With The Voices Of: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk.
Written By: Jennifer Lee
Directed By: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Chris Buck hasn’t directed for Disney since Tarzan, which is considered one of Disney’s lesser works. I never had a problem with Tarzan. I always thought it was good, not great, but good. He’s teamed up with first time director Jennifer Lee, and they’ve brought you a film that really hearkens back to the times when Disney fully incorporated music into their films. Not just in the background, but characters that break out into song. And here’s the kicker… the music is REALLY good. If they don’t win Best Original Song this year, I’ll be shocked.
First of all, I loved Frozen. I’m a little too aware of Frozen, and I docked them for removing a reprise of a song that is heartbreakingly beautiful and honest-to-God would have been a game changer for the film. There was SUPPOSED to be a “Do You Want To Build A Snowman (reprise)”. It’s a beautiful song, in case you haven’t heard it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEFFU8OblM0 (not sung by Idina Menzel, as this is more of a leaked version, and watch out for SPOILERS). Having seen the film, and the scene it was supposed to be included in, I disagree with the decision to cut it.
That being said, I love the music. I love the story of two sisters, Anna (Bell) and Elsa (Menzel) who grow up apart because one has a magical power they don’t know how to control. Elsa is born with the ability to create ice, snow, and basically anything wintery. After an accident that almost kills Anna, she locks herself in her room and refuses to come into contact with anyone because she doesn’t want to hurt anyone ever again. Anna has no memory of this incident, and aches for her sister, and grows up alone. This all changes when Elsa reaches the age where she is to become Queen, and finally has to exit her room for coronation day. On coronation day, Anna meets and immediately falls in love with Hans (Fontana), a prince from another country. Anna believes it is true love, and they want to get married. Elsa thinks it’s too soon. They fight, and Elsa exposes her powers for everyone to see. She flees off into the mountains. In her wake, an eternal ice wasteland falls on her kingdom.
Anna embarks on a quest to find Elsa and restore warmth to her kingdom. Along the way she picks up Christoph (Groff), and the two are a mismatched pair, but of course soon fall for each other. She also finds a talking snowman, Olaf (Gad), who is a bit dimwitted, but well-meaning, and is the same snowman that Anna and Elsa once built together as kids. Beautiful songs ensue.
I hope the success of Frozen means Disney will make more movies like this, because I miss the musical Disney movies. They’ve left such a lasting impression on the history of film, and so many great songs have come from these films. From Frozen, I’m sure that Let It Go will be a classic for years to come, but my personal favorite is Do You Wanna Build A Snowman. It’s so cute.
Olaf, by the way, is a genius creation. He really adds a lot to the film, and right at the perfect moment. The film needed to be serious up until the point he was introduced, and it had to establish all the characters. Olaf comes in at just the right time, and provides a series of laughs like any good comic relief should.
I hope when the bluray comes out they include the reprise, and perhaps at least a storyboarded version of what it would have looked like. I’d hate for them to ignore the song forever. Or, perhaps when there is a live stage version of the show, they’ll bring it back then. It really is my only qualm with the finished product.
FINAL GRADE: A-