
Tagging along with my family to see Frozen was probably the best part about being home for break. Family, films, and music…three of my favorite things about the holidays. Some are saying Disney’s newest film is the Beauty and the Beast of the 21st century. I don’t think it’s as good as that particular film…but it comes pretty damn close. Without further ado, this is Disney’s Frozen. Also, there be spoilers – you’ve been warned.
If you’re a regular reader, you know I usually tackle aesthetics first…but I can’t save this for later. The music is UNBELIEVABLE.
IDINA MENZEL. Playing a misunderstood loner, as usual.
It was a smart move on Disney’s part to enlist some fresh talent. Composers Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez wrote the original, Broadway-style musical numbers…Avenue Q and Book of Mormon fans will definitely recognize the Lopez name. And if “Let It Go” doesn’t win Best Original Song at the Academy Awards, then I QUIT. I said I was gonna quit last year when Brave robbed Wreck-It Ralph, but, this time, I’m really gonna QUIT…something. What should I quit? Daydreaming about grilled peanut butter sandwiches? Maybe.
Back to the music: Frozen has some of the best original music in a Disney film since The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And that’s going back awhile. Trust me, you will leave the theatre humming a tune…when was the last time that happened to you? Music and Broadway lovers, you’re definitely in for a treat.
My sister did bring up one interesting critique though…the music kinda stops just prior to the film’s climax. And, I do find it strange that Frozen doesn’t end with a musical number, or even a brief reprise of an earlier song – the last song heard in the film is a cutesy little ensemble number about two main characters possibly getting married…for me, probably the weakest song in the movie too. Nevertheless, the music is still great…so great that I wish there were more of it.
The animation is spectacular as well. These animators really did their homework when it came to capturing the essence of ice – definitely not an easy element to convey. It’s crisp, detailed, and colorful…some of the choreography is beautiful too. Seriously, Disney, put this on Broadway – it’s ready.
And the characters: all I can say is Frozen offers us the most compelling Disney princess since Belle. I’m talking about Elsa (Idina Menzel), or the Snow Queen.
She’s not the villain, but she is afraid of who she truly is…what she’s capable of. It’s an angle rarely seen in female Disney characters. So, the audience easily sympathizes with her, um…icy demeanor. Elsa isn’t necessarily the protagonist – she’s the engine behind the film’s plot, yet her screen time is somewhat limited. But, she is the most human, relatable, and flawed character in the film – I adored her.
Kristen Bell voices Anna, Elsa’s sister and the film’s heroine. She’s not as memorable and complex as her sister, but she’s uniquely awkward, goofy, and likable as well. Plus, who knew Kristen Bell could sing?
Lastly, as annoying as side characters can sometimes be, Olaf the talking snowman (Josh Gad) is NOT the painfully irritating holiday-movie cliché that I dreaded. In fact…he’s undeniably cute and freakin’ hilarious, and that’s thanks to some inspired animation and TERRIFIC voice acting. Kudos to Broadway veteran Mr. Gad.
The plot ain’t bad either. As far as musicals go, Disney makes a nice change by shifting from its usual romantic focus to a sister-sister relationship. And not this sister-sister…
While I’m all for the serious girl-power in this movie…the male characters are really lacking some oompf! Except for Olaf, that is. Anna’s sidekick and love interest is Kristoff, voiced blandly by Jonathan Groff. He’s dull, forgettable, and doesn’t even get his own song, except for a little diddy that runs about 50 seconds on the soundtrack. Which makes NO SENSE since Jonathan Groff has a beautiful singing voice. His speaking voice on the other hand…? Yikes.
We also have Hans (Santino Fontana), another suitor of Anna’s who plays the wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s an unexpected villain…and I mean REALLY unexpected. So much so that it almost seems like an underdeveloped plot twist…and it is. You don’t see it coming because it was probably written in there at the last second. Leave it to Disney to decide that every film HAS to have a villain.
Well, at least Hans gets a song.
Honestly? Nada. At this point, weak villains are to be expected…I mean, have you read my blog?
Frozen is like a warm hug. And I like warm hugs…and if you’ve seen the movie, you know Olaf does too.
What I mean is, the film is so reminiscent of my childhood favorites, from The Little Mermaid to Aladdin. Without a doubt, Frozen will hold its own in the canon of Disney musical classics, like no other animated film in the 21st century has so far. It’s almost like a third Golden Age of Disney is on the horizon. Frozen glimmers like a wintry omen of good things to come, in terms of music, visuals, and storytelling. Welcome back, Disney.
Phew, a little out of practice with the blogging – it’s been a VERY busy season, with finals, the holidays, you name it. I hope you guys understand…I’ll get my groove back, no worries. Happy holidays, and thanks for reading!