Frozen (2013)

Yep, love at first sight.

Yep, love at first sight.

Well over a month after it came out, I finally decided to check out the movie everyone is talking about, Disney’s Frozen.

Frozen is the tale of Elsa (Idina Menzel), a queen with the ability to freeze things. After an argument with her sister Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa loses control of her powers, leaving her domain (you guessed it) frozen. It’s up to Anna to talk Elsa into unfreezing Arendelle.

I went into the movie expecting to hate it, especially now that it’s after-Christmas cake; it’s clear Disney made this movie to cash in on everyone’s holiday spirit. When the movie began, I feared my expectations were well-founded. The first half of the movie was almost entirely in song, leaving very little time for plot exposition, and thus forcing the plot to go much faster than the audience (or the cast) could keep up.

Frozen also dipped dangerously close to the cliche territory. Along the way to Elsa’s castle, Anna meets ice salesman Kristoff and the magical snowman Olaf. Even though Anna was already engaged to Prince Hans (after knowing him for all of about 6 hours), you already know what’s going to happen between Anna, Hans, and Kristoff. Similarly, Olaf was the requisite magical being that provides comic relief that most modern kids movies (Aziz Ansari’s character from Epic comes to mind) have. He had the potential of being the Jar Jar Binks of Frozen, but he thankfully stayed in the background most of the time, and was legitimately funny when he got some attention from the camera.

Thankfully, Frozen’s ending was a breath of fresh air, even if what led up to it was a bit contrived. I did appreciate that the movie’s resolution ultimately eschewed the more traditional type of romance you tend to find in most movies.

Overall, Frozen was style-over-substance. The animation was gorgeous, which is all the more impressive considering it was a non-Pixar movie, and the songs were really catchy. My problem with Frozen ultimately is that it felt pretty heavily geared to younger audience members, while Pixar movies like Toy Story 3 or Up felt more like legitimate fun for all ages. I think it’s because I have a taste for animated movies more along the lines of Pixar or Studio Ghibli that I’ve generally become very hard to impress with kids’ movies.

Nonetheless, Frozen is a good (but not anything close to great) movie, and it is much better than the utterly forgettable Epic that I saw this past summer. Frozen could likely be the winner of the Oscar for best animated feature this year, and that’s more an indication as to what a bad year it was for animated movies than anything else.

Score: A very weak 3/4