still of anna and elsa as children from frozen

Review: Frozen

Theatrical Release Poster

So when this movie first came out, I was completely enamored by it. The visuals were gorgeous. I couldn’t stop singing the songs. I was absolutely into the Frozen craze. Given the news of Frozen 2, I thought it’d be fun to revisit the original – not only to get ready for the sequel but also to see if I really enjoyed the movie or was just caught up in the craze at the time. Happily, I can confirm it was the former. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee’s story has all the markings of a musical classic and reminded me of the power of Disney magic.

The story follows the royal princesses of Arendelle  , Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) as they prepare and celebrate the latter’s coronation. However, everything goes wrong and it’s revealed to the kingdom that their newly anointed Queen has supernatural ice powers. Already, the basic premise of the plot has distinguished itself from so many other Disney movies. This time the “villian” is the Queen herself and because of that, the film gets to explore a lot of emotional ideas in beautiful ways.

The discourse on love and the extents of it is touching and gets explored in a lot of cute and emotionally satisfying ways. In particular, the relationship between Anna and Elsa is magnificent and serves as the emotional crux of most of the movie. Watching their interactions and growth is moving and there were genuinely moments that made me tear up. Bell and Menzel do a great job giving the sisters a real emotional depth to their dialogue that helped it hit emotional beats I didn’t expect.

Outside of them, Josh Gad is phenomenal as Olaf. The snowman is charming, funny, and a delight to watch. There are times where his character feels like he over explains some more emotional scenes that takes away from the subtlety of them. It’s not too annoying, but I feel like it made some of the more cathartic moments feel weaker. I enjoyed both of the male characters, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and Hans (Santino Fontana), and enjoyed how they served as foils for each other in meaningful ways. The only character I didn’t like that much was the Duke of Weselton. He feels too over the top and I wish he was more grounded. It would have made certain moments more believable and sinister, which is something I would personally have preferred. He’s not awful – I just see wasted potential.

The music is absolutely great and I love most of the tracks. I love how the songs are incorporated into the movie and how much emotional weight they bring. Obviously Let it Go is amazing, but there are just so many great tracks its hard to choose from. Even the more unnecessary songs (like the rock people one) was fun to listen to in the moment. I thought the musical scenes with Menzel and Bell were amazing. In particular, there’s a duet in the second act that’s absolutely mesmerizing from a thematic view but also sounds phenomenal. It’s dark, desperate, and emotionally complex. I absolutely had chills afterwards.

The animation is also gorgeous. The characters all look beautiful, but my favorite moments were when Elsa used her ice powers to fight. The action scene with her is probably my favorite moment in the entire movie. The camera and lighting make it all feel intense and the particle effects of her ice magic makes everything feel more visceral. I honestly forgot I was watching a musical for a few moments and let myself get absorbed into the intensity of the situation.

Honestly, my only major problem with the film is how absurd one plot element feels. I won’t spoil it, but literally two characters make a mention of how ridiculous this element is and no one does anything about it. It felt frustrating because obviously sensible individuals in this universe proved to understand the issue , but it just gets glossed over. Normally this wouldn’t be that big of an issue, but it serves as the main driver for a lot of the conflict in the third act so the issue feels even more apparent. I also think that there should have been more of a consequence for certain actions, but I’ll talk about that in the spoiler section.

Rating

TLDR: Frozen is fun, funny, and bursting with personality. The songs are top notch and the animation is gorgeous. Outside of a few story issues and some missed opportunities, this movie rocks.

Final Rating: 9.0/10. One of my favorite Disney movies. Honestly, if you’re okay with coming down with some infectious ear worms, I’d suggest giving this movie a chance if you haven’t yet.

Go to Page 2 for my spoiler-full thoughts!

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