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January 24, 2014

Frozen Freezes in Time

by Ruth Chung

snow_queen_elsa_in_frozen-wideDisney’s most recent production, Frozen, was released for showings in theaters last November. Although not much anticipation or knowledge of the film preceded its release, millions of viewers from around the world, children and adults alike, have since exploded in passionate attention. Its third week in theaters brought in $10,000,000 more than Catching Fire’s amount during its third week, and what’s more–its well-known music and lyrics were hummed and sung by an enormous range of loving fans and can be found in millions of social media updates. Moreover, its unique plot, lovable pixar-like graphics and phenomenally original music will mark Frozen as a Disney classic in the years to come.

Maybe the most intriguing aspect of the film is its one-of-a-kind plot. Unlike Disney’s usual storyline, featuring some kind of idealistic female lead that runs into an “unexpected” romance, Frozen focuses on the relationship between two sisters and one’s undesired reign over her kingdom. Elsa, the elder, was born with magical powers over snow and ice. Because she is taught from a young age to “conceal, don’t feel,” and thus hide her powers, she grows up believing her powers are only harmful. At her coronation ball, when the townspeople discover her powers and fear a dangerous sorcery within her, she runs away locking herself up from the prying eyes of her people. However in doing so, she unknowingly locked the entire kingdom in an icy overcast. The film tracks the younger sister, Anna, in her attempts to bring Elsa back to restore the kingdom. In doing so, they unknowingly discover the key to reversing Elsa’s icy trails. Of course, there is a sprinkle of romance mixed into the adventure, but the film addresses deeper identity issues and focuses more on the blessing, curse, and redemption of human character–something a few of Disney’s previous romantic films lacked.

While the plot was unique in itself, the script that drove the story was of less quality. Although it clearly got the message across, some lines of the film felt incomplete, rushed, or simply as though it could have been rewritten capturing more of the story’s unavoidable depth. However, the film’s lyrics brought considerable redemption to the script. There is no question that the music in this film was beyond phenomenal. It featured some of the most original songs, including “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” sung by Kristen Bell, which includes possibly the most loved line: a child Anna singing a heartbreaking, “Okay… bye” after a careful Elsa rejects the idea of building a snowman with her. Other songs include the quirky snowman’s solo, “In Summer” sung by Josh Gad; and, of course, “Let it go,” sung by Idina Menzel, whose nearly inhuman range accurately depicts the freedom Elsa feels when she privately releases her powers for the first time.

Frozen has won two 2014 Oscar nominations–one for Best Animated Feature, and one for Most Original Song: “Let It Go.” Neither of these came as a surprise to any considering its heightened popularity. This popularity has also brought on thunderous song variations that float around Youtube, including the song “Let It Go” sung line-by-line in 25 different languages. Languages include Dutch, Mandarin, Swedish, Polish, Korean, Hungarian, Catalan, Portuguese and many others; in addition, the voices are each as piercing as the voice of our own Idina Menzel and only go to show the incredible width of adoration for the film as well as the unifying power of song. Disney is also responding to a great number of fan’s acclamations by introducing a sing-along version of Frozen (with on-screen lyrics and a bouncing snowflake to guide willful singers) that will be hitting 1,000 theaters on January 31.

With an excellent plot and unsurpassing music and voices, Frozen is not a film to miss. Although parts of the script could argue for want of depth, these lovable characters and memorable lyrics are already rolling off of the tongues of viewers and are being referenced all over. Don’t be deceived–although this film is an animation, questionably grouped with perhaps “the children’s section” of films, it should not be underestimated. Frozen is for any age group: it has both relatable humor and valuable life-lessons for the “more mature,” along with the entertaining and simple aspect of it for children. This, along with its originality and powerful music, will freeze Frozen in the minds of many and will render itself a timeless classic in the years of movie-making to come.

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