Wednesday 19 March 2014

Is Frozen overrated?


When the first trailer premiered in June 2013, the reception for Disney's next animated feature Frozen was lukewarm at best; the trailer focused on comedic sidekicks Olaf and Sven and their slapstick antics instead of any of the main characters. People found the Olaf the Snowman rather annoying and feared the film would take a dark fairy tale and turn it into a wacky, zany gagfest.

As the films November release came closer, anticipation grew, and now months later Frozen looks like it may be set to pass Toy Story 3 as the highest grossing animated film of all time. Who'd have thought that such a simple looking film would've broken box office records, earned countless awards and made Let it Go the number once choice when you type L on Youtube?

But does Frozen deserve its fame? Was it really the smart and innovative hit that everyone makes it out to be? Would be as good if Let it Go was never made? In this post I shall explore a few points that people commonly make to praise the film, and ruin them with my own arsey opinions...

The plot twist is the most notable factor of the film. Prince Hans, who initially seems like Ana's love interest, is revealed to be a greedy tyrant who wishes to rule Arendelle for his own selfish needs. He was born into a family of 12, meaning his chances of becoming ruler in his own kingdom were virtually non existent. Ana, whose frozen heart is slowly killing her, is left to die by Hans, who convinces Arendelle that Elsa is the true murderer and must be executed. The twist itself caught me well off guard, but perhaps my only grudge is that following this revelation, Hans completely changes as a character to a point that he's completely uninteresting and unnaturally evil. No signs pointed to him being a villain in any way, which has two opposing effects: on the one hand the twist surprises the audience, but on the other hand it feels terribly unnatural and a little improvised.

Anna and Elsa being strong female leads is a nice element of the film. It's not their portrayal that annoys me - it's the reactions. People seem to act like this is the first time Disney have ever had strong female characters, or that Anna and Elsa are the first strong female heroes to ever appear in a film. What's also amusing is how in order to portray Anna an Elsa as strong female leads, the film creates a very black and white portrayal of men as pigs with poor hygiene and greedy desires. This isn't a problem for me, but people seem to completely overlook this and treat the film as a revelation for females in cinema.

Elsa never really felt like the complex character she was made out to be. They do a good job of making her seem vulnerable and frightened, but unfortunately she never seems to develop beyond her panicky state. When she flees Arendelle and embraces her powers in that song that doesn't even need naming, she seems like she's on her way to becoming a badass villain who will perhaps go down a darker route - all the anxiety has built up inside and is now released as a sadistic confidence. But no. She only seems to create her ice palace to sit in and 'be herself', panicking even more when Anna comes to escort her back home. It was pleasing to see her depicted as frightened of her controversial abilities, but the fact that she never became a villain was a personal disappointment of mine, and made Hans feel even more shoehorned in.

And finally, can some people please stop acting like this is the first good Disney film in a long time? I see all this bullshit like OMG DISNEY IS BACK or THE FIRST GOOD FILM SINCE LION KING. No. This is nonsense. In my personal opinion, Disney returned to success back in 2008 with Bolt, and from there it only got better. I mean, come on, look at Tangled for god sake.

I gave Frozen 3.5 stars back in December - I really enjoyed it and liked what it had to offer. But it just felt to me like something was missing. Too many characters and plot points to cover its 90 minute run time, and as a result the complex relationships didn't quite blossom as much as they could've done.

Thanks for reading!