Frozen Review

Tien-Li Hsiung

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Frozen is the ultra-successful 2013 Disney animated musical, starring Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, and Santino Fontana. When her kingdom is in the threat of being stuck in an eternal winter, Princess Anna (Bell) and mountaineer Kristoff (Groff) must find her sister Elsa (Menzel) before the kingdom is doomed.

Frozen has a great soundtrack and voice actors that can actually sing instead of talking in rhythm. It’s CGI animation is beautiful to look at and admire. However, Frozen seems to prefer style over substance. The character development of Elsa and Anna are very forced and rushed. Not to mention the subversion of typical Disney cliches seems for show rather than trying to fit them in the story.

What “style-over-substance” or “for show” mean is that everything in Frozen happens not because of story or character, but to satisfy critics and moviegoers that desire an “empowering” Disney princess. Except that Pixar’s Brave did it with Merida in 2012, Mulan did it in 1998, and Beauty and the Beast’s Belle did it in 1991. Frozen isn’t exactly revolutionary when it comes to Disney princess characters. The only innovative element of Frozen is that the love that defines the princesses isn’t romantic love, but rather sibling love. And even then that development feels forced.

The characters of Anna and Elsa can feel flat. Apparently, Anna is the outgoing girl while Elsa is very antisocial and introverted. As the film goes on, Elsa becomes more confident and outgoing, and she reunites with her sister. This isn’t bad in conception, except that all of Elsa’s character development is passed through in one song, Let It Go. Let It Go is about Elsa letting go of her self-loathing and it’s not a good song. Let It Go is just another generic catchy pop song, which is disappointing considering how great For the First Time in Forever was. Not to mention, Let It Go feels very rushed in terms of Elsa’s character development, out of nowhere Elsa just suddenly gains confidence and pride.

The relationship of Anna and Elsa is forced and rushed throughout the film. There’s really only one scene which shows that Anna and Elsa love each other and that’s the opening scene where they’re both children. The song Do You Want to Build a Snowman? isn’t bad on it’s own, but in the context of the film it has the problem of rushing through Anna and Elsa’s relationship as they grow up. This just raises questions, such as why do Anna and Elsa love each other? What makes Anna and Elsa special characters? What has Elsa ever done to Anna that has Anna desperately finding her sister?

The supporting characters of Frozen are great as comic relief but don’t have any memorable personalities. Kristoff is decent as a supporting character, but Disney making him a love interest to Anna is very poorly executed. Kristoff’s reindeer pet, Sven, is a total cliche. Sven is just another animal sidekick that really doesn’t act like the animal it belongs to and acts more like a dog. Olaf, played by Josh Gad, isn’t annoying as many other comic relief characters, but there’s nothing special about him.

Frozen has great songs and visuals, but that can’t make up for the lack character development and personality. It’s a decent film on the first viewing. But going back to it makes the flaws stick out more, especially after how everyone says that it’s one the best Disney films. Frozen is an underwhelming 5.5/10.

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