It’s strange to watch a movie and find that halfway into the plot you’re hoping for the characters to shuffle off their mortal coils; that you’d rather watch wolves gnaw on their bones for another forty-five minutes than listen to their whining, insipid dialogue until the credits roll. I suppose I would feel differently if I fell into Frozen’s target demo, namely college students with delusions of grandiosity. But in today’s Reality-TV generation, there’s plenty of that to go around.
The concept of Frozen takes a mixture of “dude, but what if...” scenarios and blends them together in a juicer, expecting you to swallow it. And that’s not to say I demand complete realism from movies. I expect surreal, far-out notions to take me, the viewer, to interesting places. Instead I felt like I was privy to a conversation between two stoners stuck in a cross-country car ride.
So what if you, your best friend, and your girlfriend got stuck on a ski lift for a week? Dude, but what if nobody knew you were up there, because you bribed the lift operator? And what if, like, a blizzard rolled in? And what if it was too high to jump without breaking both your legs? Dude, but what if there was a pack of wolves circling the ground under you? And what if the lift chair was going to fall off after a while? And what if the cable above you was too sharp to climb? Oh, and dude, you peed your pants, so your bits-n-pieces got frozen to the chair.
I wish I was making this up, but all of the above are valid plot points in Frozen.
The premise itself isn’t too hard to swallow- people get stuck in the mountains all the time and die of exposure. And dangling vulnerably from high-up seems to be a pretty universal fear amongst humans. But if you eliminate all possible escape routes and give your characters less than stellar drives to survive, you’re left arguing semantics over what would kill you quickest; wolves or frostbite.
I’ll give the movie credit for this, however; it took itself and every wacky turn very seriously. It may have been the ominous majesty of the snowcapped mountains, or the isolated feeling of seeing the lone ski-lift and its occupants face another dawn, but Frozen manages a few moments of dread, right before its characters do something irredeemably stupid. One of the leads sleeps with her hands on the cold steel bars of the chair, unprotected from the weather. They huddle away from each other more than staying together to conserve heat, and on a ski-lift that means going out of your way to avoid contact. They let the hoods of their jackets flap loose in the wind during many of the scenes, and as I mentioned before, one of the characters actually urinates themselves.
I won’t spoil the ending for you. But I will mention that the most driven, strongest willed characters are met with swift, gruesome deaths. Whereas the survivalist who contributes nothing and does the least, gets rewarded.
After the thaw:
I personally know people whom I could recommend this movie. People who would listen intently as coeds discuss the tangle of their social lives before getting stuck on a ski-lift. People who will feel sorry for the young man who thinks he can walk away from a 50+ foot drop unscathed. There are people who cringe at heights, at chilly temperatures, and at wild animals.
For me, ski-lift + wolves + blizzard + falling cable, didn’t do it. However, if there’s an impending sequel; raptors + robots + bears + sharks... that I could get onboard with.