Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Main Takeaway:  Disney becomes the new Pixar in creating a crowd pleasing movie full of goofy characters, a beautiful snowy locale and a strong set of musical numbers that rivals the best Disney offered in its 90's heyday.

Verdict:  Highly recommended. 3D not necessary.

  • Veronica Mars is a Disney Princess, singing included.  Kristen Bell owns the Anna character, giving her character enough warmth, heart, goofiness and vulnerability in her performance.
  • the musical numbers, especially the earlier songs, are all standouts:
    • "Do You Want To Build A Snowman" - you listen and you'll smile and then feel so melancholy within a span of 3 minutes.
    • "For The First Time In Forever" - a grand and sweeping song, like a spunkier version of "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast
    • "Love Is an Open Door" - a very catchy tune with funny lyrics that has some great harmonizing
    • "Let It Go" - while not as strong as the first three, when you hear the song while watching the movie, it just works and you completely understand what the Elsa character is going through
  • the story is simple but there is an underlying level of complexity in its characters and relationships with each other, especially between the sisters
  • Sidekick characters pile on the humor, on top of the already funny main characters
  • great locale (a very Norwegian vibe) but not appreciated when the land is frozen over. Then it's just fifty thousands shades of white. You can only take so much white.
  • action sequences were not as dynamic as some of the best action scenes from Tangled and Wreck It Ralph

The Disney Animation Studios reached its pinnacle of creativity during the release of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Lion King. There was a kind of emotional resonance when watching each film, with its timeless musical numbers, identifiable characters and great stories that you want to hear about.  Pixar Studio's initial release of movies showed that other studios were primed to tell stories just as well as Disney (if not better).  But, there has been a renaissance in Disney Animation Studio's in their past releases: Tangled, with its lead character looking to leave her home to see what's out there (similar to Belle's desire to leave her small, provincial town) , Wrech It Ralph and his search to find acceptance among those who have shunned him (similar to Aladdin's desire to not be shunned by other because of his lack of wealth) and most recently, Frozen, a touching story about two sisters, so close at one time but had drifted apart because of events that transpire in the story.  Similar to Lion King's treatment of death and inheritance of responsibility, Frozen's handling of such complicated themes of sisterhood and true love that is explored between Anna and Elsa is impressive: while simple on the surface, go deeper and you realize the complicated relationship they both have.  Throw in a prince, an ice seller with his trusty reindeer and a cool (cold?) sidekick, you get an enchanting story of saving a kingdom from wintry doom but also a satisfying heroine's journey of saving her sister.

Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Santino Fontana, Josh Gad
Screenplay:  Jennifer Lee
Story:  Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Shane Morris
Directed By:  Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Rated PG
Based on "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Andersen

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