The weekend following a major holiday is always a little slow. The boost from vacationing moviegoers is gone, so everyone tends to take a major dip. Some films end up okay. Some die on the vine. This weekend saw two films weather the storm perfectly fine and one new release collapse on the starting line.
In one of the biggest holiday weekends of all time, the combined might of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' and 'Frozen' proved that yes, ladies can star in major blockbuster movies. We'll see if this lesson sticks (it won't), but between those two and the surprisingly female-friendly 'Thor: The Dark World,' this was a great weekend if you were looking for quality family entertainment that didn't treat its woman characters like crap.
'Frozen,' the most recent animated release from Disney and the latest addition to their princess franchise, is a landmark film for the studio. It takes the princess stereotypes, which have been nurtured and perpetuated by Disney for decades, and completely subverts them, breathing new life into the idea of what it means to be a Disney Princess -- and giving little girls everywhere princesses who are inspirational and relatable, with stories that hit close to home and reflect real social and gender issues.
Few movie studios command as much respect and enthusiasm as Disney, who built their name and legacy on some of the best animated movies ever made. With dozens of features since 1937, the company's library of animated films is unmatched by anyone not named Hayao Miyazaki and many of their movies have forever shaped the way we watch films and absorb popular culture
Sometimes great artistry comes from coloring inside the lines.
Walt Disney Animation's newest film, 'Frozen,' does precious little to push the boundaries of narrative storytelling. Indeed, it is a quite predictable – might I even suggest formulaic - culmination of elements. While picking over the bones of a half-remembered Hans Christian Andersen story, 'The Snow Queen,' Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck's film expands certain themes, disposes of some characters and, of course, modernizes a bit for contemporary audiences. However, miraculously, this doesn't feel like a Xerox of a Xerox impersonating a classic Disney film. There's precious little winking; hardly any of the 'Shrek'-effect. 'Frozen' has enough of the goods to play it straight and succeed on its own terms. It is a major entry in family-friendly entertainment, one that ought to reverberate for years with tie-in toys and stage productions.
Disney decided to play it coy with the first trailer for 'Frozen,' foregoing a look at the movie's story in favor of a brief comedic interlude starring a reindeer and a magic snowman. The good news is that we finally have some new footage. The bad news? You'll need to know Japanese to really understand what's happening.
While Pixar may get all the animation kudos as the being the best around, don't count out the original Mouse House and what they're still able to bring to the table. 'Tangled' and 'Winnie the Pooh' were bonafide hits for Walt Disney Animation, and 'Wreck-It Ralph' looks to be a sure-fire hit. Now they've got a new film in the works for 2013 that looks to be another cool cartoon.