Frozen (2013) (PG)

I hate it when I'm talking about how bad a film is and someone says, "But it's a kid's movie." as if that suddenly justifies all the wrongs of the film. Yes, it's true, kid's movies shouldn't be deeply philosophical works—their morals should be just at the surface level so everyone can clearly see them. But that doesn't mean that kid's movies have to be bad...the opposite, in fact, should be true. There are some great kid's movies, masterpieces even—so to claim that the lack of effort, phoned in one-liners, and two dimensional characters are fine because the entertainment is only for impressionable young minds who don't "know any better" or can't tell the difference between a fine piece of cinema and cheap trash is insulting at best. So "it's a kid's movie"....fine, if you're going to use that then I'm going to apply that to every other genre—"it's only a drama", "but it's a horror movie", etc....I think I've exhausted my point.
That being said, Disney's newest venture back into "classic" mode (based on a Hans Christian Andersen work) is in no way a bad movie...yet it is a far cry from perfect.
The movie begins with a morbid prologue. There are two sisters who are princesses of Arendelle (yes, it does sound like it belongs in "The Lord of the Rings" movies). The older sister, Elsa, has magical powers. She can freeze things. Her younger sister, Anna, is too young to yet be jealous of Elsa's powers and enjoys playing in the snow with her insta-freeze-sibling. But one night, when Anna awakens Elsa to play in the snow, something goes wrong. Elsa accidentally shoots a magic beam of ice towards Anna's head, giving her the brain freeze of death.
Mom and dad take Anna to the trolls who then cure her, but rid her of the memories of her sister's magic. This will have to be the way things are. Anna will have to be shut-off from Elsa. As her powers continue to randomly appear, the king and queen shove Elsa deeper into isolation so that no ray of sunshine can penetrate her cold, that's a little dreary isn't it?
Typical of Disney films, we have to have some rift in the family so what better than a rise to power at a young age after essentially being kept prisoner? Elsa must hide her gifts...a plot that becomes a lot harder than originally thought.
Elsa ascends to become the queen. Her coronation goes well but in the after party that occurs, she is shoved into conversation with Anna...someone she has barely spoken to over the past years. The two seem happy to see each other...but then a man gets in the way. A charming prince and Anna fall in love at first sight. They sing a song about how they are so right for each other. They approach Elsa and ask for her blessing in marriage....and then things start to go sour.
We are left with a quest. The two sisters have to get to each other, and plenty of magic will be used.
On this journey of love and—dare I say it—self discovery and assurance, we get a few quirky characters that make the trip much more bearable. There is an orphan boy, now young man, who hauls ice for a living—his trusty reindeer is his constant company. Then there's a magical snowman, who—let's face it—is the most enjoyable part of the movie. He's the verbal part of the best written lines, brought to life by Josh Gad's voice-work.
It's a computer animated film and it looks spectacular...but, it was trying to be "old Disney". It was trying to recapture the success of films like "Cinderella" and "The Little Mermaid"...but with putting a modern twist to it. The princess that you think the movie will be about is not the central character. Love is completely different in "Frozen" than in any other Disney film that comes to mind.
Yet there's the singing. The songs are all regretfully clumsy and awkward—I enjoyed none of them. Besides the fact that I found them musically clunky the songs don't always say the right words. For instance one jaunty tune (which could have been the best song in the film and turned into the worst) has a character saying that people don't really change. Naturally, the film is more about change than anything else. So why is this song here? Is it satire? Commentary of a different sort? Or perhaps a ill-conceived musical number from the beginning?
It's a fun movie and it's innocent enough; but there was a general awkwardness that filled the cold air. Do Disney films need love triangles? Do they really need a villain? "Frozen" would have been better off without a last minute bad that felt very, very contrived.
Still, in its own way the movie was fun enough; but it should have been better considering everything it had going for it.
But then, it's just a kid's movie, so who cares?

Score: 2 and a half out of 4 stars

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