It's been little over a year, so most of us have seen it, or at least have had "Let It Go' stuck in our heads on purpose, or treacherously against our will. Even so, with all the build up that led to the release of Frozen and even the hype afterwards leaves me a little agitated. No, it's not the Frozen themed everything in the supermarket (because seriously, when Shrek came out he was on ketchup bottles), or even the countless toys, garments, or parodies of every song found on the sound track. Things like that don't bug me, but what did was the entire movie itself. It is praised as this amazing and progressive movie (some argue as it being the most progressive movie Disney ever), but my expectations are left half filled after my first viewing. I know Disney is trying to shake up their movies and try out new things (who doesn't want to be hip and modern?) but I don't think Frozen is a proper representation of Disney s best. Now, I'm not trying to be the Grinch this holiday season, but hear me out.
8 reasons that (somewhat) justify what I mean:
Reason 1: Frozen is a film that, first off, feels half done to me.
I'm not sure if they rushed the production or not, but that feeling came across to me immediately when I saw it in theaters. Essentially, this movie suffers from an experiential dilemma throughout the entire two or so hours that it runs. Elsa and Anna live in a thriving and beautiful kingdom, but we barely see any of it's vast elegance. The surrounding areas are only softly touched upon when we meet the trolls, and when the land is seemingly thrashed by a polar vortex of their own, everything is white and led from one place to the next. The world building in this movie is to be left to the viewers imagination, which leaves many unanswered questions for the audience in regards to the magic, charm, and lore of the land. It is inplyed that these trolls know everything there is to know about the magic and secrets of the land, but it does not explain how Elsa received her powers in the first place. For me, that leaves a pretty big unanswered question that I hope will not be sloppily explained and shoved into a second film. Alongside that, Elsa being the main magician and magic wielder of the film is an interesting choice, to say the least, and would have worked a lot better and made more sense if the world and it's history was built up more.
Reason 2: From a technical standpoint, the animation is sub par.
My first viewing of the movie was in a little movie theater, so I speculated that this could have added to what I thought about the animation. But after seeing it a few more times on different screens and in different formats, I knew I was right the first time I saw it. The characters movements in some scenes are so robotic and not lifelike, which bothered me incredibly every time I watched the movie. The textures and effects in Frozen were nothing to write home about and the movements of some of the characters just made it more and more obvious that the movie was a rushed project. There's essentially no diversity in character design and the facial structures of all the women are practically identical (yes, so progressive). Elsa, Anna, their mother, even Rapunzel from a completely different movie all look the same. I mean, I know they're related (except Rapunzel), but that is still completely weak on their part. There's no power of silhouette in the film, something that is absolutely crucial in animated films and games, which makes Anna and Elsa blend in with everyone else and the background. They don't have much substance to how they look except hair color and voice. Even their eyes are the same color. Elsa is blonde with blue eyes and Anna is brunette with blue eyes (which is insanely weird, I honest expected her to have green eyes). It's too weird. They are blank characters. They do not stand out. They are, in all honesty, quite bland.
Reason 3: The plot is all over the place.
Please don't say I'm the only one who thinks so, because it's pretty obvious to the average viewer. There is no clear antagonist until the final arc of the movie, which feels like the hugest cop out. We sit there, watching this movie and we think, is it the Duke of Weaselton? No, and he actually has no a true purpose in the movie whatsoever. He had full potential to have more character development in order to bring more to the story, but drastically fell short. In what way does he further the plot? He doesn't, plain and simple, but what is then the reasoning behind giving him such an emphasis? I really don't know, I can't even answer that one for you. Now that we know it's not him, is Elsa supposed to be the antagonist? Through out the film, the audience is constantly being given conflicting views as to whether or not we are supposed to sympathize with her or dislike her character, and the audience never really delivered any answers, again, until the final arc of the film. Which, needless to say, is ironic because that is when the real antagonist shows his face: Hans.
Reason 4: Hans.
I just don't like his character whatsoever, at any point of the movie. Since he is introduced as the antagonist pretty much near the end of the movie, it makes Hans' development as a villain feel rushed, awkward, and very unnatural. Such a sudden heel-faced turn from charming benevolent prince to cold-blooded evil killer feels wrong on so many levels, and considering there was no foreshadowing or dramatic irony leading up to the reveal, it comes as a shock to even the most watchful moviegoers. Though I will admit, it was a thought in my head as I watched the movie that Hans might be "that guy." During my first viewing I was so confused through out the story and the movie was blundering its way willy nilly. I was thinking it was Hans before it was suggested as so (which was not suggested until we were blatantly told). I was sadly expecting an amateur rabbit-from-a-hat trick from this movie, which offended and annoyed the people I was watching it with. I would tell them I bet it was Hans, he had to be evil! and so did Weaselton! (one thing I was definitely wrong about). But the audience I was sharing this with didn't want to hear that, they didn't believe it, and that is what the filmmakers wanted. They didn't want anybody to catch the bummer that this movie could have been. Beyond that and the shock response that "everyone" had, there is no reason to hate Hans or any character in this movie, which subsequently makes Hans one of the most ineffective villains of all time. The audience only hates him because he abruptly betrayed the trust that was willingly given to him the first half of the film. Yes, he wants to take the throne for his own and kill everyone off (so typical), but wouldn't that insensitivity be more effective if it were presented as such from the beginning of the movie? Give the viewers hints and clues that he is not what he seems, making the reveal of his plan much more suspenseful. Additionally, if it were addressed from the beginning, a large amount of the aimless plotless wandering that plagued most of the first three-quarters of the movie would be practically non-existent. That would have made the film much shorter and would cause more thoughtful planning to have gone, consequently pushing the release date back and that's not how movies are made nowadays.
Reason 5: Many named characters are completely unneeded.
It's true, so many characters in this movie are extraneous and did not need to steal screen time from the main characters (Anna, Kristoff, Elsa, and I guess Hans). Just as I stated before, Weaselton is one of these characters. The movie is trying to juggle too many characters and variables, which also detracts valuable character development that is lacking from those most important. This lack of development is bad, like really bad guys. Elsa is just as confused about herself as we are and her development (or lack there of) is rushed and inferred instead of shown and glorified to the audience as it should be. And Anna's character doesn't feel like a real person in the first place. She's clumsy and awkward (which I admit even I fell in love with) but, besides that, all she has is empty character development. There isn't much substance to any of these characters, and they actually just seem to be pieces with irrelevant details for making a stereotypical "everyone is happy" movie. But their parents, why is there such an attention drawn to their parents in the beginning of the film if they are only going to be killed off to "fuel" the plot? As an audience member, I didn't feel any real sadness for their death and I didn't feel any real connection. Having Elsa locked up for almost ten years or so was just plain weird. There was nothing that justified it besides the fact that she was dangerous, there were no ifs ands or buts. Her being locked away felt like an easy way out for the creators to changeover from childhood to present day. And, beyond that, Arendelle is shown to be a harmonious kingdom, so it makes no sense that Anna would not be allowed to leave the castle and walk amongst the city. If magic exists in this world, why is Elsa locked away? Why was it a secret? Did something happen between those who used magic and those who didn't? Was magic seen as something negative or unknown? I am left with no idea, and this brings us back to weak world building that justifies very little of the events of the movie.
Reason 6: The trolls.
Why the trolls? Why are there trolls? Why does Kristoff need to be connected to the trolls? I'm sorry, but I don't understand the trolls. Yes, they are cute, and kids love them, but their assistance feels just as awkward as many of the other characters. They play a part in the romantic subplot (I guess), but their world and much more is left to be questioned. The subplot just makes the trolls feel even more forced and superfluous as the big Hans reveal, and I don't want to get into all of that again.
Reason 7: The movie is not as revolutionary about the LGBT community as every one seems to huff about.
There is a character in this movie who owns a trading post and sauna. His name is Oaken, and he won't hesitate to throw you out of his humble establishment. Every one has been ranting and raving about this character is the epitome of LGBT acceptance in this movie. I, for one, think not. Oaken says hello to his family, and the screen pans over to reveal many small boys and one rather bigger man. Is this Oaken's brother? Oldest son? Husband or significant other? I have no idea, and I didn't catch that scene the first time I saw it. The fact that it is so short and wouldn't have been noticed by many viewers until someone spilled the beans online, this wouldn't have been commonly recognized. This doesn't build any sort of "modern progression" to the LGBT community. I personally think it is intriguing and would like to assume it is his significant other, but it doesn't outwardly build any sort of radical progression that everyone is hyping about.
Reason 8: The music.
I do argue sometimes that the music is one of the only good things about the film, and that's only considering some of the songs at that."Let it Go" and "First Time in Forever" are strong, compelling showtunes that actually move the plot forward, as songs in a musical should. I will admit, though, when I first head "Let it Go" in theaters, I was waiting for Katy Perry's "Fireworks" to start after the first of let it go's. Let it goooo, let it gooo, like the fourth of juuuuuly. The build up seemed so common and so overdone, but hey, it's catchy right? That's what modern music and films are all about. Now on the other hand, let's talk about the rest of the soundtrack. Songs such as "Fixer-Upper" and "Love is an Open Door," while good, solid songs, do relatively nothing for the plot and could be omitted without sacrificing anything. "In Summer" is almost a gag song, very jokey and has no real reason to be in the movie-- I actually could not recall that song even if I tried my hardest. "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman" has become quite popular and you hear parodies of that specific song all of the time, but it is literally the same chorus repeated with little to no transition three times. And the trolls, good god why are there the trolls in this movie if they hold no substantial meaning or use? Even the dialogue is second-rate and does nothing to immerse the characters into the world around them, don't get me started on that again.
The resulting product of Frozen is nothing but two hours of mediocrity pretending to be the best film of the decade. Yes, there are fun and quirky characters that I myself adore, and some of the songs are pleasant and rather catchy. This adds to the appeal to the movie, but what detracts from it is too big for me to ignore. Ultimately, Frozen does nothing but fuel my love of quirkiness alongside of leaving a weird taste in my mouth and will encourage Disney to continue making mediocre movies because they will sell and they will make a considerable profit from it.
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