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Frozen (2013)

| December 6, 2013 | 0 Comments

It is sort of disheartening going into Disney’s production of “Frozen” to report that this is a project that Walt himself had been tinkering with as far back as the 40s, disheartening because the result falls far short of spectacular.  After all these years, after all this effort, what has come to the screen is a dull, lackluster and fairly canned story that Uncle Walt would have most certainly demanded be rewritten.

What comes to the screen looks terrific.  The animation is crisp and colorful.  The ice-flows glisten in a magical way, but the story is disastrously underwritten.  It plays like one of Disney’s quickly-made DVD releases, or one of those classic fairy tales starring Barbie.  Worse, it has musical numbers that are not only forgettable; they slow down the film’s forward momentum.  They’re bad, and that ain’t good.

Loosely based on the Hans Christian Anderson 1845 tale “The Snow Queen”, the story takes place in the Nordic kingdom of Arendelle where Elsa (Idina Menzel) is born with a superpower that she doesn’t want: Everything she touches turns to ice.  With this gift, her royal parents reasonably do what any Disney parent would do, by keeping her power a secret and locking her up in her bedroom for life.  Who wouldn’t?

Elsa’s cold-weather Midas Touch eventually gets her banished from the kingdom when a wintry temper tantrum leads to disaster.  Cast out into the cold, she heads off into the mountains where she builds herself a lonely castle in which to stew in her misery.  Meanwhile, the winter-wonderland that she has left in her wake is (unbeknownst to her) turning out to be permanent.

That sets her sister Anna (Kristen Bell) off into the frozen wilderness to bring her disgraced sibling back.  Her sidekicks include a hunky guide named Kristoff who runs an ice business, and a living, breathing snow man named Olaf (Josh Gad).

Olaf would seem to be the film’s chief selling point.  He’s a cute motor-mouth with a silly wish that, given his molecular configuration, might prove fatal – he’s unaware that snow melts in summer.  Olaf is not one of the great Disney sidekicks.  Unlike Goofy or The Genie  or Dug the Dog, Olaf just feels manufactured and underwritten.  He’s also pointless to the rest of the story.  He shows up halfway through the movie, sings a song and then has nowhere to go.

That’s pretty much the problem with the entire movie.  For everything right with the movie – the beautiful wintry landscapes – there is something that goes wrong – all the characters look like a line of Barbie dolls.  The music is dull, the characters are ill-defined and, while small children may enjoy it, their parents will be checking their watches.  If I sound a bit cold-hearted, it’s only because I know that the quality of the Disney name deserves better.  This is a professionally made, but lackluster musical fantasy that needed a better story, better characters and better music.  After 70 years of toil and trouble, “Frozen” is all slush.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2013) View IMDB Filed in: Animated, Kids