Tuesday, 17 March 2015

My Frozen review is actually Tangled

Like coming to a party when the lights are coming up, I was treated to a viewing of Disney's Frozen in the company of my wonderful girlfriend who has seen it on numerous occasions.

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Now, I don't want to rock the boat nor be controversial but the film Frozen is okay. However, it is not the most amazing animated film of all time (that remains Toy Story 2 or the opening of Up). I can though see why the film has made near to £1 billion worldwide.  Strong female characters who hold our attention and are independent without the influence of their parents, the allure of royalty and the most Marmite of songs since Celine Dion's 'My Heart Will Go On' from Titanic, another chick flick. If you get the girls in the cinema you get box office for sure.

Yet, the film as a whole left me confused due to plot holes and convenient narrative twists.  Elsa leaves her homeland and in doing so freezes it in an eternal winter, yet creates a talking snowman without knowing. Anna chases her sister to make her return and break the spell, and builds her character creating her own true love without knowing.  

Anna is the optimistic sister, beguiling and hopeful that a new day will bring change and joy. Yet it is Elsa who gets the stand out track of independence - the song Let It Go, is about Elsa embracing her powers and not being bothered by what people think. The Broadway show tune is the sort of number to end the first act as the lead character reveals a change of perspective or intention, yet the message of the song proposes that she will face her detractors and yet she remains in a less than fully furnished ice castle with no nourishment, in essence she is Disney's first refugee.

The message of true act of love coming from one sister to another is one to be lauded in this day of selfishness and something I hope young viewers embrace in the cementing of familial ties in this day and age of vanity.

Frozen is good but it borrows a lot from another Disney film about a young princess banished from a kingdom who has to find her way home with the help of a young suitor and his trusted steed, I am talking about Tangled. A film that will be easily forgotten in the memory of cinephiles due to the overpowering juggernaut of Frozen

Tangled had better characters, better animation, a better set of songs albeit devoid of a smash hit Oscar winning song, and better comedy in the form of repartee between Eugene and his horse with good action set pieces.

Upon reflection, the addition of Olaf seems a last minute gamble and or risk as the dialogue between Anna and Christof would have been too telegraphed and perhaps reminded viewers of Tangled. Tangled was helped by the presence of a villain from the outset whereas here the narrative does not have a villain reveal himself until the last fifteen minutes, whereas we feel of Elsa as the villain. This makes our affection to her uneasy due to her self imposed exile and alienation from her sister, and all the more surprising that it is she who gets the stand out solo number.  And even more surprising that people want to be Elsa at parties and fancy dress, when Anna is the true star of the film learning about love, life and finding strength within herself she did not know she had, and rekindle the relationship with her sister when all was lost.

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Elsa and Anna
Perhaps the placing of two female characters at the heart of a film will conflict emotions for viewers, whereas in Tangled you had the one princess to root for.  

Last week it was announced there will be a sequel and Frozen 2 will be upon us. For me though, I'm going to let my hair down and watch Tangled again.

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