Of all Disney’s recent animated fare, it would probably be easy enough to note Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee’s Frozen as the most overexposed from the bunch especially with the popularity it has acquired from females of all ages. Sadly this apparently has turned synonymous with the actual film’s quality even with the many admirable things to have come about from it. There are many calls back to what had made Disney so great during its Renaissance era (now going back to a Hans Christian Andersen tale again after The Little Mermaid) which allow for Disney themselves to live within what had made said musicals as impactful (something which their previous, Tangled, had managed to capture with ease). But all of this joy should call for me to love it and instead I just find it so lacking – then again I was never a huge fan of this particular musical from the first day.
Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel star as Anna and Elsa, two princesses who have found themselves at distance from one another after Elsa’s powers to create nothing but snow have only have grown stronger and more uncontrollable over time. After Elsa’s powers have gone too far upon a rejected proposal, she decides to leave the later-frozen kingdom of Arendelle in order to find a sense of peace which is where Anna begins a new quest in trying to reverse the curse left behind. There’s a tale to which I can highly admire just as I always do with Disney’s animated films but if I were to talk Frozen, the best way I can describe it is a half-satisfying product. And for how incredible such satisfaction is, so is the rising disappointment.
Just as Disney’s recent computer-animated fare has always been able to show, moments of visual beauty come about but there’s a message to which I admire so greatly that it presents especially in regards to true love. If there were something more I can say, I can only admit that it allowed me to enjoy it more: and it doesn’t limit a concept of love only between males and females inside of a romance (the quest Anna embarks on) but even through family dynamics as shown by an earlier Disney effort, Lilo & Stitch. It was clear enough from the relationship between Anna and Elsa, which ultimately finds itself to be the greatest aspect of Frozen and with Kristof’s role as the supporting male lead for Anna’s quest, there’s no real hint at a romantic bond because Frozen doesn’t need such to move swiftly. It’s important enough that “true love” isn’t something bound only to romance and looking how it is handled in Frozen is one of many satisfying aspects to come out.
The soundtrack is perfect in small bursts, but many of the most popular songs that have come about from the film have hit me as many of the weaker ones to come from its soundtrack with the exception of the lovely “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” Most notably, Idina Menzel’s performance of “Let it Go” is arguably the most popular thing to have come out from Frozen for it had eventually went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song but it comes at a rate where it feels so out of nowhere and while it carries an admirable tune and message, the lyrics have never stuck out. As a matter of fact, the placement of specific numbers was always my biggest issue in regards to Frozen, some of them just never fit so well with the context of the scene where they are placed and leave no real impact whatsoever.
While there are many of the joys of Disney’s Renaissance period rising about in Frozen too many of their biggest hindrances also come about: the comic relief. I was never always a huge fan of the comic relief in Disney’s animated fare and Frozen has more of such especially within Josh Gad’s Olaf – but given as I’ve never been a fan of Gad’s schtick, I could be speaking from pure bias because his role often seemed so distracting and at times almost to the point of annoyance. He wasn’t the lowest to have come about, but Hans always hit me as a weak antagonist. It wasn’t being made clear that he was set to be the film’s primary antagonistic force but the tone was only leaving everything far too obvious because of Anna’s naivete – not that I have a problem with it but before Anna left, Hans had so little character behind him and failed at grabbing much interest beforehand since the running message of true love only defined him by Anna’s actions.
There was a point to which I’d say I hated Frozen but quite frankly the overexposure it has suffered has blinded some from the actual qualities it contains which are pretty daring for animated fare by Disney, which only became clearer upon this rewatch and helped me enjoy it a little more. The film’s message about finding true love anywhere is most admirable especially when one observes the relationship that has formed between Anna and Elsa but so much else is made rather frustrating when many aspects never are as compelling as they should be. At the very least, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” is a lovely song and Kristen Bell’s voice as Anna is always so lovely to listen to especially when she’s singing (as is Idina Menzel as Elsa) – it’s a shame balance feels so lacking in something that could be much greater.
Watch the trailer right here.
All images via Disney.
Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Screenplay by Jennifer Lee, loosely based upon The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen
Produced by Peter Del Vecho
Starring Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana
Release Year: 2013
Running Time: 102 minutes