Thursday, January 30, 2014

Frozen



I've finally watched it! 
With people constantly singing Let it go and Do you want to build a snowman wherever I went, I wondered "how good could this movie possibly be?"
It might be quite unfair, but because of the hype, I expected a lot from the movie. Nevertheless "Frozen" did not disappoint. 

The director does a great job developing the main theme: The Introvert vs. The Extrovert, Elsa vs. Anna. I haven't watched all Disney movies, but among the ones I've watched, this was the first kind that delved into such an important matter in the modern era. There are even TED talks that try to educate the public on how we understand or approach an introvert. Psychology tests such as the MBTI are used more and more for family and educational purposes. 

In such an interwoven society through the help of internet and IT, people are frequently "in your face." Whatever you do seems to be monitored and become a subject for analysis. No matter what age you are, you are exposed to hurt and rejection. Privacy is limited and hence you begin to see more and more people shying away from confrontation. This is an important modern day issue.

"Frozen" approaches this matter by encouraging people to rediscover compassion and love towards the people you daily interact with. Even if you are a natural introvert, this trait should not discourage you from trusting others. Maturity is key when it comes to being able to balance extroversion and introversion, just like at the very end of the movie when Elsa succeeds to bring back summer, but at the same time shares her "inner qualities" by freezing the floor to create an ice-skating environment for those in the castle. 

I think the reason why this movie was such a big hit in Korea is because people are expected to be like Elsa. In general, each person is expected to be able to control his or her feelings and be "well-mannered." It is good if balanced, but when it is abused, just like Elsa bringing freezing winter to Arendelle, people can bring chaos. "Frozen" does a good job in directing people how to avoid this chaos. 

The movie also deserves credit for rich expression of emotions. Music, voice tone, facial expressions, scenery, and body language, have been honed to communicate emotion. I think this was the main factor that kept me engaged in the movie. As interviews with director Jennifer Lee and head of animation Lino DiSalvo suggest, a lot of effort and time has been put to get the right emotions portrayed: "We never had such sophisticated rigs (the skeletal structure of the figures used to model characters on a computer) to show awkwardness and grief on a face. I'm so proud of them."

One thing that was not excellent would be incomplete character development. It seemed that the story revolved around Anna. Although we could see much of Anna's development, I felt that something was lacking in Elsa's involvement in the story. 

Overall rating: 7.4/10
Excellent animation as always from Disney: decent music, decent story-line, decent message. However, there was no real "wow factor." There was also a tendency for abrupt transitions between scenes. 

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