Thursday, January 9, 2014


Princesses Elsa and Anna are sisters and best friends until Elsa's power over ice and snow gets away from her and she hurts Anna. Elsa completely pulls away, locking herself away from the world and working to control her powers by suppressing her emotions. Their parents downsize the staff and close the gates to Arendelle to reduce the danger Elsa poses to others. Anna feels abandoned and both girls feel utterly alone. Years later, their parents die in a boating accident, making Elsa the queen of Arendelle. She is forced to open the gates and hold a coronation celebration. The coronation goes well, but her powers are revealed after a heated argument with Anna. She runs away, leaving a wake of ice and snow, making the much needed summer into winter in Arendelle. Anna feels it's her responsibility to make amends with Elsa and convince her to life the supernatural winter.

Frozen is a fun film with charming characters and an unexpected ending. Anna and Elsa are both sympathetic characters who feel alienated and alone. I just want to give Elsa a great big hug. She tries her best to contain her powers and her feelings, sacrificing her close relationship with her sister in order to shield her from harm. She is forced to hide a fundamental part of herself in order to appear normal and utterly fails, causing harm to her entire community. I"m glad she wasn't a real villain as in the original story (which is very weird and religious), but a person trying her best and making mistakes. Anna is funny, quirky, and definitely not the poised and graceful Disney princess one might expect. She's very clumsy and embarrassingly blurts out her feelings to random people. She just wants a real relationship with her sister, to be able to make friends, and to have people around instead of cutting themselves off. My favorite character is Olaf, the living snowman who loves warm hugs. He provides perfect comic relief and he's just adorable.

Disney films are rather guilty of having two people fall in love rather quickly based on next to nothing and then living happily ever after. It seems as if this film goes in that direction when Anna falls for Prince Hans of the Southern Isles and accepts a proposal within an evening of meeting. When Anna is once again injured by Elsa's magic, her condition is said to be cured by an act of true love, suggesting Hans should save the day. The ending switches things around and Anna is cured because she threw herself in front of Elsa as Hans tried to kill her. The true love in this instance wasn't romantic love, but sisterly love. I really enjoyed this subverting of typical Disney tropes and the story is the best Disney has produced in a while.

The music of the film is delightful and another reason for the film's success. The filmmakers opted to hire Broadway composers to create these fun songs of varied styles. Do You Want to Build a Snowman is a cute, but sad song that encompasses Anna and Elsa's relationship after the accident and each of their loneliness and frustration. For the First Time in Forever is a cute song that shows Anna silly and quirky nature and her excitement for human contact and a dash of Elsa's mantra to control her powers. Love is an Open Door is an adorable instalove song between Anna and Hans with more of a rock feel and fun harmonies. In Summer is Olaf's hilarious song about his obsession with summer, but he has no idea what snow does in heat. The song has a nice old Hollywood musical flair and some unexpected lyrics. The best song of the film is Let It Go, Elsa's song of empowerment where she accepts herself despite what others think of her. Idina Menzel belts out the song and gives it the power it needs. The visuals are also amazing as Elsa effortlessly builds an ice castle around herself.

The only part of the film I didn't really like was the trolls. They were cute and provided some comedy, but didn't really add much to the story. They could have easily been cut out without anything essential being removed. Other than that, Frozen has my vote for best animated film of 2013.

My rating: 9/10 fishmuffins

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