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Frozen - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Directing: B+
Acting: B+
Writing: B+
Cinematography: A-
Editing: B
Animation: B+
Music: B

I've got to hand it to Frozen if for no other reason than its capacity to surprise. A fair amount has already been written about this movie's self-sufficient female characters (it had me wondering how many other Disney animated features have passed the Bechdel Test -- it turns out there are several</u>), but it's much more than that. The man who appears at first to be Prince Charming isn't what he seems to be. The featured "act of true love" on which the climax pivots is not what you'd expect.

Still, Pixar this is not. Granted, even Pixar doesn't seem to be what it used to be -- but at its best, it was far better than this. The same could be said of Disney Animation Studios. Even Bolt (2008) was slightly superior. But! Much like Merida in Pixar's Brave, here we have strong female characters sorely lacking in most mainstream movies, particularly for children.

And this movie, no mistake, will delight children. It already has, considering its $248 million take in the past month. If there is any real complaint to be made, it's that, unlike the best animated features, it doesn't work quite as well for adults as it does for children. The plotting is rushed, the songs are mediocre and too frequent, and the CG animated rendering of human characters is stiff.

There's also a curious lack of logic: in other movies, there is an established shorthand for magical ability. An evil sorceress? Fairy godmothers? Superheroes? These are all well established archetypes we understand and can get behind. Here, Elsa (Idina Menzel) is born with the ability to freeze anything she touches, and there is never any sense of where this ability comes from. I want answers! Okay, maybe I should settle down.

Elsa is warned by her parents to control herself, especially after she nearly injures her little sister Anna (Kristen Bell). Ostensibly to protect others as well as herself, Elsa locks herself in a room for three years, until it's time for her to emerge and become Queen -- and walk out of her room as though that whole tortured-hermit bit was completely normal. Okay, whatever.

All of this is very much rushed through in the first third or so of the movie, during which time it feels like it might be a bit of a disappointment. But then things turn around, on almost every front: the rendering of Elsa's ice magic is consistently gorgeous, and we are introduced to the delightfully funny magic snowman of Elsa's creation, Olaf (a perfectly cast Josh Gad). Even the songs get better, and a few of them are quite lovely. The singing is stellar, regardless.

Most importantly, even though two different men come into play and there is still a love story element, the overall focus of the film is never on either of these young women landing a man. It's about their relationship with each other. For a movie about princesses, this is truly a breath of fresh air. Young girls (and even young boys) need more of these kinds of self-empowered characters. Frozen is packed with a multitude of charms, from the snow and ice animation to the wholesome yet surprisingly effective humor. This isn't quite the best that 21st-Century family entertainment can be, but it's headed squarely in that direction.

Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel find themselves a little chilled in FROZEN.

Overall: B+
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