Saturday, 7 December 2013


There's no arguing with this formula. Disney is just too good at it. And it's theirs, anyway. I honestly believe that, as long as they remain true to the essence of said formula and attuned to the cultural shifts in society, that formula will never produce a poor film. Itself, it is not enough to produce a great film, and in the end, Frozen's strengths only combine to serve as a little more than mere window dressing, but this is a sweet, serviceable animation, unadventurous, but perhaps likely to have broader effect and appeal as a consequence. Its pleasures are small, even dainty, which makes them all the more pleasurable to savour - modest musical numbers and a catchy score, some stunning visual design, a slight storyline given an epic tint by a sharp focus on strong emotional content. Less is made of the literal, physical journey made by the characters (and the film is better the less it makes of that), more of the internal, mental journeys they take instead, particularly protagonists Anna and Elsa, each affected differently by the same past, striving to converge their personal paths and learn the value of acceptance. That's typical crass Disney moralising there, though at least this time it comes with a piquant, almost provocative suggestion that one's abnormalities equate to power and talent, and since we can expect a Disney family film to place considerable significance on their moral content, I expect they're actively inviting you to read into that one. Aesthetics are top-notch, with beautiful manipulation of light uncommon in animation. Humour is supplied mostly by the talking snowman, Olaf, a brilliant combination of character design and voice acting to create a terrific character. But the film lacks a character of its own, and so is somewhat less than the sum of its parts.