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%