“Some people are worth melting for”
The first time i knew about Frozen was when i saw the teaser of it in movie theaters before screenings of other film. The teaser featured only two characters from the film, the snowman and the reindeer, with a simple setting of frozen lake as the backdrop of their comedic tale. While the short teaser is funny, i was not particularly taken by the characters and i thought i should just skip the film. So even with knowing Kristen Bell involvement in the film i did not expect this film to be a new Disney’s Princess film. Which naturally made me feel drawn to see the film then, after all i grew up with watching renaissance Disney films.
Adapted from Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, Frozen is a tale of two sisters Elsa and Anna, both are the princesses of Arendelle. Elsa (Idina Menzel) was born with the gift of magic to create snow and ice, and use it to entertain her baby sister Anna (Kristen Bell), until one day an incident almost took Anna’s life and Elsa must learn how to harness her powers and kept it as a secret. When the Elsa came of age and the day of her coronation as queen finally came, Anna surprises her with saying that she wanted to marry Prince Hans of the north (Santino Fontana) which he just saw that day. When the sudden news upset Elsa and brought an eternal, icy winter, Anna must go through the steep and snowy landscapes to brought her sister back and brought summer back to Arrendelle with the help of the ice dealer Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his reindeer Sven, and an oblivious snowman, Olaf (Josh Gad), who love warm hugs who looked forward to summer.
Made for young children (specifically girls), Frozen continued the tradition of new Disney princesses that is brave heroines in their own respects that does not wait on their heroes as damsels in distress. Now i am curious how the scholars would perceive the addition of the two princesses in the array of other Disney princesses (i had a friend who wrote an amazing graduate thesis of the princesses effects in young girls perception of beauty :D). Frozen manage to maintain delicate balance between entertaining comedy and love/hate sisterhood theme for the young, and unexpected feminist values and twist that would surprise even the adult viewers alike. The main theme that stood out in the film is how people treated the gift that Elsa has by asking whether it was ‘born’ or ‘cursed’ and later she was asked to ‘conceal, don’t feel’, which put Elsa hidden in a metaphorical closet, thinking her difference was something to be embarrassed about instead of fully embraced. There were also a grey ambiguity instead of the stark black/white of good vs evil in this film which was very different than the traditional fairy tales convent. Frozen literally brought a fresh breeze and stood out amongst its predecessors. It definitely lives up to the praises bestowed upon by critics and general audience alike.
The animation of Frozen was done in stereotopic 3D, but i have only seen this in 2D thus i could not tell if it made the film viewed better or not. But the overall animation for me did not brought anything new to the table and i found myself to be quite underwhelmed. There were something in the way the character stood out against the backdrop that made me reminisce of classical disney animation though. One of the definite stood out in the film is the scene of the creation of the ice palace, which was a marvel on its own. The great thing of the film, is of course the music. Not only the traditionally Norway and Sápmi inspired score by Christophe Beck manage to set the tone of grandeur that the icy landscape would represent since the beginning of the film, but the songs that Kristin Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez created for the characters is broadway musical worthy and elevate the entire film. Kristen Bell surprises everyone with her singing ability and deliver a performance that matched her broadway trained co-stars Santino Fontana (who is playing Prince Topher on Cinderella) and Jonathan Groff (who should be familiar enough if you watched Glee before it became weird and awkward). Idina Menzel the broadway veteran actress, delivered a gorgeously liberating ‘Let it Go’ that has the same spirit with her signature ‘Defying Gravity from her role as Elphaba in Wicked (a personal favorite, by the way). The song is also covered by Demi Lovato in a slightly light and poppish version. Definitely one of the best Disney Soundtrack in a while, it brought back the memories of old times glory like in Little Mermaid, The Lion King, etc. I definitely rooting for an original songs nomination in the upcoming Academy Awards.
So to conclude my thoughts, i simply adore the film. Frozen is a brave, modern take of a classical princess tale that would resound to the value of the modern girl and women, which i hope Disney would continue to do. It is definitely a smart and new take of traditional fairy tale that definitely need to be seen by the young, the old, and everyone in between. And even if you’re not interested in the film it self, why not check it out for the grandeur of the music and the score? (Writing this while listening to the soundtrack album on loops :D)
GENRE Animation, Fantasy
DIRECTOR Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee | PRODUCER Peter Del Vecho | WRITER Jennifer Lee | MUSIC Christophe Beck | EDITOR Jeff Draheim | STUDIO Walt Disney Pictures Walt Disney Animation Studios | DISTRIBUTOR Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures | COUNTRY United States | BUDGET $150 million | RUNNING TIME 108 minutes | RATING PG for some action and mild rude humor | RELEASE November 27, 2013 (US)
STARRING Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, Ciarán Hinds
DID YOU KNOW? One of my favorite number from the soundtrack is a beautiful number called ‘Vuelie‘ which you’ll hear at the beginning and towards the end of the film. It featured the voices of norwegian female choir Cantus and created from a collaboration by a Sámi musician, Frode Fjellheim and the movie main composer, Christophe Beck. The song definitely have a significant traditional sound which is a fusion of Sámi yoiking and Danish Christmas hymn “Dejlig er jorden”/”Fairest Lord Jesus”. Yoik or joik is a traditional Sámi form of a song, it is the longest living music traditions in Europe and the sound is similar to a traditional chanting of native american cultures, which explain the tribal feel i had the first time i heard the song :)