Young princess Anna of Arendelle dreams about finding true love at her sister Elsa’s coronation. Fate takes her on a dangerous journey in an attempt to end the eternal winter that has fallen over the kingdom. She's accompanied by ice delivery man Kristoff, his reindeer Sven, and snowman Olaf. On an adventure where she will find out what friendship, courage, family, and true love really means.
|Release Date||:||November 27, 2013|
|Genres||:||Animation, Adventure, Family|
|Production Co.||:||Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios|
|Production Countries||:||United States of America|
|Director||:||Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Scott Armstrong, Kendra Vander Vliet, Rick Moore, Matsune Suzuki, Merrick Rustia|
|Writers||:||Hans Christian Andersen, Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Shane Morris, Nicole Mitchell|
|Casts||:||Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, Ciarán Hinds, Chris Williams, Stephen J. Anderson, Maia Wilson, Edie McClurg, Robert Pine, Maurice LaMarche, Livvy Stubenrauch, Eva Bella, Spencer Ganus, Ava Acres, Stephen Apostolina, Krik Baily, David Boat, Paul Briggs, Woody Buck, Lewis Cleale, Wendy Cutler, Terri Douglas, Eddie Frierson, Jean Gilpin, Jackie Gonneau, Nicholas Guest, Bridget Hoffman, Nick Jameson, Daniel Kaz, John Lavelle, Jennifer Lee, Patricia Lentz, Annie Lopez, Katie Lowes, Mona Marshall, Dara McGarry, Scott Menville, Adam Overett, Paul Pape, Courtney Peldon, Jennifer Perry, Raymond S. Persi, Jean-Michel Richaud, Lynwood Robinson, Carter Sand, Jadon Sand, Katie Silverman, Pepper Sweeney, Fred Tatasciore, Annaleigh Ashford, Jenica Bergere, Tyree Brown, June Christopher|
|Plot Keywords||:||queen, musical, princess, betrayal, snowman, animation, reindeer, curse, snow, troll, mountain climber, aftercreditsstinger, woman director, 3d|
- For the first time in forever a true Disney classic is realizedby 25 November 2013on
480 out of 788 people found the following review useful:
When people speak of their favorite Disney movies, the big four of the Renaissance and films of the Golden Age of animation are likely to be mentioned. The past decade has seen Disney movies that were hit or miss. Some considered classics, some forgotten and some close to being classics but not there yet. Frozen changes this dynamic and creates a full fledged classic. Frozen IS not just a classic, it is THE Disney classic of the decade. It could position itself up there with the best of them. Disney returns to its roots with a vengeance. The best animated film of the past few years in my opinion.
The story is heart melting, filled with the pure feeling and heart that has become a staple with the best Disney movies. It is a moving story that has family at its center. It is unpretentious in what it is trying to portray. The comedy hits right on the mark and the action packed adventure and thrilling journey make this a tale with a little bit of everything in the exact right amounts. It is a daring movie that is laugh out loud at the some moments and stunning and provoking at others. All achieved in balance. A true triumph in story telling that proves exactly what Disney does best and again proving that they are back to producing top quality films. This is an affecting human story, one that is significant.
Startling and stunning, beautifully envisioned, emotionally powerful and relevant. Gorgeous visuals, stunning backdrops and intricacies like you have never seen before. The environments, the costumes, the character movements among other things make this film a gigantic step forward. The brilliant voice talents that breath life into this project need to be applauded and then some. The cast consisting of Kristen bell (Veronica Mars) and Idina Menzel(Wicked!)among many others bring winning charm, superior voice acting and magnificent vocals as well as heart to this tale. The sensational wit and humor, the arrays of different personalities, their emotions, their triumphs and falls make them some of the most interesting characters that people can relate to and some of the best i have seen in animation. The cast fully become the characters.
The score and music is perfect. The score is grand. The sound, the texture, the harmony, the melody is in a class of its own. Above and beyond anything attempted by the animation studio in the past decade. I would place the songs up there with those of the 90's movies and 2000's Enchanted. A true all round musical triumph. Songs that will be stuck in your mind and you will be humming them and you won't even know it. And some you will be belting out at the top of your lungs because they are that good. Songs that progress the story and an essential part of it.
So you have meticulously crafted breath taking animation, an affecting tale of the bond of family, romance, hilarious wit and humor courtesy of the characters especially sweet Olaf and heart stopping adventure. A true fairy tale that i would say could very well be The Little Mermaid or The Beauty and The Beast of this generation.
FROZEN has that Disney MAGIC that has been missing for so long and it comes in full force here.
- Most Overrated Movie of 2013by 31 March 2014on
343 out of 540 people found the following review useful:
I'm an 18 year old girl, who is a HUGE Disney fan and loves watching what her friends deem "little kid movies". I was looking for a way to celebrate finishing my first semester at college(in December), so I went to see Frozen, which had gotten great reviews.
The beginning of the movie was decent. Do You Want to Build a Snowman made me tear up and Kristen Bell and Santino Fontana's voices sounded like they were made for each other in Love is an Open Door. However, the positivity stops there. At the end of Love is an Open Door, when Prince Hans asks Anna to marry him, I immediately KNEW that something was wrong and that this was an attempt to mock the Disney "love-at- first-sight" cliché. Now, before I continue, I'd just like to point out that I am ridiculously sick of people praising Elsa for being the first Disney princess to say "You can't marry a man you just met".
1) This is a result of people on the internet poking fun at Disney Princess movies. However, if those people even bothered to REALLY watch them, they'd realize that although this movie may be the first to explicitly state that girls shouldn't marry someone they just met, this is not a new concept in the Disney world. In fact, I don't recall Pocahontas, Mulan, Rapunzel, Tiana, Jasmine, or Belle marrying men that they just met.
2) Re-watch that scene. She only said that because she was worried about Hans' brothers staying over for the wedding and having yet another social event that she'd be required to attend. She panics and says "No one's brothers are staying here. No one's getting married". See her priorities? Elsa's reason for not blessing their marriage doesn't stem from their quick engagement. It's much more self-centered than that.
Next, let's not forget the plot holes, the most obvious one being the anti-climatic ending: "Of course...Love!" Sorry, what? Elsa trying to protect Anna from herself wasn't love? Besides, why does Elsa even have powers? Why are there trolls and where did they come from? Why did Prince Hans protect Elsa if he wanted her dead? He could have been "distracted" when the guard was trying to kill Elsa. Why does Olaf come to life and where has he been the entire time the girls were growing up? Maybe the directors should have paid less attention to casting *famous* people and more to making a good plot. (Casting complaint: Elsa looked like she was in her mid-twenties and sounded old enough to be Anna's mother.)
Anyways, moving on to my next complaint: Olaf, the snowman AKA my least favorite character in the entire movie. His awkward attempts at jokes and sheer stupidity were torturous to sit through. In Summer was one of the worst songs in the movie, right up there with Fixer Upper. What is Fixer Upper even promoting? Cheating?!?! Because that's what I thought as the trolls sang about getting Anna's fiancé out of the way. Also, I could not stand how Anna flirted with and almost MARRIED Kristoff while engaged to Hans. Luckily for her, Prince Hans just *happened* to be a villain. How very convenient (and completely unnecessary). Elsa, having been alone her entire life, could have used a love story and Kristoff would have been the perfect match for her. Elsa and Kristoff could have bonded over her powers and his love for ice. Instead, Kristoff and Anna ended up being an extremely weak, unlikeable rip-off of Flynn and Rapunzel.
Lastly, having watched Disney movies all my life, I have to say, this movie has the largest percentage of bad songs I've ever seen in a single movie. "Let it Go" is the most overrated song I have EVER heard and I was quite disappointed to hear that it had won the Oscar for Best Original Song. The rhymes were unoriginal and it was not memorable at all, although after hearing people sing it 24/7, it does get ingrained into your brain. Some of the other songs were catchy, but there was still a HUGE lack of originality in the rhymes. Even my nine-year-old sister criticized the Frozen songwriters' creativity, pointing out that they rhymed "door" and "anymore" in four songs ("Do You Want to Build a Snowman", "For the First Time in Forever", "Love is an Open Door", and "Let it Go").
To summarize, this movie was not deserving of the Oscars it won. Then again, there was not much competition this year. This movie was basically a slap in the face to all the Classic Disney Princess movies and is tied for #1 with Brave on my Worst Disney Princess Movies list. If you REALLY want to see a movie worth watching, I recommend Tangled, which is as underrated as Frozen is overrated. The songs, plot, and characters are much better developed and the whole movie is absolutely delightful. The music was beautifully composed and don't even get me started on how amazing Donna Murphy, Zachary Levi, and Mandy Moore's performances were! Whereas I will never re-watch Frozen, I re-watch Tangled every couple of months even though I can quote the entire movie and sing every song. I know many Tangled fans went to see Frozen - expecting it to be as good as Tangled- and were very disappointed. Disney may be gaining new fans, but they're losing their loyal fans. Look at Frozen's percentage of 1/10 ratings compared to those of Tangled. Until Disney gets their act together, I will not be wasting any more of my time watching these movies in theaters. As Zazu said, "If this is where the monarchy is headed, count me out".
tl;dr- Plot holes galore. Lackluster songs. Terrible morals/lessons. Save your money and time.
(Apparently 0/10 is not an option, so I'll give it one point for the animation.)
- An astonishing disappointmentby 29 November 2013on
360 out of 626 people found the following review useful:
(Spoilers) At one time, sisters Elsa and Anna knew of and loved to utilize Elsa's (unexplained, apparently genetic? even though no one else in her family has them) ice powers. Then an accident and a warning by the (ostensibly) wise troll that fear will make Elsa's powers dangerous prompts her parents to fearfully seclude her, shutting her away from everyone and isolating her from her sister. The trolls erase Anna's memory of Elsa's powers. (No one apparently considers the implications of seclusion and terror regarding the power). The girls grow up. After their parents die at sea, Elsa becomes queen. For her coronation, the kingdom is opened. Prince Hans and the Duke of Weselton are among the visiting dignitaries. Anna promptly falls in love with the prince, and agrees to marry him. When the queen refuses to condone her sister's impetuous match, they argue and Elsa accidentally reveals her powers, prompting the Duke to demand that she be arrested. Elsa flees, accidentally shrouding the world in "eternal winter" and leaving in power Anna, who promptly follows after her appointing Prince Hans to rule in her stead (!!!). Apparently in this world, chains of command, diplomatic decorum, and other such trifles cease to exist. Anna loses her horse, and then teams up with a poor boy named Kristoff and his reindeer Sven. They all end up working with Olaf, a quirky snow creation of Elsa's, to find her sister. A romance blossoms between Kristoff and the fickle Anna. Meanwhile, Elsa has embraced her "bad girl" image (complete with sultry walk/slit up the thigh), building herself a lovely snow palace. The girls talk. Things don't go well, and Anna ends up with "ice in her heart" (which the trolls, long ago, had warned would kill her but for an act of true love). In the meantime, Anna's horse had returned to the city, and Hans and a group of soldiers go looking for her. They arrive just after Anna, Kristoff and co are expelled. Weselton's men attack her, a fight breaks out, etc. Elsa is captured. Kristoff, meanwhile, reveals that he had been adopted by trolls the same ones, coincidentally, that had offered their advice to her family years before. The trolls explain that only an act of true love can save Anna. Kristoff and Anna race back to Hans, for a Kiss of True Love (TM). Kristoff delivers her and leaves. Hans reveals gasp that he has simply been after the throne all this time, and locks her in a room to freeze to death. He then claims to the ruling council that Anna is dead, but that they had been married before she expired (witnesses, marriage certificates and funerals apparently don't exist in this world either)...so that makes him king. They welcome him with open arms. Thankfully, there are no other heirs, distant relatives, or people who remember that they still have a queen alive (!!) around. He (with no explanation) believes he can get Elsa to turn back winter. Meanwhile, Kristoff and Sven are coming back because, true love. Elsa, in her grief at learning of Anna's supposed death, accidentally unleashes a tornado-strength blizzard. Kristoff and Anna are going to kiss, but Anna sees Prince Hans about to murder Elsa. She intervenes, and almost freezes; but, that being an act of true love, she is saved. At this point, Elsa figures out how to recall winter ("Love!" - that's it, no explanation).
Pros: - Pretty. Frozen is very pretty, very glitzy, full of beautiful landscapes, amazing snow shots and glamorous gowns.
- Different. It has a different feel, architecturally and culturally, from many of the preceding princess films, which is nice.
Cons: Pretty much everything else.
- The story was inconsistent. If you read about the series of "development hells" that preceded its release, it makes sense. They had no clue where they were going with this, and it very much felt like it at times: these were different ideas, different takes on the same story, all jumbled together.
- Character immaturity/stupidity. If you, like, can see this being a classic, then, like, whatever, because classic Disney princes and
- Plot idiocy. This ties into the first point. If fear is the enemy, why do you seclude/terrorize the princess with insecurities? How/why does "love" recall winter? Didn't Elsa love her family all along? Wasn't there "love" present all this time? There was zero explanation for how this worked. Just "love". Not to mention the flouting of anything like court customs, diplomacy, etc.: random foreign dignitaries are giving orders to arrest and kill the queen, foreign princes are left in charge of the kingdom, etc. Or the cringe worthiness of the trolls, and their irrelevance to the plot; and the fact that Hans never mentions having witnessed the royal family's first encounter with the trolls/how Anna's memory was wiped (Elsa also ignores this). The list goes on.
- Predictability. The scene where Anna and Hans meet was terribly predictable, and just...terrible. The scene where Anna and Kristoff meet was equally predictable. The betrayal was predictable. The conclusion was predictable despite being completely unexplained.
- Music. The music was of an exceptionally poor caliber in this film. The singers were overpowered by the instruments, the lyrics were indistinguishable, the songs out of place and silly, and often-times just cringe inducing (it's pretty bad when you're cannibalizing themes from your own previous films, like the troll rip-off of Hunchback's "A Guy Like You", and you completely, utterly blow it...)
Little kids will enjoy the prettiness of it all. Anyone who thinks about the plot, though, is going to end up with a headache. Certainly anyone who listens to the music. (And don't get me started on the rape-y Mickey/Minnie/Pete short that preceded the film. Yikes.)
- Disney's Best in 20 years.by 24 November 2013on
414 out of 734 people found the following review useful:
A lot of people criticize Frozen for what it isn't. Their preferred setting, cast, etc. Not for what it is. It is an incredibly touching story with fantastic music, score, script and performances by Menzel and Bell we haven't heard in a long time. I took 117 nieces and nephews ages 18 months to 14 and not once did any of them get up to ' go to the bathroom' or get more snacks. Boys, girls were both drawn to the film the whole time. The younger kids responded more to Olaf than the thematics of it all.
The story centers more on the sisters relationship than a romantic one and has a great message. I would recommend this to any family or Disney fan.
You will be singing the songs over and over.
- I Don't Get Why Everyone Loves Itby 3 February 2014on
172 out of 264 people found the following review useful:
Let me start this off by saying that I generally like Disney films, and that this is not some anti-kiddie flick internet geek writing this. Now that I have that out of the way, I would like to tell you how terrible this movie is. First of all, there is only one song that I think was actually good. The first song in the film is a fantastic number about the hardships of winter, with a great track, expert vocals and a grand, sweeping tone. The rest of the songs are not nearly so good, as they are all sung by the protagonists, which is fine the first few times but gets really monotonous by about halfway through. The movie also wasn't especially funny, which is a saving grace in some of Disney's other lackluster releases. The comic relief character was okay (in that he wasn't nearly as annoying as everyone else) but he was only there to provide some moderately executed slapstick comedy, and the only funny spoken line in the movie. While the script is fine for a TV special or maybe the first episode of a Nickelodeon series, it is definitely not right for a high-profile animated film. Let's just say, there are trolls. Singing, incredibly annoying trolls who show up basically just for the hell of it, and then disappear without a trace. And, while there was one character turn which was actually quite well executed, it is wasted almost immediately, because it changes absolutely nothing about the story. No events drastically alter because of it, there's no clever subtext, and the entire thing feels like it was just inserted so the screenwriter could show how clever he was. I mean, the trip to the cinemas wasn't completely pointless. There was a quite funny Mickey Mouse cartoon they played before the picture, and the trailer for the Lego movie looks like it could be worth something. Otherwise, this movie was terrible. Avoid it if you can, unless you have some kids you need to get out of the house. If so, make sure you bring a good book.
- Frozen is arguably the worst Disney film ever made. It should be titled "Han's Tale."by 24 March 2014on
179 out of 285 people found the following review useful:
By "worst Disney movie" I do not mean the worst movie ever made. I hold Disney to a higher standard. So when I saw this film, with all of its hype, I came out of it not only disappointed, but utterly frustrated. This film, save its visuals, does very little right.
So when we think of Disney, we think of a few major plot devices: the predictable romance, the villain who drives the conflict, and the moral that the film presents. Unfortunately this movie fails in all of these regards.
Regarding romance it surprisingly includes it in the tale. I know Disney makes alterations to classic fairy tales, and often adds romance to enliven them, but the Snow Queen is an exception to the rule. The focus of the tale is not on the romantic element, but the mystery of the Snow Queen, and the mysterious mirror that reflects evil in souls. This concept alone is fascinating, but is never portrayed in the movie. When making adaption of the tale (and there have been many attempts, mind you) this element has to be kept in mind.
I'm often a fan of a Disney alteration, but unfortunately, this is not an easy story to adapt. I can see why Walt Disney put the project on hold, and Disney itself did not revive in during the Renaissance. The relationship between Elsa and Anna is poor and often non-existent, considering the parents strangely agree to wipe Anna's memory and thus destroy the relationship between the sisters. Arguably, this upbringing is an unintentional villain in the story.
And regarding the villain, the film should be about Hans. Hans is the most interesting and compassionate character in the film, but they decide to antagonize him for the cliché desire for power. The twist is poorly thought out, because while it is supposed to debunk Disney's banal attempts to incorporate "true love" romance into their films, this was not the film to be doing it. Often times characters will develop a relationship in Disney's films; the only exceptions are Grimm fairy tales in which romance drives the story. We're supposed to hate Hans by film's end, even though he has arguably the worst motivation in Disney history. He has many brothers, and wants to take over a kingdom? I'd say let him, he shows more superior leadership traits than either Anna or Elsa.
Anna and Elsa would be ineffective leaders anyways. Anna delegates power to (arguably better leaders) but still outside of the bloodline (didn't they have a regent or something? There's a time-gap in the film that explains very little of Arendelle). Elsa evades her responsibilities as queen, freezes the kingdom over, and forces her people to the brink of starvation, and they love her in the end? That doesn't make much sense to me. Hans' idea to charge Elsa with treason at least is more justified than anything Anna has to bargain with; Hans is a much stronger character.
The moral is designed to be a feminist sympathy, which fails horribly. It is ironic that in a so-called "feminist" movie that encourages "lesbianism" (in Elsa's case)that the female characters are even worse than in traditional fairy tales. Elsa and Anna are annoying, stupid, and take little accountability for their actions. I suppose the message was supposed to be "love your sibling" and all the fluffy, Disney crap but it seems like last minute drivel. And to make this movie even more unbearable, they have to denigrate the male population, with side villains such as the Duke of Wesselton, who is made to be scrawny, but notoriously crafty politician, sworn to "cheat" the poorly elected leadership. Hell, at least he knows foreign policy and economics. What do Elsa and Anna know about the politics of the kingdom? They were sheltered for fifteen years! If I were the citizens of the kingdom, I'd sure as hell overthrow Elsa and Anna's regime. At least Hans and Wesselton can run a freaking kingdom properly.
All in all, Frozen is lucky the Academy plays to the fancy of whatever's popular and dynastic, as Frozen defeated several films who are probably equally deserving or far succeed it. I have not seen Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" but I must say his films are probably better and more fascinating than most Disney films (save Hunchback of Notre Dame or The Lion King). Frozen is a terrible movie, and in my opinion, should be giving its academy award to the people who devise better stories than this one.
**EDIT** I have seen Miyazaki's The Wind Rises, and I must say that in about ten minutes (the Earthquake scene) I got a better story and a better display of character than in the whole hour and forty minutes of Frozen. Shame on Disney for making such a shallow movie. I am sure I am not alone in advocating Disney to return its Oscar to Miyazaki, whose film is miles ahead of this pile of ***.
- Disneys absolute worst in many yearsby 11 January 2014on
212 out of 357 people found the following review useful:
One of the worst Disney animated movies I can recall seeing. 75% inane songs, way to obvious plot even for Disney. Very, very little humour. Bland characters and just plain below par compared to what Disney and other animation studios have been able to produce in the last 10 years. The usual villains and sidekicks appear but with nothing new to offer.
I could not stop myself from skipping at least a minute from most of the songs. The voice acting was, well, bland is the best word. Absolutely mediocre. I was thoroughly disappointed
Do not by any means pay to watch this and be sure to be in the company of easily amused small children.
- Great Visuals, Unremarkable Scriptby 9 January 2014on
159 out of 263 people found the following review useful:
First of all, I strongly disagree with any assertions that Frozen hearkens back to the great Disney films of the late 80s and early 90s. The music is nowhere near that level, and the storytelling is not nearly as sharp. Even suggesting that this is the best *since* The Lion King rings false with me. I have not seen every Disney film of the past twenty years, but offhand I can say that Tangled, Bolt and Meet the Robinsons are all far superior examples well-written stories than Frozen. In my personal opinion, of course.
Second of all, Frozen definitely skews towards the younger crowd, with little to none of the sophisticated touches or wittily mature humor that have come to be somewhat more commonplace in recent animated films. This one is aimed at the pre-teen crowd. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but it is worth noting.
The overall story is an interesting one, but the execution is rather sloppy and the narrative meanders a bit too much. The dialog, in particular, is not a strength. Unlike the best films, in which every line and every scene feels both essential and perfect, Frozen is more of a loose joyride. Again, there is nothing inherently wrong with that approach, but in my personal estimation, it earns lower marks as a storytelling method.
The songs are for the most part unremarkable, and some of the musical sequences suffer from not fully committing to dialog or singing. They just feel hastily-choreographed and not fully thought out. And do not even get me started on the troll song. Yikes.
Two of the songs, "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" and especially "Let it Go," do work very well. The latter ties into what is unquestionably the best scene in the film on every level. It provides the one glimpse of true majesty, the sort of quality that would explain all of the extremely positive "this is the greatest" reviews that are being posted by others. Unfortunately, the film descends most of the way back into mediocrity after that scene.
On the positive front, however, Frozen offers a fantastic, gorgeous take on the visual elements of winter. Deep blue ice, snowflakes, white mountains contrasting with colored skies. It is an unspeakably lovely display of a subject matter than CGI animation has never (in my experience) turned its energies to before, at least not like this. Of course, it goes without saying that all of the animation in Frozen, characters and landscapes alike, is excellent.
For me, Tangled was much more satisfying than Frozen. I applaud Disney for honing their CGI skills, and for finally adapting The Snow Queen to screen. I just wish that they would have spent more time on the script.
With films like this one, a distinction needs to be made between loving it for the visceral takeaway ("it was sweet"/"it had a great message"/"it made me feel good") and looking at it from a critical standpoint. Now, I understand that one needs to just "forget about being critical" and enjoy a film - for me, the best films take care of that themselves. It is the ones, like Frozen, that seem like they clearly could have been much better, that get me thinking about just that.
This film is a fun one for kids, and great to look at for adults, but it is far short of being great, or a masterpiece. More focus on an truly excellent story, and it might have been.
- Practically magical in every way!by 25 November 2013on
283 out of 514 people found the following review useful:
This is a huge movie, seriously huge. You can tell the Disney animation studio really put mountains of effort and it shows they're firing from all cylinders now. Music and awesome sisterhood story separate this from many animation offerings of the past. Also the computer generated animation is really cool, pun intended. The quality is top. I have a sister and so i felt this deep connection to this feature. I won't lie i was moved to tears. I ended up visiting my sis and giving her a huge hug which totally caught her off guard. I am really happy to see a movie that can connect worldwide and with something so simple and profound and that is sibling bond and its special quality is demonstrated really amazingly and with a lot of tenderness. I have been singing part of your world and reflection for years and i feel that let it go and most songs i will be singing for years to come. It was new and yet nostalgic and took me back to my childhood years and recreated the spirit of the movies i adored tenfold. It has something for everyone and that is why i loved it so much. Everything from action and romance and comedy and fantasy and not forgetting the tears. Many movies from Disney are always uplifting and this one was even more so and that made this a very special experience.
- Frozen Flawed Masterpieceby 10 December 2013on
190 out of 329 people found the following review useful:
Frozen is a legitimately great film but also a flawed one.
First, let's look at a few flaws, then admire its successes.
Frozen's biggest shortcoming is in not making Elsa, its most interesting character, the main protagonist and main heroine of the movie. As it is, she is a co-protagonist, but Anna is given far more screen time.
Yet Anna's story is nowhere near as interesting as is Elsa's. Where Anna merely seems bored and a little lonely at the beginning, we know that Elsa suffers terribly throughout her young life, in being forced to inhibit her emotions, live with the guilt of nearly killing her sister, and seclude herself, in order to protect Anna from the danger that her magic poses. Yet we barely see Elsa's side of the story.
But when Elsa transforms into the Snow Queen during her Let It Go sequence, that's when we especially wish and expect to see more of her. That feels like a great beginning, a launching point for the character, from which Elsa will go on to have an exciting storyline in her new identity.
But instead, the movie relentlessly keeps us down with Anna on what is a not very original or interesting road trip.
It would be as if, in Beauty and the Beast, the movie spent most of its time not in the Beast's castle, but with Belle and some villager on a road trip to and from the castle (and the castle would lack any magical objects, and Belle and the Beast would never fall in love).
Think of how much poorer a film that would have been, compared to the Beauty and the Beast movie that does exist, in which the very BEST moments are the moments in the Beast's castle and the scenes involving the Beast.
Frozen deprives itself of those very scenes, which would have been the best in the film, for no reason whatsoever.
But one could even forgive Frozen this, if it wasn't hindered by a second missed opportunity: It doesn't give Elsa a love interest, no prince to win her heart, no man to love, who would love her back.
This is baffling and unforgivable. Countless Disney princesses have been given stirring love stories when they didn't particularly need them. But in Elsa, Disney created a character of aching solitude and isolation, one for whom a love story actually would have mattered. It would have been as beautiful and rapturous to see as is the Beast's love story in Beauty and the Beast.
But it didn't.
The ending of the film feels very disappointing for that reason, giving Elsa at best a glass-half-full conclusion, showing Anna (the sister who has suffered less) blessed with both sisterly reconciliation and romantic love, while Elsa's reward for a lifetime of self-sacrifice and pain is...merely survival, and a touch of equilibrium.
On the other hand, the movie does a number of things very well.
It keeps the setting in Scandinavia and populates the story with actual Scandinavians, instead of making Arendelle look demographically like a modern American metropolis.
The animation is breathtakingly beautiful throughout. The depth of attention to detail, incorporating authentic Norwegian culture, is admirable, and one hopes that it might inspire Europeans and European-Americans to better appreciate their own heritages.
Making Elsa the heroine of the story rather than the villain was truly inspired. This is the film's one, true claim to greatness. In fact, throughout the movie, Elsa is actually the moral center of the story. Every one of her actions is selfless and noble, even as other characters make morally questionable choices. Added to that, she is traditionally feminine in appearance and demeanor, so this film redeems such essential feminine qualities (which are otherwise often vilified or erased in modern culture) by giving them to its most popular character.
Even more subversively, at many points in the story, the roles of the sisters reverse and it is actually Anna who becomes the antagonist to Elsa (as Elsa never is).
Anna is the one who causes the accident in the girls' youth by goading Elsa into playing the game and not stopping when Elsa told her to do so.
Anna takes Elsa's glove and refuses to give it back at a state function, throwing a tantrum in the middle of an important diplomatic affair, selfishly thinking only about her own wishes instead of how she is humiliating Arendelle itself. (It would be like the brother of the U.S. President throwing a tantrum toward the President on Inauguration Day.) And when Elsa tells Anna to leave the ice palace, Anna stubbornly refuses, agitating Elsa and causing the blast of magic.
Time and again, Anna is Elsa's antagonist, a situation that only changes at the end of the film, when Anna finally makes a selfless act the kind of selfless act that Elsa has been making her whole life, in sacrificing her happiness for the safety and well-being of others. Finally, at the end, Anna learns the lesson that Elsa's example has provided to her.
Beyond that, the Hans twist is unnecessary, and the scene of his turn is incongruously melodramatic, his monologuing almost self-parodic.
Nevertheless, Elsa's "Let It Go" sequence is among the finest moments ever created in Disney history, and as a whole, the film is visually breathtaking.
Frozen is a magnificent move even as it is, but with a re-emphasis on its most captivating character, Elsa, it could have been a true masterpiece.
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