Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Frozen (2013)

And who says adults can’t enjoy animation?? That’s the question I found myself asking as the end credits rolled and this delightful Disney movie came to its conclusion. I’d been looking forward to this since its trailer was released, especially since one of the lead characters was voiced by the wonderful and hilarious Kristen Bell. Unfortunately responsibilities come before indulging in my inner child but, alas, I watched; I loved – and now I review.

My initial love of the film is its leading ladies and the dynamic and love between the two that becomes the films driving force. Instead of some fabled love-at-first-sight mumbo-jumbo to take us to the films problem and eventual solution, we have a complex story of sisterhood and what the strength of this bond will force one to do. Herein lies the two leading ladies – Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell). The film begins by establishing the strong bond of love between the two borne from their adventures and fun due to the ice-cold powers emanating from the hands of Elsa, who can turn the ballroom of their giant castle into an ice-rink. Their fun quickly takes a turn for the worse though when Elsa accidently sends a bolt of ice to her beloved sister Anna, knocking her unconscious and eventually leading to any-and-all memories of Elsa’s magic being taken from Anna – to ensure her safety (I won’t go into details, because I don’t want to spoil it). After this Elsa becomes ruled by fear, and begins to ignore her endearing and fun-loving sister Anna to keep her safe. At the films conclusion it turns out this fear-driven method of avoidance and control may not have been the best course of action because, it being a Disney movie and all, love is of course the answer and solution to pretty much everything. Oh how I wish my life was a Disney movie…

The film doesn’t just find its strength in its outside-the-box true-loves-kiss-maybe-aint-the-answer-this-time approach however. It’s also made extremely endearing because of its lead, the princess that saves the day – Anna. I’d read a few interviews before seeing the movie where Kristen Bell explained that she didn’t want Anna to be some run-of-the-mill princess who relied on men to solve the problems and couldn’t pull a few punches herself. She’d explained that in helping create Anna she hoped to bring to life a character she’d always craved for as a kid – a strong, determined, and very awkward princess. A princess girls could actually relate to. Well Kristen Bell – BRAVO. Her wishes have been fulfilled in this character because, unlike many of the Disney princesses preceding her, I felt more endeared and in-tune with Anna than I have for a Disney character before. Her strength often surpasses that of the lead male – Kristoff - whom she saves on more than one occasion. In addition to this strength comes her no-holds-barred argumentativeness, which leads to some downright hilarious disagreements between the hapless Kristoff whose found himself helping the princess without much choice in the matter. The slight awkwardness and naivety which also makes up Anna adds a truth to the character that young girls could do with these days. Furthermore (and I hope I don’t sound obnoxious when I say this because, really, I’m only nineteen and have no right to a level of superiority that only parents can adequately pull off), kids could do with being reminded that they are indeed kids once in a while, and Frozen, with its messages of friendship and female empowerment, is an excellent method of doing so.

Of course I couldn’t write this review without giving mention to the non-human sidekicks that have come as a highly expected, and wonderfully anticipated, aspect of any contemporary Disney film. (We need only look at Tangled and Shrek as points of reference). Frozen has even surpassed these animated-capers though with Olaf the talking snowman and Sven the goofy and adorable reindeer. I won’t lie, Olaf might just be better than Donkey from Shrek, and believe me, I realise the magnitude of this statement. His enthusiasm and loyalty make him extremely likeable, yet the real clincher is his craving for summer and warmth and his ignorance at what this means for him. The scene in which he sings his enthusiasm for this season is perfect and makes you want to rewind and watch all over again. The fact that he has no subtely whatsoever also puts him up there with the best of the Disney-sidekicks. Also it can’t go without saying that the voice for Olaf – Josh Gad (whom some may recognise from Love & Other Drugs, New Girl and The Internship) – is absolutely perfect. Gad’s comedic timing is essential in bringing Olaf to life and his enthusiasm and nuance make him perfect for voiceover, especially animated voiceover.

To bring the review to a close I’d like to reiterate some points. First and foremost – who said adults couldn’t enjoy an animation?! If you are an adult and were wondering whether to catch this when it comes out on DVD then I would give you a big resounding YES. It’s hilarious, endearing, and doesn’t follow the usual Disney recipe (200g of true-love, 100g of evil-hoping-to-destroy-love, 50g of song-and-dance, 1tsp of talking-animals and just a pinch of magic). The film is refreshingly original while still maintaining the elements that we love. Also, this film has some damn catchy songs – type into YouTube “Let it Go” and “In Summer” to see what I mean.

To cut a long story short…

Would I recommend this? Even if you don’t usually go for an animation I would encourage, maybe even insist, that you see this. It’s too funny, sweet and original not to. 
A film rambler's star rating?