Luckily, what works best about the film is the most important part: the relationship between Elsa and Anna. They’re the best characters, and the only songs I cared about in the soundtrack were their solos or duets with each other; I would have cut the trolls’ song right out, and though it has some charming moments, Olaf’s song about summer feels like filler too. One criticism: Idina Menzel does great voice work, but she has such a big distinctive voice that I often felt a disconnect between the visual of Elsa and the sound of her singing, especially during “Let It Go,” which looks like a cartoon lipsynching to a Menzel track.
The elements surrounding Anna and Elsa are somewhat hit-and-miss. I could have done without Olaf altogether; it seemed to me like he was created by a marketing department to sell toys. The knowing animal sidekick is also an overly familiar device. The villains were a bit ho-hum. And though the story has a girl-power approach, the screenplay doesn’t let Anna get through without an obligatory male love interest to help.
Some other details I noticed that you’re not really supposed to notice in a fanciful movie like this, but I can’t really discuss them without BIG FAT SPOILERS:
– What exactly are the rules of succession in this kingdom? Was there a power vacuum during the three years between their parents’ death and Elsa’s coronation? When she flees, Anna goes after her and puts her one-day boyfriend Hans in charge, but does she have the authority to do that? Should anyone be allowed to just give power to a foreign national like that?
– Hans’s takeover plan involves claiming a marriage that didn’t have any witnesses. If I randomly claimed to marry a dying monarch, can I have a kingdom too?
– When Elsa finally gets control of her powers, that effectively puts poor Kristoff out of work and eliminates the entire industry featured in the first scene. There’s no need to pay people to get ice when Her Majesty is a walking ice box. Are the unionized? I sense a labor revolt coming.
– Kristoff’s relationship with the rock trolls — there isn’t a back story there?
– Magical troll medicine: easy to instantaneously remove ice from a person’s brain, but technology hasn’t advanced to heart ice — sorry, you’re out of luck. Go get some of that true love stuff.
– Elsa’s cloth gloves block her powers, but she freezes right through her metal gauntlets. What the heck are those gloves made of?