December 7, 2013

Disney's Frozen

We decided to take our daughter to the theater to see Frozen for her first ever trip to the theater. I was pretty sure she was going to like it because it has princesses and it has singing; two things she is a pretty big fan of these days. At one hour and 20 minutes Frozen was right at her limit of being able to sit still in her seat. Remember, you have to count the 30 minutes because Dad insists on getting there early, and 15 minutes of previews and the Mickey short at the beginning. Overall the trip to the theater was a huge success. Our daughter loved everything about the movie except for the monster. She wasn’t a fan of him, and at one point was ready to leave the theater. We made at through and overall she had a great time, and I had a great time taking her.

I liked the music. It felt more true to the old-school Disney songs that I grew up with from The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. At first I didn’t know if I liked the song at the beginning with Anna and Hans, but in retrospect it was pretty good. I thought Elsa’s song as she built her ice castle was particularly good in the moment, very emotional, though Olaf’s song about summertime was my overall favorite. It is short, sweet, and clever.

There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about Frozen… well, except the story. It never made sense to me. The actions of characters didn’t make sense, and it was never clear how the townspeople were just okay with being closed off from the rest of the world while their future queen stayed hidden away in the castle. It seemed like people would be asking a few more questions.

The story also does a poor job explaining character motivations. Most of the time I was just happy to be along for the ride. It was a lot of fun. However, it was best not to stop and think about why the characters were doing the things they were doing.

The story also struggles with the literal vs symbolic significance of Elsa freezing Anna’s head and heart. When she got her head frozen at the beginning the troll fixed her, and presumably had to remove all of Anna’s memories of Elsa doing her ice magic. As we find out later that doesn’t really work. Anna seems to have some deep-seated memories that come through later on. I understand the symbolic meaning of each, but how the story played on the literal meaning of freezing her heart didn’t make much sense. The characters’ efforts to fix her at the end also seem to be based on flawed logic.

I don’t think any of these are deal-breakers. The movie was still a ton of fun to watch. I feel like most other Disney movies keep the story very basic and very simple so we know exactly what is going on. Frozen drifts into some odd story elements for an animated film. It might actually make more sense on a second viewing, and my criticisms would be rendered inert.

I’m sure we will buy this movie for my daughter as soon as it comes out on bluray. She will undoubtedly watch it hundreds of times and she will love every minute of it… and I won’t mind watching it with her some of the time. Even though I really liked Tangled from a few years ago, and the story makes more sense with that film, I think Frozen is better.

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