The Snow Queen: The Musical
Good news first: Frozen will please its core audience. It’s a cute, cuddly little fairy tale movie with a lot of music and a lot of misplaced optimism. Kids will enjoy it, and there’s a solid chance that the parents might enjoy it too. The bad news: It’s the same Disney Princess movie you’ve seen for the past 50 times now.
Based loosely on the Danish fairy tale “The Snow Queen”, Frozen follows the story of two princess sisters, Anna (Kirsten Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel). Being enclosed in a castle all of her life, Anna is a cheery, energetic, happy and overly-optimistic princess who would marry a man after getting to know him for just one day.
Elsa, however, does not have the luxury of being optimistic. Cursed with the ability to create snow and ice at a young age, Elsa has soon realized that she cannot control her powers and decides to escape before she does her kingdom, and her sister, any harm. Now determined to find her sister and mend the relationships that were shattered long ago, Anna sets out with a ice picker named Kristoff (Johnathon Groff), his reindeer Sven and an animate snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad) to find Elsa and save the kingdom.
Written by Jennifer Lee (Wreck-It Ralph) and co-directed by Chris Buck (Tarzan), Frozen is by definition, a family movie. It’s driven by a childish energy, a lively and undiminished spirit that fills children with joy through its wonderful music and its bright, colorful animation.
The characters are enthusiastic (at times, annoyingly so), with the most likable character being a midget snowman called Olaf. Olaf is just funny. He’s the kind of oblivious, clumsy snowman that bumbles around like a lego stick figure, losing his body parts every five minutes, stumbling to get them all back together, and put it on straight before the snow monster eats him. “Go! I’ll distract him!” his head said in one scene as everyone ran away, including his body. “No! Wait! Not you! I was talking to them!”
He also has a ironic fascination to the sun, fire and heat, not realizing what effect they have on snow.
All in all, Frozen is a fun movie. But if you’ve seen Tangled, then you’ve already seen Frozen before. The two movies are so similar, so mirrored in appearance, character, story and animation that the only real difference in between both is that Frozen takes place in a winter wonderland.
See, the problem doesn’t exist in the movie itself: the problem exists in what earlier Disney movies did first and better. Tangled is not the only movie where we’ve seen this story about self-discovery and relationship building. Look at virtually any other Diseny Princess movie on their filmography, including Brave, Mulan, Pocahantus, Princess and the Frog, etc etc. No, none of those movies deals with the theme of sisterhood, but does it need to? Those movies are still so similar in personalities, humor and musical numbers that the story becomes a copy-and-paste convenience rather than an original pleasure.
However, understand that this is not a critical observation of the movie, but rather a neutral one. I stress this point again: this movie will please its core audience, which is little children, the parents of those children and the hardcore Disney lovers. By all means, if you want to see the movie, go ahead and see it. Chances are you’ll enjoy it more than this Scrooge going “Bah humbug” in the corner of the newsroom.
Good review David. Nice to see a family flick that actually is for everybody in the family.