The sarlacc pit. From “Return of the Jedi”. Uh, hello. Being slowly digested over a 1000 years – worst death ever.
Yesterday I watched “Whiplash” at the cinema and whilst I enjoyed it, I couldn’t help feel that it was overrated somewhat, although it was still worthy of at least a 7/10. That got me thinking onto other overrated films and naturally the first one that came to mind was Disney’s “Frozen”. I can’t even put into words how overrated that film really is and I really wish it was obscure enough to rip it to shreds, but alas, too many children have poor taste and liked it to make it one of the most successful films of the last few years.
Anyway, after that I started to think of other films and one of them was the 2010 film that shared the same name, the thriller “Frozen”. Whilst slightly better known than most of the films I review on this site, I think that after a few weeks off from writing reviews for various reasons, I should return with a film I know relatively well.
Unlike it’s namesake, the 2010 “Frozen” is an enjoyable film that entertains throughout, is actually worth watching and is realistic. I’m not going to sit here and claim it’s the best film that ever existed but if you have a spare 93 minutes and don’t want to spend it watching an overrated piece of non-sense, then this might be the film for you.
Dan (Zegers), Joe (Ashmore) and Parker (Bell) go on holiday together to a New England ski resort called Mount Holliston and are about to travel home when they realise that there is another time for one last run on the mountain. After convincing the ski lift attendant to let them go up, a misunderstanding sees the lift turned off with them still on it.
Joe and Dan convince themselves everything will be alright before Parker remembers that the mountain was actually going to be closed for a week and knowing that they won’t survive that long, it becomes clear that at least one of them must find their way down to get help.
As the group struggles to come to terms with what they need to do, but their options become increasingly limited as their bodies start succumbing to the effects of long exposure to the cold. Soon wolves catch the scent of warm meat, further restricting the group’s options.
So why is it good?
Much like any film with so few main characters, it relies a lot on the performances of the actors. A lot of films with smaller cast of characters struggle because of the lack of strength of the actors, whereas some of the better films are because of the exact opposite. For example, the 1986 remake of “The Fly” only had three main characters and no other characters were on screen for more than 2 minutes, and the reason it works it because Jeff Goldblum, John Getz and Geena Davis all put in exceptional performances.
Whilst I am not saying that the performances of Bell, Ashmore and Zegers are comparable to those three actors, they all put in very good performances, almost to the point you start to believe that they genuinely were left up on a ski lift for days on end. It’s hard to single any of them out because they all do very well, but it’s arguably Bell that stands out for me, not only because she her character goes through the most physical torture throughout the film.
There are several scenes where she has fallen asleep with body parts touching the frozen metal of the lift and she has to rip herself away, leaving all of the skin behind and it would naturally be hard to convincingly portray a pain that you’ve never realistically experienced, but Bell does an exceptional job. It would naturally be easy to overact in this situation and very few relatively unknown actresses could pull off making it look realistic without it looking ridiculous.
All of the characters suffer heavy physical pain throughout the film, and they are shown to be very human in this regard. Some Hollywood films are very unrealistic with regards to injury and there is one scene where Dan breaks both of his legs when jumping off of the ski-lift. In most Hollywood films the character would largely be fine, with the most being suffered is a limp, but if you’re going to jump roughly 10 metres (at least) onto snow and ice, you’re not only going to walk away with a limp, infact, you’re not going to walk away at all. The film doesn’t hold back from showing you the legs being broken and Dan’s panicked reaction to this because whilst he is out of the ski-lift, there is no way for him to get down to the bottom of the mountain.
When Joe tries to escape by climbing down the wires that the ski lift operates on, it quickly tears his hands to shreds and he has to endure this once he gets going because he doesn’t have the strength to go up hill and return to the lift. Again, this is realistic. Whilst I love some films that aren’t realistic or have very little basis in reality (I am watching The Hobbit whilst writing this to give you an example of that), in films like this there needs to be a sense of realism and that’s exactly what you get with “Frozen”. It doesn’t hold back, it doesn’t bullshit you into thinking that these characters won’t suffer.
Being realistic is a key aspect to any film that is supposed to be serious. For example, one of the reasons that the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy was so successful was because it was far more realistic than it’s more comedic and camp nature from the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher installments from the 1980s and 1990s.
If I have a criticism of the film then it would be that it’s a very slow paced film. There isn’t a lot that actually happens throughout the 93 minutes and there are long gaps without anything happening to advance the plot. Don’t get me wrong, at 93 minutes it’s not a long time and with a plot premise that is simple, you don’t really need to progress at an overly fast rate, which is another common sin amongst films, but as I say there are lengthy gaps without anything at all happening.
If you want to watch a film called Frozen that’s set on a mountain and isn’t full of incessant singing, then this is the choice for you. As I said earlier, I’m going to sit here earlier and claim it’s the best film ever but what it is is realistic. You don’t get enough of that in films these days but when it’s done right, it makes a good film.
With a small cast, they achieve a lot and the young cast excels. They give a realistic portrayal of what would happen to people in that environment and situation.
If you’ve got a spare one hundred so or minutes then give it a shout.