Saturday, 22 February 2014

Disney's 'Frozen' Film Review

After initially putting it off for fear of it not living up to the 'Tangled' effect, the critical acclaim (Academy Award nominated for Best Animated feature and Best Original Song) and constant praise from friends who have seen it led me to finally give it a go three months after its original premiere in November (the long run is another indication of its awesomeness).

Elsa was born with magical ice powers, but when she freezes her beloved sister Anna by accident whilst playing, she vows to keep her powers a secret forever. On the day of her coronation, Elsa's secret is exposed and she flees Erindale, leaving it in eternal Winter. 

Desperate to find her sister and restore Summer to Erindale, Anna embarks on a frosty journey, along with Kristoff and his reindeer Sven, as well as a talking snowman Olaf, encountering trolls and an ice giant. Will Anna be able to convince her sister to return?

The film's content lends itself to the dramatic snowscapes created, imagining a world of icy detail and beautiful cold hues. The frozen droplets on willow like branches was an impressive visual, but perhaps the stand out of the whole movie is the erection of Elsa's ice palace, crafted with hard edges, smooth surfaces and geometric forms, even to the finest detail. The sharded chandelier and the reflective quality of light within the space was an animation feat, producing a real spectacle.

With regards to Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf, the ensemble almost too closely resembles that of Tangled's Rapunzel, Flynn, Pascal and Maximus. Nonetheless, they are liked for the same reasons and has some distinct qualities.

One slight annoyance is the character of Hans, who kind of has a drastic and inconsistent portrayal. The lack of strength from the antagonist(s) were also a slight minor point; it seems the film was missing a strong baddie. That said, the internal struggles of Elsa, who herself is at times villainous, was purely evident and was perhaps more focused.

The plot picked up pretty quickly and though initially straightforward, delineated after Anna finds Elsa. Though plot lines wavered at this point, it was held together by a strong visual and comedic progression, held together by the likeable characters.

Thematically, the film's focus on family was a pleasant change, but the retention of romantic themes give it that classic Disney feel. The deep, confused and reserved relationship between Anna and Elsa contrasted between the awkward banter between Anna and Kristoff gives a range of cinematic opportunities.

The movie constantly throws giggles at you and intersperses these funny scenes with dramatic or moving sequences, taking you on a dynamic and exciting emotional journey. Though slightly predictable and has a typical Disney resolve, the ending was sweet and moving.

On a side note, it was particularly pleasant to have an Easter egg during the movie, when a glimpse of Rapunzel and Flynn could be seen as guests enter the palace for Elsa's coronation. What's more the short post credits scene was sweet.

Musically, the film has a more coherent soundtrack that was much more well rounded than Tangled's but none of the songs give me as many chills as 'I See The Light', but 'Let It Go' does come close. Scored by Christophe Beck (Paperman), the sound track topped the US charts and is an addictive collection of moving ballads and upbeat tracks that will surely get stuck in your head!

Kristen Bell- Anna
Idina Menzel- Elsa
Josh Gad- Olaf
Jonathan Groff- Kristoff
Santino Fontana- Hans

'Frozen' is an almost too similar follow up to 'Tangled', but debatably surpasses the former commercially and musically. The mix of humour and emotional scenes make this a more complex and dynamic animation film, perfect for adults and children alike. 

The film will almost certainly finally pick up the 'Best Animated Feature' for Disney Animation Studios at the Oscars in March, as commercial competitors, 'Despicable Me 2' and 'The Croods' just doesn't make the cut. The only real competition is Miyazaki's 'The Wind Rises', but it's surely about time Disney won one without Pixar!

'Frozen' is the second highest grossing Disney film, behind only 'The Lion King', which shows it has received a lot of public love- My friend who I saw this saw this for the fourth time with me! It is still in cinemas now, even after three months, so go catch it if you haven't already!

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