Film Review: Frozen

 by Sarah Ervin

The new Disney movie ‘Frozen’ has finally come to cinemas in Japan. Our resident film critic Sarah Ervin tells us what all the fuss is about!

Version 2The story of Disney’s Frozen is loosely based on the Hans Christian Anderson story “The Snow Queen”, and starts like many stories before it, with an ice princess who owns magical powers. However, the movie is  a daring step toward a counter damsel-in-distress narrative that is in line with the progression of women today.

While playing late one night, the silver-blonde Elsa accidentally hits her sister Anna with her magic, causing Anna to turn ice cold. This incident causes a chain reaction which involves trolls, memory loss, gloves, and the closing of the doors at the family castle. While Elsa tries to control her magic by isolating herself in her room, her sister is left alone to talk to the paintings. Like all Disney movies, the nuclear family is soon disbanded  during a montage in which the parents die in a freak shipwreck, leaving Anna lonelier than ever and Elsa in charge of the kingdom come her 18th birthday. Despite Elsa’s determined introversion, training, and self controlling efforts to keep her secret, on the night of her inauguration her witchery is revealed. She subsequently flees to the mountains in turmoil, unknowingly leaving her town in a perpetual winter. Anna goes to find her sister amongst the snow caps wearing nothing but her ballroom gown and shawl. Soon finding herself ill-prepared for the journey, she gets help from self-proclaimed smelly mountain man Kristoff, and his trusty reindeer/only friend named Sven. Soon they find a wisecracking snowman, Olaf, who leads them to Elsa’s ice palace. The movie mostly stays within safe conventional parameters, but it does surprise us with a few truly unexpected turns that break from the Disney films of the past. Frozen would never have been made in the 1990’s, and although the sisters are no Pussy Rioters, it’s great to see something for young girls to aspire to beyond the usual Disney norms. The sisters are sassy and strong and remain the focal point of the movie, albeit separately, and the notion  of obtaining the perfect Prince with a perfect kiss is turned on its head.

The widely acclaimed song ‘Let It Go’, sung by Elsa, is one of many excellent numbers that are guaranteed to get stuck in your head long after you leave the cinema. This is all thanks to the song writing duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez of “Avenue Q” and “The Book of Mormon” fame. With their unique humor they have created some real gems for the soundtrack, such as an ode to summer sung by Olaf the snowman.

Frozen is well worth the trip to the cinema. The music is amusing and at times truly moving, the tale is daring, and the snowman is hilarious. This movie is sure to melt even the iciest of hearts.