Reviews for the Easily Distracted:
So? Another Disney "Classic?" I'm less annoyed by Big Mouse calling everything a classic than I am their strategy of only releasing their movies "from the vault" at certain times. Kids don't just decide they want to watch The Little Mermaid during your stupid windows of opportunity.
Rating Using Random Objects Revelant To The Film: Two Ice Pirates out of five.
Brief Plot Synopsis: Spunky princess must save town from magically powered sister (and queen), and also save queen from herself.
Tagline: "From the creators of Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph."
Better Tagline: "From the creators of The Aristocats and Treasure Planet."
Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Very loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, Frozen is the story of two sisters: Elsa (Idina Menzel), the oldest and soon-to-be crowned queen of Arendelle, and Anna (Kristen Bell), the younger, more adventurous one. In addition to no-doubt formidable bureaucratic powers, Elsa can create snow and ice, but she hides this ability from the world after accidentally injuring Anna as a child. At her coronation, she accidentally unleashes an eternal winter and flees into the mountains, forcing Anna - with the help of a strapping mountain man (Jonathan Groff) - to pursue and get her to dispell the curse before they succumb to a terrible fate: playing hockey for eternity. And also probably death.
"Critical" Analysis: With Frozen writer/co-director Jennifer Lee appears to be trying to atone for some of Disney's past sins. The two main characters are both female, and neither of their primary objectives involve landing a man. Obviously they're both still princesses, but at least in this case Elsa and Anna are not wholly defined by their royal heritage.
The animation is also some of the best Disney has ever done (who wouldn't jump at the chance to animate some frost fractals?), and the pseudo-Scandinavian landscape is rendered beautifully. It also probably goes without saying that Menzel and Bell are fine vocalists.
It's just too bad the songs are, well, mostly crap.
Again, Menzel could sing the Oscar Meyer Weiner song and she'd probably win a Tony, but a great voice doesn't hide the fact that lyrically, these are some of the worst songs I've ever heard in a Disney movie this side of Hercules. The big single (at least, the one Disney is pushing the hardest) is supposed to be "Let It Go," Elsa's anthem about freeing the shackles of her past:
Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn my back and slam the door
Yeah, I realize it's *Disney*, but Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez are no Alan Mencken and Howard Ashman. There are a couple of memorable songs here, but one is "In Summer," sung by Olaf the Snowman. Olaf likes warm hugs and imagining what it would be like to hang out on the beach (it's funny because he's a SNOWman). But that's less empowering and more amusing diversion, which Frozen really could've used more of.
And for a movie that's almost an hour and 50 minutes long, very little happens. Elsa flees, Anna follows, some stuff happens. Throughout are all the familiar Disney beats that started wearing thing around Pocahontas. It isn't until the final act that the film's true villain is revealed, and the climactic scene is almost a note for note ripoff of Beauty and the Beast.
I'm afraid a lot of people are going to be distracted by how pretty Frozen is and ignore its significant flaws. Then again, it's Thanksgiving and there's a new Disney movie out. Nothing I've said here is going to matter one iota.
Frozen is in theaters today. I hope your kids aren't like mine and think they can build our own Olaf -- in Houston -- for Christmas.