I'm not here to shoot a dead horse, but in my opinion, it seems everybody else's attempts to lay the beast low has rather missed the mark.
So, with no further ado, lets get down to the chilly. Catchy songs, excellent graphics, and witty humor have made this movie the most popular Disney since the Lion King.
Major spoiler alert - Just throwing that out there. This movie requires an overlay for the review to really make any sense.
So, the story line follows the lives of two girls, Elsa and Anna, daughters of the king of a place I am not going to try to spell.
Elsa has the powers from birth to create almost anything related to ice, snow, frost, or winter, and growing up, she uses those powers to have fun with her little sister Anna, playing in the homemade snow in the great room of the castle.
In a freak accident however, Anna is hurt by an icy blast to the head from Elsa, attempting to make a snow mound to keep her from falling. Anna is unconscious and growing slowly colder, and her parents rush her to some stone trolls who heal Anna, but say that it is safer that Anna's memories of Elsa's powers be erased from her mind, but still leaving the memories of the good times they had together. Elsa is told that she needs to stay away from her sister, so as not to hurt her again. The castle doors are to be locked, the staff is reduced, in the kings attempts to hide Elsa's powers
Elsa and Anna grow up, Elsa eternally locked in her room to try to mask her ever growing power, and Anna, of course having no memories of the accident is constantly wondering why they can't play anymore.
When the parents die at sea, Elsa is left in command when she comes of age, as queen of the kingdom.
When the castle doors are opened at the coronation day, attention starved Anna bumps into a dashing young prince Hans, prince of another kingdom far away, but not destined for a throne due to 12 older brothers ahead of him in line for kingship.
Anna falls head over heels for Hans, and that night announces to Elsa, who has come out from her room for the coronation, wearing gloves to try to keep her power contained, that Her and Hans are getting married.
Elsa of course refuses the arrangement, and in an altercation between her and Anna and the crowd that ensues, loses control and throws layers of ice around the castle and surrounding area.
Elsa is of course mortified at the slip, and the people at the castle are horrified at her powers, some calling her a monster. Elsa flees the castle across the harbor, the water turning to ice under her feet as she runs.
Elsa retreats to the North mountain, and using her powers for the first time to its fullest extent, builds an ice palace for her to live in, sad that she had to flee, but immensely happy that she no longer has to conceal her powers and is free to enjoy them and use them. Unknown to her though, is that now the entire area is now in a solid wintery state, even freezing all the ships into the harbor.
Anna sets off to find Elsa, and along the way runs into an ice cutter, Kristof, with his reindeer Sven, and shortly after runs into Olaf - a magical talking snowman made by Elsa.
Anna is led to Elsa by Olaf, and in an attempt to convince her to come back, accidentally gets a shard of ice through her heart, and is kicked out of the ice palace by Elsa's personal snow giant.
Kristof takes Anna to his 'family' of stone trolls that adopted him when he was young, the eldest of the trolls telling them that if Anna didn't do an act of true love shortly, her heart would completely freeze, and her entire body would turn completely to ice. Some of the Stone Trolls think that a true loves kiss just might pull it off.
Kristof rushes Anna back down the mountain towards the Castle, meanwhile, Hans has lead an expedition towards Elsa to try to bring her back himself. An ice fight ensues, and Elsa is captured and brought back to the castle in custody.
Kristof arrives after Hans returns, and turns Anna back over to Hans, and Anna demands that he kiss her, in order to save her. Hans, once alone with her, slowly freezing to death from the inside out, tells her that he never really loved her, and only wanted to marry her so he could make his way to a throne, never going to get there any other way, since he is the youngest of 13 brothers in a distant kingdom. He reveals his plot to kill Elsa and makes himself king, and dousing the fire so as to eliminate all warmth, locks Anna in the room to die.
Olaf, the jovial snowman he is, hacks into the room by picking the lock with his carrot nose (hows that for ingenuity) and starts a fire to warm Anna, telling her that Kristof showed her more love than Hans, doing all that he did for her, and Anna thinks that he might be her true love.
She heads out of the room that is now unlocked, but Elsa escaped her cell, and is now whipping up a massive storm over the country.
Kristof, who was leaving the area but sees the storm and heads back towards Anna, riding hard on his trusty Sven.
All the characters meet in the frozen Harbor. Elsa is trying to leave the area, Hans is trying to catch her, Anna is freezing to death inside and out, seconds left before she dies, trying to make it to Kristof. On her way towards Kristof, she sees Hans getting ready to kill Elsa, and turning around, stands in the way of Hans, finally turning completely to ice, Hans' sword shattering on her frozen body. Elsa is mortified, but in a few seconds, Anna turns back into human form, having performed the 'true act of love' before she died, thus thawing her out.
Hans is chucked in jail, Elsa unwinterfies the area, on learning that love can thaw a frozen heart, and everybody goes back to happy lives, Kristof in charge of the ice business for the area, and Elsa rulling happily in the castle, using her ice powers for peoples enjoyment at the castle.
Ok, sorry that took so long, but this story required some elaboration to fully explain my opinion of it.
I will have to admit, I was prepared to like this movie, and came with very high expectations due to tid-bits I head heard from friends.
This story is built on two levels. One level follows Elsa, the other follows Anna. One level is great, the other level, and unfortunately the more predominate, is not so great.
The side that follow Elsa is deep, realistic and involved, as you see her constantly battling her deep fears, emotions constantly raging to and fro in her. She is torn by her love for Anna, whom she wants to be with but can't, and her fear of the world knowing her powers. The audience gets very connected with Elsa and her turmoil right off the bat, I think because we all can relate with all trying to stuff who we really are and what we really are afraid of. One also feels a lot of pity for her, as she as portrayed as misunderstood and confused. The chords struck by Elsa and her struggles go deep into human nature, giving her side of the movie a feeling of depth and reality not seen in many movies, let alone Disney movies. One can relate to her as a person - a real person.
She thinks she can be free and have peace by leaving everything behind and living by herself and do whatever she likes. But she soon finds out that doing that resulted in freezing the entire country over. Her selfishness ruins things for everybody. When she finally learns she can still be her, yet use her powers to help people, she finds peace and fulfillment. Meaning and purpose were found doing what she was good at for the help of others.
That side of the movie was great, and refreshing.
But unfortunately, that side of the movie is the smaller, and less prominent side.
The other level follows Anna, attention starved, and looking for love. The Anna side is *not* deep, and follows the general well-trodden path of Disney romance. Her personality is shallow, with little real emotion besides wanting love and attention, and is the typical Disney heroine - Pretty, fearless, slightly dingy, but overly focused on romance and marriage. There is little to no remnant of real humanity left in Anna, but is all hollywood girls are made up to be.
And that is why I think this story gets so much credit from people. The beginning of the story focuses a lot on Elsa and her struggles, setting the story up very well indeed, setting the stage for a very deep and resolving climax about the real meaning of love and not being afraid of who we are.
Yet it doesn't deliver. It poses this great, deep heart level problem, and then tries to answer the deep questions and heart problems with the garden variety romance typical of most Disney's. It starts deep, and ends shallow. It ends on a note that doesn't resolve.
The entire 'Anna' side of the movie centers around the 'love' theme, and Anna spends most of that time thinking that 'true love' is that mushy feeling that gives you a buzz. Granted, she finds out Hans is a stinker, 'true love' is all bunk, and Kristof is really her hero, but it is all still a romance - call it a back-door romance if you want, but it is still a romance. So, when at the end, she suddenly turns from going to Kristof and sacrifices herself for Elsa, it doesn't fit with the rest of her character that has been propounded for the entire movie. It feels faked and scripted.
This side of the movie is shallow and lacks lasting meaning.
So you have the two halves of the movie working away as the movie progresses, but then they try to tie the two halves together at the end, and say that love (granted, they do say love sacrifices itself for those it loves), the right guy, the bad dude chucked, and happily ever after will solve all the problems. They try to have the same fix for both halves, which of course leaves one side hanging - in this case the good side was left unanswered, and the shallow side was patched on as a pseudo-fix.
I could go on, but you get the general gist. Overall, I really was disappointed and not impressed.
But, I will throw in a caveat.
If you watch this movie with a Biblical worldview, there is a lot of good that can be picked out of the movie. A lot of good. 'True love at first sight' romance is bashed pretty solidly. Score. Kristof, slightly seclusive, selfish, and withdrawn at first, goes through a nice, if not hurried character growth by the end of the movie. Very nice touch. The slice of 'true love sacrifices itself for others' that is there at the end is very nice, and pretty well done. What good it has, it does well.
AND ITS NOT.
That is why I am not overall impressed with this movie. For the rest of the non-thinking world, this movie is deadly, especially for girls. It sets them up thinking that all their deep heart longings and problems in life can and will solved by merely finding the right guy. Granted, it might not be the 'love at first sight' finding the guy, but romance still is posed as the answer.
One has to do some serious shifting aside of all the Disney styro-snow, to get a message out of the movie that is worth it.
And I think if you can do the mental snow shoveling required, you will walk away refreshed by the movie - but the shoveling is serious. I don't recomend this movie for most girls, because (my mom agreed) girls will have a harder time wading past the romance than the boys will. It's not the best for boys, but it shouldn't affect them as much.
So, all in all, if you could have the movie just focused on Elsa, I think they could have a great movie. Or if they made the movie three times as long, and sorted out all the wrong feelings, and had characters come around in a way that felt more realistic, it could have had potential.
As it is, it's ok. It isn't one of my favorites, but the songs are catchy, and Olaf is awesome. He got pretty close to tying Rhino for my favorite animated character.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars. Above average, but still not as great as it's hyped up to be.
Have you seen it? What is your take on the movie? (and what's your favorite Olaf line?) : )