I’ve been called cynical, snobby, even curmudgeonly, because I tend to view movies with a more critical eye than my friends and family. No offense to video games, but movies have been and are my first love. I’ve never had any other entertainment or art medium affect me as deeply as film does. So years of watching all types of movies and reading about criticisms, techniques, and styles I tend to look at movies more analytically than just whether I liked it or not.
So all year I’ve been hotly anticipating release after release, and every time I was always left with a feeling of being let down. Whether it was a massive screw-up like Man of Steel or a good movie that just falls short of greatness like Gravity, no movie in 2013 has wowed me. No movie has given me chills and reminded me of why I love going to the movies. That is, until I saw Frozen.
I don’t want to go too much into the plot of the movie because you can find those sorts of things elsewhere. Frozen is centered on the relationship between two sisters, Elsa and Anna, and how their relationship affects, hurts, and helps them. There are love interests for the princesses, but Disney has smartly learned that what worked in the past won’t work today, and whether the princesses fall in love with the men is ancillary to their own relationship. Disney cleverly subverts their own well-worn story formula multiple times throughout the movie without resorting to outright mockery of it. It’s a perfect balance between retreading old ground and parodying it.
The two leads are compelling in their own unique ways, their voice acting and animation meshing perfectly. Comedic relief characters like Sven the reindeer and Olaf the snowman are amusing without becoming annoying. Plus, their inclusion feels far more natural to the world and story than some of Disney’s more egregious errors like the gargoyles in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
The movie has a couple of legitimately fantastic songs, one in particular is destined to become a classic in the Disney cannon. There’s a long stretch near the end without any musical numbers, and it’s probably the movie’s biggest flaw considering how good the songs at the beginning are, but ultimately it’s a minor complaint.
Frozen is one of those movies that reminds you of the magic of film. It’s a funny, touching, powerful, moving, smart movie. It’s just a pure joy to watch. It deserves to stand up next to the classics of the Disney Renaissance like The Lion King or The Little Mermaid. If you haven’t seen it yet, get on that ASAP. If you’ve seen it already, see it again.
Come back on Tuesdays for regular posts (they’re mostly about video games), and follow me on Twitter, @cam_wade37, for tweets like “Sometimes I forget that Big Momma’s House is a real movie that didn’t star Tracy Jordan.”