It feels kind of weird when watching a movie that is over a year old makes you feel a bit more relevant. Frozen released in 2013 and seemed to explode everywhere. It has become a rather powerful force spawning a popular soundtrack, toys, books, an attraction at Walt Disney World, and is even being adapted for Broadway. Needless to say even if you hadn’t watched Frozen it was hard to escape hearing and knowing at least a little about it. All this acclaim made us want to check out what all the fuss was about.
The story of Frozen centers around two sisters Elsa and Anna. Elsa was born with the power to create snow and ice and the power is enjoyed immensely by both Elsa and her younger sister. An accident while playing causes Anna’s memories of her sister’s power to be removed by the Troll King, the castle to be closed up, and Elsa isolated even from her sister until she is able to control her powers.
This method doesn’t really work and Elsa is afraid of her powers and her inability to control them like she wants to. This all comes to a head after Elsa’s and Anna’s parents die at sea and Elsa’s coronation means the castle will be open. During the coronation celebrations emotions come to a head when Anna tries to get engaged to Hans, a prince she has just met, and also confronts Elsa on shutting her out of her life for so long. This causes Elsa to flee and accidentally freeze their kingdom in a magical winter. Anna chases after Elsa to try to get her to come back and undo what she has done.
That’s the basic plot for those who actually need it. So let’s get to what I thought were the strong and weak points of the movie shall we?
The overall story for Frozen is very enjoyable. It takes some of the themes from earlier Disney movies like “love at first sight” or “marrying someone you just met” and flips them. While this obvious rejection of cliches seems to be a popular way of making entertainment lately, I think that Frozen does it extremely well. As Frozen’s plot moves on you’re not sure if you’re going to be watching a romantic movie or a movie focused on the bond between sisters.
As much as people like to say that Frozen is all about the bond between sisters I found that to be only mostly true. The primary focus is about the bond between Elsa and Anna, but there is a secondary focus on romance. This plays out very differently between the two male interests of Anna. One follows the “marrying a man you just met” path and the other is more of a development over time. It’s still there and if you hadn’t heard that Frozen is about the relationship between sisters, you wouldn’t know until the end what the story’s dominant theme was going to wind up being.
Even with that acknowledgment, the strongest theme is still the love and bond between sisters, or siblings if you want to generalize it more. This appears in different ways throughout the movie. The laughing and giggling while playing as younger kids, the desire of Anna to reconnect with Elsa while growing up and going through the death of their parents found in the song “Do You Want to Build a Snowman”, and in Anna’s quest to find Elsa and attempt to have her return home.
In addition to this theme of relationship between sisters, there are other good themes at play here. One such theme seems to be that fear is a terrible motivator. You see Elsa at the beginning of the movie with good control over her powers. The accident that takes place regarding Anna early in the movie, is more to do with Anna not listening and getting lost in play than Elsa’s lack of control. However, because this incident leads Elsa and her parents to be afraid of further incidents the idea of needing to control the powers is front and center. Not that there weren’t legitimate concerns but it seemed that the fear was greater than needed and impeded Elsa’s ability to control her powers.You see this during the song “Let It Go” because now that she is not afraid she is able to use her powers to do some rather amazing things.
The story and themes are both good and I also found the music rather enjoyable too. Some songs are more serious and focused on the plot than others, but I still enjoyed them all. The only ones that were a bit out of place were Olaf’s song “In Summer” and the song the trolls sang, “Fixer Upper”. Still these were fun little songs that were still enjoyable even if they didn’t fit maybe as good as they could have.
How about some weak points? Honestly, I don’t really have too many. The ones I do are just nitpicky ideas like wondering how nobody but the King and Queen (and Anna before the accident) knew Elsa had her powers. Or wondering how Elsa got rid of the snow when they played together as kids. These aren’t really big issues and they were more things I thought about after the movie rather than during it.
Overall I’d say that the hype around Frozen is largely deserved. It’s a fun movie that is funny, charming, and even contains a pretty significant twist that I didn’t really see coming at all (I’m not one of those people who always spots twist though for the record). Emphasizing the love and relationship of sisters is a nice change of pace, and while it does pick on the emphasis of romance and particularly marrying someone you just met a la Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White it still contains a bit of romance as well. I’m just hoping they don’t try to cash in too much on the movie by making sub-par sequels like they’ve done with some of the other Disney movies.