News Column

Heart-warming 'Frozen' reminiscent of Disney classics [Daily News (Bowling Green, KY)]

December 5, 2013

YellowBrix

It's hard not to feel warm and fuzzy after seeing "Frozen."

The latest from Walt Disney Studios is a throwback of sorts, a magical, musical journey that should please audiences of all ages.

"Frozen" tells the story of two sisters, Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) and Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel). Anna is an outgoing optimist, while Elsa is reclusive, struggling with powers that allow her to create ice and snow.

When Elsa's magic accidentally sets off an eternal winter, she goes into hiding, prompting Anna to team up with a mountain man named Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff) to find her sister.

As animated features go, "Frozen" is a visual feast, a beautifully designed film that perfectly captures this magical world.

The musical numbers are solid as well, especially the show-stopper "Let it Go," which reminded me a lot of classic Disney films "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast."

This isn't quite on the same level, but it is pretty close.

It's the best non-Pixar film since those two movies, and a film that I can see becoming a staple in family's DVD libraries.

DVD dandy of the week

This week's dandy is "Fast & Furious 6," the latest in the popular series that now could serve as the franchise farewell for one of its stars, Paul Walker, who was killed in a car wreck Saturday.

As a film, "Fast & Furious" is preposterous, utterly ridiculous and silly beyond imagination.

That's exactly what makes it work.

This is a franchise that has essentially become the James Bond for gearheads. It embraces its inner goofiness, and is so over the top that you can't help but be entertained.

This film begins with Dominic (Vin Diesel) and his crew on the lam after their successful Rio heist.

Dominic is approached by federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) about a possible pardon for all involved if they can help bring down a criminal outfit that's trying to steal top secret government weaponry.

At first Dominic is reluctant, but when he discovers that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) - his former girlfriend who he thought was dead - is part of the criminal group, he agrees.

This sets off a series of fast-paced set pieces, with the stunts getting crazier and more outlandish as the film progresses.

I have never really been a fan of the "Fast" franchise, but I admit this one kind of worked. Maybe I'm just getting softer with age or maybe the bombastic style of this franchise has finally worn me down, but I was more involved and more entertained by this installment.

It helps that this cast, which also includes Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris, seem to understand how cheesy this all is and they roll with it. They are clearly having fun and that fun seeps off the screen, transferring to the audience.

This is the role that propelled Walker into major stardom and kind of the epitome of his successful career. Walker was probably never going to be considered an Oscar contender, but he found his niche as an actor and was a solid on-screen presence.

This franchise is managing to pick up steam, but is now in question following Walker's death.

It's a franchise that I think will be able to survive without the 40-year-old actor, but one that may never be quite the same.

"Fast & Furious 6" gives fans of Walker and the franchise a final chance to enjoy his work in the series that defined his career.

"Fast & Furious 6" is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and mayhem throughout, some sexuality and language and will be available on DVD on Tuesday.

-- To get sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton's thoughts on all things movies, visit his blog at mcompton.wordpress.com or his Twitter page at twitter.com/mcompton428. Email him at mcompton@bgdailynews.com.

Credit: By MICHEAL COMPTON The Daily News mcompton@bgdailynews.com 783-3247

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