Ryan Dosier – Yesterday I had the incredible opportunity to see an advanced screening of the new Disney animated feature Frozen. The 53rd animated feature from The Walt Disney Animation Studios is loosely based off of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen and stars Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, and a host of others talented actors. Frozen is directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, written by Jennifer Lee, and with songs by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.
I’ll be honest, when I first saw a trailer for Frozen (with Olaf the Snowman and Sven the Reindeer), I was not too thrilled. Because of this, I avoided most plot details about the film. That paid off in spades when I finally saw it, because I was floored by the wonderful story, the fantastic characters, the soaring music, and the unbelievable artistry put into every single shot by the animators. Put all of these elements together and Frozen is a fresh, stunning take on the fairy tale genre. The filmmakers put a spin on this story that I was so thrilled with and I truly adored every minute.
My favorite aspect of the film was far and away the music. The husband and wife team of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez created such a brilliant, uplifting, and stunning soundtrack. Their combined effort makes for the best Disney animated feature soundtrack since The Lion King. Every song has been stuck in my head since last night, but none more so than Elsa’s power ballad “Let It Go.” The song is delivered with unbelievable wonder by the great Idina Menzel (Broadway’s Wicked). She absolutely blows the song out of the water. In the pantheon of Disney princess songs, “Let It Go” stands as the absolute best–and that’s saying something.
The other songs are all magnificent as well, especially “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” which is an earworm if I’ve ever heard one. Olaf’s song “In Summer” is funny, charming, and performed with outstanding ease by Josh Gad. Anna and Elsa’s duet “For the First Time in Forever” is reminiscent of Tangled‘s “When Will My Life Begin?” and works just as effectively. The Troll song “Fixer Upper” is a delightfully fun ditty, and the duet “Love is An Open Door” is a spectacular Disney love song. Again, this soundtrack is just out of this world good. I can’t wait for November 25th so I can buy it and listen to it over and over.
Another stand out aspect of Frozen is its outstanding cast of characters. Anna is my favorite of the group. She’s quirky, awkward, funny, and determined. Her journey in the film is magnificent and she is a strong, stand-alone woman. Elsa, on the other hand, is serious, stern, and powerful. Her presence alone is enough to unnerve someone. But when she finally lets it go (during “Let It Go,” no less), she turns into her true self: a free spirit who has been contained far too long. Elsa’s journey is very different from Anna’s, but just as powerful. Disney has once again gotten their female characters so very right.
Kristoff and Hans, the two male leads, are vastly different as well. Frozen really excels at accentuating the parallels between people. Kristoff is sort of a yokel, Hans is a wealthy prince. Kristoff lacks charm altogether, Hans has charm out the wazoo. Both of these characters have twists near the end that you probably won’t see coming–I know I didn’t. I love Kristoff’s relationship with Sven the reindeer as well. They’re like brothers when they bicker, but they would both do anything for each other. It reminded me of Aladdin and Abu in all the best ways.
But the character that will latch onto your heart and never let go is Olaf. The little snowman is hysterical, aloof, loving, daring, and just plain excellent. He is like no other character in a Disney movie, and that’s such a refreshing thing to see. Olaf gets the best lines, the best gags, and the happiest ending. This frozen fellow will melt your heart–guaranteed.
Visually, Frozen is simply breathtaking. There are moments when you won’t believe you’re watching an animated film. The ice and snow look so real that I found my mouth dropping open just from that. Elsa’s crystaline ice palace is a visual marvel both inside and out and an absolutely gorgeous animated spectacle. The visuals that accompany “Let It Go” are the most spectacular in the film and make it absolutely the best scene. Every time a character falls in the snow, it looks perfect. The layout team for Frozen deserves all sorts of praise and reward. They truly broke the mold.
There are so many aspects of this wonderful film that I didn’t mention… the character design, the Duke of Wesselton (voiced by the enigmatic Alan Tudyk), the score… it all just comes together to create a beautiful, touching, and magnificent Disney animated feature. Disney Animation continues to be on a major hot streak that started with The Princess and the Frog and continues bountifully with Frozen. I can’t recommend this film highly enough.
Frozen – 5/5 Singing Trolls
And as if that weren’t enough, Frozen is accompanied by a brand new Mickey Mouse short Get a Horse! There are not enough positive adjectives in the English language to describe how much I adored Get a Horse! The short breathes exciting, impressive, and unbelievable new life into Mickey Mouse–and it does so by tapping into his history. Get a Horse! is a triumph of animation in every possible way. The reaction of the audience in the theater watching the short was incredible. There were audible gasps, huge laughs, and major applause at the end. I can’t say too much more about the short without giving away the incredible surprise within it… but prepare to be blown right away. Get a Horse! is animated perfection and I hope beyond hope that this is just the first of Mickey Mouse’s return to the big screen in staggering fashion.
Get A Horse! – 5/5 Turkeys in the Straw
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