Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hell hath frozen over

So I watched the new Disney animation film called Frozen recently ... and it was actually fun - not that it was that much of a surprise as I had read Movie Bob's review prior. I have to say the visuals were incredible, with super sexy (yes, I said sexy) effects associated with every snow animation. Heck, they even created snow physics for the movie which looks mighty realistic. Needless to say the resulting visuals are brilliant. I think artists have finally mastered 3D with a greater degree of fidelity than 2D could ever offer.

However, with the usual lack of imagination, Disney turns to a 200-year-old story by Hans Christian Anderson for the inspiration for this story. Although I truly wonder why they even bother. If you ever read the synopsis of The Snow Queen, outside of a few circumstantial similarities, there is little resemblance to the original story. I guess that's a point for Disney for creating a movie that is inspired by a book but has almost nothing in common. Of course, in Disney's elaboration, it falls into its usual trap of sprouting sappy concepts of family, love conquers all and having a big bad with almost no discernible purpose. So that's one ragged mark against for their unrelenting adherence to formula. But then the film redeems itself with a nicely juxtaposed sister relationship and a hilariously funny coming of that age under-current that makes every Snow Queen moment unintentionally amusing. For those who have not clicked on Bob's review, I'll spell it out: The Snow Queen's uncontrollable 'magic' and pent up frustrations serve as a duality to her migration into adulthood with the associated sexual needs and secret woman's stuff. The point where the Snow Queen's womb-like ice palace takes on a reddish hue and ice crystals pierce inwards toward the vulnerable Elsa made me laugh out loud. No, I will never understand the discomfort, but, yes, I applaud the audacity that Disney would dedicate a metaphoric moment to the crimson tide.

The expression on Gene's face is priceless
There are also songs too. Of course, none of the promotional material for this film ever makes mention that there's singing, so I would say it's a little cheeky of them to sneak it in. Off topic: If they are so embarrassed to advertise the musical quotient of the film, why would they bother including them in the first place? Fortunately for me, they are actually quite listenable and I'm pretty sure I didn't look at my watch once (a rarity), so a begrudging point in the film's favour. Now, if you've got this far into the review, you might be wondering why I actually enjoyed this film. It is around this point that we are introduced to Olaf, ever-escalating clever dialogue and cute little rock trolls, weighted animation (i.e. not zippy for comedic affect) and many fun moments. The funny thing was, I was actually dreading the introduction of Olaf (the animated snow man) but he somehow escapes his stale comedic side-kick role to provide genuine laughs and a child-like innocence. Even the main protagonists had believable and weighted character progression. Yes, this film is still following The Formula but it somehow surpasses it with excellent animation, strong direction, some catchy songs and hilarious woman's stuff metaphors.