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Frozen by Christophe Beck [Songs by Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez] (Review)

posted Dec 3, 2013, 8:00 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Dec 3, 2013, 8:01 PM ]

To try and analyze the legacy of Disney is a difficult one. Walt’s legacy has grown into the biggest conglomerate in the world that reaches into all aspects of our lives from films, TV, music, toys and theme parks. Disney is part of life, but it’s the stories that built the legacy. From the golden age of Disney that led to a small decline in quality, and then a resurgance that we saw with The Little Mermaid that lasted into the mid to late 90’s. Then Disney took steps backwards once again completely losing its identity and surely losing touch with what Walt established. Movies like Home On The Range, Meet The Robinsons, Chicken Little, Atlantis and others seemed to lack whatever made Disney what it was. This of course doesn't include Pixar. I do think Disney Animation is on the uptick. Tangled was wonderful and now Frozen takes Disney forward by taking two steps back to the times of Disney greatness. Frozen is indeed a magical Disney classic. It’s a loose adaptation on a beloved tale that is cemented with gorgeous animation, loveable characters and unforgettable music. Christophe Beck surprises with a simply wonderful score, and the wife/husnand duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez provide us with songs that would make the Sherman brothers and Alan Menken proud.

Frozen is a story that really boils down to the relationship between two sisters, and it’s that relationship that carries the story. The adventure along the way provides composer Christophe Beck with tons of great opportunities. Beck scored the Oscar winning short Paperman for Disney, and his impressive work there got him the feature gig here. He does not dissapoint. The Norweigian inspired score opens with a wonderful chant titled “Eatnemen Vuelie” featuring an all-female chorus collectively known as Cantus. The piece was not composed by Beck, but by Frode Fjellheim and serves as the bookending theme to open and close the whole experience. Beck’s original score is not overshadowed though. He manages to deliver a beautiful score filled with wonder, excitement, and a vibrant emotional reflection of our two main leads. Beck handles all the magic and wonder of the story with ease while still adding fun character touches such as music for Olaf. The style is pure orchestral goodness with the hint of a fairy tale feel. The motifs and themes Beck builds never get overpowered by the songs and in turn deliver a rich and emotional experience.

Now, the songs by the Lopez duo match the excellence of the score. Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez wrote songs for the 2011 film Winnie The Pooh, so they do have a history with Disney. Robert also wrote the songs for some high-profile musicals like The Book Of Mormon and Avenue Q. Never mind that those musicals have some of the funniest and vulgur songs ever put in musicals. Robert is on his best Disney behavior here. Frozen's songs are catchy and feel as if they do come from within the characters. They definitely do have a stage performance feel to them. That’s a great thing since every number feels like a performance yet still manages to feel organic to the character performing them. If I have one criticism it would be that “Let It Go” feels just a tiny bit too much like a pop song. Other than that the songs do add to Disney’s wonderful legacy.

Frozen is truly a terrific film with everything you’d want from a movie made under the house of mouse. Co-director Chris Buck has a long history with Disney as an animator on films like The Fox And The Hound, The Little Mermaid and Pocahontas. Buck also co-directed Tarzan. Co-Director Jennifer Lee is a bit of a newcomer just having co-written Wreck-It Ralph under her belt. However, the directing duo delivers a wonderful winter adventure that his headlined by some fantastic score and wonderful songs. Christophe Beck surly surprises with his abilities here and delivers a wonderful score. And team Lopez wrote fantastic songs that felt organic to the characters singing them. The whole film is a collaborative success and will be looked back on as the film that signaled Disney’s return to animation greatness without relying on Pixar. The soundtrack comes in two editions, standard and deluxe. The deluxe edition comes with a second disc of demos and alternate versions.