Better Late Than Never…
Finally saw Frozen—apparently after every child in America and half the adults. Not much needs to be added to the adulation. Songs are great if not a little bubble gum at moments. It’s consistently funny (while not every comic moment hits squarely), and paced nearly perfectly. It’s a treat for the eyes and is probably among the most beautifully rendered of Disney creations.
The voicing of characters is excellent across the board. Kristin Bell and Adele Dazeem, I mean Idina Menzel, are solid. Bell is crystal clear vocally, and as expressive as they come. Menzel has a raised fist in her voice as well as a teardrop, and is ideal for this combination of acting and song. Her voice tends to be breathy and full of vibrato at the ends of her lines, almost as if she is biting them off at the ends. But that is her style, and it works for this character.
The best character is Olaf the snowman, voiced by Josh Gad, who (deservedly) won the Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production. It’s a supporting character, but one that adds depth, humor and color to the film. His number “In Summer,” while not the one that little girls are singing all over America, is possibly the highlight of the film.
Just two comments to make that haven’t already been written about in the waves of deserved praise for the film. One is a defect. When Elsa (Menzel) sings “Let it Go” and releases her concerns about how guarded she had to be in the past and how she doesn’t need to, this young woman who has never had any relationship with a young man suddenly loosens her hair (no problem) and starts do a slinky Marilyn Monroe walk, getting quite sexy and wiggling her hips, as if she were momentarily following Miley Cyrus’s example of growing-up-equals-displaying-sexuality. It seemed out of place and was a poor example of what letting go should really mean.
This misstep was more than balanced, however, by the best theme in the film, and that is the foolishness of finding true love on the day you meet someone. When Anna (Bell) spends one day with Hans (Santino Fontana)—in the hothouse environment of a party, no less—they sing a classic Disney duet and decide they are perfect for one another and should get married. Happily for common sense and the film, Elsa—albeit in a bad mood—forbids it. When Anna goes off to find Elsa later, the film does a blessed about-face. Kristof (Jonathan Groff) keeps questioning her decision to marry a guy she just met—in a conversation that he keeps steering back to her crazy decision. It’s funny and a great breath of fresh air. The rest of the film undoes the fantasy of the duet, and shows the silliness of thinking that true love can be discovered in a one-day experience, no matter how perfect for one another they first appeared. Far more than the joy in Frozen, and one that will be balancing the romantic folly of earlier Disney films for years to come.