"Frozen:" Frigidly Entertaining
Posted by Eunice Kim on Dec 18, 2013 - 12:48:25 AM
HOLLYWOOD — ”Frozen” succeeds as a nouveau Disney classic that provides wholesome entertainment for kids and emotional escapism for adults. While hearkening back to the Broadway-like tradition of old Disney, “Frozen” possesses an inherent self-mockery and dry humor that works deliciously with the plot — a plot that is often glossed over to give center stage to the visuals and music.
Though it is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” the grotesqueness and surrealism of his masterpiece is nowhere to be found in this adaptation; however, capturing the essence of Andersen was the probably the furthest thing in the minds of directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. Gone are the ragged children and devils and hollow-eyed sorceresses. The story of “Frozen” is centered on Anna (Kirsten Bell), a spunky princess on a mission to rescue her kingdom from a state of perpetual winter, unwittingly caused by her misanthropic sister Elsa (Idina Menzel). Dichotomies are beautifully clashed — Elsa’s metallic castle of ice versus the lushness and greenness of civilization. Nordic frigidity versus warm hearths. Extroversion versus introversion. The list goes on.
'Frozen' stars Kirsten Bell, Idina Menzel and Jonathan Groff.
The most fascinating character is Elsa, who has the potential to be developed into a fascinating anti-heroine. This expectation is furthered by the fact that she is played by Idina Menzel, most known for her role as a femme fatale witch in “Wicked” and an unfaithful lover in “Rent.” However, this is a G-rated movie — moral boundaries must be clearly delineated.
By all means, the movie would have been infinitely more interesting if Elsa froze everyone on purpose. That would pose a much greater challenge to our protagonist. However, the movie [almost] makes up for this poetic oversight by doing something very unconventional at the end. Here’s a clue: the traditional Western male-female romance trope is overshadowed by another kind of ”˜love’ story.
“Frozen” is the kind of movie where older viewers will leave the theater wishing there were movies like this back when they were children. It has just the right amount of dazzle and superficiality. The visuals are ravishing — the mountains give an impression of severity of Everest-like conditions where chances of survival are slim (this is in spite of the fact that none of the characters get hypothermia or frostbite, even after falling through ice).
The songs are much like the old Disney songs, but with more wit, more attitude. In terms of plot, old formulae are reused and are not given much attention, as if the story was aware of its own clichÃ©. But what does clichÃ© matter in a movie that’s all about ups and downs (in terms of both temperature and sentiment)? You know what’s going to happen in the end. But that doesn’t mean you’re not going to laugh and cry and go along for the ride.