Reviewed: Frozen (2013)

Frozen (2013)
Frozen (2013)

Elsa is the queen of Arendelle, born with the powers to command ice. After losing control of her powers on her coronation day, Elsa casts an eternal winter over her kingdom. Now Anna must pursue and convince her older sister to release her Frozen grip on Arendelle. On her journey, Anna is joined by Kristoff the iceman, his reindeer, Sven, and Olaf the snowman.

Frozen has an awkward start with a two part prologue and arrives late to the ‘adventure’ part of the story. Disney tries for something different by having two female leads and letting the Love Interest take a backseat. While this is commendable, the attempt trips over its efforts. It’s unclear which of the two leads the viewer is supposed to connect with. At times it feels Elsa, the elder sister, could be the antagonist to Anna. They both end up sharing the protagonist’s spotlight, but the stage just isn’t big enough for the two of them.

I have mixed feelings about the songs. Most of the songs have some thing memorable to them, namely the opening line of the chorus – “Do you want to build a snowman?” “Let it go,” “Love is an open door,” – but overall they’re pretty forgettable. They have an American Idol pop vibe to them, which is at odds with the Norwegian folk-style music heard in the opening scene of the movie (which I found to be very cool).

The dialogue and voice acting is great, and one of the few things I really enjoyed about the movie.

Frozen has received much critical acclaim and commercial success, some saying the movie will revitalize Disney’s Golden Age. That’s not the movie I saw. I think Frozen falls far short of its hit predecessors – The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, even Mulan. I admire that Disney is trying something different, and I think it’s the direction they should keep moving in. More practice and refinement is needed to have well written female characters mesh with good storytelling, which is a territory Disney, and Hollywood in general, is quite unfamiliar with.

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