Wed, Dec. 18th, 2013

Frozen

Wed, Dec. 18th, 2013 12:06 pm
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I was going to see this regardless, given Idina Menzel + Disney musical, but I wasn't too excited at first, given that the only promotion I had seen was a large display of the goofy snowman in a theater.

Thankfully, it seems to be getting really good word-of-mouth, since it is (afaik) the only Disney animated movie with two female leads (sisters!!). Also, I thought the music was better than Tangled, even though I found Tangled very charming.

Anyway, will definitely be on the look out for more stuff from Jennifer Lee, the co-director and screenplay author, since I liked the gender stuff in Wreck-It Ralph (which she wrote part of). Also, first female director of a Disney movie! (And to that, wow Disney, that took you long enough.)

On another random note, Idina Menzel has now done duets with women in three major productions.

Frozen is a pretty typical Disney princess movie in many ways; it doesn't so much try to break the mold as gently stretch it. I actually liked that better than Enchanted's effort, which was an effort to break the mold but failed and had the movie becoming the very thing it was satirizing. You've got the cute sidekicks (one animated snowman, who I ended up liking instead of being annoyed by, and one reindeer), the requisite love story shoved into a hundred minutes, power ballads, and a spunky heroine who's clumsy but still conventionally attractive.

But then you have some of the other stuff.

Not hugely spoilery but just in case )

Very spoilery )

Wiki noted that the production team did consult with Sami musicians for the opening song, which would be a step in the right direction, but given Disney's overall track record with appropriation, I'm not too confident about how well they incorporated elements of Sami culture or Sami people, period. I saw a few people online arguing that Kristoff is Sami, but overall I am way too unknowledgeable to judge either way.

Other things:

  • I am totally amused that instead of an actual talking animal, it's Kristoff voicing Sven the reindeer and essentially having a conversation with himself.

  • "Fixer Upper" is such a cute song! Except for what it is advocating! Sigh. It does try to make things better near then end by talking about how you can't really change a person and that love being the answer isn't limited to romance, but it's kind of half-assed. I do like that they are basically talking about Elsa in the last part. Also, I saw a comment somewhere saying that yeah, the song content is pretty awful, but it is being sung by trolls, so I will pretend it is deliberately trolling the viewer.

  • "In Summer" is hilarious.

  • Love the entire palace-building sequence in "Let It Go" and am amused by the similarities between "Let It Go" and "Defying Gravity."

  • I thought the slit up the skirt and Elsa's increased sashaying post wardrobe change was very OOC.

  • "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" has been making me tear up every. single. time. And I have been listening to it a lot!

  • Wow, Kristen Bell has a voice! Now I want her to do more musicals!

  • Also, I've seen her say in interviews how she wanted to make Anna very anti-Disney princess, with the awkwardness and the talking too much and the bedhead. Alas, it did not work for me... I like Anna fine, but she read very much as "spunky heroine." Psst, Disney. These attempts to do anti-Disney princesses would work a lot better with a larger variety of body types and notions of attractiveness. I'm just saying!

  • I am super sad this came out too late for Yuletide, because I want all the Elsa and Anna fic ever.

  • Have also seen people talking about how for once, the parents aren't villainous and act out of love and trying to do the best thing, but they are still terrible parents, which is a nice change. Especially since they are the biological parents, given the general poor history of fairy tales and Disney movies with families of choice.


In conclusion: the movie is a good entry into the Disney ouvre, with some groundbreaking elements. That said, I'm not sure it's something I'd rec if you don't already have some latent fondness for Disney.
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Daily happiness

Wed, Dec. 18th, 2013 07:22 pm
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Doh, just realized I had a draft written and didn't post it yesterday. Anyway, have today's and yesterday's!

12/18

1. Made myself Korean noodles from a bag for dinner—the ones that are basically a little step above instant noodles and need to be refrigerated. Then I added an egg as usual, but I also dumped in the leftover fish from a week or two ago, including all the soy sauce and ginger and scallions, since they had congealed in the fridge. And since the noodle soup was an anchovy base, it worked really well!

2. Yay, Disney actually has an official version of "Let It Go" on YouTube! I have only watched it about five times so far... I love watching Elsa's body language and facial expressions change as she goes through the song.

3. Only two more days until vacation! And I am starting to panic about Yuletide now, as I have nothing written. Tomorrow: write one sentence! Maybe I will try to review some source tonight. Okay, technically this probably doesn't belong on my happy list...

12/19

1. Coworker asked if we wanted to put off the office gift exchange thing until after New Year, whew!! I didn't know what to get and didn't want to take time off potential Yuletide writing to have to shop for a gift tonight. (Of course, I ended up not doing Yuletide writing anyway....)

2. Found a new mainstream movie reviewer I like! It's been a while since I read non-blog movie reviews, because I so often think they miss the point, but I used to binge on Ebert's online archives through high school and college. Anyway, Scott Mendelson wrote the review I agreed with most re: Frozen, so I went back to read other stuff and was happy to find that he talks about race and gender and representation in the movies. Oddly enough, he is currently the movie critic for... Forbes. I guess he analyzes box office numbers a lot? Don't agree with everything, obviously, but it's good to have a backup to turn to when I don't hear much word of mouth via DW (which is how I get most of my movie criticism!). (ETA: man, I wish DC would read this piece on how to do Justice League)

3. Yay, I think the cats are nibbling on the cat grass we got them. I'm pretty sure it's just wheat grass, but of course the pet store labeled it as special cat grass.

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