Monday, April 28, 2014

5Q Movie Review: Frozen

Q: Why did it take so long for Disney to adapt the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Snow Queen"?
A: Well, the story does seem a tad thin, but that hasn't stopped them before. I mean, it's really kind of surprising in retrospect that a Princess-centric company didn't seize on this one years ago. Apparently Disney DID work on it at various times, but it wasn't until they decided to turn the fairly dark tale into one centering on a pair of sisters that they really got it going. I'm sure they're glad they did.

Q: Wow, this has made umpteen billions of dollars worldwide! Is it really that good?
A: Yes, it is! As I said, the story is a little meager, but I think it's one of the better Disney efforts of recent years, appropriate for children and adults alike. But if you have kids, wow, you have to give them a chance to see this. All who see this movie love this movie. Those same children are somehow able to memorize the entire film after only one viewing.

As late as 2013, children loved all the usual things children have loved throughout history: jacks, licorice whips, paste. But the world has changed, and I can report with scientific certainty that kids only love "Frozen" now.

Q: Will I ever get the songs out of my head?
A: It'll take a few weeks. The songs are functional but also catchy and well performed. But I'll warn you that while you might have a fighting chance to eliminate the tunes from your brain, your kids will be goners--not that they care.

Recently, there were two times in a row I picked up my younger child from day care and found him and his friends dancing and singing along to the soundtrack. I mean, these kids knew all the words, the gestures, everything. It was almost unsettling, like it was some kind of bizarre battle cry as a prelude to overthrowing us grown-ups and forming a Frozen Kingdom ruled by toddlers.

Q: Is Olaf as annoying as he seems?
A: I worried about him, too. Chatty snowman sidekick, seemingly there just for comic relief--could have been a real pain. But to the contrary, he's charming and is used well here, providing some humor with his naivete but also helping Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff and becoming a worthy character in his own right.

Q: OK, OK, those few of us who haven't seen it yet will try to see it. Is the DVD a good value?
A: Unfortunately, Disney seems to have gotten into the habit of holding back on extras for future special edition reissues. It's disappointing there isn't more supplemental material for what has become a phenomenon and an essential part of Disney culture.

HOWEVER...head to the bonus material and find the cartoon short titled "Get a Horse." I didn't see "Frozen" in its theatrical return, so when this hit video, I had forgotten all about this new Mickey Mouse 'toon that played before the feature. It combines elements both old and new in creating a hilarious, action-packed (if anything it's almost too frenetic for its own good) tribute to the character's history. I would say it's worth the price of the disc alone because it is that good, but who am I kidding? There's no way I would pay full DVD price for a 7-minute cartoon. In fact, I didn't even buy THIS DVD. But let's just say it's a really nice treat that adds value to the "Frozen" package and will itself demand multiple viewings.

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