'Frozen' Review By Bryan Yentz

... It wasn't made to be remembered; it wasn't made to stick with the viewer; it wasn't made to be anything more than a chill of the moment payday. Cold indeed...
  • OVERALL
    0.5
    HORRIBLE
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Visuals
I remember, in the long-long-ago, when animated films carried weight, conflict and consequence. I recall the deep characterization, thematic elements and excellent story structure. I recollect a time when a family film was created with patience, creativity and passion; it wasn't something that felt so hollow and manufactured as it does today. Every month, at least one dime-a-dozen kiddie flick smashes the cineplex with typical computer graphics, typical "love is the key" morality tales and typical ensemble celebrity voice-casting in which one character is typically an ill-advised jive-talker. As if checking off boxes for "what can sell", studios have seemingly lost all faith in proper, imagination-fueled stories for the little ones and have instead resorted to the most lackadaisical means of gaining country-loads of money. Even now, not even Pixar can be counted on to develop a meaningful film as they haven't crafted one since THE INCREDIBLES (let's be serious, if UP didn't have such a sad introduction, would anyone have held it in such high regard?). FROZEN is Disney's newest family film that recycles the same ol' CG, the same ol' celebrity voice-casting, the same ol' terrible pop music of today and the same ol' terrible storytelling into one sad replication of TANGLED.

While I expect a severe lack of anything meaningful in films of this ilk nowadays, I was especially caught off guard by FROZEN's inciting incident; it's prologue of a foundation for everything to come. The story herein is so unfathomably stupid, so incomprehensibly hole-ridden, so uncompromisingly idiotic, so incredibly infuriating, that it single-handedly dumbs down any child within projector-playing-radius. I've said it before and I'll say it again, simply because a movie is deemed "family" does not mean its material must be reduced to pure, patronizing idiocracy.

The pathetic excuse for a story is as follows: two princesses, Elsa and Anna, are playing within the vast interiors of their castle one day when one of them (Elsa) inexplicably blasts ice from the palm of her hand (that's right, she has super powers for some reason) and knocks out her sister, Anna. To cure the child, the king and queen take the unconscious daughter to a family of trolls who heal her by, GET THIS, erasing the memory of her sister's ice power. Yeah.

That's.

How.

They.

"Cure".

Her.

She's knocked out, so you erase her--you know what, I'm not even going to bother. I'm not the person who was payed hundreds of thousands of dollars to write this, what the f*ck do I know?

From here, the stupidity continues as the ice-fueled Elsa-fearful over what others might think--locks herself away for years while her now conscious sister Anna sings outside her room--urging her to come out and play. Yeah. FOR. YEARS. As adults, Elsa finally embarks beyond the stone walls of her room to participate in a summer solstice involving the lowering of her kingdom's bridge. After a poor excuse for an inciting incident occurs, Elsa's cryokinetic powers are placed on full display and the citizens ostracize her and party guests from another kingdom attack and chase her out of the city's limits (that's right, people who have NO RULE in her kingdom demand she be captured and imprisoned). Ultimately, Else loses control (for a brief moment) causing the entire land to be consumed by an infinite icy winter. Now, her sister Anna and the resident "bad boy" set off to find her and restore summer.

While this could make for a potentially "meh" endeavor (it was INSPIRED by Hans Christian Andersen's "Ice Queen"), FROZEN's narrative is so poorly realized and so stapled together by cliché after cliché that it comes off as abrasively condescending. The film treats its audience as idiots (which many of them are) and plays to that strength. Coincidental events transpire as convenient writing rears its head at least once every scene. Director Chris Buck and writer Jennifer Lee don't want you to think about their tale, they don't want you to pay attention to anything that occurs beyond the shiny visuals, obnoxious characters and eye-rolling songs. These weren't devised as elements to help strengthen the story; they were created as distractions. Distractions to cloak the fact that those involved have shamelessly patch-worked a project together for nary a care for content. I believe that the only actual passion any of these filmmakers had for this endeavor lay within the box's they checked on a sheet of paper entitled, "The Bare-Minimum For Stupid Audiences So That We Could Acquire Boatloads of Cash".

Below is an excerpt from a doc*ment I discovered with the filmmakers' answers poorly written next to the questions.

1. Q: Does your film contain "catchy" new-age pop songs that bleed the ears of anyone over that of a teenager? A: YES

2. Q: Does your film contain a sassy female(s)? A: YES

3. Q: Does your film contain a heroic, yet awkward everyman? A: YES

4. Q: Does your film contain a side-character devised as a cute, babbling foil? A: YES

5. Q: Does your film contain plot holes? A: YES, there actually wasn't a script, just a giant hole with words written on it.

6. Q: Follow-Up Question: If so, how many? A: Um, lost count after page two.

7. Q: Does your film have CGI visuals? A: YES

8. Q: If so, does it look like every other CGI family film? A: There are other CG films?

9. Q: Trick Question: Is love the key to everything? A: YES

10. Q: Does your film contain drop-of-the-hat morals which are conveniently placed so as to tell your audience that it "teaches kids good things"? A: YES

11. Q: Does your film teach kids good things? A: NO

12. Q: Did anyone proof-read your script. A: What's a proof-read?

13. If you answered "YES" to questions 1-9 and "NO" to 11& 12, congratulations, your film sells--as the studios professionally say--an "ass load".

As the film bumbles along to its safe, perfect ending, a final eye rolling-moment of "love is the key" occurs (why didn't this spontaneous epiphany happen earlier?) which confirmed my hypothesis about the filmmakers' intent with this picture. It's a please-everyone-shame-no-one, checklist of popular maxims. FROZEN isn't a film designed to engage a child's mind or encourage ingenuity; it's a mechanical, soulless exercise in indulging the lowest common denominator for the sake of monetary gain.

I could say that FROZEN has good graphics, some decent voice-acting and about five seconds of humor that works. But you already knew that. ALL of the CG films released in the last decade all retain the same basic aspects. However, times have changed and viewers aren't surprised by any of those things anymore--it's all material they expect as a minimum requirement. Yet, studios continue to skate by on such indolent criteria because it sells. Now, execution matters just as much as content. Don Bluth understood this. Jim Henson understood this. Present-day family films do not. The bare-minimum; that's the place to be, man.

Crotchety Bryan has kicked into overdrive, but I preach so that others like me might listen. People who say that there's nothing wrong with these films, bear in mind, the reason we have so many horribly written copycats of the slapdash TWILIGHT is because young "writers" were influenced by such terrible works and wanted a quick-buck as well. Now, the market--be it both film and book--is flooded with appallingly developed stories of vampires, werewolves, angels and demons--all written with next to no thought beyond "this will sell". You encourage stupidity, stupidity will flourish. For all of the families and children watching something like FROZEN, they'll be encouraged to also write and develop terrible content with no thought. There's a severe lack of actual talent in the new realm of writing, and part of me believes its thanks in part to the ideal set out by films like FROZEN.

FROZEN isn't a good film, it's embarrassing. It's an embarrassing reminder that THIS is what kids get today; THIS is what parents take their children to. It's a shallow affair created for burgeoning bank accounts. It's a film that--like practically all CG films of the last decade--will be instantly forgotten. It wasn't made to be remembered; it wasn't made to stick with the viewer; it wasn't made to be anything more than a chill of the moment payday. Cold indeed.

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Comments (19)

  1. undeadslayer4

    @bryanyentz i agree with u on the story and the singing but other than that frozen is still a great movie

    3 months agoby @undeadslayer4Flag

  2. Forrestgump1

    Haha I'm going to agree with @julianroman if you need a hug or 'true love's first kiss". I truly enjoyed this film also --because of all the reason you hated it haha -- I knew that it was going to be a safe derived and cliche plot -- at this point it's just what Disney does - and I just accept it -- and don't tell me you did not laugh a little bit at Olaf, I'm twenty years old and was cracking up. -- Best Regards - and good review as always sir

    -Gump1 @bryanyentz

    4 months agoby @forrestgump1Flag

  3. Mr.K

    @bryanyentz You're gonna see the Oldboy remake tomorrow? Hmm... It ain't worth the risk but what the hell? I wish you luck and can't wait for the review.

    As for FROZEN, I just found some information on it's development stages and why this movie is a disaster with Disney trying to greenlight the film for almost a decade (the production started back in the 1940's but the project was shut down cause they didn't wanted to take a risk on making the movie and hurt the company any further. Hell, it received development hell 3 times and it was almost had a greenlight in the 1990's with Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise (Beauty and the Beast and Hunchback Of Notre Dame) to direct the movie with Linda Woolverton to write the screenplay (her script had a mix of light and dark elements to the Han's story), Don Hahn producing and Alan Menken composing the music with the songwriter of Pocahontas to write songs. Sadly, it got canned AGAIN because Michael Eisner was disappointed at the critical failure of Notre Dame and the film was never made. Years later when Tangled was released, Disney resurrected the project again but instead, the executives at Disney rushed the project to sell it as another "Tangled" clone (let's be honest here: FROZEN is Tangled but with the story of The Snow Queen instead). I don't blame Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee cause to be fair, they were the ones being forced to manufactured this film by Disney cause like you said, it's a movie that is not meant to be remembered, it was meant to make money. Which is a shame cause the project had some potential to be a success and no doubt this crap will receive an Oscar nomination over better animated movies.

    Speaking of Oscars, why won't they nominate Wolf Children? I'm sorry but that is a fantastic animated film that deserves a spot on the Oscars.

    5 months agoby @mr-kFlag

  4. Bryan Yentz

    @julianroman,

    Hahaha, I always need a hug. I simply found this movie--like I stated in the review--to be that of a checklist; everything down to its message. I found that those involved knew exactly what to do and did it in the most half-assed of ways because they knew it would sell regardless of their execution. I understand the message, but because the whole production was so forced to me, it all felt hollow and only there because they needed some sort of cheap message to convey and that one fit the bill.

    I'm gonna see Oldboy tomorrow night, so I'll be posting a review for that one tomorrow--hopefully.

    And Happy Thanksgiving to you too, man!

    5 months agoby @bryanyentzFlag

  5. Bryan Yentz

    @Zak-Lee-Ferguson,

    Yeah, and see, that one wasn't half bad--mainly because the guy that directed it, got his start with The Simpsons, so unlike most filmmakers with Disney, he knew how to instill humor and heart.

    5 months agoby @bryanyentzFlag

  6. Julian Roman

    Dude, I think you may need a hug lol. I can't believe you hated this movie so much. I actually liked it and its message, much to my surprise. I'll post my review in a bit, happy thanksgiving and hope all is well.

    5 months agoby @julianromanFlag

  7. Zak Lee Ferguson

    @bryanyentz Wreck it Ralph got their expectations and egos a bit wayward i think,

    5 months agoby @Zak-Lee-FergusonFlag

  8. Mr.K

    @bryanyentz Even Zootopia, I suppose.

    5 months agoby @mr-kFlag

  9. Bryan Yentz

    @Zak-Lee-Ferguson,

    Definitely. Until they do something hand-drawn again, most--if not all--of their animated films will warrant the same response from me.

    5 months agoby @bryanyentzFlag

  10. Bryan Yentz

    @skywise,

    Hahaha, clever...

    5 months agoby @bryanyentzFlag

  11. skywise

    @bryanyentz Awesome review man. Epic..really.

    5 months agoby @skywiseFlag

  12. Zak Lee Ferguson

    This was never truly on my Radar, and seems my hunch was right and for good reason, cold watch indeed. And i can tell its given you the chills and i think you should give Disney Animation the "cold" shoulder for a little while ;)

    5 months agoby @Zak-Lee-FergusonFlag

  13. Mr.K

    @bryanyentz "Actually, an executive from Universal came to my college a couple of years ago and point blank told the entire assembly that "None of you are going to make it in the industry..." Later followed by "If it's between your great idea and a big-budget movie like FAST AND FURIOUS 20, we're going to go with FAST AND FURIOUS 20 because it brings in a lot of money."

    Well sh*t, ain't that the truth. Money over originality is always the way to win more. To be honest, I f*cking HATE the Fast and Furious franchise cause It not that appeling to begin with. It's just boring and dull with NOTHING to offer in terms of action or character (every single character is obnoxious and I want them ALL to die). I rather watch Redline than F&F and no, not the live action one bit but the anime film made by MADHOUSE.

    Hell, I wish animation companies would make more ambitious animated films rather than having the same ol' hip sh*t. Can you imagine Pixar and Studio Ghibli collaborating on making a film that combines CG with the amazing hand-drawn art of Ghibli while Miyazaki writes a story that's full of engaging fantasy elements? That could an animation buff fans wet dream or how about Dreamworks making a CG Final Fantasy film? Oh! How I wish the industry had more balls again! But then again, it would get bashed by the mainstream *sshole critics by whining on "how too ambitious and dull it is" kinda like they did with Cloud Atlas.

    5 months agoby @mr-kFlag

  14. Bryan Yentz

    @mr-k,

    Yeah, I'm willing to bet that one would be better. At the very least it's trying something a tad different, though, I don't even want to see that one either.

    And yeah, i liked Wreck-It Ralph as well; that definitely was one of the better ones out there. And what you said about some filmmakers actually trying is true, but the ones that do are so few and far between the sh*t-storm of movies like FROZEN that I feel they're nonexistent. For me, the difference between these films and the pictures of yore is that I don't believe anything in the last decade would ever rank as a "classic" as those from the 90's.

    And really, studio's are just afraid of pushing any boundaries with storytelling because they don't want to limit their audiences. They already make a sh*t-ton of money off of what they put out, so they aren't so keen on changing the rules of engagement when it's already working so well in their favor.

    Actually, an executive from Universal came to my college a couple of years ago and point blank told the entire assembly that "None of you are going to make it in the industry..." Later followed by "If it's between your great idea and a big-budget movie like FAST AND FURIOUS 20, we're going to go with FAST AND FURIOUS 20 because it brings in a lot of money."

    5 months agoby @bryanyentzFlag

  15. Mr.K

    @bryanyentz I'm disappointed really cause for me, I actually liked Tangled a lot and Wreck-It Ralph! was just a fine film on how to do a video game film the right way. Also, while I do agree that there is a lot of modern family films that rely on celebrities, pop music and pandering corporate advertisements, at least there are other filmmakers that UNDERSTAND the creativity and passion into making a good animated movie for the modern age (Cloudy 2, The Croods, How To Train Your Dragon, Tangled, Kung Fu Panda 1 & 2, The Incredibles and so forth). At least these movies don't pander the audiences with stupid sh*t getting shoved in the heads. Hell, look at Cloudy 2, a funny sequel that was just creative as the first one but no one likes it because of puns.

    I'm sorry but... What? So, you people find puns on the Internet funny but NOT FUNNY on an animated movie? What kind of retarded world am I living in? Also, what the hell happen to the animation industry? Why can't Hollywood allow filmmakers to make dark animated movies anymore? Oh yeah, cause stupid hip modern sh*t will sell more.

    On the plus side though, Mr. Peabody & Sherman looks good for next year, so fingers crossed.

    5 months agoby @mr-kFlag

  16. Mr.K

    @bryanyentz Wow... That awful huh? Jesus, it makes Free Birds look Oscar worthy. Awesome review.

    5 months agoby @mr-kFlag

  17. Bryan Yentz

    @moviegeek,

    Haha, thanks, man! And yeah, I've been noticing a fair amount of positive reviews. I guess if you shut your mind off and not think about anything that occurs it can be alright. I found it pandering and nearly every moment had me questioning, "Wait, if that just happened, then why didn't this occur before it?"

    5 months agoby @bryanyentzFlag

  18. moviegeek

    I've heard that this film is superb, so I'm shocked that you hated it so much! Guess I'll wait and see when it comes out. Granted the trailers are awful, but so were the trailer for Tangled and that one turned out great. Love your brave reviews, man.

    5 months agoby @moviegeekFlag