Tag: Disney

MOVIE REVIEW | Captain America: Civil War (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I really wouldn’t consider myself a Marvel or comic book fanboy, but as I read my own gushing praise and geeky enthusiasm for this movie, I might have to rethink that.”

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“This job… We try to save as many people as we can. Sometimes that doesn’t mean everybody.  But if we can’t find a way to live with that, next time… Maybe nobody gets saved.”

Marvel Studios really has cracked the code.  I read comic books for a few years as a teenager, but I’m in no way an authority of devotee.  To me, the already massive, ever expanding Marvel cinematic universe is filled with movies that are all basically the same.  The names of the characters might change, and the objects of desire they’re trying to keep from their interchangeable villains might be different, but strip away the surface level stuff, and there’s really no difference between a movie about The Avengers, compared to one about The Guardians of the Galaxy, or the latest offering starring Thor.  Yet for all of that, I can’t help loving the ride every single time I take it.  Which just happened once again, with Captain America: Civil War.

After the events of The Avengers: Age of Ultron saw an entire city ripped from the earth, raised to the sky and thousands killed, the US government, represented by Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt), decides it’s time for enhanced humans like the Avengers to come under the control of the United Nations.  The two alpha Avengers are split on this, with Iron Man / Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr), in favor, and Captain America / Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) firmly against. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Old Yeller (1957)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Even without the advantage of nostalgia, Old Yeller totally lived up to its iconic reputation and ubiquitous place in the public’s consciousness 60 odd years after its release. ”

Yeller 1
“If that don’t beat all. I never saw such a dog.”

Some movies are so iconic and part of the collective consciousness, it feels like you’ve seen them, even when you haven’t. Old Yeller is so engrained in movie history, I’ve never seen it, I may not even know anyone who’s seen it, but I know exactly what it is, what it’s about and how it ends. I don’t know if it was ever a big deal in Australia, but it was such a big deal in America that it has been referenced so many times over the years in TV shows and movies, that I know exactly what it is, what it’s about and how it ends. But now, I finally have first experience with Old Yeller, so I really know exactly what it is, what it’s about and how it ends.


In Texas not long after the Civil War, Jim Coates (Fess Parker) has left the family farm in an attempt to make some money on a cattle drive. Left back home are his wife, Katie (Dorothy McGuire) and two sons, the tween Travis (Tommy Kirk), and his younger brother Arliss (Kevin Corocoran). Travis finds a stray dog, soon to be known as Old yeller, in the family’s corn field and tries to shoo him away, but Arliss immediately adopts him as his own. When Yeller later saves Arliss from a wild bear, the rest of the family comes to love him as well. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Fox Hound
“Darling, forever is a long, long time, and time has a way of changing things.”

By the 80s, Disney’s golden era of prestige animation was long, long gone.  The glory days of things like Snow White and Cinderella were already close to half a century old.  And the rebirth of prestige animation via Disney and Pixar with Toy Story was still 15 odd years away.  But Disney was still plugging away, releasing movies on the regular.  And it’s in this period that you get movies that, I’m sure are beloved by people of a particular age who saw them at the time, but are largely go forgotten.  Movies like The Fox and the Hound.


Because this is a Disney movie, things kick off with a main character dealing with the death of a parent.  In this case, that grieving character is Tod (Keith Coogan), a fox whose mother was just shot and killed by a hunter.  Taken literally under the wing of a wise old owl, Big Mama (Pearl Bailey), she arranges for the pup to be found and adopted by the kind old Widow Tweed (Jeanette Nolan). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #34. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
Snow White

“Why, there’s seven little chairs. Must be seven little children. And from the look of this table, seven untidy little children.”

There are plenty of classic movies that remain famous, but don’t necessarily get watched by non-movie nerds.  Sure, Battleship Potemkin invented the concept of the montage and pioneered editing techniques that are still used today, almost a century later, but I’m sure there are way more people reading this who’ve never seen it than those who have.


For some reason though, kids’ movies seem to stick around longer and be nenjoyed by more generations.  Maybe parents force them on their own kids, maybe there’s something about animation that makes them seem more visually timeless.  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first ever feature length animated movie.  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is now almost 80 years old.  But I think you’d be hard pressed to find people of any generation since then, who didn’t see this movie at least once as a kid. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Song of the South (1946)

Song of the South

“It happum on one ah dem Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Days. Now dat’s the kinda day where you can’t opem yo mouf widout a song jumpin right out of it!”

God bless the internet.  If it wasn’t for the internet, I wouldn’t have known that Song of the South Existed.  I wouldn’t have known that it’s one of the biggest pieces of tone deaf racism ever committed to film.  I wouldn’t have known that Disney has tried to bury it over the last few decades.  And I if it wasn’t for the internet, Disney would have succeeded in burying it and I wouldn’t be able to track it down.  But God bless the internet, because I just saw Song of the South.


It’s sometime soon after the American Civil War and young boy Johnny (Bobby Driscoll) is travelling with his parents to his grandmother’s Georgia plantation.  When he arrives, he realises that it’s not a happy family holiday, but that Johnny and his mother will stay, while his father heads back to Atlanta.  Refusing to accept that his family might be falling apart, Johnny sets off that night to run away, back to Atlanta. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Sword in the Stone (1963)

Sword

“For every to, there is a fro, for every stop there is a go, and that’s what makes the world go round.”

Does the world need another movie telling the legend of King Arthur?  I’d say that in 2015, the answer to that question is a clear no, despite what Guy Ritchie might think.  Even in 1963, more than half a century ago, I probably would have thought the same thing.  But no matter how played out a story and set of characters might be, knowing that it’s a Disney animated version, and that it’s the story of Arthur as a boy, without the knights of the round table, without Guinevere, it’s hard to not get a intrigued about this seemingly fresh take on the story that is The Sword in the Stone.


Merlin (Karl Swanson) is waiting for the arrival of a young, scrawny boy.  He doesn’t know why he’s waiting, or who the boy is, but he knows that destiny can’t be denied.  When the boy arrives, it’s in the form of Arthur, AKA Wart (Rickie Sorenson, Richard Reitherman and Robert Reitherman.  Yes, three kids provide the voice for the same character, and the different voices stick out like dog’s balls).  An orphan, Arthur has been taken in by Sir Pellinore (Alan Napier), a fat, old and lazy knight.  Working as a page / slave to Pellinore’s son, Kay (Norman Alden), the most Arthur can wish for in life is to continue working as Kay’s right hand once Kay is knighted. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Aladdin (1992)

Aladdin

“To be my own master. Such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in all the world.”

I’ve caught up on a few Disney classics for the sake of this blog, but there are still plenty of black spots in my Disney animated knowledge.  Having never seen the really old ones as a kid, I blame on my parents.  How did they never show me Peter Pan, Dumbo, Bambi, 101 Dalmatians, Cinderella or Lady and the Tramp?   But the not so old ones, I can only blame myself.  In the 90s, I was at that age where I thought I was too old and too cool for corny Disney crap.  Which is why I’m only just now getting around to Aladdin, more than 20 years after the fact.


In some gloriously stereotypical middle eastern country of turbans and taj mahals, lives Aladdin (Scott Weinger).  A street rat and hustler, Aladdin and his monkey survive on stolen bread and big dreams.  On the right side of the tracks is Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin), daughter of the Sultan (Douglas Seale).  The Sultan wants his daughter to get married and he’s taking advice from the sinister Jafar (Jonathan Freeman). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Big Hero 6 (2014)

Big-Hero-6-character-poster

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your pain?”

The comic book adaptations are coming at a crazy rate these days. The bad news is, it means we basically keep getting the same movie over and over again. But the good news is, as each movie studio looks for the next big hit, they’re digging deeper and deeper into the lesser known comic book properties. Last year, it was the mega hit, billions of dollars making Guardians of the Galaxy. But just before the new year, another one snuck in. A perfect combination of comic book action and Disney animated fun at it its best, Big Hero 6.


At just 13 years old, Hiro (Ryan Potter) has already graduated from high school. But he’s bored, and hanging with the wrong crew, building and fighting robots in seedy, underground , illegal tournaments. One night, after beating the wrong person, he’s about to have his ass kicked when he’s saved at the last minute by his big brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney). Also a bit if science protégé, Tadashi is studying at prestigious college where he and his classmates are developing the next wave of tech. There’s tough as nails bad girl Go Go (Jamie Chung), the wide eyed and nerdily hippyish Honey Lemon (Genesis Rogruigez), the meticulous and goofy Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr), and waste of space Fred (TJ Miller). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #99. Toy Story (1995)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
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Toy Story is 20 years old. That blows my mind. I still think of computer animated movies as the new thing. But if Toy Story is two entire decades old, that means there are adults today, who only know a world of computer animated movies, and probably think cell animation is archaic and old fashioned. Toy Story can’t just take credit for that because it was the first, it can take credit for that because it’s an amazing movie that would have been amazing in any format. It just so happens, it got to revolutionise the very concept of animation at the same time.


Woody the Cowboy (Tom Hanks) is the leader of a bunch of toys who come to life whenever their owner, Andy, leaves the room. When kids loaded up with presents start to arrive for Andy’s birthday party, all of his current toys worry about being usurped by whatever new fad that may be under all of that bright wrapping paper. A fear that is justified when Andy opens his new Buzz Lightyear doll. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Robin Hood (1973)

Robin Hood

“You know somethin’, Robin, I was just wonderin’, are we good guys or bad guys? You know, I mean, uh? Our robbin’ the rich to feed the poor.”

There are some stories that have been made enough times now that I really don’t think we ever need another movie adaptation. All the big Shakespeare plays most of us can name off the top of our head?   We have enough faithful adaptations and weird modernisations to see us through until apes destroy humanity. Great Expectations is another one that never needs to be committed to film again. Not because it’s a bad or boring story, but because there’s a version out there to suit every movie watching sensibility.


There is however, an exception to this rule when it comes to overdone, burnt out stories. If Disney wants to give it the animated treatment, than that’s A-OK with me. Even if it’s a story as oft told as Robin Hood. I’m at the perfect age where I still like Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Well, at least I think I like it. I haven’t seen it in porbably15 years, but I used to love it back then. I had zero interest in the Russell Crowe version few years ago. But I have no idea why I never saw the 70s Disney version when I was a kid, or since. Until now. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Peter Pan (1953)

Peter Pan

“All this has happened before, and it will all happen again. But this time it happened in London.”

Sometimes there’s a story that’s so engrained in culture, so well known, told so many times, I just assume I’ve seen it, read it, or otherwise somehow know it. Then all of a sudden, I realise that I may have only seen bits and pieces, read about it, or just know the broad strokes of the story without every actually getting into it properly. That’s certainly the case with the story of Peter Pan. As many clips as I’ve seen from various versions, or the half dozen times I’ve seen Spielberg’s spin off / sequel Hook, it wasn’t until today that I actually experienced the original story in its entirety for the first time, via Disney’s animated Peter Pan from 1953.


Wendy, John and Michael are three kids living in London. Each night, Wendy tells her younger brothers stories of the legendary Peter Pan, the flying boy who never grew up, and who lives in the magical place of Neverland with his group of lost boys. On her last night sharing the nursery with her brothers, before officially growing up, the actual Peter Pan reveals himself to be real and takes the three Londoners to Neverland. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Lady and the Tramp (1955)

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“Look, there’s a great big hunk of world down there, with no fence around it. Where two dogs can find adventure and excitement.”

The Disney classics all of have one or two images, lines of dialogue or characters that make them, well, classic. The kinds of things that everyone knows, decades after the movies were released, whether or not they’ve ever actually seen the movies. Dumbo’s ears, Cinderella’s glass slippers, Bambi’s mum catching a bullet. I can’t imagine any of these things are spoilers to anyone who’s never seen these movies they occur in. And when it comes Lady and the Tramp, there’s the sharing a strand of spaghetti that ends with a kiss. The excessive, diabetes inducing sweetness of this moment is representative of everything that makes this by far the worst of the Disney classics I’ve been belatedly catching up on.


A faceless and almost torsoless husband and wife awake on Christmas morning. The husband has bought his missus a spaniel puppy. Named Lady, she quickly becomes the focus of all of their attention and affection. A year or two later, with a baby on the way, Lady drops a few places on the priority list of her owners. Once the baby is born, the parents go for a night out (or weekend maybe, I had lost a lot of interest by this stage), leaving the baby and dog in the care of a dottering old aunt, who also brings her two Siamese cats. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Dumbo (1941)

Dumbo
There sure were a lot of freaks and outcasts in the mid 20th century. At least, there were a lot of freaks and outcasts according to the magical world of Disney. Pinocchio was a talking hunk of wood who wanted to be a real boy, while smoking cigars and playing cards. Snow White was narcoleptic with a little people fetish. And there are severe daddy issues abound in Bambi and Cinderella. Yet through all this darkness, Disney and his cronies always managed to make things sweet and adorable. Especially in the body dismorphia study, Dumbo.


It’s spring time in a circus. And that means the menagerie of animals are all expecting babies, delivered by stalks. Which is how babies were made in the 30s, before nature discovered the hibbity dibbity. It was also a time when society was fine with a kids’ movie being set in a circus where animals are forced to perform degrading, dangerous tricks, are chained up in confined spaces, and no one thought there was anything wrong with that.
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MOVIE REVIEW | Cinderella (1950)

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I’ve never seen this movie, but I kind of have.  When I was a kid, Sunday nights meant The Wonderful World of Disney.  Often, that show was just clips from classic Disney movies.  So without ever watching the movie beginning to end, I have seen key scenes many times and knew the story beat by beat.  Which is why there weren’t too many surprises in Cinderella.


In case this review is ever stumbled across by aliens, I’ll do a quick plot synopsis.  But I’m sure even most people who’ve never seen the movie are pretty familiar with its broad strokes.  Cinderella is the young daughter of a widower nobleman.  Thinking she needs a mother, he marries a local bitch with two bitch daughters.  After the untimely death of her father, the true bitch colours of the three broads are revealed and Cinderella spends the next decade or so as their servant.

In the local castle, a king dreams of grandchildren and laments his only son’s lack of desire to settle down.  Sick of waiting, he forces marriage on his son by arranging for every girl in the land to attend a ball at which the young prince will choose a bride.

Back at Cinderella’s house, her animal friends help her make a pretty enough dress for the ball and she thinks she might actually get to have a fun night.  Seeing that she looks like a bit of alright, her jealous step sisters destroy her dress and Cinderella accepts her fate, crying in the garden.

When her Fairy God Mother arrives, Cinderella is given everything she needs for a night on the tiles.  A pumpkin is turned into a beautiful carriage, her mice, horse and dog friends are turned into stallions, a coach driver and footman, and she’s dressed in a gorgeous ball gown, complete with glass slippers.  That catch?  It will all turn to shit at midnight.  And it does.

I know it’s a fairy tale, I know it’s a kids’ movie, I know its escapist fluff, but a couple of things stood out to me, as an adult, seeing Cinderella for the first time.  Firstly, what’s with the high mortality rate in this kingdom?  Both Cinderella’s parents die young, seemingly of natural causes.  And the king’s missus is also dead with no real explanation.  Maybe the king should worry less about marrying off his son, and more about the health and living conditions of his subjects.

Secondly, I have to imagine feminists hate this movie.  Cinderella is technically the protagonist, but as a little lady, she’s completely powerless.  The second she loses her father’s protection, she’s totally helpless.  And she remains that way until the prince decides she’s hot enough for him to rescue.  Not a real strong message for young girls.

I can’t say I found Cinderella all that great.  The animation is nice enough, but the story is just too simple, too sentimental and too obvious in every way.  Maybe I needed to have seen it as a kid to have some sort of nostalgic affection, but even then, I can’t imagine my five or six year old self being a fan of a sappy romance either.

Cinderella
Directed By – Clyde Geronimi , Wilfred Jackson , Hamilton Luske
Written By – Bill Peet, Erdman Penner, Ted Sears, Winston Hibler, Homer Brightman,  Harry ReevesKen Anderson, Joe Rinaldi   

MOVIE REVIEW | Bambi (1942)

Bambi
Of all the Disney characters, this one would have to be up there as one of the most recognisable after Micky Mouse.  By sight or by name, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know who (what?) Bambi was.  All while making it into my 30s without ever actually seeing the movie named after the clumsy little fella.  So now, after decades of assuming I know what Bambi is all about, I thought I should I actually watch It properly, and see if it has any surprises for me.


Short answer, no.  The story of Bambi did not surprise me any way at all.  It turns out  being an iconic movie for over 70 years means there’s very little left unknown.

It’s spring in the forest and after a busy time on the job, all the animals are popping out juniors left, right and centre.  There’s the baby skunk named Flower, and the real star of Bambi, a giant footed baby rabbit named Thumper.  But the animal kingdom has no interest in these little dudes, because they’re all stoked about the latest birth, the new ‘prince’, a baby deer named Bambi.

As a movie, Bambi doesn’t really have a traditional Disney storyline of a hero fighting to overcome an enemy or reach some goal.  Instead, it’s a series of short stories, following Bambi from new born, to young child, to teenager, to young adult.   And of course, there’s the unfortunate event that might be the most famous (infamous?) in kids’ movie history.

While the story had nothing unexpected to offer, the film making and animation had more than a few pleasant surprises.  I always associate prior decades with a certain level of conservatism.  The older the movie, the more conservative.  So being made in the 40s, I really wasn’t ready for the kind of experimental visuals Bambi uses more than once.

Present day animations seem to build rules within their world, how everything should look and parameters to stay within at all times.  While the latest offering from Pixar or present day Disney might indulge in the odd moments of weirdness, they usually need the excuse of a fantasy sequence to do so.  Bambi doesn’t worry about why it’s doing something different, beyond the fact that it looks awesome.  A flock of prancing and jumping deer all of sudden reduced to single coloured, flat silhouettes might not fit the rest of the look, but it looks amazing, so why not?

One aspect that does fit my preconceptions of the era however is the recurring theme of absent fathers.  Whether it was deliberate, or just a sub conscious by product of the time, fathers are largely painted as authority figures who’s almost  mythological powers are only heightened by their aloofness.

Thumper’s father is never seen, only every present through the little rabbit quoting  rules and life lessons taught by his old man.  Bambi’s father is mostly seen from a distance, bathed in majestic light and awe.  When he does interact with his son, the older strolls in with a Don Draper-like swagger, expecting automatic respect and admiration just for showing up.

Bambi’s a classic.  I can’t deny that.  And I hope it remains a classic that kids watch for decades to come.  I just recommend seeing it much earlier than I did, before you have the bigger plot points, character traits and imagery inadvertently ingrained in your mind without even knowing it’s happening.

Bambi
Directed By – James Algar, Samuel Armstrong , David Hand, Graham Heid, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Norman Wright  
Written By – Larry Morey

MOVIE REVIEW | 101 Dalmatians (1961)

101 Dalmations original poster
I’ve seen very few Disney animated classics.  Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is the only one made before I was born that I know for a fact I’ve seen all the way through.  I might have seen all of Pinocchio, but I can’t be positive.  So today I started my classic Disney education with the randomly chosen 101 Dalmatians.


Pongo (Rod Taylor) is a London Dalmatian.  His owner, or as Pongo refers to him, his pet, is Roger (Ben Wright), a struggling musician and songwriter who is single and lonely.  When Pongo spots Perdita (Cate Bauer), a female Dalmatioan he thinks is a bit of alright, being walked by Anita (Lisa Davis), he decides the four of them make two great couples.  Soon enough, Roger and Anita are married, and Pongo and Perdita pop out a litter of 15 puppies.

Cue Cruella De Vil, Anita’s former school friend and current neighbourhood bitch.  She has an uncomfortably intense interest in the puppies and is determined to acquire them.  When Roger suspects the worse and refuses to sell them, De Vil shows the full extent of her obsession and the lengths she’s willing to go to.

The first thing that struck me about 101 Dalmatians was its look.  I wouldn’t say it looks cheap or rough, but compared to other Disney movies, it definitely looks very raw.  This rawness distracted me enough that I had to check the IMDB while watching, and stumbled across this little nugget…

“Due to the commercial failure of Sleeping Beauty, production costs needed to be cut. As a result, this was the first Disney feature film to use photocopying technology, which made an animated film with this much visual complexity possible”.

But even then, when cutting costs, Disney animators still manage to turn it into a certain kind of charm, instead of cheap and nasty.

The second thing that struck me was the introduction of Cruella De Vil.  As she bursts through Roger and Anita’s front door, smoke is pouring out of the end of her cigarette.  But not normal smoke.  It’s green and toxic.  Even worse, it spews from her mouth, directly into the face of whoever’s unlucky enough to be the target of her conversation.  That seems like a totally expected shorthand for evil in 2014, but according to this documentary I saw once, called Mad Men, the only things more popular than smocking back then were suits, scotch and misogyny.

The third thing that struck me was the almost complete lack of songs.  It’s a Disney movie, the main human heroes’ occupation is a musician and songwriter.  You’d think 101 Dalmatians would be wall to wall songs.  But all we get are two half assed numbers.  One tossed off ditty with only two or three lines of lyrics about Cruella.  And a second tossed of piece of fluff at the very end about a Dalmatian foundation.  That’s it.

The fourth thing that struck me…  And this is the big one…  There’s a moment where this movie deals with the idea of one of the puppies being still born.  That is some dark shit, right there.  People are always banging on about Bambi’s mother copping it as a shocking Disney moment, why have I never heard about the temporarily dead puppy in this thing?

I can’t imagine anyone saw the success of 101 Dalmatians as a surprise.  It’s a shit load of adorable cartoon puppies, voiced by adorable real life little kid voices.  It’s a simple, uplifting story of good conquering evil.  And it’s a breezy, kid friendly 80 minutes that hits all the right emotional beats at all the right times.  As someone who has seen way too few animated Disney classics, I really liked it, but I also have a feeling it’s pretty minor compared to some of the other titles in the catalogue I plan on watching in the near future.

101 Dalmatians
Directed By – Clyde Geronimi , Hamilton Luske , Wolfgang Reitherman
Written By – Bill Peet 

MOVIE REVIEW | Frozen (2013)

frozen
I think I could count number of Disney animated movies I’ve seen on one hand.  When I was really young, I always preferred the manic craziness of Warner Brothers cartoons over the sickly sweet romance and fairy tale origins of Disney stories.  Disney movies always seemed like they were trying to teach my some lesson or cram some moral message down my throat.  Bugs and Daffy just wanted to entertain and make me laugh.  So I missed classics like Cinderella, Dumbo and Bambi.  I even missed the ones that came out when I was the perfect age to see them, like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.  Until now, I think the only animated Disney movies I’d ever seen in a cinema were Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.  But recently, I had just read and heard too many good reviews from too many people who’s opinions I trust, that made it impossible for me to ignore Frozen.


Anna and Elisa are two young princess of Arendelle.  As little girls, they’re best friends, and have all sorts of fun with Elsa’s magical powers to create a winter wonderland out of thin air.  An accident that almost kills Anna causes their parents, the King and Queen, to wipe the memories from Anna’s head, and leave Elsa in seclusion.  After their parents are lost at sea, Elsa is eventually forced to face the outside world when she comes of age and is crowned Queen of Arendelle.

At the coronation, the young adult Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) meets her dream man, Prince Hans (Santino Fontana).  They immediately fall in love and decide to marry.  The stress of her little sister’s rushed engagement is too much for Elsa (Idiona Menzel) to handle, and her powers get the better of her, causing an eternal winter across the entire land.

Elsa runs from the shame of her magical powers and what they’ve caused, Anna chases in an attempt to make things right, leaving her new fiancé in charge of Arendelle.  In her search for her sister, Anna meets Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), a charmingly goofy ice salesman who’s only friend is his reindeer, Sven.  They also stumble across Olaff (Josh Gad) a living snowman brought to life by Elsa.

As a bit of a Disney avoider, the first surprise was how right all the reviews have been and how much I enjoyed Frozen.  Even the musical element is fully integrated, never crammed in.  The songs are catchy, always there to advance the story and none of them outstay their welcome.

But what I like most about this story was its lack of a clear and obvious villain.  Sure, they throw one in as a bit of a token pretty late into the piece, but for the most part, it’s all about the two sisters, trying to work through Elsa’s differentness together.  Not facing off against some moustache twirling villain.

The one thing I will disagree on though with every other review, is the praise for Olaff, the talking snowman.  He’s funny enough and perfectly fine, but so many people have declared him the stand out of Frozen, a perfect use of comic relief.  Like I said, I liked him OK, but Sven, Kristoff’s docile reindeer, made me laugh more with his little facial expressions and few simple gags, than the motor mouthed Olaff ever did.

Frozen is a great, fun kids’ movie.  Frozen is a really entertaining musical.  Frozen also tells a story so fully formed that I can’t imagine many adults dismissing it as kiddie stuff.  It also makes me think it’s time I gave some of the older Disney classics a go.

Frozen
Directed By – Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Written By – Jennifer Lee