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Movie Reviews
by Jonathan McKee and Todd Pearage

Frozen (11/18/2014)


Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor.

Starring Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad

Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee


Jonathan's Rating: Rental

Todd's Rating: Worth Buying

Dynamic ImageFrozen will melt your heart.

Fearless optimist Anna sets off on an epic journey—teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven — to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.

TODD’S WORD: Frozen opens with a superb musical number that not only reminded me of that ol’ “Disney magic” but hooked us as a family immediately. As the minutes ticked away, I was thoroughly impressed with the loveable characters, beautiful artistry and fun songs. But it’s the teachable moments that really make Frozen a remarkable family-friendly film.

Loosely based on the fantasy fable The Snow Queen, the story is just as impressive as the animation. From a love triangle to political treachery and themes of self-acceptance, Frozen presents its ideals of ‘true love.’ And as a result holds significantly more value to growing girls than any of the Walt Disney classics.

JONATHAN’S WORD: And that’s where I grow a little bit concerned. The “values” our girls glean from this film.

Don’t get me wrong. Overall, I loved this film. Olaf the snowman was hilarious; Kristoff and his sidekick were endearing and fun. I saw it with my girls and we laughed throughout. But then “the snow queen” began singing “Let it Go” as she ‘came out’ and refused to hide her ability:

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on, the cold never bothered me anyway…

Then she goes to sing…

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free…

I’m not going to go all conspiracy theory on you and start pointing fingers at groups and hidden agendas… but it would be foolish of us not to notice the strong message of “I don’t care what people say” and “no right, no wrong, no rules for me.”

Is this any worse than other subtle Disney message, like the Little Mermaid’s disobeying Daddy because he was too stupid to understand what young people want? Is it worse than the very preachy Happy Feet? Probably not. We see this from today’s cartoons a lot. But I think parents need to be aware and even talk about this. (That’s why we provide a discussion guide below that points to truth.)

TODD’S WORD: Great point. Sometimes the subtle messages are more damaging than the more obvious ones.

Sad, because the film was really fun and had many positive messages.

JONATHAN’S WORD: I agree. I really enjoyed the film overall, but that song was a huge speed bump for me.

Too bad, really. Because I think the characters were truly delightful.

TODD’S WORD: The script is witty and clever – sometimes too much for its own good. Sven, the reindeer, is good, but it’s Olaf, the blissfully ignorant snowman, who steals the show. Not only does he provide comic relief, but he will go down in history as one of the best Disney sidekicks.

Following 2010’s Tangled and last year’s Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen is confirmation that Disney is back. Go see Frozen, it’s “Worth Buying.”

JONATHAN’S WORD: I enjoyed it, but have trouble recommending it as something to sit on your shelf for kids to watch over and over again.


SHOULD KIDS SEE IT?
It’s innocent by today’s standards, for sure. I’d recommend it as much as many Disney films, but do think the song cited above is worth discussing.


CONVERSATION STARTER
We’ve provided two conversation-starters for this movie- the first one addressing the song mentioned above, the second talking about sacrificial love.


DISCUSSION #1- MY WAY/HIS WAY


  1. What was your favorite part of this movie?

  2. What was your favorite song?

  3. Why do you think the queen sang this:

    Let it go, let it go
    Can’t hold it back anymore
    Let it go, let it go
    Turn away and slam the door
    I don’t care
    What they’re going to say

  4. The queen had to hide her magic because she knew people would judge her unfairly. Do you ever feel like you have to hide part of yourself?

  5. Why do you think the queen sang this:

    It’s time to see what I can do
    To test the limits and break through
    No right, no wrong, no rules for me
    I’m free…

  6. How do we know what is right or wrong for us?

    • An Aside:
      Sometimes films provide “messy” morality. They mix up good and bad in the same batch and sprinkle a little sugar on it. This film is a mixed bag of nuts—many good, and a few that taste a little peculiar. On one hand the film presents characters who are purely bad, and others who are clearly good. But the film also presents a character who is struggling with her own identity, so much that she decides that she’ll just go with what “feels right.”

      This is a popular notion in entertainment today. Just do what “feels right.” Sadly, feelings can be wrong. Someone might make me mad and I “feel” like punching them in the face! That doesn’t make it the right choice. Punching someone in the face usually results in consequences.

      The snow queen actually experienced this when she went with her feelings. She “let it go” and iced everything. Consequently, this froze the whole town, shutting out her sister and everyone else.

      Perhaps the queen’s feelings of “let it go” and “I don’t care” weren’t the best decision.

      So how do we know what is right and wrong?

      That’s where God’s word is helpful.

  7. Read the following scripture:

      Psalm 119[a]
      1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
      who walk according to the law of the LORD.
      2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
      and seek him with all their heart—
      3 they do no wrong
      but follow his ways.
      4 You have laid down precepts
      that are to be fully obeyed.
      5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
      in obeying your decrees!
      6 Then I would not be put to shame
      when I consider all your commands.
      7 I will praise you with an upright heart
      as I learn your righteous laws.
      8 I will obey your decrees;
      do not utterly forsake me.
      9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
      By living according to your word.
      10 I seek you with all my heart;
      do not let me stray from your commands.
      11 I have hidden your word in my heart
      that I might not sin against you.

  8. According to verse 9, how can a young person stay on the path of purity?

  9. How can we live according to God’s word?

  10. How does the author of this Psalm seek God (in verse 10)?

  11. How can we seek God with all our heart?

  12. What does this passage point to (over and over again) as the source where we can discover what is right, pure, blameless, etc.?

  13. How can we spend more time listening to truth?


DISCUSSION #2- SACRAFICIAL LOVE

  1. What were some of the scenes that depicted sacrificial love in the film?

  2. Which one was your favorite?

  3. When was the last time you experienced sacrificial love? What happened?

  4. Read John 15:13

      Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

  5. What are some ways you can show sacrificial love this week to your family? In school? At work?






Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaking to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.



Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.



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