Main cast: Kristen Bell (Anna), Jonathan Groff (Kristoff), Josh Gad (Olaf), Santino Fontana (Hans), and Idina Menzel (Elsa)
Directors: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Once upon a time in the land of Arendelle, we have two princesses. The elder sister, Elsa, has powers to create ice from what seems like out of thin air, while Anna is apparently gifted with the ability to kill people with her perkiness. Their parents seem like normal people, so maybe the mother fell into a radioactive vat while she was carrying Elsa or something. So, Elsa is burdened with the great gift that can be used for bad or good, and she almost killed her sister when they were young. As a result, her parents made Elsa keep her abilities under wrap. All this seems fine, until they are older and Anna decides that she’s in love with Ewan McGregor’s cartoon twin, Hans.
Elsa is like, “Oh no, you don’t, those sideburns are pure evil!” while Anna is like, “But he has a big dong! Watch me break into another song!” Elsa’s powers show up, and she decides that she needs to prance on mountain slopes, make a big castle and a new dress out of ice, and inspire legions of ill-equipped karaoke singers to butcher that song by croaking through the entire chorus. However, Elsa doesn’t realize that she has left Arendelle with a parting gift of eternal winter, so Anna packs off to look for her sister. She meets Owen Wilson’s cartoon twin Kristoff, whose nose suggests that he has a bigger dong than Hans, and a singing snowman starts singing about how he can’t wait to see those two get drawn in pornographic ways by the good people at DeviantArt. Hans shows up too, and he decides to demonstrate what the audience already knows the first moment he pops up on screen – Hans is evil.
Frozen is very nice to look at, but it’s a pretty hollow movie. Anna is perky, perky, perky and whatever typical teenage angst she may feel is killed by Kristen Bell’s high-pitched drill of a voice and her wretched attempts at singing. For some reason, this movie spends more time on Anna’s frivolous melodrama when there’s a far more interesting personality that is Elsa in this movie. Then again, the target audience may relate to Anna better, as her brand of angst is typically “Nobody understands that my love for him is pure… wait, okay, so I’m wrong about him, but I have a new boyfriend now, so let me clap my hands like a happy seal and break into another song!” that can be found on the Tumblr page of a typical teenage girl. Elsa’s story has the potential to be darker, and perhaps recognizing this, the movie has Elsa being forced to live alone while Anna gets to chirp like a shrill magpie with her boyfriend for the happy ending. We don’t want to encourage those teenagers to get all broody and cut themselves, after all.
I can see the appeal of this movie. It has some superficial elements that can be passed off as feminism for teenagers. Elsa doesn’t need a man to help herself, and sisters do it for themselves here, how nice. Still, if this movie wants to really break new grounds, there is no need for Kristoff’s character, and Anna and Elsa can work out the issues between them without the predictable interludes of Anna having to choose between two guys vying for her affection. In many ways, the movie is full of stereotypes, right down to how the girl should choose the more humble guy over the powerful one because the humble guy is always the nice one while the other guy is pure evil. This movie substitutes the Disney Princess formula for the typical movie of the week one that is usually based on novels by Danielle Steele. In some ways, this movie tries to break out of the typical Disney animated film mold, but on the other hand, it seems to do this timidly and hesitantly. Compared to, say, Brave and Up, Frozen feels like a leap backward.
Perhaps I’m just being cranky. This is, after all, a movie with princesses, and the folks behind this movie may understandably wish to play it safer and conform to typical expectations of the audience while making some small subversion here and there – nothing too dramatic or scary. The end result is a movie that leaves me cold, however, and the painful contrast between Kristen Bell’s high-pitched chirping and her hilariously flat singing is just a bonus.