Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Why Disney's Frozen is Brrrrrrilliant

The Not-Quite-Every-Tuesday Film Review

No spoilers - pinky promise!

One of the perks of working in the film industry is seeing things in the cinema before they are released! I've somehow managed to wrangle my way into a company big enough to have its own big, proper, fully operational cinema in the office. And the first thing I was invited to watch there was...

So it was inspired by the fairytale The Snow Queen which I'd heard of but didn't really know - in terms of fame it's no Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast. But in Disney magic and fuzzy-feeling it's just as special.

What I didn't expect was that Frozen would be so laugh-out-loud funny! Not just in a silly kids' slapstick way but in a well-timed, sassy and bad-ass way. The leading lady is nothing like the sappy, lovelorn princesses of Disney past. She's determined and brave, stuffs her face with chocolate and she has freckles. The movie even makes fun of itself when Anna falls madly in love with a guy on the day she meets him - Disney basically parodying its own history of deluded young ladies (Snow, Aurora and all you beloved princesses - we forgive you). 

As a character Anna has so much heart and innocence you will fall in love with her the moment you meet her, especially during the adorable "Do You Want to Build a Snowman". She just wants everyone to be happy but her sister's secret keeps them shut off from the world. Because Elsa was born with the power to control ice and snow, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Just when Elsa begins to let people and her sister back in, she loses control - causing a deadly winter to fall over the kingdom. Anna must bring her sister back and save their home, with the help of some stella Disney sidekicks.

Elsa is voiced by the phenomenal Idina Menzel and her big tune is "Let it Go" (definitely one for the break-up and gym playlists...) the performance of which is breathtakingly brought to life by some of the most stunning animation I've ever seen. As Elsa throws away her qualms and builds her magnificent ice castle you can't help but sit back in awe of the whole show. The characterisation, the details, the costume design, the music... Frozen is definitely epic in scale and artistry! You'd never be able to tell, but each snowflake is completely unique, randomly generated by a very clever computer.  

It definitely pulls all the right strings. I was tearing-up and chuckling like a bi-polar polar bear. I promised no spoilers (so skip this paragraph if you want) but there's death in the first 15mins ala Lion King and Bambi, if you get my Disney hint.

Then there's Olaf, the snowman who dreams of summer sun. They way he can dismember his body is a little creepy but a very clever animation tool and great gag opportunity. His little daydream to musical number "In Summer" is a genius collection of visual puns. 

All of the songs are ridiculously catchy and the only one I didn't like was "Fixer Upper" - performed by a troupe of woodland trolls. For one, the trolls just jammed a little for me, not quite fitting in with the rest of the magic and tone of the film. Also, their song was about people not being perfect and fixing them with love. Weird message? I'm not sure, but no one wants to be a fixer upper! At least it's the guy who's portrayed as un-perfect and not the girls for once. In fact, the guys are definitely secondary characters in this film.

And the big romance ballad of the film, "For the First Time in Forever", for the first time in Disney history, is not between the love-struck leads, but between Anna and her sister Elsa - which is the main love story of Frozen. And for this, Disney, I worship you! Because finding a man is not the be-all and end-all. These are strong female characters who have their heads and hearts in the right places. 

So, although I will forever mourn the gorgeous, 2D painted animation of my childhood, Frozen made me feel 5 years old again. Its loveable characters, banging soundtrack and incredible visuals are magical in a way only Disney can pull off. Stop reading my rambling review and just go see it already! 

It opens in cinemas on the 6th of December and do let me know what you think.
(I also dare you to try counting the numbers of time they say "Frozen" - geez!)