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Wednesday
Dec042013

Movie Review: 'Frozen'

Frozen

Starring Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad
Directed by Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Rated PG


I think I can say with a good amount of certainty that all of us out there have a favorite Disney movie.  Whether it’s something like Fox and the Hound (which is one of mine), 101 Dalmatians or maybe’s it something of the Pixar variety (for which I am a big fan of The Incredibles).  Point being, Disney is pretty ingrained in our lives, whether we like it or not.  But Disney deserves a huge amount of credit for making animation not just something you see on a Saturday morning, or something you see as just for kids, even with those kids being their target demographic.  And while Disney Animation may have taken a back seat for a bit of time after it’s boom of the 90’s and letting Pixar take the lead, they’ve seemed to find their 90’s groove again.  Case in point:  Frozen.

Truth be told I wasn’t expecting to like Frozen as much as I did.  It actually took a good day and a second draft of this review to realize how much I enjoyed a movie that my 5 year old niece will probably flip out over.  Frozen is unassuming in what it’s really presenting to the audience …a wolf in sheep’s clothing if you will.  But beyond what my thoughts are the biggest questions for Frozen is will it play to its core audience?  And does it play smartly to its audience (neither talking down nor completely abandoning moviegoers)?  The answer to both questions is yes.  But Disney, beyond the occasional moments of manipulating your emotions, has done a pretty good job with both questions.  Frozen may never be recognized as being one of the best animated Disney films of all time, but it’s a film that can hold its head high.

Frozen is essentially about 2 sisters, both heirs to the throne in the kingdom of Arendelle.  Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) is ever the optimist; he sister who just wants to hang out with her older sister Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) and play and have fun.  But Elsa has a power that allows her to make everything turn to ice and after an accident involving Anna; she confines herself to her room so that she won’t hurt not only her sister but anyone else.  Elsa is going to be crowned Queen (their parents died in a tragic accident at sea) so the castle gates are open to allow the kingdom to come join in the coronation/celebration.  Anna, during this celebration meets Hans(voiced by Santino Fontana), a prince and the man Anna feels is her true love.  Elsa doesn’t agree and the ensuing argument with Anna ends with the Kingdom of Arendelle trapped in a frozen winter and Elsa fleeing the Kingdom.  Anna goes looking for Elsa. It is on this trip that Anna encounters Olaf (voice by Josh Gad) a talking snowman who just wants to be a snowman in the summer time and Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff) and mountain man with his trusty reindeer Sven.  Together they battle the elements to find Elsa and hopefully save the Kingdom.

There is a lot going on with Frozen (which is actually inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s the Snow Queen) than meets the eye.  On the surface it just seems like a simple tale two sisters, broken apart by an accident, one helping the other realize that she is needed and loved by the people around her.  But dig a little deeper and you find issues of abandonment,  co-dependency, you know fun stuff that every kid wants to see.  But it's not like those issues are front and center, but it's cool to see the filmmakers taking things a little bit more seriously.  With that being said, this is a great movie for kids, lots of songs, lots of great visual images and funny at times (I even laughed a couple of  times, so a younger one will definitely find humor).  And as I mentioned before, the movie never puts its self above it's audience, young or old.  

And thats all I really have to say about Frozen.  Go see it, if you have kids, or maybe just enjoy a good animated film, you won't go wrong here.  But be careful, the songs might get stuck in your head, as one of them did for an entire day with me.  Yep, I'm man enough to say that.

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