I watched two things this weekend, one with my family, the other one without. The first was Frozen, the second was the Walking Dead finale.
I’ll let you figure out which was which.
I’m going to talk about the Walking Dead first, because there are spoilers for Frozen embedded deep in this post and I’d be more worried if someone read those than any spoilers for the Walking Dead.
The finale was…frustrating. It was great the way Darryl rejoined the group and Rick and Michonne slaughtered the Claimed folks. Rick has always been a character that was an extreme badass of the best kind…the type that doesn’t have to constantly prove it. The best moments in the series were when he shot that guy in the bar (Nebraska man…), killed Shane, and last night when he ripped that guy’s throat out with his teeth.
Because in the Walking Dead, people are made of playdo and that’s possible, but you get my point.
That was all great and then they arrived at Terminus. I don’t know why, but I honestly expected that place to be safe. I guess because I knew there was a colony that came up after the prison, I assumed this would be a fill in for that. They did a great job of building the tension. Things were too nice, too calm, and too civil. As it is, I’m still not entirely sure the Terminus folks are evil. They didn’t kill anyone, just locked them in a boxcar and took their stuff. Bad, sure, but not the worst and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had some BS reason. There was a lot of herding activity with them purposefully pushing them in a certain direction.
Of course, there was also the room filled with candles and no one with a cult vibe is ever good.
The internet has a year to stew on it so I look forward to the theories.
Now to Frozen. There will be SPOILERS!!
It was good, but I find myself debating about how much I enjoyed it. It’s certainly one of the most unique Disney movies, with a twist that just about knocked me on my ass. Up until that point I kept asking myself where the villain was. Sure, the Duke was obviously not a nice guy but he seemed like such a weak antagonist for a studio that has turned out some of the best of my childhood. The worst villain Disney has ever produced was the hunter from Bambi and look how that turned out.
So when Hans ends up being the villain, I was completely surprised. The genius of that moment wasn’t even the turning the Prince into a bastard. We’ve seen that before. The genius was in Disney using their own tropes, the themes and cliches they themselves have utilized over sixty-odd years of filmmaking, to make you assume Hans was the good guy and the Duke was the badguy. He even had an accent. Disney villains always have an accent.
Then there is the fact that it has two leading ladies, who are both fabulous and flawed, who friggin’ own that movie. Anna proves herself pretty capable and highly entertaining, with Kristoff just kinda tagging along for her shenanigans. Elsa is just as strong and possibly the only good Disney character who is, like literally, an unparralelled badass. I read that she was originally supposed to be the villain and I all I can think is that it was good she wasn’t because she would have wiped that dinky little country off the face of the planet.
I liked all the other characters as well. Kristoff is, frankly, obviously insane from his troll captors and I even liked the little snowman.
What I didn’t like was the music.
Apperently, I’m the minority on that. Sorry.
It just didn’t mesh well with me. Elsa’s song is good but the whole rest of it was forgettable to me, lacking a lot of the energy and charm that makes Disney musicals fun. It’s very well voiced, simply unnecessary. I had sorta hoped this was a trend, that we were leaving the music behind as it was growing dated, but I think that was just a bump in the road, especially since I believe Frozen had more music time than just about any other Disney movie.
All that said, it’s a great direction for Disney to be moving in. Like Tangled, it uses its own legacy, all the qualities we’ve all grown up on to breathe new life into these stories and make them something new. Tangled did it with some of its humor, Flynn Rider being the only character in Disney to notice and question the cast’s tendency to break out into song. Frozen did it in a much more important way, by making the sibling relationship more important than the romantic one, in fact, making the romantic one the antithesis of the character’s goals. That whole aspect was very well done and a huge success.
I look forward to the next story Disney turns out.