Second impressions: 'Frozen'

Anna, Olaf and Kristoff in Frozen
Anna, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven in Frozen

After watching Frozen a second time whilst on holiday recently, I realised that I’ve not done a review of the movie, which is surprising. Or maybe not, given my “meh” impression when I first watched it. But upon rewatching it in a cinema full of kids so bloody excited about the film, and singing along at some parts (guess which), I grudgingly accepted that perhaps the film isn’t as average as I thought.
I mean, it’s heartwarming enough, which I acknowledged the first time around. But I thought Olaf was too cute and therefore too pandering a character — and I hate it when characters are deliberately created to pander to audiences. It’s like the filmmakers don’t have enough faith in their film that they have to resort to twee characters to give audiences more reasons to like the film. When he petted his carrot nose and spoke in that baby voice, I was rolling my eyes. I rolled my eyes again the second time around, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop whenever I get to this scene in all future, if any, screenings of the film.
I also thought that the entire movie was just a feature-length music video for ‘Let It Go’. (A part of me still thinks this way.) But on my second time, I realised that the theme for ‘Let It Go’ actually only appears in that part when Elsa sings it (though hinted at earlier), and the refrain of ‘For the First Time in Forever’ is the one running through the movie instead. Naturally, that became my earworm immediately afterwards.
Elsa in her "Let it Go" moment
Elsa in her “Let It Go” moment

The sisters’ conflict was also kind of needless in my opinion, and therefore mostly annoying. If only they would just communicate properly! Even after Anna found her in the ice palace, they still weren’t talking about the right things. Also, the pebble trolls were silly additions that the movie would have been better served without. And the concept of “true love” not being limited to romantic love wasn’t surprising, since they already introduced it in Once Upon a Time. But Hans’ “Oh Anna. If only there was someone who loved you” was a great new twist.
‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman’ was the other of the two songs that I liked in my first viewing — I teared when they lost their parents and Anna tried to reach out to her sister but was pushed away every time. ‘Love is an Open Door’ is a funky song that I didn’t appreciate enough the first time, but started singing spontaneously after my second viewing.
In conclusion, Frozen isn’t as “meh” as I originally thought, though it’s not even close to my favourite Disney movies. I suspect that the overhype made me much less enthusiastic than I would have been if the film wasn’t treated like the pop culture equivalent of the second coming of Jesus. But frankly, I also think my opinion only improved because I liked more of the songs this time.
Elsa in Frozen
Elsa in Frozen

On a side note: when I was in Disneyland Paris in early August, there were already tons of Frozen merchandise being sold, and way more little girls dressed up as Elsa than any of the other Disney princesses. (Anna wasn’t as popular, probably cause her costume looked kind of warm for summer; but let’s face it: Elsa had the more glamorous gown.) So it came as no surprise to hear that Walt Disney World is going to add a Frozen ride. For a conglomerate that is all about exploiting its properties, I’m just surprised the news didn’t come sooner.