|One Line Review
The Disney Renaissance Revisited, Wonderfully.
Review - For me Disney hasn’t been “Disney” since “The Lion King”; it’s been “Pixar”, and really Pixar is its own unique animal. To me “Disney” is all about the myth, the fable, the coming of age tale, the gothic romance, and always some energetic songs. “Frozen” is a testament to and progression of this by-gone Disney formula and it’s a damn fine one.
Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell star as two royal sisters, one a queen, the other a princess in a land called Arendelle. The film is about their relationship with each other and the Disney drama and fantasy that befalls them. There’s a strong and emotional story here peopled with a memorable cast of characters. There’s Disney’s classic parentage, appropriate comedic relief, and the resident animal and fantasy character elements. These stalwarts coupled together with a fantastic group of songs effectively spread the joy, hope, and drama of Disney’s filmic message. Each piece within is a new and welcome place, face, or tune to stand alongside any classic in Disney’s great pantheon.
Following on the heels of 2010’s “Tangled,” Disney takes “Frozen” both forward and backward to create a blend of its renaissance past and potential future. “Tangled” saw the mouse house bring some stage appeal and emotional depth back to the screen. “Frozen” capitalizes on these strengths and then delivers its own strong and independent surprises, demonstrating that Disney Animation can remain true while it evolves. Sure there are elements of the film that could be better fleshed out, I mean this is not “Beauty and the Beast” but it’s kith and kin with Disney’s renaissance peers “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” and “The Lion King.” Yes, in my opinion, it’s that enjoyable.
“Frozen”’s songs are just fantastic. The movie’s musical numbers were written by EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) award winner Robert Lopez and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez, and are an absolute treat, both emulating and countering the renaissance formula expectations. Each track is a dynamic fit and they easily recall similar fair from “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty & the Beast”, “Aladdin”, even “The Fox and the Hound.” Not since Howard Ashman and Alan Menken has a Disney film sounded so good and I’ll be the first to bid this song writing duo a welcome and happy return for future films.
My own truth be told, I’ve really not been a fan of animation films for about 20years now. I was never really 100% clear as to “Why?” They seemed to stop connecting with me and I just kinda figured I’d outgrown them. Happily though, I can admit that while watching “Frozen” tears welled up in my eyes 3 or 4 times, and I quickly realized that I wasn’t as grown up as I may have thought I was. Not to psychoanalyze myself deeply here but the film hits on every beat of the Disney Formula that moves the youth in my heart. Joy!
||Walt Disney Pictures
||PG - Action, Mild Adult Humor
||Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Santino Fontana, Josh Gad, Alan Tudyk, Chris Williams, Ciarán Hinds
||Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
||Peter Del Vecho
||Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez
||Animation, Family, Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy
Turn Down The Lights, Turn Up The Sound.
Matthew Gilbert © 1999-2015 All Rights Reserved
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