Saturday, March 22, 2014
Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Writers: Jennifer Lee
Rating: ** (2 stars out of 3 possible, "B")
Audience: 7-12 year old girls
First of all, let me say I am not a huge Disney princess fan. Also, I am not a huge fan of animated musicals. In fact, I have several complaints about this movie. But they tend to be "old-age" complaints. So, overall, I have to say the animation, characters and message make this movie a pretty good choice. It doesn't "fire on all cylinders," but it does fire on most.
For instance, are we in Denmark? Finland? Germany? Norway? Sweden? Is it the 1700s? 1800s? 2014? 2214? Do they have to sing so darn many songs? It must have the longest soundtrack on record. Also, how much magic can one take before the plot becomes totally irrelevant? Finally, be forewarned: it's a chilly movie. Can we get another blanket in here?
But those are really adult complaints. My girls (who essentially reflect the two sisters/main characters: Elsa and Anna) ate it all up readily: from annoyingly goofy live snowman Olaf to annoyingly modern abominable snow monster.
The animation shines, as Elsa's magical snow and ice creations flow from her fingertips. Most of the music is outstanding, including the nods to Norwegian folk music. ("Let It Go" is over-played and over-rated. We preferred "Frozen Heart," "Love Is An Open Door," "Fixer Upper," "Vuelie," "Heimr Arnadair.") Some of the characters are unique and well-drawn, particularly Sven the reindeer, the rock trolls, Kristoff and Anna. The setting is gorgeous and unique. The plot also is relatively unique, although tedious in places.
Best of all, the themes are meaningful: true love requires sacrifice; infatuation is not love; and, most importantly, don't marry the first bozo you meet. That's not typical Hollywood fare, and when you're raising 9 and 12 year-old girls you really don't want to miss a chance to reinforce those messages.