FrozenFrozen (2013) Theatrical Cartoon by Dave Koch
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- Walt Disney Pictures
- Animated Characters: Elsa/The Snow Queen, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, Sven, Hans, King, Queen, Duke of Weselton, Trolls, Grandpa, Oaken, Marshmallow, Kai, Bulda, Gerda, Bishop, Spanish Dignitary, German Dignitary, Irish Dignitary.
- Awards: Academy Award Winner, Best Animated Feature Film, 2013.
Winner, Golden Globes, Best Animated Feature, 2014.
Winner, Annie Awards, Best Animated Feature, 2013.
Winner, Annie Awards, Best Directing in an Animated Feature Production; Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, 2013.
Winner, Annie Awards, Best Music in an Animated Feature Production; Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez, Christophe Beck, 2013.
Winner, Annie Awards, Best Production Design in an Animated Feature Production; Michael Giaimo, Lisa Keene, David Womersley, 2013.
Winner, Annie Awards, Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production; Josh Gad, 2013.
Winner, Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, Producers Guild of America, Peter Del Vecho, 2014.
Nominee, BAFTA Awards, Best Animated Feature, 2013.
- Originally Released in 2013.
Cartoon Production Information:
Earlier scheduled for release on November 27, 2013.
Frozen is a Disney 3D CGI musical adaption of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. Earlier scheduled for release on November 27, 2013.
Disney has long played with doing this story. It was a story that Walt himself considered doing, but never actually got off the ground. In 1943, Walt Disney and Samuel Goldwyn had collaborated an idea to produce a biography film of Hans Christian Andersen, where Goldwyn's studio would shoot the live-action sequences of Andersen's life and Disney would create the animated sequences of his stories. The animated sequences to be included were The Little Mermaid, The Little Match Girl, The Snow Queen, Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling, The Red Shoes and The Emperor's New Clothes.
While they found saw great cinematic possibilities with the source material, the Snow Queen character (among other problems) proved to be too big a hurtle for the studio, and the project was shelved. Goldwyn went on to produce his own live-action film version in 1952, entitled Hans Christian Andersen, with Danny Kaye as Andersen, and the Disney Studios revisited many of the animated sequences, making at least two into previous animated feature films. The Little Match Girl also became a short from the studio.
A new version was considered in 2002, but the project was scrapped completely in late 2002, when Glen Keane notoriously quit the project. By 2010, Disney shelved that project, then changed its status to "on hold." The film gained new life in late 2011 when Disney announced a new title for the project (Frozen), and committed to a 2013 release date.
Disney had unspecified problems with the project with Chris Buck as director. Rather than outright replace him, the studio brought in Wreck-It Ralph writer Jennifer Lee as "co-director".
Shown in the U.S. with the Mickey Mouse short Get A Horse!.
Frozen blew away every previous record for an animated film opening from Disney. The animated musical grossed a gargantuan $26.9 million on Friday (this after earning $26.3 million on Wednesday and Thursday). The film will end at about $68 million over the weekend frame, which would give it about $97 million after its first five days in wide release.
In late 2013, Disney filed suit in California federal court against the distributor of the film The Legend of Sarila. The suit alleges that the distributor of the film, Phase 4 Films, release The Legend of Sarila- now renamed Frozen Land- in an effort to profit off of Disney and this films good will. First released in February in Quebec, The Legend of Sarila had a moderate to poor reception in the box office. And to that point, Disney has no quarrel. It is only when Phase 4 Films released the film to theaters in the US on November 1 and to home video on November 5th that the film even came up on Disney's radar. With the renaming to Frozen Land and the new film logo looking suspiciously like the logo for the Disney film Frozen, Disney asked for an injunction and destruction of all DVDs for Frozen Land, as well as compensatory and damages, lost profits and actual damages.
This was the 53th film in the official Disney list of animated films.
Where these two mediocre films are most similar is the lack of a good, solid villain. Let’s face it, Madame Medusa was just not that scarey. We find the same problem in Frozen. There is no single character who takes on the evil mantle, who makes us squeal and hide our eyes. The few semi-bad guys that do exist in the film slip in and out of the focus of the story, with no one rising to the nastiness of a Maleficent or an Evil Stepmother. The lack of a good, frightening villain tells us exactly what Disney’s goal here is– to not risk scaring their prime– and very young– target audience.
The music is equally lackluster. It is at times quasi-Broadway and others modern young girl pop. At all times it is over-produced, over-compressed and overly loud. The music seemed more reminiscent of a Hannah Montana film than a Disney animated feature… which again points to a film aimed right down the throats of pre-teen girls. The “Let’s Build A Snowman” piece at the beginning of the film had great potential, but the song never seemed to evolve… it was just a song to pass time while the girls grew up. Other songs seemed to be sprinkled in because another 10 minutes of screen time had passed and it was time for some more music. Some songs seemed too short, others just shoved in. The Trolls production number — probably the biggest production number of the film– never got out of second gear, and never got close to the fun and grandeur of “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” or “Be Our Guest.”
Modern music is very often “compressed”- the louder and softer sequences pressed together to make the mix louder. This process flattens the overall sound wave into a much narrower band– no highs or lows, just everything at the same, high volume. Why? Because studies have shown that people like loud, and louder music sells. But this process also removes the dynamics of the original performance, and is not nearly as exciting as a full sonic soundscape. The same process seems to have been applied to the story of Frozen. The lack of a strong, very evil villain means we do not get the “lows” of the story. The overall ups and downs of the story are therefore smoother and less dynamic. And less exciting. The highs are not quite as high when the lows are only in the middle… you can’t appreciate the work to dig out of the hole if the hole is only a foot deep. The lack of a dynamic story makes the story less satisfying, and the victories at the end less impressive for the lack work to get there. What makes Sleeping Beauty such a great film is not the Fairies but Maleficent; Little Mermaid is not remembered for King Triton nearly as much as Ursula.
This film was written by Jennifer Lee, who also wrote 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph. After a troubled beginning, Jennifer Lee was brought in and turned that film into a winner. Becoming a wunderkind of sorts at Disney, Jennifer Lee was allowed into the directors chair for this film. But where Wreck-It Ralph had a wide appeal to audiences, Frozen is focused tightly on her audience. Frozen is well written, but without the breadth of appeal or the depth of the former film. The plot is pretty obvious from the get go, and the surprise twists late in the film are plainly self-evident twenty minutes into the film. Frozen lacks the apparent spontaneity that gave Wreck-It Ralph its life.
The artwork does really shine in this film. Disney knows the psychology of how to direct the emotions of audiences with color, and you can see that in abundance here. A lot of scenes stage against a deep blue sky and orange setting sun, others feature the rich greens and purples of the sisters cloaks against the white-blue backgrounds. The town of Arendelle is the perfect fantasy kingdom, a Disney-fied medieval village in the deep fjords of the north. Textures are equally deep and well-formed; the snow sparkles, the clothing coarse, and the hair highly rendered. And the ice– probably something extremely hard to color and animate– is incredibly rendered.
Technically it seems like Disney may have missed a step; some scenes seem poorly composited. There were three or four scenes that stuck out at awkward or unnatural. The snow monster was just tacked on top of the trees he was crashing through… and the fire from the burning sled looked pasted on and forgotten.
The acting seemed fine, but again nothing remarkable. There were no memorial characters, like Jeremy Irons’ Scar or Danny DeVitos’ Philoctetes. By the same token, there was also no Eddie Murphy and Mushu, either. I had a bad feeling about the snowman side-kick based on the first Frozen trailer. But Josh Gad was actually restrained as Olaf, and both he and Sven were pleasant side-kicks. Either of the sisters could have been played by each other, and the Prince and Kristoff could have switched actors and no one would have been the wiser.
For any other studio, this would be an excellent film. But against it’s fifty-two brother films, Frozen is definitely not the worst, but it falls far short of the best. It is a great film for the 12 and under crowd; for them, this is a winner. The rest of us will be happy with a single viewing, and moving on to something a bit most satisfying.
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