Winter’s Coming & Thaw Can Stay Frozen with Disney

28 Nov

By Otaku no Culture

Disney's Frozen Movie Poster

E: The fantastic world of Disney’s Princesses have grown to include one — no two classy ladies who are at the heart of this latest CGI outing. Frozen is a light-hearted dramatic musical which excels in entertaining the masses. I’ve seen the early trailers and I had my reservations with Olaf the snowman being the primary source of comedic relief. But for me, it’s Sven the reindeer who warmed my heart right away!

J: Yes, Disney gets to add two more princesses (okay, technically one is a queen) to their merchandising empire. Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Princess Anna (Kristen Bell) are thrust into premature power when their parents, the King and Queen of Arendelle meet with disaster. That leaves the sisters to rely on each other but Elsa becomes distant to prevent her sister from learning a secret that her parents successfully hid not only from the public but from Anna as well.

E: While the younger Anna is feisty and outgoing, the other, Elsa, has been sheltered for far too long to understand the politics going on outside the palace. Although I would have liked to find out how she got her mysterious power, that would have distracted from the narrative. It was engaging right at the start to establish that this tale takes place in a cold sheltered place, which happens to be Norway. This theme about isolation nicely plays out throughout this film.

Although the Kingdom of Arendelle looks like it can be self sufficient, it can not. The people here depends on trade to keep the town’s economy going. By the time this port opens its doors to the world, some of the visiting dignitaries say they would rather close it for good.

Disney's Frozen Elsa

In a tale that is well thought out in scope, every single detail about how the world operates at large does relate and it kept me glued to the screen! I do not think of Frozen as being just a fairy tale number that’s loosely based on Hans Christen Anderson’s work, “The Snow Queen.”

J: To see the origins of Elsa’s powers, I’m betting the farm that Disney will produce a direct-to-DVD movie to explain it and also expand upon the world. And as Ed says, it’s more than just a fairy tale.

It’s quite cleverly written but yet maintain a unique childlike perspective. It’s evident in at least one scene where a mother is telling her child that he needs to look his best because it’s the Queen’s coronation. His reply is one of the best when he bemoans,  “It’s not my fault.”

And Anna continues to carry the child’s viewpoint, with her complete tomboyish innocence, throughout much of the film.

E: She nicely carries the movie along at a brisk pace so that young viewers will never get bored. The action sequences that are inserted to space out the moments of exposition works to give viewers some time to understand the narrative. And I did have to wonder when the mascots of this show will appear. Normally, in a Disney film, they are introduced near the start. In this product, it felt like they appeared at the midway point, and that’s quite the change of pace. Perhaps the writers and producers at Disney Films are realizing that they do not have to stick to formula.

J: If not, it’s whoever had creative control over this film to direct what will happen next.

I’ve been subjected to annoying Disney sidekicks before but Olaf, a talking snowman, is not grating in the least. In fact parents and their children will find their hearts melt even amongst the cold weather displayed on film. Josh Gad does an excellent job of preventing this snowman from being too over the top. Again, here we find Olaf has that childlike view of the world. It’s the continuous theme in this film.

Olaf

E: And another theme I could not help but notice is in how people can use doors to open or close themselves off to the world. This symbolism certainly makes this Disney film one to remember. I could not help but be reminded of Moulin Rouge a few times while watching this film, and that’s a product which reflects the opposite end of the fairy tale narrative, where the ending was considered “bleak.”

As for the songs, my favourite numbers include “Love is an Open Door” and “For the First Time in Forever.” Gad’s Jazz infused solo, “In Summer” was even enjoyable.

J: “For the First Time in Forever” was my favourite too, but I could tell Disney was trying to push “Let It Go.” This song had a more soulful feel with a hint of hip hop. But “Forever” is the song I believe many will remember. I would not dismiss “Frozen Heart” either.

E: And if a romantic song can not bring a tear to one’s eye, then it’s not a number worth considering. I have a soft spot for those type of films when there’s a song which makes me sniffle.

Although I prefer my Disney to be edgy along the lines of Lilo & Stitch, even that cartoon had a tender moment when Elvis was crooning to explain this odd couple’s relationship. I’m not normally one who consider seeing any product catering to the Disneys Princesses line of merchandising right away, but for some reason I was sold with Frozen early on. Even the CGI work is phenomenal. To render ice and snow effects accurately is tough. Even the 3D aspects are nicely worked in without being over the top. Even I felt a light chill and its not because the theatre forgot to turn on the AC!

When this product features trolls and monstrous snowman as extra icing on top, there’s indeed a manly element to enjoy out of this film.

Disney's Frozen Anna

J: If manly has to do with Kristoff explaining to Anna that all men eat their boogers, then you can’t get more manly than that. Such revelations give me a whole new perspective. Did Siskel and Ebert eat their boogers during the filming of their TV show, Was Mark Hamill digging for booger nuggets before he was filmed swinging with Carrie Fisher across the missing Death Star bridge and did Ian McKellen yell “You shall not pass!” with more vocal effect after clearing his nasal passages. It makes one think (or at least it makes guys think). I’m still debating the great equation from a great manly thinker. No, not Einstein, it’s Ogre and the equation is “Does cat, C-A-T really spell dog.”

E: After James’ little digression, maybe I should consider myself lucky we live two municipalities apart.

This film balances plenty of humour, action and fun into one tight package. The music is in par with many a Broadway product, and I’m sure literary and women’s rights analysts can pick apart this film for all the positive role model messages it offers to young girls.

All in all, I can’t believe I’ve put myself down for a preorder of Frozen with Disney Movie Club. I do not think it will arrive in stores until March or April 2014. There is a lot to appreciate story-wise for Frozen and to hope there will be some great extras for the video release is like wishing upon a star. Let’s hope the bonus shorts includes further adventures with Sven and Olaf, even though my preference is with the fuzzball.

As for guys, nose-pickers or not, well, sometimes all you need is one good pal who will stick with you through and through. Yes, Sven is oh so adorable in many ways, and he can replace James. Sven may have more hair but at least he smells better.

4 Stars out of 5

Disney's Frozen Sven

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