Frozen


Viewed – 19 April 2014  Pay-per-view

A Disney movie is always an attractive prospect for me … beautiful animation, a classic storyline and lots of fun characters and sing-a-long tunes.  In recent years with the likes of Pixar and Studio Ghibli earning critical acclaim and doing things a little different, it would be easy to forget the blue print created by the house of mouse.

Frozen

This latest offering is based on the ‘The Ice Queen’ by Hans Christian Anderson and tells the story of Elsa, a princess cursed with the ability to control ice, who after an innocent playtime turns to disaster, is forced to live secluded from her sister, Anna and everyone in their kingdom.

This is classic Disney fair, a fantasy world, enchanted creatures, spells, magic and a wintery backdrop – all topped off with a series of loud and brash songs.  Although think more Broadway than other Disney offerings with some of the musical numbers feeling more operatic than usual, and apart from the enjoyable ‘Let It Go’ mostly blur into one.  Thankfully we do get a decent comedy side kick in the shape of talking snowman Olaf, some fun side characters including a comical shop keeper and plenty of action (a giant snow monster!!).  I don’t know but for me it relied a little too much on Disney tradition, offering little new to an old concept.  I was left clueless as to the origins of Elsa’s curse, surprised by a plot development early on that was just glossed over (ahem, it involves the parents) but impressed by the great twist to a message that was getting hammered home a bit too strongly.

The character of Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) however does lift this out of near mediocrity; all feisty, clumsy and genuinely likeable … and I did feel for Elsa’s plight also.  Yet for Disney this seemed stuck in a past that the likes of Pixar and DreamWorks etc. left behind long ago (for good or bad).  Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but when a movie makes you feel like you’ve seen it a dozen times before – no matter how well done (and this is well done) – then it’s still doing something wrong.

Verdict:  3 /5

Forgetting Sarah Marshall


Viewed – 29 November 2009  Blu-ray

Part of a wave of comedies recently that don’t seem to know if they want to be romantic or toilet humour crude, lurking in that middle ground that isn’t either.  Knocked Up was such a film, and this is another, although with plenty to recommend it if you’re after something that will make you smile but not necessarily rolling on the floor laughing.  Jason Segal plays TV music composer Peter who is dumped by his long term TV actress girlfriend (Kristen Bell) who leaves him to pick up the pieces.  Helped by his brother-in-law from a previous break-up, Peter is advised to ‘get away from it all’ and goes to Hawaii.  There predictably he bumps into his ex and her new lover, brit-comic Russell Brand, admittedly the main reason I had avoided this one like the plague.  Simple set up leads to many comically awkward moments (stand out – the dinner scene) as sad, pathetic Peter is forced to cope with his break up and eventually falls for the kind-hearted receptionist who befriends him. 

Surprisingly, Russell Brand makes for a very enjoyable actor and steals the show, which isn’t hard considering that Segal & Bell are phoning their performances in, with Bell walking around in less and less clothing, which I admit is certainly appealing, but after seeing her in Heroes, I was expecting more.  Segal is a likable looser, and the receptionist does seem to bring some spark to the otherwise by-the-numbers storyline, yet any comedy seems too gentle or forced, cameos from Paul Rudd & Jonah Hill only go to show how much better this one could have been given a better script, and to make matters worse, this has to be one of the poorest examples of high definition I have yet seen.

So if you like your comedies tame, by all means give it a rental … otherwise, steer clear.

Verdict:  2 /5