I went to see Frozen over the weekend with my daughter, my sister, and her two kids. There is a ton of music in the first 2/3rds of the movie (more than I expected) so I figured “Why not?” If I included the musical episode of Buffy, I can certainly talk about this.
I wasn’t terribly impressed with the movie. Tangled, it isn’t. When the second or third musical number launches into “can’t wait to fall in love with someone” in its second verse, I was pretty pissed off, actually. Here is the story of 2 typical Disney princesses and they are doing typical princess things (having their parent’s die, looking forward to falling in love with a prince, all while being too thin). I think Frozen is trying too hard to do what Disney perceived Tangled as doing. We get twice the princesses, twice the romantic interests, and only about half the plot.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a poorly constructed movie. I just had no connection with any of it. The problems that arose never really felt like problems. The non-relationship between the sisters never struck me as being something that needed to be resolved. The threat of everyone suddenly being cast into winter never had any weight to it, either, because they are in some Norway/Finland/Sweden place which would be…you know…kind of used to that. Set the story in Hawaii, though, and you’ve got something.
Musically, most of it bounced right off me. The snow queen’s solo was the stand-out number with the snowman’s song about what he’d do in summer as a runner-up. There came a distinct point where the songs stopped and more action set-pieces took over. There were plenty of opportunities for the music to heighten the drama (different conflicts in different places, could have yielded some good ensemble singing) but they opted not to do it. Oh well. Daria was a fan, though, so the soundtrack is on the iPod.
Here is a tip, though, if anyone at Disney/Pixar has thoughts for making their next movie with a female protagonist: write the story as if you had a typical male lead. Then change the gender. That’s it. Imagine how cool Up would have been if you changed just one of the genders of the main duo. Tangled worked because, while romance and princess stuff is in the movie, the story is, at its heart, an adventure tale. With more clever music.