So now, I'm going to jump on the band wagon and go on a little rant about the most recent feature film animation from Walt Disney Animation Studios: Frozen.
I actually watched it in December, and I've seen it probably five more times since then. At this point I won't bother going through the effort of explaining what Frozen was about because I'm plenty sure that most people have already watched the movie and if they haven't they would have heard/know about it already.
Now, I must applaud Disney. It's simply a masterpiece and is currently my absolute favorite Disney animation. All aspects of the movie brings so much life and flavor; the animation, the actors, the theme and the music. The music in particular is especially wonderful. Not only does it tie the entire movie together, but it does a fantastic job of expressing the themes and emotions. And, holy cow, does this movie overflow with emotion; OMG all the feels!
I commend Bobby (Robert) and Kristen Lopez for doing such a fantastic job with the music. They are both amazingly talented people and they have my deepest respects. It was only actually yesterday that I learned that they were also the very same people who were responsible for Avenue Q (which I also enjoy so much) and the Book of Mormon. Furthermore, I also learned that Bobby is of Filipino descent and being a Filipina myself, I felt great pride. In any case, in addition to how well the music fit the story of Anna and Elsa, I felt that outside of the movie it was very inspirational in that an amazingly broad spectrum of people could relate to them. Personally, I think being relatable is what makes a piece of work, whether it be a musical composition, a painting or literary work, great! "Let It Go" in particular, as many will attest to I'm sure, is one such composition. It has the overall message of letting one's self go and of, not only appreciating, but also genuinely loving one's self and all of your abilities and flaws, even if it makes you different. I for one could definitely relate to it. That particular scene, when Elsa, voiced by Idina Menzel, did wonders to my poor heart. It was so moving beyond words.
Now for the cast. Honestly, they brought so much life to the characters. I do believe that, just like the music, the characters of Frozen were so easy to relate with. Traditionally, characters from previous Disney feature animations are relatable to an extent, however, I still felt that they were distant in a way, especially the classic Disney princesses. This is my own personal opinion, but previous Disney figures felt rather ethereal to me. I'm not entirely sure how to go about explaining this, but Anna and Elsa just felt really down to earth to me which made them all the more relatable to me. I really hope that makes sense because I really have no other way of explaining this. One factor might also be that the theme of Frozen is very contemporary and modern compared to those of the classics such as Snow White and Cinderella. Anyway, point is that the characters are so easy to love, especially Olaf. Josh Gad did an extraordinary job with almost literally bringing the snowman to life. Additionally, I already had so much respect and admiration for two members of the cast: Idina Menzel, who played Elphaba in Wicked (one of my all time favorite Broadway musicals), and Jonathan Groff, who I immediately admired and adored since his role in the first season of Glee. After watching the movie I also came to love Kirsten Bell, who I knew of because of Gossip Girl (even though I never really did watch that show), and Jonathan Gad.
My only complaint, I suppose, is Kristoff. Don't get me wrong I love him, because I mean how could you not? He's quite endearing in his own way. However, I was actually talking about this with one of my friends, his existence almost didn't have much of a point besides providing a love interest to Anna. Disney could have just as easily made Anna go through the entire journey of looking for Elsa without any help, which would only strengthen the message of empowerment for women. I do understand that they felt the need to stick to tradition, in a way, and involve some form of romantic love. Also, his existence only further emphasized the main message of the movie: platonic love, a love between sisters. The scene wherein Anna steps in to protect Elsa from Hans is a testament of this. It was a great way to contrast romantic love to that of platonic love. So in a way his existence had a point besides merely fulfilling the role of a romantic love interest. Yet I still agree with my friend that they could have done without him. Now, that wasn't actually my complaint. My complaint is that, since they decided to have Kristoff I was fully expecting at least a small romantic number between Kristoff and Anna. I mean how can you have Jonathan Groff as part of the cast and not have him sing anything. No the number "Reindeers are Better than People" does not count, no matter how entertaining it is. Again I understand that the emphasis of the movie was on sisterly love but really? Why hire a voice actor who has a fabulous singing voice, only to not have him sing? That really baffles me, but maybe that's just me.
Finally, there are different kinds of love and thus far most Disney Princess classics have a strong focus on romantic love. Frozen takes a leap out of tradition and into the modern by focusing on platonic or familial love, which seems to be occurring a little more with recent productions. Brave, for example, displays the love between mother and daughter where as Frozen is about the love between two sisters. Now the hopeless romantic in me appreciates the classics and their strong emphasis on romantic love but this change in focus is good. This is especially in part due to the fact the main target audience of these animations are children (in-spite being great family films). It sends a great message, particularly to young girls. Romantic love is not the only thing out there. Love between members of one's family is just as important if not more so.
Overall, Frozen truly is amazing. Applause and thanks to Disney and all those involved in its production for bringing a spectacular piece of work to the world. This is going to be one of those Disney animations that I will be sure to show my children someday!