MaurifullFrozen – Review

Anna: I don’t even know what love is.
OlafThat’s okay. I do. Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours.

This is one of the lessons that Olaf (the snowman) teaches Anna in the movie Frozen. This Disney juggernaut ran away with the box office raking in a staggering $400 million domestic and another $713 million worldwide for a mind-bending $1.1 billion overall.  Not bad for a children’s movie that opened #2 to Hunger Games: Catching Fire with a healthy $67M, and then went on to also pick up a shiny new Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.  This all begs the question, what was the appeal?

Well, to begin, it’s a clever musical adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen” fairy tale; although you would never notice with all the memorable musical numbers and state of the art animation.  It also boast many timeless sequences that will be watched on Blu-ray for years to come, I’m sure.  But the true magic, in my opinion, is the enduring sisterhood story that girls of all ages just can’t resist.  Even though Disney tried hard to sell it as an action-filled movie, presumably to attract boys as well, they knew that the heart-warming princess fairy tale would win the day.  How do I know?

“Kids, you want to watch Frozen?”
David: “No way! That’s a girl movie!”
Dayana: “Yes, yes, please!  I love the songs!”

Yet both sat and watched every moment with equal delight.  That is the value of skilled story-telling – indeed, a culmination of Disney’s efforts to blend a good fairy tale with modern appeal.  One of the main building blocks was the success of another well-known fairy tale turned Disney film – Tangled.  I would hazard to guess that the producers of Frozen kept those Tangled production notes very close by.  Both are a welcome change from the toy-selling, in-your-face commercialization of the Toy Story franchise.

So what is it about?  Once upon a time there were two princess sisters who loved each other growing up.  That is until the older one, Elsa discovers she has a knack for freezing things (a classic Disney curse).  So as to not hurt her sister, she runs away.  Her beloved younger sibling, Anna, spends the rest of the film trying to save that sisterly bond that they both cherished.  Along the way, she has to leave her suitor-turned-villian, meets the irresistibly charming snowman, enlists the help of the a hunky mountain man-turned love interest, battles a snow monster – all the ingredients in place for an epic adventure in a spectacular frozen wonderland.  Cue the music…

Disney made sure to top off the film with their trademarks: goofy talking animals (in this story, a snowman and a reindeer) who help and teach the protagonist along the way, memorable songs and a lesson learned.  Add a pinch of a love story and a villain and there you have it – a Disney Classic straight from the pages of literary masterpieces (see Cinderella, Snow White, Aladdin, Tarzan, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, The Jungle Book, the aforementioned Tangled, etc,etc.)  It is Disney at it’s best.

If you have any reservations about grabbing the Blu-ray for the kids … “Let it go, let it go…”

By Mauricio Bonifaz

For continued reading about the important life lessons in Frozen, look at these great links:

5 moral lessons from Disney’s ‘Frozen’
Top Five Lessons ‘Frozen’ Taught Us
5 Life Lessons Every Collegiette Can Learn From Disney’s “Frozen”


Mauri AvatarMr. Peabody & Sherman – Review
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“Every dog should have a boy”.

So says the charming pooch, Mr. Peabody, in 2014’s second major studio animated feature offering. In my opinion, this film outshines The Lego Movie in humour, 3D animation quality but most of all personality, if not commercial appeal. The story follows a brilliant, well-travelled, articulate beagle as he strives to give his adoptive son a balanced upbringing; his primary technique – a time machine. As you can imagine, the possibilities are endless – learning about Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution, King Tut in ancient Egypt, DaVinci during The Renaissance and the Greek army as they prepared inside the famed Trojan Horse. All is well until Sherman, the adopted son, begins school and is taken away from the safe haven of his dad’s home and has to deal with a world that does not have a WABAC machine.

I was impressed how the film could hold both my attention and that of the young kids watching with me. This is a trick reserved for only the best animated features – typically, one of the two falters. I was further impressed by the ease at which several significant positive messages were layered over a funny and action packed tale. I noted clever lessons on bullying, consequences of not listening to a parent’s advice, thinking outside the box, having confidence and remaining calm, to name a few. The one that I enjoyed the most had to be that it’s ok to be a smart kid, to enjoy history and science. I patted myself on the back every time I was able to follow the various inside historical double entendres sprinkled throughout the movie.

As a parent, having a story that not only entertains your children but also teaches them is highly desirable. We all came out wiser, entertained and commenting endlessly about our favourite parts, the hallmark of all great shows. Go see it, I say!

By Mauricio Bonifaz