Watching: Frozen (2013)

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How do you write about a film, when it seems the rest of the world has already seen it? Arriving fashionably late to the hype of Disney’s Frozen, I managed to savour the newest addition to the Disney archives. I will admit, the film is genuinely funny, moving and is an excellent film for families or the Disney viewer. That being said though, I found the movie to be overrated by the fanatics of the internet (I’m looking at you Tumblr) and I expected more out of it, though I do agree with the aray of awards it has garnered.

I managed to finally get my hands on a copy of Frozen through the release in Australia. I watched it with my family on a Sunday afternoon (as we often do), and began listening to the story. At this point my older brother and I had already learnt the lyrics of all its songs, as such was the hype of the newest Disney film. While we were mostly happy with the overall film, I personally felt wronged. It’s story – although good – just wasn’t as fleshed out as I had hoped it to be.

Frozen takes place in the Kingdom of Arrendale where King & Queen rule with two daughter, one of which – Elsa (Idina Menzel)- possesses cryokinetic powers. After hurting her sister Anna (Kirsten Bell) with her powers, Elsa is shielded from the world and lives her life in isolation.  Years later, Elsa and Anna live very different lives – whereas Anna is an optimist, Elsa has become a recluse, creating a rift between the two. Elsa’s powers seem to be affected by her emotions, and so after she becomes stressed at her coronation, she runs away from the kingdom, accidentally setting off an eternal winter. Feeling responsible for her outburst, Anna teams up with Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), an iceman; Sven, his loyal reindeer; and Olaf (Josh Gad), a living snowman, in order to return summer to Arrendale and reconcile with her sister.

As expected of modern computer animation, Frozen’s characters and world are essentially flawless. There’s no doubt that a lot of detail went into the film’s creation, and it seems to have payed off – character movement is fluid and believable, structures are impeccable and objects rival their real counterparts (have you seen those snowflakes?) . Minor points are filled with information that would otherwise be overlooked (i.e. the symbolism of both princesses’ dresses), making it ripe with secrets and facts. The characters, namely Elsa and Anna, are portrayed in a realistic manner, and it isn’t an overstatement to say that both Bell and Menzel give life to the sisters. Anna’s quirky and joyful personality is rivalled only by Elsa’s stoic and refined behaviour, presenting to the audience two princesses that stray from the fairy tale norm. Whether this is the product of the string of films Disney has produced in recent years or the desire to portray a larger variety of female characters (and not just the damsel in distress stereotype), it seems Disney is headed in the right direction. The musical score of the film doesn’t fail at all, possessing a variety of memorable songs that I find myself humming to every now and again. The one point I think the film failed for me was its story – it’s not that it was bad, in fact, it is smartly written. It’s just that through all the hype and the commotion, I thought that there’d be more to it than what I was presented with.

In total, Frozen has become a hit worldwide, and personally one of my favourite animated films. I do think that Disney is returning to it’s roots, simulating the inspiring hits of the 20th century (In particular The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast) with a new formula that seems to be working quite well. While I wasn’t completely satisfied with it, I think that its been one of the better movies of 2013, and one of the best movies to come out of the 2010’s so far. If you have been left completely in the dark on this snowstorm of adventure, like I was until a few days ago, be sure to check it out. There’s nothing better than a Disney film to put you in the right mood.

Bry Rating: 4/5
Recommended? Don’t miss out on another Disney hit!
Country of Origin: America
Language: English

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Watching: Anastasia (1997)

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Taking the spot as my favourite animated film of all time, Fox’s Anastasia gives the audience a unique take on the urban legend of the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia’s survival of the execution of her family. It draws on the mystique of the infamous Rasputin and has a loveable cast, excellent musical score and an intriguing plot.

I remember when I first watched it, it didn’t really stick in the mind of my 9 year old self. The only thing that did seem to stick was the song titled “Once Upon a December” (Do yourself a favour, check it out). It was so unbelievably catchy that 5 years later, it forced me watch the movie yet again – only this time, I actually understood what I was watching and I fell in love.

Anya, an orphaned girl with no memory of her past leaves her orphanage and heads to St Petersburg to find out about her family. When she arrives, two con men, seeing her likeness to the long lost Princess Anastasia, decide to take advantage of her likeness to the long lost Princess Anastasia to receive a reward for her return. Unsure of whether or not she really is the lost Duchess, Anya and the two men, Dmitri and Vladimir, make their way to collect the reward whilst the evil Rasputin attempts to kill the girl once and for all.

Anastasia is an incredibly charming story that combines both drama, suspense, humour and innocence in a superbly balanced form. The film, which sustains an engaging plot, receives most of its praise from its animation, visual style, voice acting and (My favourite) the song sequences. Although some may see similarities between the film’s art style and that of Disney’s past movies, the film is authentic in its own right, providing viewers with an original and intriguing tale. It did, unfortunately, receive some criticism for its fairy-tale like depiction of a historical figure, but inaccuracies aside, this retelling of one of Russia’s most known figures is undeniably entertaining for kids, adults, and all those in between.

Whenever I’m asked what my favourite movie is, I can’t give a straight answer. I’ve got one for each genre, and so to narrow it down to a single film is impossible. In saying that, I immediately mention this film when asked what my favourite animated film is – every time. The plot, the visuals, the music – Oh, the music – simply make this movie an absolute delight to watch. If you are ever in need of a good movie on a rainy day or it’s one of those days you just crave for an animated children’s movie, be sure to consider Anastasia. It will, without a doubt, be worth your while.

Bry Rating: 4/5
Recommended? Yes – and you won’t regret a thing
Country of Origin: America
Language: English