Jul 1, 2017

Posted by in Movies, Review | 0 Comments

Frozen is as ice-cold as its title [review]

Frozen is as ice-cold as its title [review]

(2 / 5) ***this review contains spoilers***

It’s very hard to rate Frozen since I’m tempted to give it fewer stars just to kick at this ridiculous pedestal it’s been put on! But, I guess I did enjoy it, kind of, especially because it was visually gorgeous. So, Mr. Integrity obliges me to rate it 6 out of 10. If you consider how important storytelling is for me in entertainment, that’s a pretty good rate for this piece of… snowball.

Stunning visuals aside – yes, I admit lots of Disney magic was put in the design of the movie – it… just… isn’t… that… good… compared to other classic Disney animations. Tangled, to name but one example rises above Frozen like a giant above an ant and crushes it without even paying attention. Why aren’t people all over the globe singing ‘Flower gleam and glow’ instead of ‘Let it Go’?!

Granted, the acting in Frozen is more than decent. Kristen Bell who plays Anna has a wonderful singing voice. But on the narrative level, this movie really borders more on bad than on decent.

Either the writers of this movie were really tired when they wrote the script or just very lazy. At the start of the movie, it’s not even clear where the story is headed. It may be ‘original’ to have a story with two protagonists but very hard to handle well. Although I loved Anna as a character, I think focusing on Elsa trying to control her powers might have been more interesting. Split-screening between the two just didn’t really work. You didn’t really get to know either of the characters.

Another disappointment was the lack of pay-offs in Frozen.

  • You would think Kristoff’s obsession with ice should wind him up with Elsa…
  • You would think that they wouldn’t spoil a corny love song on a couple that doesn’t wind up together. Why waste songs on bad relationships?
  • You would think a guy who distributes blankets just out of the goodness of his heart would not turn evil for no other reason than to have a surprise villain…

I mean, everyone loves a good twist but ‘just suddenly changing a character’ is not a twist. It’s not ‘original’ to turn a character evil without a credible motivation and without traceable foreshadowing. Anna meets Hans completely by accident so there could not have been premeditated evil intentions. She’s not even the crown princess!

This twisted twist feels more like a poor attempt to screw with the moral code: “Let’s make this guy evil ‘all of a sudden’ so she can date the other guy without feeling guilty.”

Explain this to me then: Why would Hans lock Elsa up if he could have killed her? If he intended to become king and had no knowledge of Elsa’s power or what would happen, why would he lock her up and allow her to escape? What kind of a paper towel villain is that? Instead, he tells everyone she’s dead too soon while she escapes.

Also, besides the fact that ‘the frozen puppet told her so’ based on ‘who knows’, there is more romantic tension between my hairbrush and the spot of toothpaste in the sink that between Anna and Kristoff. What’s the function of that silly snowman anyway except for failing an attempt at ‘comic relief’. An opportunity for Disney merchandise?

What. Is. This?

While Tangled had an awesome clear storyline, the real tangle is in the story-spaghetti of Frozen. So many perspectives, so many plotlines, … This is a children’s story! The audience loses complete track of the main storyline. What is the main story anyway?

  • Is it a classic love story? No. They seem to deliberately and stubbornly want to avoid this.
  • Is it the story of two sisters who care about each other? Probably, but is that enough to build an entire movie on?
  • Is it about selfishness and abandoning your responsibilities? Yes, but there is no clear answer to that like there IS in the Lion King (a timeless classic that remains awesome to this day).
  • Is it the about Elsa trying to manage her powers and a kingdom? Hmm, some manager. Can you really say she succeeds in the end?

Wouldn’t it have made more sense to focus on Elsa then? What if Elsa had run away and had ended up traveling with Kristoff? What if, in the meanwhile, Anna – who was never meant to become queen – was having trouble handling an entire kingdom with the product of a day-long relationship? That could have been more interesting already than having some match-making trolls sing a forced relationship into being…

Elsa Frozen

Please, explain it to my alien self…

Maybe I’m too critical of a children’s movie but seriously, I don’t get it. So many people adored this story but there were so many loose ends in it. Also, it was really difficult to know and like the characters. And what’s with all the double standards of all these crazed adults who are blind to all the flaws of this movie, yet critical of similar mistakes in other animations?

Tangled does manage to do all of those things really well and still… who’s is singing Tangled-songs or buying Tangled-merchandise? A melting snowman may be cooler than a chameleon but only literally. Pascal was awesome! The Disney version of Rapunzel even emulated the original! (Seriously, who agrees to the proposal of a witch to exchange her firstborn for a kind of lettuce?!) And, really, I think the music and lyrics in Tangled were much better than the forgettable – if people would stop singing them that is – Frozen songs. Only after I had watched the movie did I learn that Alan Menken had nothing to do with the music for Frozen. And I remember thinking: ‘Yeah, that makes sense’. You have this fairytale frozen wasteland that could have had a soundtrack like Edward Scissorhands or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and instead, there’s so little magic in the score it’s actually conspicuous.

As it happens, I watched Enchanted the day before I first saw Frozen. And again, I could not help noticing that music as well as humor, pacing and narrative structure, … it’s all done much better in Enchanted than in Frozen. The latter is clearly missing a good story, a clear narrative build-up. Moreover, it is missing Alan Menken, which makes it a ‘fun to watch’ movie way below Disney standards (animation standards, that is, don’t get me started on The Force Awakens…). The characters left me stone cold and that’s coming from someone who shed tears as soon as the introduction of Beauty and the Beast started (with that camera traveling through a forest with waterfall towards the castle of the not-yet-enchanted prince).

I can’t get rid of the feeling that Frozen wants to send a cynical message into the world. Except for the sister’s true love ‘twist’ that wasn’t all that surprising at all it kind of states that love on first sight doesn’t exist (but shared experience and silly troll songs might work), that relationships can end when your love interest suddenly decides he’s been evil his entire life, that it’s okay to abandon your people for a little ‘personal development’, etc.

Other than its gorgeous visual shell, Frozen leaves me very empty. It certainly doesn’t move me enough to join the mass hysteria. I’d rewatch Maleficent, Tangled or Enchanted any day but I think I would use the Frozen DVD as a coaster if I owned it. Or I would put it right next to masterpieces like Aquarium and Fireplace for mood-setting once in a while…

Are you one of those humans completely under the spell of Frozen? Then please, explain to me what the fuss is all about. Does it meet the standards of some invisible social justice checklist I’m not aware of? Or did I miss a couple of scenes due to technical problems? No, really, if you have the answer, I would LOVE to read it in the comments section. Maybe I am missing something…

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