SPOILERS INCLUDED IN THIS REVIEW!
Frozen is directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee and it is the Disney animated classic based on the fairytale The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. In case you haven’t been alive during these past five years, Frozen revolves around two sisters, Anna and Elsa, the latter having magical ice powers. They spent their lives apart due to a childhood accident. An argument forces Elsa to let loose on her uncontrolled powers and flee Arendelle which she has just frozen over. The movie stars Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff and Santino Fontana.
Love or hate this movie, you simply cannot deny the impact it had on pop culture and the ridiculous amount of success it garnered. I personally love this movie. Actually that’s an understatement, this movie came out when I was twelve years old, I was obsessed with it. I listened to the soundtrack so many times that I’m pretty sure my family have the lyrics memorized. I am one of those fans that have listened to “Let It Go” so much that whenever I hear it, it almost becomes background noise, I am that used to it. The truth is that this movie touched me emotionally with Elsa. It came out at a time when I was discovering out who I was and it was a huge milestone for me to see someone just live their life unbothered and in freedom. Now years later, I’m about to watch it for the seventh or eighth time but this would be the first time I would be looking at it from a movie reviewing point of view, so for the sake of this review I am going to try and not let my biased opinion mix with my criticism of the movie.
With a runtime of an hour and a half, Frozen runs at a lightning pace. the movie doesn’t waste a single second, every scene counts, every song progresses the story and it is ridiculously entertaining. Because of this, one might not necessarily have time to break down the plot and see how flawed it is. Despite this being my seventh or eighth viewing, this was the first time I noticed how flawed the story can be. This movie is famous for being reworked at the last minute because of “Let It Go” and it shows. The final product feels more like a first or second draft than anything. Hans’ involvement doesn’t really work, even twelve year-old me saw the twist coming from a mile away. The Trolls literally come out of nowhere and add nothing to the story, besides that catchy tune. Even little things like Anna being the only royal member of Arendelle leaving her kingdom to a stranger during a blizzard with no supplies or Elsa literally having nothing to eat, drink or sleep on in her palace. These aren’t things you think of during the movie but they’re there. That being said, those are really my only flaws with the movie.
Frozen is an emotionally rich, show-stopping adventure with instantly iconic characters and musical numbers. Besides some of the weaker story elements, the movie still shines thanks to the relationship between Anna and Elsa. Both are relatable in their own way, Elsa is a shy, reserved and anxious person who just wants to be free and Anna, who is quirky, optimistic and ready to take on the world. Seeing them clash against each other and ultimately seeing them saving each other with their love for each other is an immensely satisfying arc. Their characters contrast each other in an amazing way thanks to not only the amazing casting with Menzel and Bell but also the musical performances which perfectly sum them up. From Anna’s “For the First Time in Forever” which describes her longing for a night full of life and fun to Elsa’s “Let It Go” which has undoubtedly become an anthem for many people including myself for letting go of what is standing in your own way and just being yourself.
Frozen is undoubtedly one of Disney’s best musicals. Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez did an outstanding job with the musical numbers for this movie. The songs are all incredibly well-written and the melodies are gorgeous to hear. They have this dramatic flair which just screams Broadway and the actors all do a great job carrying that musical tone to this movie. People would say that the reason “Let It Go” has become so popular is because of it’s catchy tune, which even though it is incredibly catchy, I would say it’s the message of self-empowerment and freedom that made the song as iconic as it is. This goes to show how far their music has touched people. “For The First Time In Forever Reprise)” showcases Elsa’s anxiety in a way which I’ve never seen a musical or animated movie do. Everything about that scene is just perfect, from the increasing snow representing her anxiety to the sung conversation between them. Other than the songs, Frozen has one of the most underrated musical score for an animated movie ever, tracks like “Sorcery” which incorporates the sound of wind to evoke a sense of peril can really elevate a scene. Basically when it comes to anything sound-related, Frozen nails it.
Overall Frozen offers a tale of adventure, love and empowerment in a movie with gorgeous animation and instantly loveable characters while at the same time subverting Disney tropes and cliches. While it does have some problems regarding the story, it’s fast-paced nature and it’s ability to stay consistently entertaining make up for it. With brilliant songs that have connect with audiences like no other Disney movie has in the past twenty years, I think it’s safe to say that Frozen has not only reached instant classic but will be enjoyed by families for generations.