FRANCESCO VIOLA III
Disney’s “Frozen” was one of the most anticipated movies of the year and had huge expectations to live up to. Being the third movie in Disney’s renewed interest in princess, fairy tale movies, the first two being the critically acclaimed “Princess and the Frog” and “Tangled” the creators of “Frozen” had a lot of pressure on their backs going into the production. Fortunately for them, “frozen” doesn’t only live up to expectations, it exceeds them.
The plot of Frozen is one of the more interesting Disney stories in years. Princess Anna, played by Kristen Bell, has spent her life alone in a castle with her older sister Princess Elsa, played by Idina Menzel, after their parents died at sea. Despite Anna trying to have a connection with Elsa, Elsa has kept herself isolated in order to hide her unusual, and somewhat uncontrolled, power to create and control snow and ice. Eventually, it is time for Elsa to become queen, which requires her for the first time in years to open the castle to the public and to interact with her subjects. At first she is able to hide her powers, but when Anna questions Elsa for pushing her away for years, Elsa loses control of her power and runs away into the mountains, leaving the kingdom in an endless winter. Anna decides she is going to find her sister and bring her back, which is where the story focuses on.
The story works very well because it keeps it’s focus on the two main characters, Anna and Elsa. Their character arcs and interactions not only provide humor, but complex drama about isolation and about the love that siblings share. These ideas are explored in a much deeper way than the average animated film. The well written dialogue obviously helps, but many of the more minor details, such as the facial expressions of the characters and the imagery all contribute the drama and ideas of the movie. Despite this, there is one noticeable problem that hinders the plot: It moves along at way too fast of a pace. It feels like scenes are missing from the movie at times, and because of this it seems at times that the characters and themes of the movie aren’t getting as much development as they should. Again, what is in the film is wonderful, but the movie should have been at least 2 and a half hours, but instead it’s only 1 hour and 48 min. This flaw is noticeable, but it can be ignored however because of the wonderful performances by the cast.
Each actor in the film becomes fully invested in their character and leaves the audience enchanted. Kristen Bell does a great job as Anna, providing a sense of wonder, optimism and tenacity through her voice alone. Broadway alumni Idina Menzel provides another fabulous performance and is the best actor in the entire film. Her subtext and tactics provide depth and emotional realism to Elsa so even a character who can magically control the winter feels like real human being. In addition to the strong performances of the two leads, the actors for the side characters also provide great performances. Jonathan Groff, the voice of Kristoff, does a great job making a character who didn’t get as much screen time as he needed still feel like a three dimensional character. Josh Gad, the voice of comic relief character Olaf, performs his lines hilariously and perfectly fitting of the character. Acting ability is not the only talent of the cast. They all excel in the art of singing; creating many memorable and classic songs.
The songs in “Frozen” are some of the best songs that Disney has written in a long, long time. They are catchy, well written, and incredibly enjoyable. The soundtrack also has enough variety to keep each one interesting. Let It Go for example is a dramatic and uplifting song. While In Summer is a comedic song, showing how hilarious the film can be.
The comedy isn’t just present in that song. It is consistently hilarious throughout due to it’s witty dialogue and visual gags. The movie constantly pokes fun at old Disney cliches, like the idea of falling in love with someone you just met for example, and has ideas that are simply hilarious. Olaf for example is a snowman who dreams about living in the summer, without actually knowing what would happen to him in the summer time. The movies clever writing and hilarious dialogue are a perfect compliment to the movie’s beautiful animation.
Disney has always been known for providing jaw dropping animation, but Frozen may just be the most beautifully animated movie in Disney history. The movie uses the winter environment of the film to it’s fullest potential by creating mesmerizing ice castles and sculptors to create a wonderful looking world. But that’s not even the film’s greatest achievement in animation, as the scenes with Elsa using her powers provide some of the most amazingly animated scenes in all of film history. It is a truly special thing to watch.
Frozen is one of the best Disney movies in years and is truly deserving of all the praise it has been getting. Despite the poor pacing of the movie, it is a thrill for anyone, anywhere, at anytime. Frozen deserves a 9 out of 10.