'I want you to take me up the North Mountain'

‘Frozen’ (Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, 2013)

Frozen-movie-poster

 

About a month ago I took my nine year old daughter to Disneyland Paris.

IFrozen 2013 DVDScr XViD AC3-FiNGERBLaST.avi_snapshot_00.06.48_[2014.05.17_23.57.52]‘d been to Disneyland in Florida about twenty years ago and my memories of the trip are all good, though I preferred Universal Studios and the Epcot Centre. This is mainly because Disney has never played an important part in my viewing. I never liked the look of their animation. It felt like twee princesses chirruping out of windows with a sort of liquified movement that didn’t seem right. I was very much a Warner Bros child preferring the frantic action and genuine pathos of Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner or the Fred Quimby wonder of Tom & Jerry.

I’ve seen very few Disney films. Being a Robin Williams completist I saw ‘Aladdin’ (Ron Clements and John Musker, 1992) when it came out, and as kids we had vinyl 45s of songs from ‘The Jungle Book’ (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1967) and ‘Mary Poppins’ Robert Stevenson, 1964) but to this day I’ve still never sat through either film to the end.

I don’t count this new-fangled ‘borrowed’ heritage in the form of ‘Toy Story’ (John Lasseter, 1995) and now their annexing of the Star Wars franchise. In fact this new CG-era of film-making leaves me pretty damn cold. Not just Disney’s output but all of it. Not my cup of tea at all.

As we wandered around Disney’s Main Street approaching that sodding great castle they seem so proud of (Is it even from a film?) the windows were full of ‘Frozen’ memorabilia and my daughter’s enthusiasm for it was slightly infectious. To this end I agreed I’d make an effort and watch it. Procrastination meant she’d have to wait a couple of months, but here we are this evening and my Disney cherry is proper popped, innit?

Frozen 2013 DVDScr XViD AC3-FiNGERBLaST.avi_snapshot_00.18.23_[2014.05.17_23.58.10]So how do I feel about it? Truth is, it’s exactly what I was expecting and unless I’m being incredibly cynical it would appear to be the same plot they use for all their films. Some bad shit kicks off and love conquers all. Nothing wrong with the message, but the paper has a nasty feel and it appears to be scented with rainbows and violets.

Visually it’s fairly inoffensive and for a cartoon it’s pretty well directed. Strange how a cartoon these days is shot like a feature while features are shot like cartoons. The infrequent action sequences such as the giant ice golem thing attacking the investigating soldiers was handled with restraint. Had that been a live action film with a CG monster (which obviously all of this was, but I’m making a point here so shut up) it would’ve been the most frantic, kinetic visual popcornerry money could buy. It would, like all modern CG action sequences, be unwatchable.

Frozen 2013 DVDScr XViD AC3-FiNGERBLaST.avi_snapshot_00.45.25_[2014.05.17_23.58.38]Sounds like my frozen heart is warming to it doesn’t it? The truth is, it’s utterly inoffensive. There’s nothing to get pissed off about. If you don’t like the musical aspect then you have to wonder why you bought a ticket to see a bloody Disney film. The songs are unmemorable but not too stagey and there’s never a feeling they’re preventing the story being told or are superfluous to the tone.

Frozen 2013 DVDScr XViD AC3-FiNGERBLaST.avi_snapshot_01.11.34_[2014.05.17_23.59.01]The voice performances are very good and actually the ‘acting’ is better than you’ll find in most live action stuff. The visual interpretations of the characters are frustratingly generic with tapered waists on the ladies and hulking great square-jawed male heroes. This kind of shit is old hat now surely? Even crap like ‘Shrek’ (Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, 2001) acknowledged that you don’t have to be Disney-good-looking to be a hero. These stereotypes abound on the Disney channel, something which airs 24/7 in the Disney hotel rooms. Jesus wept, it was like Television Hell. Endless sit-coms about vein, materialistic rich kids woefully bleeding on about how boys don’t find them pretty or whooping with joy because they bought  a new mobile phone or pair of shoes. Shit like this is utter fucking poison to kids. It needs to stop. If you have the power, block out that Disney channel from your TV package. It’s making your kids the worst kind of pouting, preening little media prostitutes. If you allow it to stay, you’ll be destroying their lives.

Frozen 2013 DVDScr XViD AC3-FiNGERBLaST.avi_snapshot_01.31.12_[2014.05.17_23.59.10]So there we have it. ‘Frozen’ is okay for Disney, tolerable enough but never likely to warrant a second viewing which is depressing as my daughter has watched it several dozen times.

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