Unpopular Opinion Alert: Frozen is Terrible

*If you watched Disney’s Frozen and actually liked the movie, don’t read this. If you haven’t watched Disney’s Frozen, but plan on doing so, don’t read this. In fact, I can’t think of any reason for you to read this unless you didn’t quite enjoy it, and are looking for a similar opinion. Spoilers abound.*

When we saw the first trailer for Frozen, Mad got a kick out of the snowman blowing his head off when he sneezed. When we later asked her if she wanted to actually watch the movie, however, she said no, reasoning that she didn’t know what would happen to the snowman’s head. She has peculiar concerns sometimes. Well, we asked her again this weekend and she deemed herself ready to watch the movie. It didn’t surprise me in the least that Lynnette and Madison really liked the movie. Madison is 5 and Lynnette loves musicals, so Frozen was right in their respective wheelhouses.

I suspect that Lynnette is drawn to the film because it is fashioned closer to a musical (Frozen even starts with a song sung by men while engrossed in physical labor like Les Miserables). Most of the recent Disney films feature music, but in the background. In Frozen, the characters actually sing the songs like the Disney movies we grew up with, with the added twist of having a few of the songs repeated in variations throughout the movie. It’s not like The Little Mermaid or The Lion King which feature a bunch of unrelated songs like “Kiss the Girl” and “Under the Sea” or “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and ” Be Prepared.” The small handful of songs in Frozen subtly repeat throughout the movie, slightly altered to fit the events and/or mood of the plot. I again, I suspect this part of the stickiness of the film’s soundtrack.

Frozen is a cute movie. I can understand why kids love it. I suppose my complaints are a function of time; Frozen probably should have been a 5-episode mini-series instead of a two-hour movie.

1My primary problem with the overall story is that it feels wholly unoriginal because it features too many obvious pieces of other movies or stories. The two main characters, sisters Elsa and Anna (left) are callbacks to the sisters in Wicked (one is a freak, the other is not) or Harry Potter (Harry’s mother had powers, her sister did not) whose parents die when they are young. Frozen accelerates through their adolescence, stopping again when Elsa is of age to officially ascend to the throne. Why would Anna have such an undying loyalty to a sister who A) ignores her completely, and B) never explains why?

3Early on in the movie, Elsa accidentally drills Anna with a ice bolt to the head, and their parents hustle Anna to a community of forest trolls. Apparently, there is some kind of forest magic (Brave) and the trolls are better equipped to handle Elsa’s ice powers than the humans are. The whole series of events is troublesome. When Anna is unconscious, the king says he knows where he has to go, and leads the family into the forest. The king knows exactly where the trolls live, and the trolls appear to recognize the king, but then the head troll asks of Elsa’s power “born or cursed” to derive its source. So he has no prior history with this family? Then how did the king know to seek the trolls out? The troll cures Anna, but additionally removes her memory of the event. So there’s magic in this world, but it’s never explained from where or why.

2Clearly, the main conflict in the film is the relationship between the sisters, but that won’t do in a kids’ movie. That kind of conflict is subtle and requires a better understanding of human emotions and experiences. I get it. Frozen not only refers to the temperatures created by Elsa’s Iceman-esque powers, but also her inability to live any kind of life because of her own fear of them. She comes to the conclusion that living alone in a palace of ice is preferable to hiding in a bedroom.

But kids won’t get that, so Hans (left) is the ostensible antagonist of the movie who reveals his love for Anna was a ruse so he could ascend to power in a realm not his own (a perfect time for me to turn to Madison and speak ill of boys). Really, that’s his entire motivation for being a scoundrel: he was the 13th born son and knew he’d never be king on his own; he had to marry in. I guess. He was basically Ewan McGregor in Angels and Demons. 

5The most glaring problem, though, is the film’s resolution. Basically, after spending the first 18 years of her life not understanding or being able to control her ice powers, Elsa has an epiphany is suddenly able to control them absolutely, in the span of about 3 minutes. Not even Dr. Greg House figured things out that quickly, and at least he had years of practice. Frozen could have been a pretty compelling story, actually, but it took shortcuts in relying so heavily on people’s established understanding of the genre, of princess culture, of Disney movies. The movie hit all the beats, but too quickly and without fleshing them out. And I won’t even get into Olaf.

The cynic in me totally gets it, though. It’s not even as good as Tangled, and it’s something of a running joke between Lynnette and I. I have a theory that you can tell how good a Disney movie is going to be by looking at the cast. Cars gets Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, and Paul Newman. Planes got Dane Cook and small cameos from Goose and Iceman. No matter, though. Disney has added two more princesses to its roster and that noise you hear is Disney high-ups high-fiving each other while printing their own money.

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10 comments on “Unpopular Opinion Alert: Frozen is Terrible

  1. Thanks for sharing some sanity. I was so disappointed. With twin toddlers, good pixar movies can’t come quick enough, and we were hotly anticipating the itunes release of this. I was shocked at how bad it was. Just completely atrocious story, zero compelling characters, and music (with the exception of Olaf’s summer song which was great, because it was supposed to be simple and derivative and it was right on the mark) that sounded like it was created as a final project for a talented college sophomore taking a class in pop music.

    First exposure to this show as the Let it Go song that was getting passed around on facebook. But I didn’t realize it was from Frozen. Such a terrible song, I actually thought some student at one of the local colleges had created it and that’s why all my friends liked it.

    • Phil Higa says:

      John,
      Thanks for the comments. It’s a cash grab that adds two more princess to an already impressive roster. My daughter is almost 6, and I suspect that she is not as invested in Frozen as a story like Brave or Cars because of the reasons you mentioned. She’s always going to love Cars, but not Frozen, apparently.

  2. […] a clear understanding of how much money I had saved in the plastic container. I picked up a copy of a movie I can’t stand because my desire for Lynnette and Madison to be happy is greater than my hatred of that film and […]

  3. Oren says:

    Thank God someone finally agrees with me. The plot was just terrible with too many points that went unexplained. The first part with her “freezing Anna’s Head” and the head troll curing her, what the hell is going on??? She is not allowed to remember magic now? Can you please explain why?? Then he tells them that they should at least be separated for a short time, but cut to 15-18 years later and they have never even spoken a word to each other. I could go on as every minute is filled with holes and is rushed, but a couple of quick points. When Anna goes after her sister she is warned by Hans that she will hurt her, but Anna is sure that she won’t. WHAT??? You are absolutely sure that the sister who completely ignored you for more than a decade, and then in your first meeting in that time froze everything in the world, you are absolutely sure she won’t hurt you. Second, they seem to be making too big of a deal about everything being frozen. Granted, that is a huge problem, but it seems that everything is only frozen for about 3 days!!! Hell, in Chronicals of Narnia, the world has been frozen for 100 years, now that is what I call “Frozen.” Olaf is such a forced character. Seems like they wanted a sell-able comic relief character that they could sell merchandise of in the vein of Abu from Aladdin or Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast, but it was not genuine at all. Finally, there is such a problem made about the fact that she fell in love with a man that she only knew for one day. But then, it is not a problem that she falls in love with Christof, who she has known for a maximum of 2-3 days. Nothing in this movie is redeemable, absolute garbage. I watched it because I was told that it was Disney getting back to its roots ala Lion King or Aladdin, but it was far from true. Very very disappointing.

  4. MimiTheCritique says:

    I feel as if I am the only female in my age range (14-18) who was completely UNIMPRESSED with this? All the girls I know are all, OOH FROZEN IS SO AMAZING.
    The funny part is, no one can give me an exact reason why, besides the fact that it’s Disney.
    The movie was rushed and you can tell, so many plot holes! How did Elsa get the powers and how come Anna didn’t get them?
    Am I the only one who noticed how they threw Olaf in? It was kind of sloppy to me. In the whole “Let it Go” sequence Elsa randomly created Olaf and just annoyed me SO MUCH.

  5. eq says:

    It was terrible! With all the hype I was hoping for something at least close to Disneys renaissance film era. Nope, just another scrappy movie with crappier songs.

    • Frozen needs Logic says:

      Always remember that film is still primarily a narrative driven medium, and regardless of how good the songs and eye candy is.

  6. Rain Runaway says:

    i totally agree! i HATED THAT MOVIE … everyone is like “your crazy!” im just like – DO YOU UNDERSTAND NOTHING?????????? ugh- finally people see WHY the movie was terrible…….

  7. Thomas says:

    Thank you. In my honest opinion, Frozen is a tremendous failure in countless ways. It’s so broken that it’s beyond repair. Absolutely everything unrelated to the animation (which is of course, excellent) goes wrong. From the lazily-written characters to the miserable mess of a story to the irritating musical numbers, the entire thing is an embarrassing waste of time for anyone who isn’t a fan of Glee or Twilight. I just sat there, shaking my head in disbelief at how atrocious it all was. The plot has an enormous number of flaws, and so many unnecessary scenes and mood changes that it never, at any point, moved me. It’s not a fantasy adventure film, it’s a musical soap opera.

    The film’s opening, with the two sisters falling out so easily (and with little explanation) and then their parents randomly dying in a sea storm is utterly depressing. The film turns sunny and cheery all of a sudden, but this did nothing to make the film feel any warmer because of the dreadful opening, and also because the two songs Anna sing are just so obnoxious. The journey to find Elsa is badly structured, and the film has some really weird sub-plots (Olaf wanting summer, Kristoff’s relationship with his reindeer, the random wolf attack, etc.), and when they finally find Elsa, she is of course still stubborn and so the short journey was pointless. One song later, the one-dimesional characters are back to being sad again. Oh, and now Anna’s going to freeze to death, Wow. Just… wow. And it gets worse! That really annoying part with the trolls was totally out of place with an abysmal song (another terrible sub-plot), the twist that Hans is evil was nonsensical (it came out of nowhere) and Weselton is such a dull “villain” that I can’t even remember his role in the story. Everything that happens in the last act is depressing and rushed, building to an incredibly cheesy, tacked-on climax and forgettable happily-ever-after scene.

    I hate Frozen with a passion – it’s a nonsensical jumble of clichéd ideas that do not work together at all. The great animation is barely enough to save this horrible movie. The poster makes it look like it’s going to be a comedic and lively quest to save their world, but it’s not. It’s an incompetently-written, boring and almost aimless slog, and the most disgustingly overrated movie in the history of cinema.

  8. Reagan says:

    One of my problems was that there was no rhyme or reason the girl had snow powers. Were there fire people coming to burn everyone. Is she adopted? Is it because she’s has blondeish hair and that’s what happens to those kind of people? The world may never know…

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