Director: Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee
Cast: Kirsten Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk
Screenplay: Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck & Shane Morris (Based on “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Anderson)
The Christmas rush has started, and “Frozen” is no exception to making the season what it is. Disney/Pixar’s wonderful animated musical is a hit all around, and it universally praised, and rightfully so. From the perfect casting of the voice-actors, all the way to a well-thoughtout screenplay, and the wonderful musical score, the film hardly does any wrong. The track record of this studio isn’t always impressive, earlier this year “Monster’s University” was a major disappointment and was atrocious to sit through. But “Frozen” is everything that Disney/Pixar does right, and it is definitely a go see film this Christmas season. Go see it, before it’s too late!
Going into the film, I did not have high expectations. But throughout the duration of the movie, I couldn’t stop laughing, humming to the new score of Christophe Beck, and smiling all throughout. Loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen”, the film follows two sisters Anna (Kirsten Bell) and the mystical Elsa (Idina Menzel). When Elsa runs to the North mountain, in fear that her power of ice will harm the people she loves, Anna is set on a journey to find her sister and bring her back to the kingdom. On the way, she finds help in mountaineer local Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and magical snowman Olaf (Josh Gadd).
The film follows a journey type of plot format that seems as refreshing as ever, even though it can’t be more obvious. And I think this is because of the Menken-Ashman style of score that composer Christophe Beck has written for the film. Truly, the music is the film’s strongest point. Some favourites would be Olaf’s dreamy song “Summer”, the troll love song “Fixer Upper” (“Under the Sea” of 2013, I tell you) and of course, Best Song lead Oscar contender “Let it Go”. Menzel’s vocal work is unbelievable but very expected. Her solo has become the film’s signature song, and is basically playing everywhere. This is a good sign, especially come Oscar time.
Unfortunately, singing “Glee” star Jonathan Groff is incredibly underused. Though his voice acting is probably better then anything he’s done, the fact that they didn’t give him a big song to show his inner-rockstar kind of disappointed me. Kirsten Bell did great voice work here. It’s great to see her comic timing (which I’m usually a big fan of) translate well even in an animated features. Josh Gad’s cool singing voice brings Olaf to another level of humanity (and cuteness) that makes him the film’s ultimate mascot.
Visually, the film captured something very special. Though snow themed films aren’t exactly hard to make look pretty, the themes and different factors chosen to be put together were perfect. From the reds that reflected on the Snow Queen’s wall to show fear, to the purple lighting around the woods, and even the opening shot of men cutting ice was delectable to look at. The direction of Buck and Lee were very fresh, and worked well with this feature.
Oscar chances? High. Especially in Animated Feature and Original Song, which I think will win. From the 12 movies that have won the Animated Feature Oscar, Disney/Pixar has one 7, so it’s definitely in the Academy’s favour. Unless they go ballsy for something else, this’ll probably win.