Who’s always late to the bandwagon?
When it was first launched months ago, exams kept me from going and I convinced myself it wouldn’t be much to miss. Yet despite that I could hum the tune to ‘Let it Go’ without really thinking because I couldn’t seem to avoid the song wherever I go. A few days ago, in order to stop the earworm once and for all, I decided to watch the movie and see what they hype was all about.
With popularity like this, I’m not sure it needs another review, but here goes.
Summary: In the kingdom of Arandelle, two princesses who loved each other grew up with joy. However, Elsa, the older princess, was born with ice magic so powerful. One day, the magic hit Anna, her sister, and almost killed her. She got better, but the incident scarred Elsa for life. Frightened, she spent the years alone in her room while Anna, whose memory was erased, couldn’t understand why a sister so dear now stopped seeing her anymore. When their parents were killed in an unfortunate voyage, Elsa should face her fears as she was crowned queen, hoping that no one would ever know about her power…
Comments: It’s not bad, but I just can’t feel the same excitement radiated by just about everyone else about this movie. The animation is cool (no pun intended) with all those snow and ice crystals but I have never doubted a Disney’s movie animation. I care more about the story being told. Either it’s because the biggest revelation has already been spoiled or what, but the surprise wasn’t…surprising at all. I mean, a guy who proposed in a night? I can see it coming, although the buildup is really so subtle.
Then again, there’s just something missing for what should be an emotionally charged plot otherwise. The scenes leading up to the climax is too short, the buildup not intense enough. The prologue is long, providing you with good setup and introducing you to promising characters, but the second act is flat. While the trolls character provide good source of humor and their song is hopelessly amusing, the mood whiplash is terribly jarring. I say it again. JARRING. Anna went from absolutely healthy to almost died. In span of a scene. After being almost wedded on the spot by a bunch of talking rocks.
I applaud them from breaking the mold of True Love’s kiss here, though. The aesop (and running gag) of ‘it is stupid marrying someone you just met’ is much needed in today’s time and age. Call me old-fashioned, but many people nowadays seem to be convinced that they’ve found ‘The One’ before they actually know anything about their supposed ‘soulmates’. Thankfully there is no the usual ‘falling in love montages’ with the official pairs, but even them are not out of the problem. Let’s face it. While Anna and Kristoff did have more time together, a few days (my estimation for the whole journey to the mountain and back) are not exactly better than a day. It’d be nicer if the kiss at the end doesn’t happen at all, instead showing them just starting with a proper friendship. Well, the ending happens some time after the resolution, so we can pretend they do have extra bonding time. Disclaimer, I have nothing against the pair.
Speaking of the characters, you know your kingdom is in grave danger when your newly crowned queen accidentally freezes the kingdom into eternal winter, runs away, then your princess gives command over her reign to a foreigner she just met that afternoon. The Arandelle royal courts are extremely gullible! You can’t help but roll your eyes as they shift from supporting Elsa, then Hans, then Elsa again in moments’ notice.
The trolls by far had one of my favorite scene. Their song sequences are hilarious, if only placed a bit better. I choked when they got to ‘socially impaired’. They got too little screentime and Anna’s worsening condition at the end of the song seemed like a cheap excuse to get the plot moving.
Elsa on the other hand, is a nice, complex character. I still don’t get what kind of epiphany allows her to figure out the counterspell to thaw the fjords once Anna tells her about ‘love’, but…Well, what strikes me is the fact that she cares about her freedom more than her people (although to be fair, she doesn’t know what happens to Arandelle after her escape). This makes her realization (‘What have I done?) all the more gut-wrenching. ‘Let it Go’ is an amazing song, although it’s full of irony. It sounds like a song about freedom and forgetting the grief of past, yet it’s actually telling us about running away from one’s problem and in Elsa’s case, trading a closed door to another.
When Olaf is first introduced, I fear that he will hog the screentime for silly jokes and drags the plot down even further, but thankfully his appearance is sensible enough.
If only they make the movie into 2-hours proper instead of 1:40, they could flesh the main complication a bit more to show us the gravity of the situation, maybe rearrange several scenes for the buildup.
When the credits start to roll, the line ‘inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”‘ makes my eyebrows raised. Yes, I didn’t watch any of the trailers, not even reading internet articles, so it’s a piece of news. I read the tale as a child and to my knowledge, it doesn’t resemble ‘Frozen’ at all aside of the snow bit. Unlike ‘Tangled’ which still has shades of the original, I don’t see any similarity between that fairy tale and this movie. Maybe I should check on internet archives to see if I missed anything back then.
By the way, now I’ve got the song ‘Do You Wanna Build a Snowman’ stuck in my head. Sigh.