I remember at orchestra practices when I was little (ok, high school kind of little), the conductor would always call climaxes of pieces “Disney moments”. It’s when things become bright, exciting, intense, and generally awesome.
The term I would use now for the same effect is ‘orgasmic’, but that’s beyond the point.
Frozen is like an endless string of Disney moments, and not just musically speaking, although the music is also absolutely delectable – but also in terms of plot and character development, as well as breathtaking animation.
The basic premise of the movie is simple enough – a princess Elsa is born with the ability to turn anything into ice, and almost killed her little sister Anna with her ability when she was young. As a result, she was forced into a life of misunderstanding, solitude, and general misery, trying to contain, and “conceal” her power.
However, the way Disney developed the story was absolutely gorgeous, and quite uncharacteristic of Disney, in a good way, especially in its portrayal of women.
Disney is known for their orthodoxically stereotypical portrayal of women – that their only job on earth is to look pretty in pretty dresses, find a handsome man, get married, and be in awe of their superior male counterparts, whom their lives are centered about, while generally having no idea what they are doing, or what they want out of their lives. Just look at Snow White, Ariel, Cinderella… the list goes on and on. There are a few exceptions – Belle and Mulan come to mind, but I don’t think they have come anywhere close to the level of Frozen, before Frozen.
From what I read online, Disney wanted to make Elsa the villain, an ice queen with no sympathy for her people, and that’s why a few phrases in “Let It Go” doesn’t really make a lot of sense (“Let the storm rage on”, “To test the limits and break through/No right, no wrong, no rules for me”, etc).
Making Elsa the villain would be more in line with Disney’s style, but that would have made Frozen just another Disney movie. I’m so happy that Disney decided to experiment and step out of their comfort zone to keep up with the times. It obviously worked out for them. We watched it almost 4 months after it was out (most movies would be out of theatres by now), and the theatre was still packed.
The music is also gorgeous, but that’s expected for a Disney musical. The entire movie is done with operatic singing, and the songs are beautiful. In particular, Idina Menzel’s singing, with her signature deep and resonant mezzo voice, is amazingness. Her voice is sometimes slightly coarse in the lower register, which some people don’t like, but I don’t think there’s much/any of that in Elsa’s parts. Anna/Kristen Bell’s singing is quite good, too, but I prefer Idina’s deeper and more powerful voice.
Let It Go, For the First Time in Forever, Do You Want to Build a Snowman. Orgasmic!
They are making the movie into a musical, and that’s definitely on my to-watch list.
It’s also interesting that Idina Menzel is also the original cast for Elphaba in the musical Wicked, which is a very similar role to Elsa (a misunderstood and lonely girl). Her most prominent song in Wicked, Defying Gravity, also closely parallels Let It Go. Just some cool trivia.
TL;DR: GO SEE IT BEFORE IT GOES OUT OF THEATRE IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY!!!!