My opinion right after watching film
My opinion right after watching the film is that it is entertaining with a lot of enjoyable characters, that have a lot going for them. The animation is beautiful and eye glistening, and while I have some issues with the music, it is fine enough. The story…….it is supposed to be so deep, so meaningful, and so touching, but there is a lot that could have been explained better, and certain plot points are contrived, and that is an issue. It is a good film, but there are some plot points that are rushed, and I think it has the same issues as The Princess and the Frog.
Apparently the studio was going to develop this film in the late 30s, and Walt Disney started a collaboration with Goldwyn’s Studios, but they had some problems with trying to make the Snow Queen relatable to the 1930s audience, causing WDAS to shelve the project. It was also put in production in the late 1990’s (thanks to the Disney Renaissance), and the project was shelved in 2002, with Glen Keane moving onto what would be known as Tangled. There was apparently a bunch of times where they tried to work on it in the early 2000’s, but they shelved it countless times.
In 2008, Tarzan creator Chris Buck approached John Lasseter with the project, and he approved, being fascinated with some of the pre-production stuff he saw all the way back in the 90s. It was close to the original tale, and Megan Mullally was going to play Elsa, but they entered into development hell in 2010, and shelved the project. Take note that this was when the first princess movie in the 2000’s The Princess and the Frog under-performed. It got revitalized in 2011 (and after the CGI film Tangled did well in the box office). In the final draft, they changed Elsa from the villain to a deuteragonist, and made her related to Anna, so they can go with the sister dynamic. I have a feeling that Hans was not in any of the earlier drafts, so they added him to replace Elsa as a villain.
Speaking about Hans, after some research, he actually was not in most of the earlier drafts, and when he was put in, he was not even initially a villain, but changed him to a villain, so her choosing Kristoff would make more sense *eye roll*.
They went to Norway, to study the atmosphere and the architecture, as the film is supposed to take place in Norway, and took a lot of notes and inspiration from the Sami culture. Apparently, they went to the frozen ice castle in Quebec, and used that for inspiration for Elsa’s ice castle. I can go ON and ON and ON about the production, but then it would be longer than the usual 2000-3000 word review that I usually do.
The film starts with a song called Frozen Heart, which does have some foreshadowing, especially if you look at the title. We see a little kid that is revealed to be Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) following a bunch of older ice carvers and collectors, and I already have a few questions about this.
We go to the castle of Arendelle and little Elsa (Eva Bella, Spencer Lacey, and Idina Menzel) is woken up by her little sister Anna (Livvy Stubenrauch, Katie Lopez, Agatha Lee Monn, and Kristen Bell), so they can have fun with her ice and snow powers, which they rush off to a random room and do. I have to admit that this is a nice scene of the little girls having fun, and just doing what young siblings do. As they are innocently playing, Anna is going too fast, and it causes Elsa to strike Anna with ice entering her head, causing her to knock out. Elsa calls for her parents, who are not impressed.
He knows where to take them after he looks at a book, and as they go to the trolls, the little Kristoff and Sven follow them. No seriously, WHERE THE FUCK DOES HE COME FROM? So he is not with the other ice harvesters then, if they are allowing him to travel around in the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. Okay, whatever. He follows them to the trolls, and one decides that they want to keep him. A troll explains to the Royal family that Anna will be fine after he heals him, and that they need Elsa to control her powers, and they think having Anna forget about Elsa’s powers are a good thing. The parents misinterpret this as hiding her powers, and to limit her contact with other people as controlling her powers, but what they don’t realize is that they are teaching her how to be fearful, because she is not interacting with anyone, and keeping her in her room.
We get our next song called Do You Want to Build a Snowman, which is a montage song, explaining and showing the distance between Elsa and Anna as the years go by, and her parents trying to teach Elsa to control her powers, by giving her gloves, and for her to “Conceal, don’t fear. Don’t let it show.” We get a 10 year gap, before Anna and Elsa’s parents die in a shipwreck, and both are sad and distraught with it being just the two of them, but they cannot console one another because of Elsa locking herself in her room.
Anna ends up accidentally falling onto a canoe, and is saved by a regretful Prince Hans (Santino Fontana), and it is instantly established that there is an attraction during this typical awkward meeting that many of these Disney characters end up having; he is also nicer to her after finding that she is a princess. She calls him gorgeous, and that this is a bit awkward, before running back to the castle. They are all at the Church, where Elsa is officially coronated, and when she picks up the royal tools, frost is slowly starting to form, but no one figures it out, and Anna and Hans are focused on one another while this is going down.
When the reception part comes along, Anna and Elsa are forced to stand beside one another, and they have this nice but awkward conversation, as she is not used to Elsa speaking to her so much, and are both overwhelmed by what a party really is. The Duke of Weselton (Alan Tudyk) asks them to dance, but Elsa tricks him into dancing with Anna, and it is so funny that his wig keeps on flopping off, with him not noticing. He tries to get the secrets of Arendelle from her, but she does not know what he is talking about. When she returns to Elsa, she wishes things could be like this all the time,but Elsa coldly tells her it can’t.
They continue to argue, and Anna tells Elsa she knows nothing about love because she shuts people out. Elsa tells her to stop, but Anna refuses and snatches her glove, telling her that she cannot live like this, and Elsa tells her to leave. Soon enough, Elsa reveals her ice powers (which are NEVER explained, and apparently the directors were trying to add an explanation at the beginning, but apparently they thought it would make the film overly complicated), and everyone considers her a witch, so she runs off, with Anna attempting to follow her, with Hans following Anna. Anna decides to go after Elsa, and gives Hans the power of the kingdom. I have an issue with this. Elsa was just coronated today, and her parents died 3 years ago. There has to have been a person who was ruling for those 3 years, and they LET HANS take power, and let Anna give power that she does not really have? Giving Hans power instead of someone from the council is very dumb.
Elsa’s song Let it Go is sung, and after she starts a snow storm, she plays with her powers, and sings about how she is tired of concealing, and not caring what the others are thinking, and wishing for the storm to rage on. Anna follows her with her horse, but after many unfortunate incidents, she is without a horse, and goes to a store for some shelter. Long story short, her and Kristoff end up going to the Northern Mountains with one another after she bought him the stuff he needed.
Kristoff hears something in the woods, and tells her to be quiet. He tells Sven to speed up, and they engage in a chase scene with a bunch of wolves, which he tries to handle, and does not want her to help him, because he think she is a fool, case in point her early engagement. The sled ends up crashing, and they have to jump across a gap of space, but they end up fine. So they are walking for a while, and they meet a snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad), that Elsa created a few hours ago. They want him to take them to Elsa, and when summer is brought up, Olaf is somehow fascinated about it, and sings a pointless song called In Summer. How in the hell would he know about summer and all of that if he was literally created an hour beforehand?
Anyways, Hans is giving everyone in Arendelle cloaks, as they are all trying to find ways to warm themselves up and to avoid freezing to death. Anna’s horse returns, and he realizes that Anna is in trouble, and he is set to go after her and save her, asking for volunteers to follow him.
There is another chase scene, but with the monster Elsa created (which was ALL over the promotional ads), and the duo, Sven, and Olaf ends up escaping. Since the approaching Elsa plan failed, they both do not know what to do, but when he sees Anna’s hair transform to white, he realizes that he needs to take her to his “love expert friends” to cure her from the ice stroke, as he has seen it before. He explains about his troll family (while some of his backstory does lead me to a lot more questions and answers), and when the trolls finally appear, they think he found himself a hot tamale, and sing a…..I do not even want to consider this a song, but we all know the entire purpose of this grating song by the even more grating trolls.
The elder troll approaches them as Anna weakens, and he tells them that the act of true love can thaw a frozen heart, and that otherwise, Anna is doomed, which causes Kristoff to decide to take Anna to her fiance Hans. Speaking of Hans, him and his crew make it to Elsa’s castle, and he tells them not to harm Elsa. He takes out the snow monster, and when they make it up to Elsa’s castle, she defends herself with the ice. This is a very cool sequence, and there is a lot of tension. Hans enters the castle, and tells her to not be the monster that everyone thinks she is, and stops the person from shooting at her, pointing it to the chandelier, which she runs from, but gets knocked out as she falls.
Elsa is in a jail cell at the Arendelle castle, and Hasn is there with her, and she tells him to let her go. He tells her to stop the storm, but she says she can’t, and that she is a danger, so they need to let her go. He then leaves, and Anna is soon returned by Kristoff and is taken into Hans’ arms. She tells him that the kiss of true love will save her, and that her sister stroked her. As he is about to kiss her, he says it would work if there was someone out there who loves her.
Hans goes right outside the room, and tells them that Anna died and was killed by Elsa, but they did say their wedding vows before she died in his arms. Uh, he should have made sure she was dead right in front of him before he did this, and the room is literally steps away. He tries Elsa as a murderer, and to sentence her to death for treason.
Sven forces Kristoff to go back, as he could tell there is something shady going on. I am gonna wrap this up quickly. Olaf saves Anna from the room and she learns Kristoff loves her, Elsa escapes the jail and runs off, Hans chases after Elsa, Anna goes to find her sudden love Kristoff
since she suddenly loves him after her other piece of pie turned out to be no good, Kristoff goes to find Anna, the four of them are in the middle of ice, Hans is so dramatic with slowly lifting the knife to Elsa, slow enough to the point when the freezing Anna blocks his strike to her, and freezes, causing him to fly back. Elsa mourns and hugs Anna, which thaws her and ends the storm, with that true act of love Anna did unthawing her, and Elsa finally learning that love controls her powers. Anna punches Hans, who gets arrested and sent to his country, Elsa ends business with Westletown, Anna kisses Kristoff after she gives him a cart and Elsa gives him an ice job at the palace, Olaf ends up with a snow cloud over him, and they all skate around.
I have to say that the characters are pretty strong, for the most part. They all have personality, there are some depths to a lot of them, but the interactions and the relationships between them are contrived a lot of the times, which really does hurt them.
I have to say that the animation is brilliant, and one of the best that I have ever seen. The textures of the humans and the clothings are brilliant, the features on them are very different (though they took more of a different look for Hans and Kristoff instead of Anna and Elsa), the backgrounds have such rich colors and a touch for detail that you won’t find in many other films. I have to nitpick that when it comes to the facial expressions, they are not as expression-ate as they need to be,m and it is hard for Anna and Elsa to show off some emotion like the previous characters have.
Most of the songs in the film are great to listen to, and a lot of them do have purpose, like For the First Time in Forever, Frozen Heart, Do You Want to Build A Snowman, and somewhat Let it Go, and I say somewhat for that song, because she does not let it go, and is just as nervous in the next scene after. The song with the trolls is extremely grating. Most of the songs are within the first half an hour, and all of the songs but Fixer Upper are in the first half of the movie, and some LITERALLY play back to back. That is an issue.
Reception at Release
When the movie was released on November 27th, 2013, it opened at #1, and was #1 for many weeks. On March 2nd, 2014, it managed to make the 1 billion dollar mark (which caused me to make the Revival Era post), and eventually made $400,738,009 in North America, and $873,481,000 overseas, with an overall total of $1,274,219,009. It is the highest grossing WDAS film, the highest grossing Walt Disney Pictures film, the highest grossing animated film, the highest grossing film of 2013, second highest grossing film distributed by Disney, and the fifth highest grossing film overall. It was HUGE.
It was just as huge when it comes to critical reception, with many comparing it to the early Renaissance films, like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King, and crediting this film for saving WDAS, and starting this new era we are in, and all of the praise in the world, praising the overly feminist messages, the story, and the focus on a sister relationship instead of a romantic relationship, and all of that jazz that we all know of.
When it comes to the accolades, it won a bunch of awards, like many of the Best Animated Features, and the Best Original Song for “Let it Go” and was nominated for a lot more awards that I am too lazy to write down at the moment.
Well, it has a huge cultural impact, a huger one that now Wreck-it Ralph and Tangled are pretty much ignored in comparison. There are the few people that are starting to jump on the “Frozen is Overrated” bandwagon, like I am already on, and it is one of the biggest classics in the canon. It is such a success that it was on the show Once Upon Time a year after the movie was released.
= 29.5/40 = 74%
35 thoughts on “Walt Disney Animation Studios Review: Frozen”
I agree concerning every point…those are exactly the problems I have with the movie, too. (Plus the movie showing Hans looking all in love after Anna shortly after they meet, when no one but the audience can see him, plus my general dislike for the fact that Disney took a character who was capable and meet a lot of other females on her adventure and replaced it with a diz and an all male cast of supporting characters).
I think one of the biggest problems is that for a movie which is supposed to be about a sister relationship, there isn’t really much of it in it. The sister have barely seen each others for years, they have next to no connection and next to no memories they share, and then they spend most of the movie apart of each other. Having a sister is about so much more than blood.
I actually thought the sister relationship was very accurate. I have 3 sisters and 2 of them I didn’t grow up with but the bond is very strong. The one I did grow up with is a very private person so I related to Anna’s struggles to get through to her sister. The bond and love is always there because of blood and that is powerful even if the relationship is challenging. That struggle to understand each other felt very genuine. Maybe it’s not every sister relationship but it certainly is one type of sisterhood.
Yeah, I heard some people mention the issue with Hans longingly looking at her when no one was around. I really don’t have much of an issue with Anna, but I wish they would have let her handle the love triangle on her own, instead of using Hans’ villainy as a cop out.
That was an issue I had with the film too. We barely saw their relationship (and they did not have one since Anna was 4, which no one remembers much of in that age), and Elsa is literally by herself for a lot of the movie. It is a shame.
Like I said, it’s just a different kind of sister relationship when you long for more but you can’t seem to make it happen. I think a lot of women feel like a there’s a block with their sisters and they wish they could be best friends but are also rivals. I can definitely relate to their relationship with my 3 sisters. Most movies Disney movies don’t have siblings at all. This was refreshing and nuanced and Elsa is living her life out of a fear for Anna which in a way is a type of love but it blocks the relationship from happening.
I don’t think that Elsa’s powers really needed to be explained THAT much. It’d not exactly like in Tangled where Rapunzel’s powers had be explained because it adds onto the story why Mother Gothel would kidnap her in the first place and what happens when Rapunzel’s hair is cut (which of course adds onto the climax). I don’t really think that adding the origins of Elsa’s powers would really change the plot that much.
Just in short, what did you think of Big Hero 6? I heard that it was really predictable and maybe not as good as Disney’s previous films (even though Baymax is AWESOME).
Also, I don’t think that thing with how Anna would remember things from a kid is terrible. I mean, Rapunzel had a vision of her parents as a newborn and she’s the same age as Anna.
I enjoyed it. You’ll probably hear more about it next week.
You will find out next week what I think about Big Hero 6, but I will say that it is not one of my favorites.
They did not need to go into the technicals of how Elsa got her powers, but it is very weird when no one in her family tree has a trace of it, and this one child randomly has ice powers. And it bothered me a bit more because they originally did explain it, but it was cut.
I found it ridiculous that Rapunzel had a flashback from birth, but my point about Anna having an extremely good memory from when she is 4 years old is still a bit too much for me.
One more film to go!
Yes, one more film. I wrote it already. Did you watch Big Hero 6 yet?
Good review! I really enjoy this movie and I really got the Disney feel from it that I just didn’t get from Tangled. I liked Tangled okay, but I didn’t love it and I didn’t get that same Disney magic from it that I got from this movie. That’s one reason why I prefer this movie to Tangled.
I see what you’re saying with some of the story issues like how Olaf knows about summer, where Kristoff came from (though he could be just homeless boy wandering around with his Sven), and the lack of chemistry between Anna and Kristoff. Fair enough. I also agree to an extent about how a lot of the songs are crammed into the first half of the movie, but for me, I don’t mind too much because I’ve seen a lot of other plays and movies that have done this sort of thing before. So it’s not really new to me. By the way, do you think Anna and Kristoff are worse than Milo and Kida? I guess it’s a “pick your poison” or “choose the lesser of two evils” thing.
Now about Hans. I talked about this a bit in the comments in UnshavedMouse’s review, and I don’t want to spend a whole bunch of time re-writing things, so I’ll just post the link to what I said then and you can respond to it here on your blog: http://unshavedmouse.com/2014/10/09/disney-review-with-the-unshaved-mouse-53-frozen/comment-page-1/#comment-10004
Maybe I’ll add a few more things, but let’s see where this goes first. Keep in mind that all this is just my opinion and I see and interpret things differently from others (as we all do). I will add that I do think Han’s plan could have been thought out better, but I still appreciate the effort by Disney for doing something like this.
This film is definitely less DreamWorksy than Tangled is, and I do remember you telling me how un-Disney Tangled felt to you a few weeks prior.
I have never seen much Broadway plays, so I have no opinion on if many of them formulate the songs like this film did, and many musical films that I have seen has never had this type of formula either, so I was just not used to it. It is not a huge issue though. Kristoff and Anna and Kida and Milo being compared…….wow, it is hard to choose. When it comes to chemistry. Kida and Milo have a bit more, but when it comes to execution, I think Kristanna might be a bit better.
I remember your comment from Unshaved Mouse a few months ago, and I do agree with a good amount of it. That hint about him saying “place” is definitely one, but in many other films, some people just see that the word place” could just be used for somewhere to belong. He is a realistic villain, and I do like what they were trying to do, but I just think that they should have not have a villain for this film, since it really did not add anything to the movie. I just wished that they executed it better.
I mean, could this movie have been done without a villain? Sure. But if they absolutely had to put one in, then I’m glad they chose this kind. To me, they would have taken an obvious and done-to-death route if they made Elsa the villain (which I think was in earlier drafts of the movie). But they instead decided to focus on the sister relationship, which, even though it maybe could have been a bit better, I thought was done well enough and was a much better choice in the end.
Look forward to your Big Hero 6 review? Whaaaat? You didn’t like it? I thought it was good. I guess I’ll find out why next week.
Elsa being a villain was in the early drafts, and then she was a villain thanks to some sort of prophecy, and in the draft with the prophecy, the sister relationship was still the focus of the film. Well, at the end of the day, “what ifs” don’t matter, since the film we have is all that matters.
I never said I did not like the film….I just said that it is not one of my favourites.
I’m glad you were positive about it and fair. I really enjoy this movie. I enjoyed the characters, music and the twist really surprised me. Overall, I was just very entertained by it. I love stories about people who are uncomfortable in their own skin and have to figure out where they belong. I feel like Tangled and Frozen are the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast for this new generation and I’m glad young girls have their movies. In some ways Elsa’s struggles are more interesting than Ariel because Ariel felt uncomfortable in her skin but she was never told that her rebelling could kill her friends and family. Elsa is immobilized by fear and that is profound. She can’t even rebel like Ariel could.
Anyway, it’s a movie that means a lot to young girls and I can see why. I enjoyed it too.
I guess the other thing too is I related to it because I have a sister that has a wall up and I have a hard time bonding with. She says she’s private kind of like Elsa and I just related to their struggle. Found it very moving.
There is definitely a lot of entertainment to it, and I would be lying if I did not pop in the Frozen fandom every few weeks. I feel like when it comes to the opinions of Frozen, I am in the middle. I agree with some of the statements the haters have of it, but there is a lot of positivity to it, and I do see why the fans of this film really like and maybe even obsess over it.
My little girl cousins do love this film, and I guess that is all that matters. I can see how this and Tangled are this generation’s Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid. Elsa is a lot better than Ariel, and her arc is handled a lot better.
Well said. I think that is a mature fair way to look at it.
I guess I can see where you’re going character-wise in comparison to those films. Everywhere I look (and I agree to an extent), I see comparisons reception wise, and I’m sure you’ve seen it before, but I’ll list it off real quick:
The Princess and the Frog-The Little Mermaid
Tangled-Beauty and the Beast
Winnie the Pooh-The Rescuers Down Under
Frozen-The Lion King
And judging from anii654’s initial thoughts above on Big Hero 6:
Big Hero 6-Pocahontas(?)
Guess we’ll find out for sure next week.
I loved Big Hero 6 so I guess you cant please everyone
Just make sure you get your own opinion and not just rely on one blogger. For example, I am not a big Wreck it Ralph fan but loved Big Hero 6 and Frozen. They both made my top 10 Disney’s ever so e everyone has different tastes
Oh I do have an opinion of it and all the other movies, and I’ve listed my opinions of them in their respective posts, but I’m just listing off comparisons I found online, and I can see how some of them can compare. And, spoilers, I do like Big Hero 6. No comparison to Pocahontas for me. It’s way better. I’ll list why next week.