Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Movie Review: Frozen

Title: Frozen
Author: Disney
Genre: fantasy, princess movies, adventure, family, romance, animals, comedy, animation
My Rating: *****
Brother's Rating: *****
Official Rating: PG
Age Group: 6+

For a royal family in a Disney movie, Elsa and her sister Anna have it pretty good. They're best friends, have two loving (and living) parents, and reside in the beautiful fantasy land of Arendelle.
Of course it falls apart. Elsa suddenly disappears from Anna's life and the younger girl finally has to learn to live without her sister, who has actually shut the door in her face. The death of their parents finds Anna at Elsa's door, begging for company and comfort. No response.
Then the coronation. Anna is outgoing and thrilled to see people again because, just like her sister's bedroom door, the castle doors have been shut for as long as she can remember. She has such a great time at the party she even gets engaged to a prince.
That's when Elsa freezes everything. No, she actually freezes the world of Arendelle.
Terrified at the risk of hurting someone, Elsa flees. Anna sets after her, determined to save her sister.

Word of Warning
  • There are some magical like trolls who seem to have powers from somewhere above. Not a huge problem, but does seem to baffling combined with the clearly Catholic orientation of the spirituality of the rest of the film.
  • Along the lines of magic, Elsa has power over wintery elements (cold, wind, snow, ice, etc). She has trouble controlling them (this is the focus of the entire movie) and often puts people in danger because of this.
  • Anna and Hans accidently fall on top of each other a few times when they first meet. Anna comes right out and says it's awkward, something they both agree on.
  • Anna gets engaged to a prince she met that day. She's clearly silly with infatuation and the style of the duet they sing skillfully shows this.
  • A few animated kisses (nothing passionate).
  • A little girl is hit in the head with ice and seems to be dying. She is rescued by the magical trolls.
  • Anna's heart is frozen and she slowly weakens. She becomes cold and starts to turn frosty in color, eventually freezing solid in an act which sacrifices her life for another's.
  • Elsa is determined to feel no emotions, thinking this is the best way to protect those around her. This results in her seeming cold to others (pun intended).
  • Elsa has a sort of rebellious streak in which she declares that she is free, has no rules to follow, and feels great for the first time in a long time. In a subtle reinforcement of this transformation, her dress changes from traditional and relatively modest to skin tightly with a slit up the skirt that appears to go to her thigh.
  • Olaf, a snowman, is constantly breaking into three or more pieces and being put back together. This serves as comedy, but can be slightly disturbing as he is a character who talks and is basically a person except made of snow.
  • Two men attempt to kill Elsa. She counters their attack, almost killing them with her icy powers.
  • Anna punches a man. A few others are also punched (some accidental, some purposely).
  • Anna and Kristoff are chased by a pack of dangerous wolves. One drags Kristoff from the wagon and we are left with a few moments of "did that really just happen? is he ok?" before the issue is resolved. He is uninjured.
  • People drink at the coronation (no one is drunk).
  • There is a plot to kill the princesses and steal the throne. Several people are involved in this way of thinking.
  • When the castle doors are finally opened, Anna sings about her excitement and also feeling slightly gassy.
  • The trolls reveal that Kristoff doesn't smell good and likes to urinate in the woods.
  • Anna is hit in the face with saliva. Kristoff claims all men pick their noses and then eat it. Characters lie and trick each other (sometimes with good intentions, usually not).
  • In a dramatic betrayal scene, Anna is pretty much doomed to death by the hand of an icy cold which has started to freeze her heart. The betrayal comes from the worst source: someone she trusted deeply.
  • Olaf starts to melt. This is basically death for a snowman.
The Good
  • The love story here is different from the usual Disney movie. Yes, the princess does get the guy, but she also gets her bond with her sister back. This bond is the focus of that tried and true "true love" story.
  • Elsa truly wants to protect those around herself. By shutting herself away, she becomes cold and loses control. When she is faced with tragedy, she discovers that by feeling emotions and connecting with those she loves she is able to thaw not only herself but Arendelle.
  • Elsa's rebellious moment is rebellious, yes, but we also see how unhappy she is with her new life. She's not content and is missing her sister and those she loves. Ultimately, she is able to use her powers responsibly and have those she loves. In this sense, she leaves behind both extremes and finds the more agreeable middle.
  • Kristoff risks everything to help Anna and when things look dire, he does all he can to get her back to her fiancĂ© so she can be unfrozen. He's clearly fallen in love with her but his solution is to hand her over to the one he believes she loves in an attempt to save her life.
  • The entire movie is about sacrificial love. Anna goes after Elsa. She ultimately sacrifices her life for her sister (death doesn't follow). Kristoff risks all he has for Anna. Olaf runs the risk of melting in order to save Anna. It just keeps going.
  • This sacrificial love is the movie's definition of true love. Finally, someone got it right.
  • Love at first sight? Completely debunked here, multiple times.
  • Extremes aren't favored (unlike in our world, where people seem to be addicted to them). Elsa locking up all her emotions is a bad idea, but letting them all flow out is a bad one too. The solution, in the end, is a middle ground, a mature and happy middle ground that Elsa demonstrates well.

My Thoughts
Honestly, don't the good points say it all?
This is possibly one of the best Disney princess movies I've ever seen (though, in Disney's defense, I haven't seen very many). It's got plenty of comedy, action, and finally a good definition for true love.
There really isn't much to say, aside from commenting on the beauty of the Catholicism sprinkled throughout the movie, or on the big metaphor handed to us. Elsa shuts herself away and becomes cold. This cold ultimately consumes her kingdom in a very physical way, much in the same way it would consume a person's life and relationships in a less magical world. When she learns to love, she is able to thaw but still use her powers, this time for good. One might go so far as to imagine this is a nod toward self-control to some degree.
It was a wonderful movie. I plan to see it again. I know my sisters (and brothers) greatly enjoyed it. I think it's something our world desperately needed. Hopefully they take it to heart--before the world freezes over.

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