Spike Lee’s “Oldboy” is probably the most unnecessary remake to come out in years. The original film is a polarizing piece that clearly demonstrated the differences between American and foreign filmmaking, but also how to deconstruct a character. The new remake strips all of this from the film, specifically the subtlety of the underlying message, in order to turn the film into a mindless American action film that is not very good.
So let’s talk about a movie that actually matters.
“Frozen” is the 53rd animated feature to come from Disney, and it is easily one of the best. Based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale “The Snow Queen,” the film tells the story of two sisters. Elsa (Idina Menzel) has the power to magically create ice, but after a near tragic accident with her younger sister Anna (Kristen Bell) when they were children, she is left boarded up and her powers are restrained.
Flash-forward to when they are young adults and Elsa is about to be crowned as the kingdom’s queen. After a fight breaks out between the sisters, Elsa’s magic secret comes rushing out, leaving the kingdom locked in an eternal winter. Realizing this was her own fault, Anna takes it upon herself to journey out into the mountains to her sister’s evil ice mountain lair (which I assume that most teenage girls with ice powers would build) with help from Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), an ice-delivery man, and his trusty reindeer Sven.
Like most Disney films the story is fairly predictable. However, this does not hurt the piece, as the relationship between the characters is what drives the film. Anna and Elsa’s sisterly banter is charming and heartwarming. The film is also smart enough to avoid the talking animal cliché by having Kristoff voice Sven’s thoughts, which really brings some lightheartedness to their relationship.
The breakout star of the film is Olaf (Josh Gad) the talking snowman (A snowman is not an animal. It is different). His line delivery is perfectly timed and he delivers a hilarious song about a snowman that longs for the warming rays of summer, unaware of what that would actually do to him.
Disney films are famous for their catchy songs, but that has been severely lacking from their recent films. “Frozen” has the best Disney songs since “Mulan,” with the highlights “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Let it Go.” Most of the voice actors manage to make the jump between singing and talking, except for Groff. Still, expect Menzel to be performing at the Oscars and probably winning this upcoming season.
All of this is on top of beautiful animation throughout the film. While the characters look pretty average, the setting is just beautiful. It is clear just how much effort actually went into making the film look like a winter wonderland. Snow and sand are some of the more difficult things to animate authentically, so it really is amazing how magical the film looks.
If the film has a problem, it comes from the lack of a villain. At first, the film makes it seem like the villain is a sneaky businessman trying to steal the kingdom’s riches, but then the film shifts to make Elsa the villain. Finally, a last minute twist reveals the true bad guy of the film, which really does not add anything to the movie in the end. Almost all Disney films have a memorable villain, but here it is a clear omission that leaves you wanting more.
Yes, “Frozen” is a G-rated movie that is aimed towards kids, but like all great Disney films there is something in the film for everyone. A top-notch homage to the classic Disney films of the 90s (specifically “Beauty and the Beast”), “Frozen” manages to be the best Disney film in years. It is not just a good animated film; it is a great film in general.
Just do not see “Oldboy,” please.