If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you’ve probably received the gaping-mouthed, wide-eyed stares of disbelievers who assume everyone watches the latest computer-animated princess binge from Disney. I’m talking, of course, of Frozen. And… until last week, it was a look my wife and I were getting still fairly regularly. Then a friendly friend took pity on us and lent us the latest smash Disney hit/craze music video.
I simply hadn’t seen it out of negligence. My princess phase ended long ago (My princess phase consisted of this: I dressed up with my sister one time when we were little, mostly for a laugh, and sadly my mother has photographic proof. In my youthful naiveté I rightly guessed that this would be funny at the moment, and foolishly did not guess I would regret the moment for years to come…).
So we watched the (very popular) movie last weekend. And I must review.
Now, before all the Frozen believers hate me, I must say that I did enjoy the viewing process. I chuckled at most of the jokes, enjoyed the spectacle, said, “That’s where that comes from!” at all the right, newly minted cultural references… And while I appreciate and agree with the moral True Love defeats Fear, I have to say, as an artists and story teller, Frozen was a sub-par movie.
Thar be SPOILERS here, if you are one of the few people left who haven’t seen it…
WHERE do I begin?
The movie opens with Anna getting hurt while playing with her sister Elsa, who blasts snow from her fingers and accidentally gives Anna a severe brainfreeze. The parents quickly rush the kids to some friendly, quasi magical trolls…. This first critique is purely preferential, but I’m not a fan of the whole “prophecy is self-fulfilling” story trope. The troll saying, “Your power will only grow, but fear is your enemy that will destroy everything…” making the parents and Elsa so afraid that she fails to embrace and learn to control her powers until they explode and destroy everything… is lame. At least take a life-coaching lesson, dude, and say, “your powers are great, and you can use them for good. Just be careful…” would have done Elsa a lot more good.
Then the parents lock Elsa away, and apparently don’t let the sisters ever interact again. I can let the horrible parenting thing slide, because honestly, over protective parents have been around since at least Sleeping Beauty. It happens, as the spinning wheel merchants can tell you.
Anna then falls in love with the first prince she sees on the one day they are allowed to meet the public for Elsa’s coronation. And I can let the fast romance thing with the, ahem, Prince Hans slide, because c’mon… It’s Disney and it’s not like this hasn’t happened a hundred times before. But the whole “Oh, now he’s evil!” thing is just spiteful. It was a plot twist for plot twists sake, and while yes it conveniently removes him from the love triangle dilemma, it was so sudden and so severe that it asks the audience to do the impossible: to believe it. Unlike other surprises, you can’t go back and watch the movie again and realize he was corrupt all along, because he wasn’t. They made it up.
As for Kristoph, his character started out like it was going to be built, and then fell by the wayside of story narrative. We have to assume he’s more than the average decent person who might help another person, and also did some “getting to know you” time with Anna off screen, because really really, they don’t know each other any better than Anna and Hans…
P.S. When did Kristoff get raised by trolls…? What happened to all those nice ice-cutters he was with? Wasn’t one of them, you know, like, a dad, or distant relative, or kindly neighbor or something…?
Halfway through the movie they say the word fjord. Except nobody looks Norse, and I assumed we were in Switzerland based on the castle style, and all the mainland Europeans wandering around… At least in Brave you gave people had accents and kilts Disney… I expected more of you, Diz.
What did Elsa eat in her castle of ice? Snow cones?
There were several moments when the scenes cut from one place to another with the same characters and I was confused, wondering how everybody had gotten there. There were several logical jumps that left me wondering how we had gotten there. I felt, honestly, like the script had been written by a committee… who weren’t all in the same room at the time. It was like everybody was on a need to know basis, and everybody forgot to tell everybody else that they all needed to know.
And that brings me to the climax: the act of true love.
I GOT IT! Please. There’s no need for you to spell it out for me. When Anna jumps in front of the unbelievably evil Prince Hans’ sword, it was an act of true love that saved her heart from being frozen. I got it!
Seriously: that was the most preachy movie I’ve seen since Left Behind! And nobody was making YouTube sing-a-long videos with good looking parents of that, or buying happy-meal toys of Kirk Cameron. If preachy movies are somehow in then everything they taught me about theatre in arts school has come to naught…
Oh. And why were the opening credits set to a Lion King song…?
Again, I felt like the movie was made by a committee—you can just imagine the producer trying to please a focus group, while the director was trying to please a special interest group, while the writing team was trying to do something else… chaos.
It was shoddy at best. Disney said, “Let’s just slap a princess flick together—we’ll have songs, sidekicks, dresses, castles, princes, magic, true love, AND we’ll throw in some twists to make it original!”
Thaaaaaat’s not how original works Diz. Not how it works. You gave us a great song though and a great moral (which you made absolutely sure not a single viewer could miss…). And for that, I give you a Nogrometer rating of 4.
Now get back in your flippin’ studio and make something good again!