I really wanted to like this movie more than I did. I mean, it had a lot of elements that should have spoken to my soul. The main love interest was actually a villian! Bam! The main character was a literally powerful woman! Bam! AND she kept her powers! Double bam! Idina Menzel! There was singing, and sisters, and a rejection of love at first sight (sort of). Plus, with half the conservative world up in arms about it’s liberal indoctrination of children – what’s not to love?
But Frozen fell flat for me.
In case you, like me, lived under a rock for the better part of the year it’s been out, Frozen is the story of a girl, Elsa, who is born with the power to create cold, ice, snow, etc. Early in the movie she is playing with her little sister, Anna, and accidentally hits her with a burst of cold, leading her parents to teach her to hide her power, rather than learn to control and embrace it. When Elsa grows up and has to be a part of the community around her, her powers sneak out and she runs.
Frozen was a strange mix of rushed and boring. Things happening quickly in snippets to give back story, but never with enough depth to relate to the characters or become meaningful for me. In fact, I don’t think I really got interested until well past the halfway mark when they were all back in Arendelle again. I couldn’t really relate to the motivation of the characters – why did Anna love and trust Elsa so much? There was very little in the movie to explain that other than: Sisters! They literally had no relationship. Why were the parents so fearful of this ice power? Given the initial scene with the trolls, it seems like it’s a not totally unheard of thing? Why are parents so clueless and horrifying in Disney movies, anyway? And how long did this winter last? They talked about it like it was going on for ages, but it felt like everything happened within a few days. And aren’t these people Nordic? Is winter so shocking? They have to gather in the palace for blankets?
Also, whitewashing. Sigh.
Sort of surprisingly, Frozen has recently become the highest grossing animated movie of all time. How did it beat out beauties like Brave and The Princess and the Frog?? (My current theory has something to do with a combination of High School Musical, the popularity of all of those singing competitions on TV, and the fact that everyone and their dog is uploading YouTube videos of Let It Go covers. To be fair, it has a great soundtrack for singing along – very broadway-ie.*)
And last gripe, I was really distracted by moments where my brain was shouting: Lion King! Beauty and the Beast! *Wicked!
Things I did like?
For personal reasons, Anna’s selfless act in saving Elsa touched my heart. (Shout out lil sis!) I loved that the act of true love was between sisters, although I was confused why poor Olaf melting in front of the fire didn’t do it as well. And I was relieved that Olaf was a funny, rather than a silly character. And I really love the message of the song, Let it Go. I just wish I had gotten to know Elsa a little better so I could connect it to her emotionally. But despite the positives, in the end, it just didn’t pull together well enough to be a great one. (Little Mermaid forever!)
K’s rating of Frozen: 6/10 mangoes