Thursday, November 28, 2013
Frozen: A New Low For Cinema?
*Warning! This contains spoilers!*
As with most Disney movies, I saw the new release the moment I got the chance. In this case, the new release was Frozen. Now I was worried that it wasn’t going to live up to the standards of other Disney classics. One reason being that they chose Christophe Beck as composer. This is the same… illustrious… composer who composed the score to The Hangover. Not the best credentials to have I suppose, but I was willing to give him a chance. After all, sometimes the scores are only awful because they have to match the movie. Gabriel Yared composed a masterful score to Troy, but because the movie was subpar the score was thrown out in favor of a much less impressive score from James Horner. So even though I was worried, I still came in hoping for the best. What I got was the worst movie experience of the year.
I’m sure you’re wondering why it was so bad that I deemed it the worst of the year (at least of the movies I’ve experienced this year). Well, that’s gonna take a lot of time to go over, but I’ll go over some of the most important reasons that leap to my mind.
Before we even go into Frozen though, let’s talk about the short preceding it. This was of course Get a Horse. We all know that was an expression very common back in the day when cars were very unreliable (and people didn’t know a lot about them). The movie starts with Mickey and co. riding down an old dirt road on a horse-drawn hay wagon when Pete drives up in a car. What ensues is road rage, extreme violence, and sexuality. Pete tries to capture Minnie because while he was gawking at her, Mickey put a busty cow in his view. Then Pete and Mickey and co. get into a complicated fight which ultimately culminates in Pete having a pitchfork thrust up his rear and then hammered in deeper by a falling car. This… climatic sequence is repeated on numerous occasions until eventually the apparent wannabe rapist Pete is impaled and beaten silly. The short then ends. Now maybe I’m just an old-fashioned stiff, but the wannabe rapist, anally penetrated Pete and highly sexualized busty cow didn’t seem like good characters to include. Of course, without them there wasn’t any point to the short. I guess you can judge for yourself what kind of cartoon it was, but I thought it was highly inappropriate for a movie that’s meant to be enjoyed by adults and kids alike.
So on to Frozen itself. Let’s start with the lighter complaints: music and singing. Disney has consistently had the highest tier of singer for its princesses (opera singers primarily). This changed with Brave, Tangled, and Princess and the Frog. But this being said, Princess and the Frog and Tangled had inferior scores and songs to the early Disney classics. Frozen has singers that, quite frankly, don’t cut it. Not only are they not quality singers like Jodi Benson, but they can’t even cut it for their own songs. You literally struggle to hear them over the instruments that are playing during the songs they sing. Needless to say this should never happen in a song unless it was actually the intent of the singer. Moreover, the singers sometimes practically give up on singing altogether and just shout. There’s a duet of the sisters in particular that I’m referring to (For The First Time in Forever (Reprise)). Then there’s the fact that the songs themselves are lamentably uninspired, rushed, and poorly executed. They tried so hard to cram songs in that the songs include lines that would be far better left out of the song. One phrase in particular leaps to mind in the song Do You Want to Build a Snowman?. A rejected and lonely Anna sings the line “Okay. Bye.” It sounds emotionless and awkward. If she just spoke the line rather than singing it, the line would have a significant emotional impact on the audience. As they have it, however, it had none. And last, but not least of all these catastrophic musical disasters is this: the animation and audio quality did not match the songs. This is most evident in the song Let It Go. The words don’t match the lip movement, and the audio sounds out of place.
Now on to the story… where do I even begin? Well, I guess an excellent place would be the beginning. These Scandinavian people (who don’t really look Scandinavian) have a princess with great powers. But due to her inability to properly harness this power, she nearly kills her little sister. The king and queen take both sisters to some wise trolls who heal the little girl and then warn the parents that the powers will grow. They tell them that if she doesn’t learn to control them, there will be grave consequences. The trolls then explain that fear will be her enemy. It can hinder her ability to cope with these powers. These wise and caring parents come to the brilliant conclusion that it’s a good idea to completely seclude the princess from everyone. Of course it never occurred to them that this might cause her to be more fearful than ever. Some people just aren’t that bright I guess. Get this. They even seal off the castle. Don’t ask me how supplies, emissaries, waste, etc are taken to and from the castle. And of course this doesn’t draw any suspicion or anything either. Some people are just really stupid I guess. Then the parents leave the two fearful, confused children on their own (with no precautionary measures in place to help the cursed princess should they perish) while they go on a little cruise… and drown. Some people just weren’t born with brains at all I guess. This absurdity continues with Elsa (the ice queen) accidentally revealing her powers in front of a foreign dignitary from a small kingdom who then orders her own soldiers to arrest their own queen. I mean, do I really need to explain how stupid that is? The young princess then searches for her fleeing sister and leaves the kingdom in the charge of a young prince she has a crush on… rather than a trusted aid or prime minster or any other sort of government official. Guess Anna was born with the intellect of her dearly departed parents. There’s too much stupidity to go over in one review so I’ll just skip to the Deus ex machina conclusion of the conflict. After a typical Disney “love conquers all” moment, the curse of eternal winter (the winter was inexplicably determined to be eternal after about one night) is lifted by the ice queen who before was unable to remove it. How? They don’t really explain. They merely have her exclaim, “Of course! Love!” That makes no sense of course because she always loved her kingdom and her sister. If love is the cure then it would have never happened in the first place. Whatever.
On to the absurdity and terrible humor. Frozen was riddled with it. From the Duke of Weselton who dances like a chicken at a royal ball, to the unfortunate mistake that was the trolls, this movie was a painfully ridiculous movie. I guess we’ll start with the Duke of Weselton. He comes to a royal ball and insists on dancing with one of the sisters. His dance is an assortment of animal imitations. While the smallest children may find him highly amusing, most adults (at least those who have an IQ higher than the ice queen’s parents) will find it ludicrous. The trolls unfortunately were a pretty significant part of the movie. Their characters were not well introduced and they were sadly silly. I found myself cringing at the presence of these poorly developed comedy relief plot devices. Even the song they sing which is meant to be upbeat and catchy is not so. Don’t get me wrong. It is upbeat and fast-paced. But it’s not catchy and it’s certainly not memorable. It, like most of the movie, feels chaotic and rushed. There are so many more moments like these, but if I mentioned every dumb moment of the movie I’d be here for a few hours, so let’s just move on from here.
Now my biggest complaint. The way women (and the ice queen in particular) were portrayed. There were only four women that had any prominence throughout the movie. Number one: the ice queen’s mother. Remember those really stupid parents I talked about earlier? She was one of them. And it was the father who did the talking, who spent the intimate moments with both the children, etc. She might as well not have been there. There’s the troll mother who embarrasses her son and generally acts like a harebrain. Then there are the two sisters Anna the princess and Elsa the ice queen. Anna is a ditz who falls in love with- and determines to marry- a guy she’s only known for a few hours. Elsa is a strong girl… who’s actually highly emotional and perpetually frightened like a mouse. But don’t worry. She later turns against the way she was raised and determines to stop being a good girl. She then proceeds to walk down the hall like a Victoria’s Secret model with a large slit in her dress deliberately placed to show as much leg as possible. Nearly all other women shown are intentionally made to be fat and unattractive. So what can we gather from this? Women are mostly undesirable, and those that are desirable are only desirable for their bodies… or raising your kids. Do you remember Beauty and the Beast? I remember Belle for being brilliant, beautiful, and brave. But hey, Anna and Elsa are both beautiful. One out of three ain’t bad, eh? *face palm*
So, yeah, I was gonna compare this to a steaming mound of dog crap, but that’s just being cruel to the pile of dog crap. 1/5 stars.