Tag Archives: frozen

‘Zootopia’ Review

4 Mar

Before seeing Zootopia: Disney, I can relate to bookish princesses, pixelated anti-heroes and even a tiny blue alien experiment. But how on earth can you make me sympathize with a rabbit in a weird cop outfit?

After seeing Zootopia: *wiping away tears* Disney, you did the thing.

The story begins with Judy Hopps (Once Upon a Time‘s Ginnifer Goodwin), a young bunny aspiring to go where nobunny has gone before — the police academy. Much to the chagrin of her parents, Judy becomes the first bunny officer thanks to the Mayor’s mammal initiative (think Affirmative Action). Judy gets assigned to the heart of the area, the thriving metropolis of Zootopia. However, upon arrival, Judy realizes she’s the only one fighting for her dreams.

Judy gets a chance to move from meter maid to true cop when a missing mammal case comes her way. She teams up with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a con artist who lives up to the title ‘sly fox.’

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but with Jennifer Lee involved in the writing, there has to be a twist ending. This one isn’t as shocking as Hans’s betrayal of Anna, but it’s handled better by the protagonists than a simple *gasp! What are we to do?*

The humor surprised me most during the film. Sure, I’d seen the clip of Flash the Sloth in the DMV, the all-too-real commentary of how painfully slow government agencies can be. Maybe that’s where the humor gets its punch: as you laugh, you realize you’ve experienced the exact scenarios before and never in the best of situations. Early on, Judy’s parents attempt to simultaneously discourage and encourage their daughter to follow her dreams. “Settle! Settling isn’t so bad! Look at us, we settled!” Judy’s dad says. “Yeah, I settled hard,” responds her mother. One of the best moments is an incident with Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) where he tells Judy “This isn’t an animated fantasy where you sing a musical number and watch your problem dissolve into thin air. So, let. it. go.” My theater full of Cast Members guffawed at that point.

As with most Disney films, the true beauty lies in the message. “Zootopia” goes beyond a cute adaptation of “utopia” but ultimately looks to define “utopia” for an advanced society. Despite having evolved from their primitive states, the animals of Zootopia still expressed and experienced prejudices both outright and subtle.

In their attempts at crafting a modern utopia, Zootopia‘s writers offer more than a ‘lack of conflict’ definition. Their utopia becomes a moment where we recognize our own limitations, and in those limitations, we find unity. Once we realize the flaws of not only ourselves but how we categorize ourselves (predator/prey), the better we understand how to aid others. The representations of prejudice throughout the movie could be mix-and-matched with any contemporary issue.

How dare there be rabbits in the police academy? Females on the front lines of combat?

Don’t trust a fox (insert minority of choice here); they’re ruining Zootopia this country.

The movie leaves viewers with more than the high-flying adrenaline of Star Wars or the fuzzy warmth of Frozen (something Zootopia‘s writers poked fun at consistently). It gives a sense of urgency, a need to recognize our faults, and unite rather than continually degrade each other.

If you want your kid to be a better global citizen human being, take them to see Zootopia.

I give the film five pawcicles out of five. Zootopia hits theaters today, March 4.

 

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‘FROZEN 2’ IS HAPPENING

12 Mar

(This is not a drill, people. I repeat, THIS IS NOT A DRILL.)

Disney revealed plans for a Frozen sequel at the Walt Disney Company’s annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco.

Jennifer Lee will again helm the project with Chris Buck as directors, hoping the sequel can garner as well as its $1.3 billion earning predecessor. The announcement comes just days after Lee and Buck skirted the question of a sequel. In the interview with BuzzFeed, Lee seemed apprehensive, particularly after so quickly finishing up an unexpected short film.

No details have been released about plot or casting changes. John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Walt Disney Animation Studios and PIXAR, announced the sequel with Josh Gad, who voices Olaf, and Disney CEO Bob Iger in tow.

While the sequel doesn’t come as much of a surprise given the merchandising, Frozen-themed events at Disney parks, and the expedited development of Frozen‘s musical, the timing of the announcement is what’s catching people off-guard.

The Frozen Fever short film will debut before the live-action Cinderella tomorrow, so why make an announcement the day before another piece to the puzzle is available to fans?

Courtesy of Disney

Anna and Elsa have a chat in some new dresses.

The Frozen news has effectively eclipsed another major announcement from the Company: the next Star War’s film is scheduled for May 26, 2017, and Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars standalone starring Theory of Everything‘s Felicity Jones will be released Dec. 16, 2016. No one could hear that announcement over the cries of parents lamenting another set of catchy tunes and shelling out more money for Elsa and Anna costumes.

Brace yourselves, America. Disney hasn’t let it go.

First glimpse of “Frozen Fever”

26 Feb

Brace yourselves: Frozen pandemonium is about to resurge.

Yesterday, Disney debuted a 30 second teaser of Frozen Fever, a short film to play before the March 13 release of Disney’s live-action Cinderella.

The short chronicles Elsa’s attempt at making Anna’s birthday special, despite suffering a massive cold. Favorite characters like Sven, Olaf and Kristoff will join in the festivities, and the Anderson-Lopez team is including a brand new song (the undercurrents of which can be heard throughout the teaser).

The Company also released a new line of clothes, dolls and accessories to accompany the short film. For all interested parents parties, nothing has sold out *yet*, but as with all Frozen merchandise, don’t expect these to stay in-stock long.

Frozen Fever will premiere March 13 along with Cinderella.

“Frozen Fever” heats up with stills

2 Feb Courtesy of Disney

Even as parts of the nation battle against snow rivaling Elsa’s powers, more Frozen teasers have come to warm up fans.

And by the looks of new images released today, Elsa’s done a bit more warming up too!

The short film, Frozen Fever, will debut in theaters before Disney’s live-action Cinderella due out March 13.

Fever, directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, follows Elsa as she attempts to throw sister Anna the perfect birthday party.

However, plans get skewed when Elsa gets a cold before the party. The cold obviously bothered her anyway.

The short will feature new music from husband-and-wife dream team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Parents of the world: brace yourselves for another catchy tune your 5-year-old will be singing around the house.

In an interview with USA Today, Josh Gad (who gave life to Olaf) said “If history is any indicator, kids will go nuts.”

Disney Christmas Parade Review – A “Frozen” disaster?

25 Dec

Let me preface this by saying I really REALLY love Frozen (as the Elsa costume hanging in my closet might indicate).

Naturally, when I heard Disney’s yearly Christmas parade would be Frozen-themed, I squeed with delight while bracing for a barrage of whines from nay-sayers and purists who lament the snowball of millions of dollars padding Disney’s pockets. And so, as I sat in front of the TV, I was so excited to see a twist to the classic Disney parade.

That’s not what I got. At all.

After two hours of garbled Ariana Grande juxtaposed with touching reunion blips, the “parade” left me thinking, “What happened?”

Sure, it’s great to see Disney showing off their newer properties. Lucy Hale’s “country-fied” performance fit detail shots of Radiator Springs nicely. Aulani looks STUNNING; not even Disney Channel starlet Laura Marano could ruin the views. (A huge missed opportunity, however, was Samantha Brown’s segments of new and exciting things from the Company. Adventures by Disney could have been showcased extensively in a two-minute segment, but it was reduced to a 30-second commercial.)

However, sparkly close-up shots couldn’t fill the gaping hole in my heart from the lack of Main Street footage. What parade? The “celebration” was an amalgam of performances loosely pieced together with awkward segues (looking at you, Tim Tebow), a handful of floats, and *maybe* a glimpse of a character whose name isn’t Anna, Elsa, or Olaf. Plus, anyone who’s ever been to Magic Kingdom will notice Festival of Fantasy and MISICI floats were poorly converted to Christmas-themed pieces. Clearly, a majority of the budget when to Anna and Elsa’s floats and those 1997-era special effects at the end.

Seriously, guys, Santa is the big reveal at the end.

Why change an excellent structure for one film? It makes no sense to piece together these featurettes with Frozen when it cannot be duplicated another year. Producers could’ve just as easily added Anna and Elsa’s float into the usual parade route, kept the performances (maybe cut Trisha Yearwood’s songs to two instead of three?), and done the traditional commentary from the Main Street hub.

Dancers in Anaheim’s Disneyland Christmas parade. Can we have a bit more of this please?

We get it. Frozen was the biggest box office hit for an animated film ever. It won an Oscar it rightfully deserved. Every parent of a 5-year-old kid has a video of them belting “Let it Go.” Again, WE GET IT.

But what happens next year when Frozen fever melts away and you’re left with an awkward production structure? What movie is going to fill that gap? If this is a new precedent for future Disney Christmas celebrations, it’s a dangerous format to follow.

Hopefully, this was a one-time thing. (Please be a one-time thing.)

Frozen’s “revolutionary” plot points in other Disney films

5 May

Last month, Frozen reached yet another milestone, becoming the SIXTH highest grossing film OF ALL TIME. Congrats to the splendid team of cast and crew who revolutionized the Disney canon!

Because the public has never seen a Disney film about sisterly love trumping exterior relationships before!

And Kristoff revolutionized the face of great Disney men who aren’t traditionally prince-like.

Don’t forget Olaf clearly being the most adorable side-kick ever. They let Josh Gad improv a lot of his lines! How brilliant!

(Robin Williams improvised nearly 14 hours worth of material for the Genie. Nbd.)

Hans’s betrayal was the most shocking thing audiences ever witnessed in a Disney film! It’s so dark and convoluted.

Elsa is the first princess (technically, queen) who really doesn’t need a man at all. She fights the patriarchy!

It’s the only film from the Mouse that truly puts emphasis on family.

Anna is so awkward and modern. She’s the most realistic of the princesses to date.

 

Note: I really love Frozen (as witness by some earlier posts and my tracking of the movie’s production for nearly three years), but don’t discredit the rest of the canon just because Frozen was really (really, really) good. There are a ton of gems people bypass in terms of revolutionizing the types of characters Disney produced (Meet the Robinsons is definitely up there, as is Lilo and Stitch). I fear fans will becomes so entranced by this latest film that nearly 80 years of full-length animated features will fall by the wayside. Remember, there’s nothing new under the sun.

 

Why 2013 Might Not Be Disney’s Year at the Oscars

2 Feb

With awards season in full swing, I become a bit of a gambler. Any Disney-related nominee becomes my horse in the derby, and I become a protective and overly-invested owner. This year, my horse doesn’t look too hot and my chances of winning big money are slim.

Putting it bluntly, Disney got snubbed and the company’s films have serious competition in each category.

Let’s start with the obvious: Best Animated Film.

It is rare Disney movies ever lose in this category. “Best Animated Film” wasn’t created as a title until 2001, and by that point, a number of Disney and Pixar films were gaining critical acclaim rivaling Best Picture winners.  The category was practically created with Disney and fledgling Pixar Studios in mind.

This year, the Academy chose Frozen as the Mouse’s best submission. Normally, I’d say with full confidence Frozen would slaughter its competition. The Croods and Despicable Me 2 pale in comparison to Disney’s most innovative movie in years. But just when you think it’ll be a clean sweep… BOOM, MIYAZAKI FILM.

Studio Ghibli touts Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises as the directing genius’s final film. This equates to a doubled hurdle for Frozen: 1) the Academy frequently favors nominees retiring or who recently died and 2) Studio Ghibli is one of the few film companies who consistently beats Disney films in the animation category.

I have yet to see The Wind Rises, but if it equals the brilliance of Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle, Frozen might not walk away with the statue.

Next Category: Best Original Song – “Let It Go”

Words fail me in describing my rage when U2’s “Ordinary Love” beat Frozen’s “Let It Go” at the Golden Globes. “Love” sounds like every other song U2 released (and coincidentally, most U2 songs sound the same…). Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez crafted an amazingly heart-felt ballad that showcased Idina Menzel’s powerhouse voice and Wonder Woman range.

Menzel said she’d perform at the Oscars if asked, so fingers crossed she shows up and humbles the holier-than-thou Bono. Better yet, let’s just hope the Academy favors grandeur and flawless orchestration over sentiment and synthetic pop music.

If “Let It Go” doesn’t walk away with the golden statue, I hope ANYONE ELSE in the category wins BUT U2.

The “Really? THAT got nominated?” Category: The Lone Ranger

Tis a truth universally acknowledged that Disney’s summer “blockbuster” was one of the biggest flops since John Carter. Razzie nominations shall ensue.

Which begs the question: how did it snag not one but TWO nominations?

Granted, the nominations are for Costuming and Visual Effects, but still… I didn’t think the stuffed raven was that impressive…

The Best Chance: Saving Mr. Banks and Best Score

Thomas Newman is no stranger to the Oscar ballot. His works have won many a statue, and his daintily orchestrated score for Saving Mr. Banks accompanied the film so well that I have little doubt he’ll lose the category. (But by saying that I just know I’ve jinxed his chances… Sorry about that.)

The Shocker: The Saving Mr. Banks snub

Yes, I understand on the whole why the Academy bypassed Saving Mr. Banks for its competition. It’s a bit fluffy when compared to the grit of American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, and Gravity.

However, the Academy ignoring Emma Thompson’s performance as P.L. Travers irks me. The woman did a stunning job with the script she was given. Granted, it’s not one of the company’s best scripts, but if Sandra Bullock can score a nomination and a WIN for The Blind Side, I don’t understand why Thompson was completely side-stepped.

The Oscars airs March 2. Check your local listings.