Movie Review: Frozen

Title: Frozen
Directors: Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee
Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana
Genre: Animation
Running Time: 102 minutes
Accolades: Oscars for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song; Golden Globes for Best Animated Feature
Purchase Frozen: DVD | Blu-ray | Soundtrack

Plot
Based loosely on a Danish fairytale entitled “The Snow Queen”, Frozen tells a story of family, love, loyalty, and all the familiar themes of a Disney animation, except with a great twist that turns gender stereotyping on its head.

He Said
I have a love/hate relationship with Disney movies. They have many memorable songs, characters, and scenes which I do recall fondly and enjoy in small quantities. However, I was not a fan of the sometimes contrived and unrealistic stories, especially as I got older. I didn’t think I’d watch another Disney movie until I was a parent. Surprisingly, I found myself curious of the immense hype and praise Frozen received and just had to see it for myself. Magical and engaging from beginning to end and filled with endearing characters, Frozen not only embodies the best of Disney’s DNA, but takes it to new heights with a surprisingly well-written, snappy, and rather mature story. I must admit I was caught off-guard twice, which was quite pleasant given how predictable most Disney movies are. The soundtrack is extremely catchy. I whole-heartedly enjoyed the laughs and heart strings which Frozen tugged.

She Said
I did not grow up with fantasies about love or being in a pretty white dress on my wedding day. I did not grow up with Disney or fairytales. Watching Disney as an adult, I hated it. It was too unrealistic, too romanticized. Why is there always a damsel in distress? Why must the prince save the day? But as an aunt, I do watch Disney to screen/approve what my nieces and nephews should watch. I was drawn to Frozen the very moment Anna spoke, “the sky’s awake so I’m awake so we have to play!” The exact words were spoken by my nephew before and my heart just melted. A few minutes later, I teared up realizing the tragic fate of our princesses. Yes, it appears every fairytale involves the passing away of parents – and I still cry every. single. time. I rolled my eyes when Anna supposedly fell in love at first sight, and heaved a sigh of relief when her engagement fell through. Anna’s feisty nature and bravery were nicely complemented with Kristoff’s skepticism and loyalty. Their journey together was made more perfect with Olaf, the hilarious and optimistic snowman. Frozen was engaging and quick paced. I dreaded getting to the ending because I was truly enjoying the film and did not want that cliched “happily ever”. To my heart’s delight, a plot twist revolutionized my vision of fairytales and I cried in agreement with Frozen‘s definition of love. Disclaimer: I was not heads over heels with the production. There is one scene that I must pick a bone with: “Let It Go”. The concept of accepting who you are and having self-confidence is wonderful. Why smear such a beautiful moment? Must one suddenly have an hourglass figure, adorn a sexy dress, and strut like a super model in order to gain confidence? In the year 2014, I am enraged that while gender stereotype can be addressed, Disney is still sending false messages about body image.

We Say
Frozen is an entertaining movie for viewers of all ages and truly deserves its Oscar for “Best Animated Picture”. Funny, touching, and above all else, it is smart and meaningful. You will simply “melt” for Frozen! Hopefully this movie heralds a new generation of Disney!

Side note… could we get an Olaf spin-off?

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12 comments

  1. We just watched this movie last weekend, and I was going to write about this myself! :) It was so charming, and the backdrops were stunning. (Although I think the socially-unaware, naive, blindly-trusting character has been a bit overdone.)

    Also, I think the “Disney” (now also “Disney Pixar”, I suppose) you’re both referring to must be the “Disney princesses” collection. I feel there are many Disney movies that are NOT about falling in love or damsels in distress – in fact, Frozen is definitely not the first movie to focus on the enduring love between families, friends, and even pets, and the length to which one would go to protect them. One of my favourite animated Disney movies Lilo and Stitch even delves into the deeper concept of having the Children’s Aid Society involved. Likewise, there are also plenty of non-animated movies which I adore – such as Heidi and Bridge to Terabithia (on a side note, the boy in that movie is Josh Hutcherson from the Hunger Games! Makes me feel old…) Jus’ saying. ;)

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    1. Clearly our Disney repertoire isn’t large. I have never even heard of Lilo and Stitch, Heidi, and Bridge to Terabithia. And I don’t consider Pixar Disney’s, and it technically isn’t until 2006. If Pixar were included, Thanh would go on and on about his love for the Toy Story series. :P

      Oh btw, your comment about naive, blindly trusting, etc. made me think of Xiao Yan Zi. Oh, imagine an animated HZGG! Haha.

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    2. I’ve always considered Pixar’s works separately from Disney due to its computer animation graphics even though I know they’re under the same company. Since my first Pixar movie in 1996 with Toy Story, I’ve long been impressed by the genuine and well rounded story telling. Their themes are encompassing and just so emotionally riveting! I must confess I cried buckets watching the closing scene of Toy Story 3; I guess ~15 years of emotions just came gushing out! Truly love how Pixar films connect with the audience. Love and appreciate them even more after listening to the creators speak in a TED radio hour podcast.

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  2. Haha, Lilo and Stitch and Bridge to Terabithia make me cry every time! (The latter is based on a popular children’s novel.)

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    1. Ahh, my childhood repertoire for entertainment really only consisted of Boxcar’s children. When still in Vietnam, I was obsessed with a comic called Doraemon. Have I told you about that? My friends always laughed when I described the comic as adventures from a robot cat… 😌

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  3. With the crazy winter this year, it’s almost like Elsa cast her “curse” in the real world :P

    Can’t help but love the music! Definitely would be interested in watching the supposedly in-the-works Broadway adaptation.

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