Like a critical supervillain, the first two months of my calendar year is usually spent observing Hollywood's awards season from my lair in the Midlands. It has been one of my favourite pass-times for the last five or six years. And this year has been no different. As usual, there are the select few films that appear to be sweeping the board (12 Years a Slave & Gravity this year) and the Best Animated Feature category is no exception. Frozen is a red-hot banker to become Disney's first non-Pixar movie to win the prestigious Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The box-office-smashing hit has already won the corresponding accolade at the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, the Critics Choice Awards and the renowned animation honors, the Annie Awards - where it won four other gongs too!
But my question is this: how?
Having laughed my head off to two of the other major animated movies of 2013 - Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University - I felt that Frozen had a lot to live up to. However, seeing all of those accolades, I felt sure that Disney would do the trick.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
The film is set in the fictional kingdom of Arendelle, where two princesses live. One is a normal girl, the other one has magical powers... for some reason. However, after an accident, the one with the magical powers needs to keep the magical powers a secret from her sister... because some trolls told her so. I hated this film. Other than a talking snowman called Olaf, I really couldn't work out what Frozen had going for it. The "jokes" were few an far between, and when they did arrive it was mainly Princess Anna (the non-magical one) saying one thing but then, in a very modern-America kind-of-way, jokingly meaning another.
By Disney standards, the songs were utterly useless too. Here are the opening lyrics to one of the early songs:
The window is open, so is that door,
I didn't know they did that anymore.
Who on Earth wrote that song? Mickey Mouse?
So the jokes are rubbish and the songs are worse. However, there must surely be an uplifting, meaningful message behind the film, right? Erm... not that I can work out. Here's a plot summary (let me know if you can work out the meaning): Girl has (completely unexplained) magical powers that she doesn't want. Then everyone finds out about the powers so she runs away. Her sister goes to fetch her back. They meet a friendly snowman (by far the highlight of the film) and fight a nasty snowman (not sure why). Then the magic princess comes back to Arandelle. In a parallel side-plot, that I couldn't have cared less about, the non-magic sister falls in love with a prince on the day she meets him but he turns out to be a nob (not that anyone cares because he's barely in the film) and then, at the end, she gets it on with some ice-chopper bloke that talks to his moose/reindeer. Utter garbage.
Although the Best Animated Feature Oscar is a category that's only been open since 2001, it seems amazing that Disney (other than their Pixar movies) have not won this gong. There have been some excellent Disney animations in recent years such as The Princess & The Frog and Tangled, which were understandably beaten to the award by Up and Toy Story 3 respectably. However, this time last year, I was on the opposite side of the fence, hoping that Disney's Wreck It Ralph (in my opinion, one of the best films of 2012) would beat Pixar's fairly average Brave. Sadly, it didn't.
So it seems amazing to me that a movie as terrible as Frozen is sweeping the board and taking every award in sight. The Academy seem to have lost the plot with this award recently; I disagreed with last year's decision, I disliked Rango the year before that, and I dislike Frozen now. And what's even more amazing is that Pixar's Monsters University didn't even get a nomination! This means, as we watch the awards being dished out on the TV in our super-lair, the minions and I will have to keep my fingers crossed for Despicable Me 2 to snatch a shock victory.
Rating for Frozen: It would have been 1 but I did stick with it until the end and at least children (the film's target audience) will enjoy the visuals, overlook the terrible lyrics and laugh at Olaf. So, it's an extremely generous 2 out of 5.