Friday, November 29, 2013

Joe Reviews: Frozen

So after the holiday glut and the battle royal that is Black Friday, it might be nice to spend the rest of the weekend in the theater, if you aren't already in the emergency room. Disney is happy to accommodate the post-Thanksgiving need with its latest fantasy princess fest Frozen.
Frozen follows Ella and Anna, two princesses of the kingdom of Disney-Copied-Norway Land. As children Ella discovers that she has the power to create ice and snow, and while it's cool at first she accidentally injures her little sister with her power and is told by a pack of trolls that she must learn to control her powers. Her parents, who have apparently have not read any X-Men comics, decide to isolate her and pretend that she has now powers. They don't do this in a cruel way, there's no Fiona's dragon guarded ca
stle scenario happening, they just teach her that isolation would be best so she doesn't hurt anyone else. Years pass and a plot convenient storm wipes out the parents, because Disney is the greatest killer of parents next to a Black Friday deal on Poke'mon cards, and Elsa inherits the throne. At the coronation dance however, Anna confronts her sister about shutting her out their entire lives, Elsa gets upset, reveals her powers, and runs away into the mountains, all while accidentally setting off a cursed winter that freezes the land. Anna then has to head up the mountain and find her sister before the land turns into the last half of The Day After Tomorrow.

Okay, that all took place in the first 20 or so minutes and there's still a lot to go.

Here's the thing about Frozen: It's one of the most complicated Disney films I've ever seen, since I grew up and realized that Fantasia was several small stories and not one long strange story about dinosaurs protecting hippo ballerinas...
The film is complicated not just because of its story but because of its emotions and characters. Frozen explores concepts rarely touched on in Disney films, or even films in general, particularly why some people choose to shut others out and what happens to the people around the isolated. Anna truly loves her sister but at one point just can't keep putting energy and effort into reaching out to someone who has shut her down so completely. It nearly brought me to tears, though I cry at most Disney movies anyway (WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DIE, MUFOSA?!)
Conveying the complex emotions, like in most Disney animated films is of course the music. That whole plot piece I gave you earlier is conveyed almost entirely in song, which is kind of a double-edged sword. The songs themselves range from your average Disney "I want" song to a fun little love ditty I enjoyed, to a sweeping song about isolation and freedom that I'm downloading from Amazon as we speak. The problem is that by the time Elsa gets to the mountains I was getting a bit song weary and with the rest of the movie to go I was leery whenever someone opened their mouth for fear of yet another tune.

Speaking of fearing of opening their mouths, this film has a sidekick that's been smeared across the advertising like dirt on a white rug, a little talking snowman named Olaf. Whenever I'd see this character leading up to the film I cringed, remembering all the stupid Disney sidekicks I've hated in the past, like Pegasus and Zazu, and when I heard this thing got a song I looked for it like one looks for the serial killer in a horror film. Luckily, while Olaf does get tedious near the end, he has some legitimately funny lines here and there and he tends to stay
out of everyone's way most of the time so he didn't really get on my nerves. The sidekick the ads rarely mentioned was this reindeer they meet later on. The thing doesn't talk, but conveys so much personality from his big dopey eyes alone that I fell in love with him the instant I saw him.

So despite the annoying sidekick and the soundtrack that resembles Les Miserable, I highly recommend seeing Frozen. It's Disney not at it's best but actually striving to hit a new best, combining the fairy tale world with emotions real people deal with. Also you noticed that I didn't give a full plot synopsis, that's because there's an actual twist in the film. Yeah, a Disney film has a legitimate twist that's so important I can't talk about it because it would almost ruin the movie.

Well played, mouse. Well played.


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