Monday, March 17, 2014

Disney Frozen...a Review

 by Al Kessel

You know the story...You've got a brother, or a sister, and you're the best of friends. You do EVERYTHING together, you play, you build snowmen, you sing, you dance. Then, something tragic happens and you drift apart. You realize your powers to control winter are just to darned strong and getting stronger every day. So, your parents decide to hide you away from the world - even your best friend/sibling - until you can control it. It happens to just about everyone when we're young...well, except for the power over the whole winter thing...

In Disney's latest animated motion picture, that is exactly what happens to our heroines. As children, Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) and Elsa (voiced by the wickedly talented Adel Dazeem...err, I mean Idina Menzel) are the best of friends. Anna, being the younger sister, idolizes her big sis Elsa and Elsa just adores Anna. They love playing games, especially games that include Elsa using her secret blizzardy-wintery-snow-and-ice-making powers! Elsa loves to cover the room in ice so Anna can slide around. Loves building their favorite snowman Olaf for Anna. A perfect life. Until a tragic accident that Elsa causes nearly kills her little sis. An accident that causes her parents to keep Elsa protected from herself (and, I'd posit, everyone safe from Elsa), until they can figure out how to control those powers. Of course, years, and years pass by and the distance between Elsa and Anna grows, much to young Anna's dismay. 
Anna, Olaf and Kristoff

And in true epic fashion, one day, their parents (King and Queen of Arendell) perish at sea, leaving the young girls to be raised by the castle staff! Anyway, the day finally arrives, and Elsa comes of age and is crowned the new Queen. Of course, she's still wary of coming in contact with people and keeps to herself during the coronation ceremony. Anna, quite the opposite of her introverted sister, meets a young prince, decides she wants to marry him and begs her sister for approval. Elsa disapproves, gets in to an argument with Anna (who accidentally removes Elsa's glove), and in the heat of anger, Elsa unleashes her powers with a vengeance! And as she runs away into the wilderness, all of Arendell is turned into the a brutal winter wonderland. 

To prove her sister isn't the monster the villagers fear she is, Anna sets out, with the help of ice delivery dude Kristoff, to find Elsa, have her return summer and live happily ever after and, or, as Elsa would say "Let It Go".
Elsa Blasting Some Chill

Of course, there's a LOT more to this movie than what I skimmed over here, but if you're a regular reader of our blog, you know we don't like to give too much away. So, if you want more detail, you'll need to see the movie yourself. And, if you've already seen Frozen...well, then you don't need ME to explain it, now DO you?! :)

Disney Frozen IS a cute movie. Joyce and I didn't get to see it in the theatre when it was first released, so this screening was our first viewing. Now...over the many months since Frozen had been released, there's been a lot of hype concerning it, especially the main song, 'Let It Go'. Which, by the way, we've heard MANYMANYMANYMANYMANY times over the last few months! And, Mr. Travolta didn't help THAT any, now did he! Anyway, when we popped the Blu-Ray in, we were a bit concerned that Frozen wasn't going to live up to all the incredible hype and awesome recommendations by everyone. And...I'm sorry to say, it didn't. Now, before you leave the blog and banish us to the frozen wilderness for all of eternity, hear me out. I didn't say it was a bad movie - no, FAR from it. We LOVED it. The animation was, for lack of a better word, spectacular. Disney has pretty much perfected animation. Character movements were incredibly realistic. The scenery, all the way down to the finest of details were unbelievable. The story was great (based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale The Snow Queen), and the voice acting was terrific. We LOVED Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad). least in the beginning, there is WAY too many musical numbers. As you probably know, I'm not much for musicals. I just don't really love them. But in most Disney musical movies, the songs don't outweigh the non-musical scenes, so I actually don't mind them. But, in Disney Frozen, especially in the first half of the movie, every few minutes there's another musical number, and I personally feel they don't all serve the story well. But, that's just me. Now, I mentioned earlier that for us, Frozen didn't live up to all the hype. I remember many people who saw it in the theatre post on social media that it was the BEST Disney animated movie ever. Ah...well...I disagree. Perhaps technically (animation/production) it is, but I'd have to toss out movies like The Lion King, Bambi, The Jungle Book, just to name a few that I feel are a little better. However, Disney Frozen is DEFINITELY a new classic. 
Olaf, Always Looking At The Bright Side

All of the voice cast were spot on in Frozen. Kristen Bell was perfect as Anna. Idina Menzel (whom I've never heard of before) was terrific as Elsa. But, my all time favorite character in Frozen is of course, Olaf, as voiced by the very funny Josh Gad. Although Olaf isn't given a great deal of screen time, I felt his character brought a lot of heart to Frozen. His simple, yet deep meaning way kind of epitomizes the Disney Spirit for me. He's always looking on the bright side of things, always willing to lend others a hand (literally) and always the voice of positiveness. 

All in all, Disney Frozen is another great and epic Disney animated adventure. It is definitely a must see for the entire family. It has many things for children and adults to admire. Disney Frozen will be released on March 18th, 2014 in the following:

  • Two-Disc Blu-Ray Combo Pack (Blu-Ray+DVD+Digital Copy) MSRP $29.99
  • One-Disc DVD MSRP $15.99
Bonus Features Include:

  • The Making Of Frozen (Blu-Ray, Digital)
  • D'Frosted: Disney's Journey From Hans Christian Andersen to Frozen (Blu-Ray, Digital)
  • Breaking The Ice: The Real Making Of Frozen (Blu-Ray, Digital)
  • 4 Deleted Scenes (Blu-Ray, Digital)
  • Original Theatrical Short - "Get A Horse" (Blu-Ray, Digital, DVD)
  • "Let It Go" Music Videos by Demi Lovato, Martina Stoessel and Marsha Milan Londoh (Blu-Ray, Digital, DVD)
  • Frozen Teaser Trailer (Blu-Ray, Digital, DVD)

Now, just a few thoughts about the bonus feature "Get A Horse". Usually, we don't review the bonus features, but we thought this one deserved a mention. THIS cartoon short makes the purchase of your very own copy of Frozen well worth it. If you don't want to be spoiled on this part...stop reading now and skip down................."Get a Horse" starts out just as one of Walt Disney's original shorts used to. In fact, the animation, the music, the look and feel of this short looks exactly as if Walt himself had created it. It stars Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pete and all of Mickey's friends. Of course, Pete is causing all sorts of trouble and is trying to kidnap Minnie. Well, things happen and...Mickey is thrown out of the original cartoon and into the color world of 3D animation! I won't give more away, but this short is a wonderful blending of old school animation and new school 3D animation. And it is SEAMLESS! Trust me, you're going to LOVE this short, so don't skip over it.

So, we recommend that you add Disney Frozen to your Disney collection, but, if you haven't seen it yet, and have read all the build up on it, just be aware that it may not live up to EVERYONE'S accolades. IS a great movie! Enjoy - Al 

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