Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Movie review: Disney's Frozen. Let it go, for the love of god, let the song go

Disney's Frozen, the love it or hate it title of 2013. You could not go anywhere without seeing adds for this movie. YouTube adds, Trams, and, of course, Let it go: the song that was everywhere. I'm going to be one of the few people to say this, I never saw Frozen at the Cinema. In fact, the first time I saw the movie was Mother's Day this year. Because of my studies last year, I didn't go to the cinema at all, and as a result, I never saw a trailer of Frozen. When the ads for it started popping up all over the place, I couldn't care about it as it didn't peak my interests. I stayed clear of all the reviews but that doesn't mean I missed the hype and the praise for it. Why I mention this? You’ll see latter.
While a lot of people would be willing to shove Frozen into the Disney Princess's section of movies, I struggle to do so because o just how much is different to it. Yes, the princess is the main character in the story (Princess Anna of Arendelle) the movie itself does a lot of things different to the princess movies of old. It takes the concept of "love at first sight", a concept that Disney perfected the art of, points at it, and laughs at it making everyone in the room laugh at it as well, the reason being is because the character Anna falls in love with, Hans, is actually the villain and takes advantage of the situation Anna is in (being that she will turn into a human shaped ice block). There's a happy ending at the end of the movie (like all Disney movies) but no marriage, something that is a staple in the Disney Princess movies (assuming my memory serves me well as I haven't seen a Disney Princess movie in "I don't even know how long it’s been" years), but the biggest change that it does to the formula is one thing and one thing only, something that breaks the formula of, not only the Princess movies, but almost every other Disney movie that uses the same formula. The Queen is not the villain. Queen Elsa, the one who sings the infamous song, that by all accounts according to said song is the villain, is actually more of an anti hero. Not evil, but shunned due to her powers over snow and ice.
Speaking of, all the main characters in the movie are well thought out, with each of them having distinct personalities (again, this coming from the man who hasn't watched a Disney princess movie since VCR's were common and normal) Anna is someone who wants attention, not for any cruel purpose, but because Elsa kept her distance due to her powers almost killing her when they were children, as per the parents decision. As a result, it was worse when the parents lost their lives. I should note, that before I continue, to the people who hate the fact that their princesses even though their parents are dead (like myself to a degree); Elsa does become queen when she comes of age latter on in the movie. Anna also comes off to me as a bit of a tomboy, while she still fantasises of her future husband and the day she marries, she also proves that she's not to strict on manners (at least in one scene) and that she's willing to go out and get things done on her own.
Elsa on the other hand is shy and self conscious of her powers, which actually makes the situation worse but... She's paranoid when she doesn't have a special pair of gloves on that somehow limit her powers. How? How should I know the movie doesn't say, the best explanation I can give is that it’s a Placebo. When she doesn't have the gloves on, her powers are harder to control until she goes out and makes an ice palace and sends the country into a never ending winter... Don’t you just love it when people let their powers control them? She does however become more confident with her powers and once she becomes accepted back into society (even though she is Queen...) she gains full control of her powers. That's actually the closest you’re going to get to a usual happy ending in this.
The other major character is Kristoff who acts as the counter for Anna. He's tamed compared to Anna, a smart ass at times, limiting contact with people except for Sven, his reindeer, and the other major characters of the story. His past isn't explained as well as Elsa or Anna's however because all that we know (or at least guess) is that he was raised to be an Ice farmer and then somehow found a home amongst some trolls. How you ask? It’s never explained.
The movie itself starts off with the impression that it’s going to be a musical, with most of the songs being in the first half. A lot of the songs are quite good (yes, this includes Let it go...) but they do feel forced. It shares this trait with High School Musical in my opinion but I think its executed better here. High School Musical was a mess of plot holes whereas with this, the songs lend themselves better to the story. There isn't anything like, for example, "Stick to the status quo" which stands out like a sore thumb because of the mixed messages it’s sending out. However, while Frozen at the start would work as a musical, the second half on the other hand, it comes off as they gave up trying to write songs for it as there's only one song, not including the credits.
So by the sounds of this, it looks like I enjoyed what I saw and while that's true, it’s only to a degree. The cinematography in Frozen is well done and it’s a joy to see. Frozen's biggest problem however was the hype it had. As I said at the start of this review, I was exposed to a lot of the feedback of the movie; people were calling it a "masterpiece" "one of the best movies they ever saw". On its own, the movie is quite good, but adding the hype into the mix, it drops significantly in quality purely due to expectations. I went into the movie thinking it was a masterpiece, and while it was good, a masterpiece is a stretch. It is worth watching, but don't go in with the hype.

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