Disney’s Frozen is Red Hot

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features

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Published on November 24, 2013 at 3:00 am with 39 Comments

Halfway through Disney’s new animated feature film, Frozen, I realized I had no idea what was going to happen next.  That was about the same time I realized that what I was watching was something pretty special.  This is a Disney movie.  You pretty much know how it will end.  But this time around, you may not have a clue how it will end up getting there.

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The film begins with the story of two sisters, Anna and Elsa, the princesses of a Norwegian kingdom, Arendelle.  Elsa, the older of the two has the gift of creating snow and ice.  After an accident that puts Elsa’s sister Anna at risk, the king and queen are advised to hide Elsa’s special powers.   The main story picks up years later, as the girls are both grown and actively ruling from a closed off castle.  Through a series of events, Elsa (Idina Menzel). is forced into exile due to her powers.

Elsa runs to the mountains for refuge and belts out the movie’s first memorable tune, “Let it Go”  from Robert Lopez, who won Tony awards for “The Book of Mormon,” and his wife, Kristin Anderson-Lopez. In fact, this movie is all musical.  Even more so than the most recent Disney movie musical, Tangled.  Music comes and goes as naturally as dialogue. And, while much of the music isn’t memorable, it is good and it helps keep the movie moving forward without boring lulls.

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If Arendelle could be sufficed to let Elsa run off into her icy exile, that would be the end of the story.  But Elsa triggered an eternal winter upon her exit and it is then up to younger sister Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) to try and reach the frigid sibling.  What to do?  Younger sister Anna sets off into the frozen but artistically stunning wilds in a hope of ending the freeze.

Along the way, Anna enlists the help of handsome Ice Harvester, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his reindeer Sven (who reminded us very much of the horse, Maximus, in Tangled). It is also at this point that we meet Olaf (Josh Gad), the animated snowman.  Based upon the terrible trailers featuring this character, we were looking forward to seeing him in the actual film about as much as you might enjoy a root canal.  Thankfully, he comes off quite well and is likely to steal the show with young audiences in much the same way the Genie did in Aladdin. Watch for his show stealing number in which he laments his desire to enjoy summer (you’ll also see this scene featured prominently in Disney California Adventure’s holiday version of World of Color).

Aside from the solid characters, perfect voice casting, solid tunes and action packed storyline, there’s one other thing that this movie has in spades, visual beauty. There’s a point in the film, during a rousing musical number by Idina Menzel, where you realize that you are witnessing one of the most jaw droppingly beautiful animated segments ever produced. The art direction of this film is brilliant and will no doubt help cement this film as a future Disney classic.

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There are two other things that Frozen has going for it that you might not otherwise consider when going to a movie. This is a 3D film, and it works wonderfully. There are very few obvious 3D gags, it is instead used to provide visual depth and add atmospheric elements (such as snow) which greatly enhances the feeling of being in the picture rather than just watching it from a distance. The other huge plus to this film is the short feature which runs before it entitled Get A Horse. In some ways, it’s almost as strong an element as the main feature itself. This is a classic style Mickey Mouse cartoon which uses characters who have long since passed into memory such as Horace Horsecollar, Clarabelle Cow and Peg-Leg Pete. While it may look like a vintage short to you at first, that notion is soon dispelled when the characters burst forth from the screen in CGI modeled 3D. This is a full on prank filled Mickey Mouse slapstick short as Walt Disney himself would have done. Clever, clever, clever and NOT to be missed by any Disney fan. And here’s a little item of note, the character voices are original and were sampled from the actual classic shorts. So, that’s really Walt Disney you’re hearing!

Here’s just the first part of the short which is in black and white. You’ll just have to see Frozen to see the rest of the short, which will amaze you and leave you chuckling.

After all is said and done, the emotional thread of the film leads to a rather poignant finish.  There is no cheat in the dramatic structure here and everything leads to a logical climax.  Mark my words, Frozen will be a big hit, one that will stand the test of time.  While the music isn’t the most hummable, it is good.  The characters are engaging and sympathetic.  On top of it all, there is plenty to entertain theater-goers of every age. Frozen is destined to thaw hearts and steam up the box office this holiday season.

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Are you planning to make Frozen part of your holiday this year? Let us know your interest in the comments below and please rate the film for us in the survey below.

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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39 Comments

Comments for Disney’s Frozen is Red Hot are now closed.

  1. May have to see it now. That snowman character (Olaf) put me right off in the trailers. Just your description of the visuals has changed my mind. Remember when Disney films had scores that we HAD to own after we saw the film, and made it to the radio?
    Thank you!

    • You should absolutely see it. I was really shocked by how good it was. That scene from the trailer where Olaf and Sven fight over a carrot on a frozen lake isn’t even in the film. Unfortunately, that’s the impression a lot of folks now have of the movie.

      I liked this film a lot more than Tangled, which was a huge hit. Even kids will appreciate the beauty of Frozen.

  2. Was the 3D as good as the depth in Tangled? They’ll need to haul in big cash to come close to the margins of those massive animated hits from other studios that only cost $60mil to make.

    • The 3D was great. Especially in the scenes where it is snowing. The whole theater seems to fill with snow.

  3. Can’t wait to see it! Thank you for piquing my interest a few notches for this film. I’ve been on the fence for a while about this but your comments have calmed my concerns about it. Thanks again!

  4. The Mickey cartoon alone will get me into the theater.

    Those of you who have seen it — I don’t mind the thought of the theater gently filling with snow, but how aggressive is the 3-D? Having PTSD, having things lobbed at me from the screen makes me flinch. I have the Service Dog inside my coat during the movie and squeeze him until his eyes pop out. What do you think? Would “Frozen” be a safe bet for the easily startled?

    • I cannot think of anything offhand that gets lobbed at you. I think your service dog is safe.

    • The VERY beginning actually has an ice saw coming at you, I think–I was surprised at the depth of field at the very start. But I am a flincher (though I don’t suffer from PTSD) and I don’t recall any moments where anything is LOBBED at you, and the saw was the only thing that stood out to me as even coming at you at all. (Careful for the previews, though; there’s a squirrel movie coming out that may be a problem on that front.)

  5. I’ve become decidedly more interested in this films since the reviews started rolling in. The marketing for it has been terrible, so I hope word of mouth and review-savvy consumers find their way to it.

  6. I was really looking forward to seeing Frozen until I saw Wirldof Color Winter Dreams. I found Olaf the Snowman so extremely annoying in that show, that it turned me off to the idea of seeing the film. If his annoying sidekick antics are a major part of this feature, I will definitely pass!

    • It’s a wonderful film. Don’t let your preconceived notions about Olaf keep you from seeing one of Disney’s best efforts in many years.

  7. I’m surprised at the vitriol for Olaf. I think he’s hilarious. The first trailer definitely had that “Ice Age” thing going, but the gag at the end had the audiences laughing every time. (I own a movie theater so I can attest!) I look for this movie to be a huge hit. Disney (itself) has been making better Disney movies than Pixar has, lately. Give me Tangled over Brave, any day.

    • “Vitriol”? Really? Poor use of the word. I’d say more like ‘put off’. At least we are open minded to seeing the film, largely due to Dusty’s review. But vitriolic? Hardly.

      • Really? Seems vitriolic to me. Anyway, although Dusty’s been making comments, it appears that Norm actually wrote the main review. One that I believe he held back on. I might have jumped a little bit higher over the film. I found the animation – which I did see in 3D – to be absolutely beautiful. Even though I myself have always been bothered by the cold.

        And with apologies to Dobby’s owner and Amy, I personally could not imagine seeing “Get A Horse” in 2D after seeing it in the theater. I’m so glad I never saw it online before the premiere I was at!

  8. I’m not a princess fan, but this movie has me curious. I’ll have to see it in non-3D though as I can’t see 3D properly (it still a bit blurry and gives me a migraine). Definitely want to see the rest of the new Mickey short after seeing that clip though. I laughed pretty hard at that.

  9. Ever since they quit using hand drawn animation, I could care less about their new movies.

  10. I heard some of the music/singing from World of Color Winter Dreams. I simply CAN’T STAND when someone sounds too much like an American Idol wannabe.
    That’s where Tangled works for me. Mandy Moore sings in a gentle, natural way, not trying to show off her pipes with unnecessary high pitched screaming.
    Frozen may still end up being one of my favorite Disney films after I see it, but I already know I’ll be putting on the ear plugs when Elsa starts to sing.

    • The idea of Broadway’s Idina Menzel as an American Idol wannabe is really, really funny to me.

      • Well that explains it. Broadway singers are the YELLING type of singer. Trying to reach the back rows of the theater.

  11. I was planning on taking my two young ones to see Frozen, but the crassness and crudity in the preview for the “Get a Horse” short absolutely turns me off. The styling and “humor” put in mind (along with the other shorts that Disney is making available on YouTube) Ren and Stimpy and their ilk – which I don’t enjoy, and won’t be sharing with my kids.

    The old Mickey and friends cartoons often had meanness and the like, but there was always a feel of innocence to them. The new ones being produced are just crude, and flaunt it.

    I guess I’ll probably just wait to RedBox the Blu-Ray so I can skip the short now.

    • Go watch some of the earliest Mickey Mouse cartoons: “Plane Crazy,” “Steamboat Willie,” “Gallopin’ Gaucho.” Nothing in the preview for “Get A Horse” would be considered out of place in those cartoons.

    • I did think the portrayal of Clarabelle was a bit crasser than what I’ve seen in the original cartoons. I love the old Mickey Mouse shorts but I always thought part of the charm of those was that they portrayed what (I thought) you can’t really get away with today. (Judging from the reaction of the folks in the theater and here, I guess I was wrong about that.)

      Seeing Walt Disney’s voice credited at the end sure melted my heart, though.

  12. Wow. So many closed-minded people put off by a simple short, teaser trailer, or one character…. ? Ohh, one little thing I don’t like…so I won’t even give it a chance…is that we’ve come to now?

    • That’s what trailers are for, if you didn’t know. Get us to LIKE it, or PASS. don’t call people small minded for disagreeing with you. Geez.

  13. I got to see Frozen today at the El Capitan. It is a good film, but not as good as Tangled. The songs seen forced and not one of the songs seemed to stick in my mind. The plot was engaging if a somewhat dull ending. There are some great characters. Certainly Olaf is a entertaining and steals his scenes. I could see a sequel with only him as the character. He is that fun. Over all, it is a worthwhile movie to see. I wish I could stage it grabbed my heart like tangled did, but it might grow on me.

  14. I am very much looking forward to this film (and now) the short subject as well!

    It’s the music that always stays with you after seeing these films so I hope the writers were up to the challenge. Does anyone know what happened with Alan Menken and why he walked away from the project early on? His music is always memorable and definitive of the “Disney sound”.

  15. I for one, will go see the movie despite any previews, good or bad. I make up my own mind. I don’t let one person’s review make a decision for me, nor seeing WOC – Winter Dreams be a deciding factor in seeing a movie or not see a movie based upon few seconds of 1 character in a trailer.

    It’s a Disney movie, I’m a Disney fan, so I’m going to go see it and give it a chance. And to not see it because of the short shown at the beginning? Um, I can’t even fathom that being a reason why I’d NOT go see the movie. It’s an original long lost and newly found Mickey Mouse short. How could I miss that? And not going because it’s not hand drawn? Well, people are missing out on a lot of incredible and memorable movies if that’s your reason. I know it’s tough to please everyone and I’m sure Disney is MORE than aware of that than anyone, but dang, to not go see a movie based upon some of those reasons, I find odd. No wonder Disney struggles…..

    • ^^^AMEN!!! Took the words right out of my mouth.