Frozen Review

1 Dec

Just finished watching the all-new Disney animated movie Frozen. The best word to describe it: Fair.

The story is about two sisters who, while young, played together. One sister had a special magical ability: she could turn everything to ice. One day, this sister with ice powers mishandles the ice and hurts the other sister. From that moment on, she is forbidden from using her powers.

SPOILERS BELOW

The best Frozen Review is by Bestforfilm.com and Whatculture.com!

He explains things in a way I wanted to, but can’t. With all of the hype, merchandising, pretty graphics, and captivating music, one may ignore that Frozen was medicore. I certainly did. The graphics and music stole my spirit away. It wasn’t until I left the theaters did I realize I still had questions…And I began to really think about the movie plot holes.

Read some good reviews about Frozen!

Best for Film

What Culture

The Mary Sue

They touched on some points and there are points left missing for me as well:

1) Elsa was locked away all those years as a child, as Anna tried to get her to come out. So who fed Elsa? Did she eat her ice? Couldn’t Anna have used those moments to try to reach her sister? Or did she eat at all? Did Anna get her dinner? Who took care of them after their parents died at such young ages? ALL of that was left untouched!

2) Olaf knew about the summer. How? When he’s never seen summer or heard of it from anyone? He knew about summer, but didn’t know snowmen couldn’t be under the summer sun and that he could melt? Who told him about summer? No clarity there, Disney.

And how was Olaf re-created in the ice? Why did Elsa re-create him? Was she thinking about her sister when she re-designed him? Would’ve been a touching point.

3) Kristoff KNEW that Anna was the girl, or was like the girl, that got her heart frozen a long time ago. Why didn’t he say anything? Or why weren’t there any scenes showing him trying to hide anything? He acted like it was never in his memories. How could he keep that secret for so long? Why wasn’t that used to make him more important to the story? Other than taking Anna to the ice mountain, which frankly, couldn’t have been far, because Hans, a foreigner, found it easily, what purpose did Kristoff serve?

Disney placed him in the scene to watch Anna’s healing. Why? Why did they show us that scene? They acted like it was supposed to be a foreshadowing, but that scene served no purpose.

4) WHERE DID ELSA GET HER POWERS? The biggest question of all. That was not explained at all, and glossed over as normal, even though Elsa was the ONLY one with powers in her family. Why was she born with powers and not her sister or anyone else in the kingdom (that wasn’t a troll)? The trolls were family; they knew there were people like them. But Elsa was alone. You’d think she’d question why she has to be locked up and not her sister, you’d think she’d wonder why she has powers and not her sister, and you’d think she’d want to break free to find others like her or discover more about her powers. I mean, if I felt alone, I would want to know if there are others like me…Would’ve made a better story than Anna and Kristoff’s pointless romance for over 160 minutes of the movie.

5) The trolls. What purpose did they serve other than to tell us how to break the ice spell? And how did they know about spells and magic? Why didn’t they ever tell Anna anything? How were they able to keep the secret? There were no interesting “slip-of-mouth” moments. They just dutifully and perfectly kept the secret…okay….

6) Can we elaborate on Kristoff’s past a little bit? How did he become an orphan or when did his parents die? What was his lifestyle like living with the trolls as a HUMAN? Where did he get his clothing? Where does he currently live and work? Anna only knew him for a day, just like Hans. So, why was the moral NOT to fall in love with a guy you’ve just met, when Anna fell in love with Kristoff in one day? Contradictory.

7) Why did they need to hide Elsa’s powers from Anna in the first place? The trolls implied that hiding it would keep Anna alive, but once Anna found out about it, she was fine…

8) Anna comes to tell Elsa that the whole kingdom is snowed in. Elsa looks back in surprise and goes, “Really?” How could she not have known that the whole kingdom was covered in snow when her whole surroundings was snow in the MIDDLE OF SUMMER? She looked back at the kingdom in the musical number Let it Go! How could she not have known that?

9) The trolls told the parents that “fear would be Elsa’s worst enemy”. So, what’s the parents’ solution? Lock her up and make her afraid…

10) If love is the only way for Elsa to control her powers, shouldn’t she have been in control of it before? She loved her sister and her parents. She didn’t figure that out a long time ago? And since the trolls know so much, why didn’t they simply just TELL Elsa that?

11) Why did this land get so worked up about being “iced over” when their main export is ice?

If we see the forest instead of the trees, we could all enjoy the story. But if you start to look at each individual tree, in this movie, you will find flaws. Nobody should put this on the level of Lion King or Beauty and the Beast. It doesn’t deserve an Oscar, it doesn’t deserve an Academy, and it doesn’t deserve a Golden Globe. But it does deserve a Grammy, and that’s because the music is the only thing driving this story home. That and the pretty animation meant to blind people to the fact that this movie had a poorly written story.

People seem to like the ideas in the story rather than the actual story itself. I hear so many people saying, “Oh I like that Anna is saved by Elsa’s love instead of a man’s” and “Elsa is just like me. She is trying to hide who she is, and learns to just let go and be herself.” And those ideas, in and of themselves, are awesome to add to a kid’s movie. But those ideas can be more realized and understood in a movie that has order, structure, and a clear direction. Otherwise, all the lovely humanitarian messages are lost. The movie ended up seeming more sexist than feminist, and less about a girl trying to be herself and more of a girl not really caring about anyone but herself. Click me to find out why this movie isn’t feminist.

Elsa being “herself” involved a selfish act of running away, leaving a loved one alone to freeze, and never taking responsibility. Anna being saved by Elsa didn’t make Anna less of a damsel-in-distress than any princess before her, even if it was her sister who saved her. All messages contradicted themselves. So, if we set aside all of the “agendas” being forced into the story, we are now left with the story…Which is predictable and mediocre. In fact, I think people saw what they wanted to see in this movie. I had one girl try to explain to me how Elsa was abused by her parents and isolated herself, and that’s why she related to Elsa…However, no one else saw Elsa as that kind of character. It’s easy for people to look for characters to relate to them and to find something. Honestly, I don’t think Disney intended to do anything different. But because the reaction was positive, they are rolling with it and repeating it for other movies in the future.

They told us this was a “sister” movie, but this didn’t feel like one. They didn’t make this sisterly love believable. Over 106 minutes were spent on Kristoff and Anna’s romance! I wish that there was more screen time between the sisters. I wished I could’ve seen them bond. When Elsa attended her coronation, she and Anna almost felt like strangers meeting for the first time.

Let’s not even get started on the lyrics. It was obvious this was made to compete with Dreamworks’ idea of a musical. The speech was not authentic at all. Let’s use “For the First Time in Forever” as an example. “There is the window, so is that door, I didn’t know they did that before.” That was really…sad. But when it gets to “I don’t know if I’m elated or gassy, or somewhere in that zone”, I was done. Let’s throw a “butt joke” in there to make it a little corny. Boy, I sure do miss “Circle of Life” and “I Just Can’t Wait to be King”. And Lion King took place in modern times, so it can get away with lame modern jokes in songs like “Hakuna Matata”. But Frozen is supposed to be from a time that doesn’t use the word “totally”. You think Mulan would have jokes like that? No. It was still for kids, but completely meaningful and authentic for the times. Elton John, where are you?

Despite the cheesiness, though, the music was still rather charming in its own way…I certainly overlooked the lyrical flaws when “Let it Go” popped on the screen…

However, I really do miss soundtracks like Hunchback of Notre Dame….WOW. Truly impressive music there. But hey, at least this time, the music was memorable, unlike in the other CGI animated movie, Tangled. Still, honestly, Tangled‘s story was better constructed. While it didn’t break any stereotypes, or bring any new elements to a kid’s movie, it used tried-and-true methods in a way that formed a solid story with few plot holes. Frozen threw in a few attractive ideas, but didn’t form a story that was believable or solid.

At least, however, the music conveyed more feeling than any of the movies of this decade. Elsa stole the show in “Let it Go” and “For the First Time in Forever”. But many songs sounded like they stepped out of a Shrek movie. This Disney movie had more songs than any movie they’ve had. Nine of them to be exact, and some of them were just in there to be in there. They added nothing to the story. If you listen to the whole soundtrack without watching the movie, you really would be confused about what’s happening. Only four songs really tie the whole thing together. Some songs just seem to throw the whole story off. There were two that were unforgettable, about two that were memorable, but there were many that were just forgettable.

I do appreciate darker characters like Elsa. I also find Hans to be interesting as he seems to “mirror” anyone he comes into contact with, which adds to his deception. It’s interesting that he was named after the original author of the story.

However, this movie limits itself to being blown off as a kid’s film by the more detailed-oriented people. This movie, of all movies, had potential to be a super family flick. There have been movies that have been for kids that have been good for every kind of person. An American Tail was just for kids, but meaningful and interesting. Frozen could’ve done that had the wrinkles been ironed out.

The fact that there are people who like it so much is bitter-sweet. The up-side is that Disney will now turn its focus on making more powerful female leads, like all the other movies in Hollywood nowadays. The downside is that Disney will hand us these characters in butchered up stories that don’t make sense. That’s exactly what they did with Maleficent. That means more rushed, stuffed, and “merchandising” movies in the future.

The movie relies on itunes hits and dolls selling to get its point across. Everything seemed rushed and stuffed to make this movie a feminist flick, which it kind of failed at. It was all designed to appeal to simple emotions and to rewrite an already perfect story created by Christian Andersen. It was all designed to appeal to the “modern” idea that “everyone is a victim”. Puh-leeze.

Frozen is praised for being a feminist movie, but it isn’t. Feminism is the idea that men and women are equal to one another. Kristoff was not equal to Anna in any way. He was a useless character that served no purpose. This movie was to put women ABOVE men on many levels. This movie was to tell women they don’t need men, which is not feminism. It is sexist. If a man went around saying, “I don’t need women”, it would be deemed a sexist movie. This movie is no different, so why are we treating it differently?

In fact, this movie didn’t show two strong, powerful female characters. It showed two versions of women: The naive, typical damsel-in-distress Anna, and her Emo, misunderstood, irresponsible sister, Elsa.

Anna attempts to be brave and save her sister, riding off towards the snow-capped mountains. But then, her brave points diminish as she receives help from Kristoff to get up the mountain. After she is frozen in ice, waiting for someone to rescue her, be it sister or boyfriend, she dumbed herself down to a damsel-in-distress.

People may think this movie is a feminist movie, but how would this movie turn out with male main characters? If we take the two female characters out and replace them with men, would we honestly say there were no flaws? If we make Kristoff a girl, would it be any better? No. I’ll bet then people would clearly see the plot holes, though. But oh no, the little movie renovations, sparkly traditional dresses, and musical scores hid all that was missing. It jumped around the details and got to the big picture…Unfortunately, many of the details were needed to bring the story together to make the big picture.

I can admit the movie was entertaining. Despite its failed attempt at being feminist, it was still an entertaining movie. Could I see myself watching this again? Maybe when I’m bored or want to watch my collection of Disney movies. But did this deserve awards? No. Does Frozen deserve praise for pushing social agendas? No.

If we’re talking feminist movies, Mulan is an idea of a feminist movie, not a sexist one. She saved China just like any man could’ve done. She went through the same training as all the other men. She had the same reasons for becoming a soldier as all the other men: to honor her father and to find where she belonged. She saved a man’s life through her courage. But she still loved men, just like men love women, and he was her prize for winning the war, just like men end up with a lady at the end of their movies. Men view women as a prize, why can’t women view men that way? It was an “equal” movie.

Feminism at Dictionary.com

People think because Mulan falls in love with a man, the movie is traditional and therefore the movie isn’t feminist enough. Or perhaps people are waiting for something to pass the Bechdel Test. But that’s distorting the idea of feminism. The idea of feminism is not to break some traditional rule or to do something different to make men respect women and “bow down” to women. The point of feminism is to help men respect women as their equals.

Does Frozen get respect from men as “equal” to movies catered to males? Or does it just seem like a “Girl Power” movie, that puts women above men, more like a SEXIST movie would?

I’d say the latter.

A Youtuber named Sorafanchick puts it nicely in response to a “defender” of Frozen:

Part I

[In response to Hans being the villain of Frozen] …While Hans is the antagonist, [he] may not necessarily be villainous as his character is constituted in the story to be a good character, before he is revealed to be the antagonist.

Definition of a Villain: (in a film, novel, or play) a character whose evil actions or motives are important to the plot.

Unfortunately, Hans’s actions were not extremely important to the main plot of the story.  In contrast, Elsa could also be considered to be the villain, as she causes a storm in Arendale and doesn’t care who is affected by it throughout the entire story. She is the one that Anna is seeking to “conquer”, Anna who is the main character.  Elsa is set as the deuteragonist; the second important character that could go either way.

Definition of an Antagonist: a person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary

This is more of what Hans is…He is an obstacle to the main characters eventually, an interference with the main characters’ goals. But he is not necessarily the villain throughout the entire story.

Antagonists and villains are not even synonyms of one another.

[Mentioning several things wrong with the story]

1.) No strong plot/story development. There was a good idea here: a sister who has dangerous powers and a sister who wants to get closer with the only family she has. But throughout the movie this relationship is not developed. Therefore the entire plot is messy. The movie instead focuses more on Kristoff and Anna’s relationship….At this point in the movie I become confused as to what the movie is even about.

2.) No strong character development. Sure, Elsa’s character was interesting…her struggle with her powers would have been wonderful for me to see…if only she was the main character in this type of story. If they had kept with the original tale by Hans Christian Anderson The Snow Queen, then having Anna as the main character would have been easier to maneuver and develop throughout the story. But, in this movie, by them making Elsa a character with trials of her own, it would have been easier to see her internal fight had she’d been the main character instead. If Elsa were the main character every person she would meet would teach her something about herself. She would gradually but surely understand that her powers are not evil, but can be good. We would go through a journey with Elsa understanding the creative and destructive powers that Elsa beholds. But that didn’t happen in this movie. Instead we get Elsa sitting in a castle and that’s the last we hear from her until Hans comes after her. (ironically the antagonist is named after the writer. They should have called him Disney instead). 😛
Then we have Kristoff…all he is is the ice selling chauffeur. We have no back story of him accept that he lives with trolls. How did he come to live with the trolls? What happened to his parents? Then we have these unnecessary trolls (more than likely made to compete with the Smurfs’ movies) who could have served the purpose of telling Anna about Elsa’s past…but instead they say nothing. They act as if they forgot everything that’s happened. If they had told Anna, Anna would have understood her sister better. What was the purpose of Anna’s parents not telling Anna? Didn’t they want to protect Anna? Along with the movie’s magnificent animation are its magnificent plot holes….

3.) Plot holes. Many of them unexplained. First of all we know there is magic in the world…but yet we don’t know why Elsa got these supposed powers and Anna and the parents did not. Again, Kristoff had some kind of family in the beginning…but we never get clarity on what exactly happened to them. After [the sisters’] parents die…who takes care of the sisters? Usually in every good movie we would also see a developing connection with someone who takes care of the protagonist in this kind of story situation…but I guess they just took care of themselves…especially Elsa while locked up in a room (sarcasm). And we also have no idea why the smurfs/trolls told Anna absolutely nothing about Elsa and her powers, nor why the parents withheld this information. So with all of these unexplained things that could have added to each character’s likeness…we are left with nothing. Kristoff ends up being an uninteresting and rather useless character to the story. Anna and Elsa seem almost not to be sisters at all even towards the end. They never actually rekindled their relationship. Elsa just showed some random act of kindness that broke the spell. But it didn’t feel genuine.

4.) The musical composition. Now I will admit there were some pretty catchy songs in Frozen. However, the songs all felt really shallowly placed. In Disney’s greatest days, most times Disney would have songs that would reflect a change of event that is about to occur in the main character’s life. Even songs introducing new characters often shared with the audience that this character would make a major impact on the main character in some way. Sadly in Frozen, only 3 songs did that. Out of nine songs…only three songs actually reflected important events in the main character’s life: “The First Time in Forever”, “Let it Go”, and “Love is an Open Door”. These songs were placed to be important to the main story, therefore we could feel the emotion of the characters singing them. When a song is important to the events in a character’s life, not only does it have more feeling but it also avoids being an annoying song just to be a song. Sadly the other songs in Frozen were annoyingly placed. People broke out in song for no apparent reason. To add…who has NINE songs? This was obviously set up to be a Broadway musical…but the difference between a Broadway musical again is that Broadways are LONGER. A feature film usually is not nearly as long. Its no wonder there was hardly any character development/interaction…the movie characters spent most of the time singing about nothing relevant to the movie. Just listen to the soundtrack as if you never watched the movie….could you honestly say that you know what the movie is about when listening to all the songs on the soundtrack? Through the “Do you Want to Build a Snowman song”, for example, would you honestly know that something tragic occurred at that pivotal moment? I listened to the soundtrack before watching the movie. I liked the songs at first…but when I watched the movie that’s when I realized how distracting the songs were to what this story is even about.

With all due respect, I felt this movie was a good attempt at captivating people who are easily entertained by a few good catchy tunes and pretty CGI animation. But as for me, when I spend 16-20 bucks on a movie, especially a Disney movie, I want to see more depth and effort on the creators’ part. I did not see effort in this movie. All I saw was Disney using clever tools to make money: pushing social agendas, make creative-looking animation, catchy songs, and making two princesses instead of one so they can sell even more merchandise. Even the Disney creators said they wish they had developed the sisters’ relationship more (See Frozen deleted scene on Youtube).
But did they honestly care about good story composition that would have made this movie a quality movie? IDTS.  Too bad Frozen is popular. Disney’s going to ride on the back of this…SMH I used to work in the field of animation. But when I saw where it was headed…I moved away from it very quickly…

Best Disney movie of this decade? No. Tangled is probably the best Disney movie of this decade because at least Tangled had a story foundation…In fact, Enchanted made a better Disney movie than this movie. Two very underrated movies. And Frozen can never be compared to Disney’s renaissance, not even close. This movie simply reminded me, a long time fan of Disney, why I miss Disney’s Renaissance even more.

The sad part is the makers of the film were thinking: “Let’s make a feature film into a rehashed Wicked Broadway play (let’s get the same actress too)…that’ll make us lots of money….nobody will care if there is no story or character development because people want to hear popular catchy modern music and see pretty colors”.  That is exactly how Frozen came to be.

PART II

[When asked why they didn’t just ignore the plot holes] I try not to ignore ANYTHING. This is why I noticed the good with this movie (the catchy music, beautiful animation) and the bad (no plot development, no character development, too many plot holes, and shallow music composition). Every movie has flaws, but sometimes too many flaws can dampen the greatness of it, especially if it makes it difficult to follow the story line.

[In response to someone who believed the movie was like the 1990’s classics] There are plenty of people who say the movie Frozen can be compared to Disney’s classics, which I have to disagree. You did however say, that this movie somehow shows proper understanding of why a Disney Classic is the best. That I also disagree with. This movie again showed me Disney has a long way to go.

Good musical numbers? I stated that there are some catchy tunes. But are they good necessarily? Shall I quote a lyric from the song “First Time in Forever? “There is the window, so is that door, I didn’t know they did that anymore…..” “I don’t know if I’m elated or gassy, or somewhere in that zone, but for the first time in forever I won’t be alone.”
These verses, to name a few, feel as if a kid wrote it. It doesn’t take effort to write something like this. I really do miss when Elton John was the composer for Disney’s music.

While there are Disney movies that often have missed details (such as in the Little Mermaid, Ariel can clearly write her name on Ursula’s contract, but decides to use awkward hand gestures instead), yet the details that helped to understand the plot/story development were usually present in Disney’s old movies. [In response to someone who suggested there were plot holes in Beauty and the Beast] In DISNEY’s original version of Beauty and the Beast, they never stated what age the Beast was when he was enchanted. And if he was 12 at the time of his enchantment, we know that that might explain why, when he returned to being human, he was a grown man by then. So how is that good evidence that this movie had a plot hole? [In response to someone referencing one of Disney’s sequels] To add, if you are talking about Disney’s sequels (Beauty and the Beast 3)…most of them have ALL been bad except Lion King 2, Simba’s Pride. lol

What I will say is a plot hole [in] Beauty and the Beast (the ORIGINAL) is that there is no evidence as to what kind of enchantress…. cast the spell and why she used a rose as a clock to determine its permanence.  But since her role is not relevant to the main story/plot (the story is about Beauty and the beast), this is not a mandatory detail and could easily be overlooked.

The details in Frozen that were heavily left out were VERY important to character development and story development. For example, if we knew who took care of Elsa while she was growing up, it might have helped us see more about Elsa’s relationship with her Kingdom as well as her sister. We would have understood how serious it was for Elsa to withhold her powers because there would be many people that she cares about at stake. Hell, the caretaker wouldn’t have to be an extremely important character. In Mulan, her mother and grandmother are not extremely important to the story. But they help us to see what kind of family Mulan has and get to understand the seriousness of Mulan making her family proud. This is why the placement of characters is very important.
Kristoff didn’t need a back story, sure. But he would have been a more lovable character had we understood a little more about his history and how he came to be the way he is toward Anna. For example, the Beast in “Beauty and the Beast” didn’t have a strong backstory, but we knew why he was angry all the time because we know in the past he was cast with a horrible spell that made his handsome yet arrogant self into a beast and his whole kingdom turned into castle ornaments. That is enough detail for us to understand his anger and personality. With Kristoff we are given nothing for us to feel anything toward this character. He is simply there to be the chauffeur. He is as dead as the prince in Cinderella and Snow White. The difference being, those Princes didn’t take up HALF the movie time. They served their purpose and that was that. Most of Frozen’s movie was about Anna and Kristoff, Kristoff being the character with hardly any importance to the main plot. How can a movie have a male lead with absolutely no development nor importance? He was a waste of space in this movie. And about Elsa having powers…its very important for us to know why she was cursed/blessed with such a power, because it is the main issue in the entire story.

When I saw this movie, so much was left in a messy disarray, that it was difficult for me to like this movie. If not for the powerful “Let it Go” number, and interesting Elsa character…I would not have liked this movie at all! But those elements made the movie more bearable. And themes of sisterly love? It’s about sisters mostly in “idea: form. The movie was more about Anna and Kristoff than Anna and Elsa lol. The supposed “theme” of sisterly love was a scam to make money, while they really created yet another man/woman love story. You just fell for it.

Overall, despite the plot holes, inconsistencies, and failed humanitarian concepts, the movie was something entertaining for the whole family. This movie aggravates me with its plot holes, but it’s so charming, who can hate it for long? Like a child. They may get on your nerves for a minute,but it’s so hard to hate them. The music will be stuck in your head, you will enjoy every scene because of the animation, and the overall story can be followed and engaging, even if many things just don’t make sense. Perhaps Disney will later explain my questions in a sequel. Who knows. In the meantime, I still do recommend this movie for a watch on Netflix.

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