Film Review: Frozen

| December 26, 2013

Disney’s Frozen gains some critics from the feminist circle. || Image:

Words by James Tolcher

Director: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Screenplay: Jennifer Lee
Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad
Synopsis: When Queen Elsa disappears after freezing her kingdom in a magical snowstorm, her sister Anna must find her in order to save the citizens and prevent a witch-hunt.

IT’S hard to say whether I didn’t like Frozen because it was bad or because I’ve become jaded with adulthood. Naturally, I can’t help but compare it to other animated films that had a strong effect on me as a child, and even ones that have affected me as an adult. I’m talking, of course, about films like Bambi (1942), The Fox and the Hound (1981), The Little Mermaid (1989), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), and absolutely everything made by Studio Ghibli. I even loved Lilo & Stitch (2002). That movie still makes me cry. So why did Frozen feel so… “Eh”?

Well, I think there’s a few reasons (some controversial), but firstly, let’s talk about the musical parts. Once again, this could be personal, and something to do with the rose-tinted lens of nostalgia, but comparing the lyrics and singing of Frozen to something like The Little Mermaid, the former feels so uninspired. I’m pretty sure most of the lyrics were just narrative exposition of exactly what was happening at the time. I cringed a little bit during one of the first songs when Anna (Kristen Bell) was singing about knocking on a door or something. I don’t want to bag it out too much, and like I said, maybe I’m fonder of things I grew up with, but the music felt very unimaginative to me.

The narrative was okay, if a little blasé, but the real controversy has stemmed around some feminist issues with the film. A couple of months ago the lead animator at Disney said that, when it comes to animating women, it was ‘really, really difficult’. Then someone put this picture together.


Apparently, animating women is really, really difficult. || Image:

Why? Because apparently women need to look beautiful all the time. Um, talk about perpetuating all of those issues women are having with their self-image.

Not only that, but apparently most of the source material was changed as well. The original text relied a lot more on female power, but Frozen introduced the new male sidekick, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), because according to Disney, women do need a man. Read more about it here, because this gal has a lot of insight.

Despite all of that, however, Frozen did redeem itself partially. The typical ‘only true love can save you’ thing happens, and I was close to vomiting on myself because I was like, “Oh fuck, here comes Kristoff to save the day.” But I was pleasantly surprised by the ending because it wasn’t the misogynist shit I was expecting. I’d be more specific, but I don’t want to spoil it.

Anyway, even though I wasn’t a big fan of this one, I was still sad to see quite a lot of people walk out at the preview screening. Of course, it was a children’s movie, and everyone there was an adult, so it’s more forgivable. If you’ve got kids, they’ll probably enjoy Frozen, but otherwise I’d give it a miss. On the other hand, Saving Mr. Banks (2013) is another Disney film coming out, and I highly recommend that one.

MM 4/10

Watch the official trailer below: 

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Category: FEATURED, FILM, Uncategorized

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