Thanksgiving weekend we loaded up the family, a cousin, and headed to the theater to see Disney's new movie, Frozen. The movie tells the story of two princesses, Anna and Elsa, one of which has magical powers she must keep secret from her sister after an accident in their youth. Having to keep her power a secret, their relationship cools to the point that the sisters don't see each other until the day Elsa is to be appointed queen.
The coronation day arrives for Elsa and she's able to keep her magical powers secret until her sister declares that she is going to marry someone she just met. Hearing this, Elsa can't control herself and buries their port city Arendelle in snow, running away from the city and her only family, Anna.
Elsa escapes to a high mountain where she builds an ice castle where she'll live alone, but live with her powers known. Anna knows she must bring her sister back to Arendelle, at least to unfreeze it, and departs the city looking for her. On her quest she shortly adds Sven the reindeer, Kristoff the mountain man, and Olaf the talking snowman to her expedition. They arrive, are unable to convince Elsa and Anna suffers an injury that only an act of true love can heal.
That's a spoiler-free summary of what happens, there's more that occurs after Anna's injury but things become delicately arranged like a snowflake. Here are some other thoughts and criticisms.
- The plot early in the movie is clumsy. The movie is 108 minutes, which I'd guess is the upper end for what Disney wants in a children's movie. They can't edit the dramatic ending down, so the expository beginning got snipped to pieces.
- Visually the landscapes, snow, and ice are wonderful. The scenes when Elsa makes her ice-palace rivals the work of Pixar. The people though are still very cartoonish. With each princess movie that I've grown up with since having daughters; The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Brave, the people in those movies got less cartoonish. Here they were more.
- At first the number of musical songs surprised me. I like the musical numbers in Beauty and the Beast but the number of songs in this movie might have taken some away from it. The songs were all good songs, and all moved the story along, but there were so many of them. I'm still undecided if this was a slight addition or subtraction to the overall film.
- The villain and structure of good and bad in this movie were hard to tell. The only character I knew was good was Anna, everyone else could have been good, bad, or just a supporting piece. This made it hard to show empathy toward one character group or another.
- This movie was good, but not great. I felt like a member of the overreactionary media when Apple releases a new iPhone. What, the best phone on the planet just got faster, smaller, and longer battery life? That's it. Because this movie was from Disney I was hoping for even more.
- That said, the trailers for upcoming children and family movies looks like a big pile of dog crap. Pixar's next movie isn't set to drop until 2015, Disney animation 2014, then not again until 2016.
Overall Frozen was good. It's the story of family at a time of year when family is a central part. It's visually good and has a fair number of laugh out loud moments, mostly from Olaf the snowman. My three and five year old daughters enjoyed it and so did I.