“The Time of the Doctor” Review – SPOILERS!

ImageWell, this is it, my final Doctor Who blog for a while. After a Christmas filled with family and power outages (lousy winter weather), I finally got to sit down and watch the departure of the 11th Doctor. What did I think? Well, as stated above, this review will be filled with spoilers. I feel it’s necessary to really get my thoughts out on this one.

First, the plot, which includes narration by Mother Superior Tasha Lem (more on her later). A strange message is calling out to the universe from a small planet. The Doctor and Clara, after attempting Christmas dinner with her family, meet up with Tasha and discover the planet is none other than Trenzalore. The message is from Gallifrey via one of the time cracks seen in Series 5, leftover after the Doctor closed the majority of them. They are calling out with a question: “Doctor Who?”, meaning if the Doctor speaks his name, they will be reassured the universe is safe to come back to. However, he can’t allow Gallifrey through anytime soon, because many of his enemies have also heard the message and are bent on destroying the planet. Will the Doctor be able to prevent another war from occurring, and what will happen to him and Clara in the process?

This episode was a mixed bag for me. For starters, it didn’t feel like a Christmas special aside from the town being called Christmas, Clara’s brief family dinner and, of course, snow. To be fair, though, Matt Smith did get two specials that felt more Christmas-y then this and “The Snowmen,” so that’s a minor complaint. As a Doctor Who episode and especially a finale, it was decent. It had some really good moments and some that felt underutilized. I’ll get to his regeneration, which made up the last 15 or so minutes, a little later.

First off, let’s talk about a few things I liked. The acting was superb all around. Matt Smith of course had a lot riding on this one, and his performance hit it out of the park. I felt a connection with Clara more than ever as we got to see her interact with family and experience one last adventure with her Doctor. Speaking of, her family didn’t leave much of an impact…except her grandmother. I wish we’d spent a little more time with her, because she just seemed so sweet and kind. Tasha was also well-acted as the universe’s Mother Superior, and it was great seeing her act on having past history with the Doctor. However, she was my main problem as far as characters go, because she seems to have a deep history with him that we’ve never seen before or during this episode. As such, I didn’t feel I could connect with her, even when she is ultimately semi-turned into a Dalek. Maybe it would be different if she becomes a reoccurring character like Vastra and her gang, but it’s hard to say at this point.

Something this episode does right is tie up the questions and loose ends left from the previous series, such as how the Tardis blew up in “The Pandorica” (Kovarian and her sect ultimately did it) and why there’s a crack in time still in the universe. The plot also involves the Doctor tricking Clara (twice!) into going back to her own time while he remains in Christmas to devote his time to protecting it from his enemies. He’s forced to settle down in a sense because running would mean the planet being destroyed. Because of this, we see the 11th Doctor really age for the first time. He meets up with Clara 300 years later, looking older and needing a cane to walk. And the second time before his death he’s very much a frail, old man, looking almost as Hartnell did all those years ago. It took me by surprise that they went this route, but I really enjoyed it. I won’t lie, though, it saddened me to see this man I grew to love growing old in front of my eyes. I suppose that was the point, as this was supposed to be his final body.

The humor was placed well throughout the episode, but kept just to the right balance to go with the drama. I liked the silliness of the Doctor attending Christmas dinner (though it’s short-lived) and that they had an excuse for his nakedness seen in one of the trailers. Through the first half of the special, he carries around a decapitated (non-human) Cyberman head that quickly becomes almost like Wilson from “Cast Away” to him. This is mostly apparent when Clara sees him on Trenzalore the first time, though it quickly turns into a sad, almost sentimental moment. There are also plenty of epic moments in this, such as Clara hitching a ride with the Tardis back to Trenzalore, the Doctor ending up in the ships of his enemies at the start of the episode, and him teaming up with the Silence to battle the Weeping Angels, Daleks and Cybermen forces.

Now, unfortunately, for all the greatness this episode offered, it has a few flaws. I mentioned my issue with Tasha earlier, and I feel the story bits dealing with her could have been a little stronger. Another thing I took issue with was that the episode doesn’t really offer up a lot of epic finale moments leading to the regeneration. While we do see snippets of the Doctor battling on Trenzalore, they’re told via narration and cut together like a montage. It would have been nice to focus on a battle and see the Doctor taking part. He has a great scene involving a wooden (yes, wooden) Cyberman, and I wish we could’ve seen more moments like that. Ultimately, with all the hype about the Doctor battling on Trenzalore, it felt like a few scenes here could’ve been expanded on to really showcase it. Also, for all the connecting I did with Clara, she didn’t get much of a presence until she appears (both times) on Trenzalore. I guess you could say this is supposed to be the Doctor’s story and moment, but it felt weird at times not to have her around.

But while the episode had its ups and downs throughout, the regeneration was the part I was most looking forward to and, for me, it did not disappoint. Big time spoilers for this: The Doctor, now a very old man, is forced to face the Daleks once again as they threaten to destroy him. Clara pleads through the crack for the Time Lords to send help, to realize that the Doctor is who he is and that’s all they need. Ships are released through a bigger crack to take down the Dalek fleet, and along with them is a fleeting bit of regenerative energy. It’s just what the Doctor needs to push past his so-called final form and regenerate once again. It’s so explosive that he destroys the rest of the ships and those from Gallifrey return to the crack. Clara ends up going back to the Tardis to find…a young 11th Doctor. But, unfortunately, it’s only a temporary state as he starts turning into his next self. He parts with a…hallucination/memory of Amy Pond and a great speech about accepting change before turning into his 12th self. Now Capaldi, he seems to already be suffering from post-regeneration trauma as he asks Clara how to fly the Tardis.

This entire thing, from start to finish, made the episode for me. It elevated what came before it and didn’t suffer from the flimsier moments. From the Doctor’s explosive initial regenerative energy to the quiet, serene acceptance speech just felt like the perfect ending for 11. It has the “going out with a bang” bit that I wanted, but it also eased any doubt or fear that the Doctor will still be the Doctor, regardless of the face. It felt, to me, like a HUGE leap forward from 10’s regeneration and the Doctor never seemed wiser. And one little moment, just before he quickly becomes Capaldi, where he undoes and drops his bow tie just kept my tears flowing. It was like watching the end of an era and just felt beautifully done.

Overall, “The Time of the Doctor” seems like an episode that’ll split some fans. While it had a ton of great moments, a lot of plot elements didn’t feel like they got used to their full potential. As a Christmas special and Doctor Who finale, it’s pretty good if not decent. But for me, the regeneration is what seals the deal. As I said in my last blog, I’ll always miss Matt Smith, but I now very excitedly look forward to Capaldi and Series 8.

I give “The Time of the Doctor” a solid 7/10. Come for the fun, stay for the regeneration.

A Fond Farewell to My Doctor

Welcome back! For today’s blog, I’d like to take a somber moment to pay tribute to the man behind the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith. My fiance has a blog up about this as well that you can read: http://richardsweeklyjournal.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/goodbye-my-doctor/). Let’s kick things off with how I first got into Doctor Who.

During a three month-long trip I had visiting my fiance back in 2011, I saw “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” with him and two friends. By this point, they were all into Doctor Who, whereas I was basically the newbie. The most I’d seen prior to that was “The Long Game” during the first New Who series, and I only did so to watch Simon Pegg. I didn’t connect with the Doctor or what was going on because it was midway through the season. Anyway, after the holidays were over, my fiance sat me down and got me started on Series 5, where he had also gotten into the show. We watched the entirety of it and I was hooked. We then went backwards and saw from Series 1-4. We also watched the TV movie with Paul McGann, and individually we’ve seen episodes from the 1st and 2nd Doctors, as well as the 7th Doctor’s run. But for me, my love of the show started with Matt Smith.

Humble beginnings

Humble beginnings

Even with the 2011 Christmas special, I felt a connection with the 11the Doctor from the start. He had so much boundless energy and excitement in everything he did. But it wasn’t until I watched his first series that I quickly grew to love and adore him. He was goofy, dorky, a bit scary when angered and seemed so old despite his youthful appearance. I felt that Matt Smith easily brought the versatility to the role that so many other Doctors had. He was able to be light and fun one minute, and immediately become serious and determined the next. No matter what the writing, whether solid or a bit flimsy, Matt always seemed to bring the best performance he could.

The original gang

Old companions…

Friends and foes

…and new friends

This Doctor’s also had many friends, and Matt has had great chemistry with all of them. Amy and Rory quickly became my favorite companions, and I loved the dynamic between them and the Doctor. I enjoyed his flirting with River Song and how well they played off each other. And, even though I still feel I have to warm up to her, I’ve grown to enjoy his playful interactions with Clara. It’s a shame they won’t get more after this Christmas. I especially enjoyed his appearance on “The Sarah Jane Adventures.” While Elisabeth Sladen was taken from us too soon, I’m glad she and Matt got screentime together. His Doctor fit right in with Sarah Jane Smith and Jo Grant, making for a lot of sentimental moments despite it being their first time meeting his incarnation.

Rockin' the fez

Rockin’ the fez

Like I said before, one of the reasons I love this Doctor is because he’s such a dork. This is not just because of Matt’s lanky frame or boy-ish face, but also because of his fashion choice. This Doctor loved his hats (you already know about the fez) and bow ties, and he wore them with style (sorta). I also loved how in tune he was with modern things, such as his hatred for Twitter and apparent love for the Wii (high five on both accounts). This Doctor was also like a little kid, awkward teenager and old man rolled into one. When the Doctor had to convey his old age, you felt it in Matt’s performance. You could see the pure joy on his face when he played with gadgets or got into Christmas. And you could laugh at his awkward behavior when someone planted a (usually) unwanted kiss on him.

Opposing sides

Opposing sides

But one of my favorite things was when the Doctor would get serious or angry, even downright scarily so. I once read an article describing David Tennant’s 10th Doctor having a fiery anger and Matt Smith’s 11th having an icy anger, which I think is very appropriate. This Doctor was secretive, a bit manipulative and always banking on his cleverness when times got tough. That’s also why I loved the episode “Nightmare in Silver” solely for Matt’s performance. On one hand, you have him as the Doctor, being goofy but quickly devolving into seriousness when the stakes get raised. And on the other hand, you have his performance as Mr. Clever, the Cyberleader, which is pure villain hamminess at its best. It makes me happy he’s currently moved on to playing Patrick Bateman in the “American Psycho” musical. He plays darkness well, even in a character who we’re supposed to side with week after week.

At the end of the day, I’m going to miss Matt Smith and my Doctor. As I’ve said, I’m very excited to see what Capaldi brings to the role and my next blog will be a review of “Time of the Doctor.” Series 8 will feel ages away after that. Until then, I just want to say: Thank you, Matt. If it weren’t for you, I don’t think I’d be so obsessed with this silly sci-fi show you only recently were a part of. I wish you all the best with future projects and, for my sake, I will continue to love and cherish the 11th Doctor’s legacy even after the show eventually ends.

Bye bye, Doctor...

Bye bye, Doctor

My Favorite Doctor Who Christmas Special

ImageWelcome back! With Christmas coming up next Wednesday, I thought I’d focus on one of Doctor Who’s takes on the holiday. While Matt Smith still has one final special under his belt, there are three others that precede it. While I enjoyed the previous two, “The Snowmen” and “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” (although I consider the latter to be the weakest one), my favorite will always be his first outing, “A Christmas Carol.”

Yes, you read that right. Doctor Who did their own take of the classic tale, albeit with a few twists and timey wimey-ness attached. I watched the special during my big marathon of the New Who series and was in love with it once it finished. Even now, I still consider it one of my favorite adaptations of the story, up there with the likes of the timeless Disney version. And while I’m not doing a traditional review of the episode, I would like to reflect on it a little.

Basically, the Doctor helps an old, Scrooge-like man named Kazran learn the value of Christmas with the use of confrontations involving love and childhood. I remember feeling like everyone acted their butts off, even Amy and Rory who had a pretty minor role than usual. The special captured the joy and warmth of Christmas while still feeling like a Doctor Who episode, mixing goofy humor with serious moments. And it was easily one of the best-looking episodes, catching that Christmas feel with the use of nighttime and snow. The music was also haunting, allowing for some really beautiful, serene moments.

One thing that’s been a reoccurring theme in these specials is the Doctor’s love for the holiday, and it really is cemented in the first special. Sure, the 11th Doctor himself acts like a big kid from time to time, but you really get to see it when he gets into the holiday spirit. He just enjoys playing the Ghosts to give this old man some Christmas cheer. It really is one of the best shows to have these specials, because the Doctor can bring so much joy and gravitas no matter what occurs in them.

And not everything goes smoothly in “A Christmas Carol.” Amy and Rory pretty much end up in danger early on, and the Doctor inadvertently causes Kazran’s future grumpy nature when he introduces love to his youthful self. It’s not all cut and dry like many other adaptions. While I can’t say I didn’t expect it (c’mon, it’s Doctor Who), it was a refreshing thing to see and much appreciated. It makes the special stand out from the many others out there aside from being connected to Doctor Who.

This is a special that I regret not seeing when it debuted, but now I’m glad I can say I have. I’d gladly make it a yearly Christmas tradition from here on out, and I look forward to seeing what Capaldi’s Doctor will give us next Christmas.

Top 5 One-Time Allies of the 11th Doctor

Welcome back to my celebration of Doctor Who! Over the show’s duration, the Doctor has had many allies ranging from his close companions to kooky side characters. I thought I’d change things up today by looking at some people who had a single episode appearance with the 11th Doctor. So, unfortunately, that basically discounts great allies like Craig, Canton (if you count the series 6 premiere as two episodes), Madame Vastra and her team, and many others.

These are 5 characters who I felt made an impact on me despite their limited appearance. With that in mind, let’s get this list started.

5. Ada from “The Crimson Horror” (Series 7)

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This is the most recent character on my list. Ada was tortured and experimented on by her cruel mother, rendering her blind. She initially saves the Doctor from death and nurtures him, eventually coming over to his side against her mother over the course of the episode. I liked this character for the kindness she showed towards the Doctor and his caring for her in return. I especially enjoyed when she went off on her mother once it’s revealed how she became blind and how she ultimately takes out the episode’s alien baddie. Ada was a character I really sympathized with and I would be interested to see her again in a future episode.

4. Rita from “The God Complex” (Series 6)

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Rita is one of many allies during this episode, but she stood out for her great attitude and strong intellect. She questioned the Doctor’s need to save everyone and really came into her own as a possible companion. Even the Doctor mentions this at one point as well. She has a deep faith and, being a medical student, a natural need to care for people. I really felt she would have been a compelling companion for the Doctor and the show in general. Unfortunately, this one’s a case of what could have been, as Rita is cut down in her prime by the minotaur stalking them throughout the episode. You know the character had potential when even the Doctor goes into a rage from their death.

3. Liz 10 from “The Beast Below” (Series 5)

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Liz 10 is the 10th incarnation of Queen Elizabeth and one of the first new allies seen at the start of the 11th Doctor’s adventures. This is one queen who can kick butt, which I immediately liked from the get-go. She’s smart, a little sassy, and a good shot to boot. Even though this isn’t one of my favorite episodes, Liz 10 elevated it for just being so cool. As the episode progresses, we also learn her role regarding the city being flown on a huge star whale and the tragedy behind it. It gave her character some extra depth and lead credence to her role as queen. Though she did briefly show up in the beginning of series 5’s finale, I count this as a one-off since she doesn’t encounter the Doctor during that cameo.

2. Vincent van Gogh from “Vincent and the Doctor” (Series 5)

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What do I really need to say about this one? It’s famous painter Vincent van Gogh! Okay, to be fair, he would have been my number one had it not been for someone else. Vincent meets the Doctor and Amy and they quickly bond with him over his life and paintings. Vincent was also the only one of them able to see the episode’s resident alien and, even when it’s dead, really sympathized with the creature and how alike the two were. Since this is an actual person, I felt the portrayal was done tastefully and just perfectly. Vincent never came off as too mopey or aloof, and the ending he gets, while bittersweet, was heartfelt. It’s still one of my favorite episodes of series 5, and a lot of that is because of Vincent himself.

1. Idris/TARDIS from “The Doctor’s Wife” (Series 6)

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Yes, the TARDIS is his ship. Yes, it’s technically his companion. But this episode, which I still count as my favorite of series 6, really personified it. After being transferred into a human body (Idris), the TARDIS officially meets her Doctor in the flesh. They join forces to rescue Amy and Rory from an evil entity, bickering all the while like an old married couple. This felt like the perfect team-up to me, because she IS the Doctor’s oldest companion and they share a connection unlike anything or anyone else. While some have complained that the TARDIS acted a bit too much like the Doctor in terms of quirkiness, I loved the execution of it and also the sentimental moments they shared. The moment they have before her essence completely disappears into the TARDIS again was both heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once. Their alliance is still one of the best I’ve seen to date, and even if it never happens again, I’m glad we got what we did.

So, those are my top 5 choices of one-time allies. If you have any choices, either from this Doctor or the others, feel free to post them below. I’ll be back in a couple days for another Doctor Who blog.

“The Silent Stars Go By” Review

ImageWell, it’s a new week, and I’ve got plans for this blog. With Christmas coming up and in particular the Doctor Who Christmas Special, I’ve decided to dedicate a few days this week and the start of next week to Doctor Who. Why? Well, because during the special, the 11th Doctor (played by Matt Smith) will depart from the show to make way for the 12th (played by Peter Capaldi). It’ll be the first time I see a regeneration play out live. So, until it happens, I’m going to look at some of my favorite things from Matt Smith’s run on the show.

Today’s blog is a review of the first Doctor Who novel I’ve read, “The Silent Stars Go By.” It’s a partially Christmas-y, mostly Doctor Who story featuring the 11th Doctor and his now former companions Amy and Rory. The version I own is one that was reissued for a book set to celebrate the then-upcoming 50th anniversary.

The story takes place on a distant planet which is home to an advanced race of humans called the Morphans. They have endured a few harsh winters despite efforts to terraform the planet and make it more Earth-like. The Doctor, Amy and Rory, wanting a Christmas-like vacation, end up on the planet and are quickly separated. They’re eventually forced to help the Morphans when it’s discovered that the Ice Warriors, foes of the Doctor, are trying to inhabit the planet themselves. The Doctor must figure out a way to stop them or else the Morphans will eventually die out from the cold.

Much like the Christmas carols out there that talk more about ice and snow than Christmas itself, this story has a wintery feel to it with only a few mentions about Christmas at the start. There was a nice touch by the author of having each chapter title (and the title of the book itself) come from verses from various carols, though. It was a very descriptive book and was easy to imagine in my mind as I read it.

The book is about 300 pages, and though I took my time reading it, I didn’t feel the pacing was overly slow except for a brief part here and there. I did find some of the writing distracting at first, namely the usage of names for locations, but I eventually got used to the author’s use of them. I did like the story overall because it felt like it could’ve been shortened and translated to television. It basically played out like an episode of Doctor Who to me. To add to that, I thought the depictions of the Doctor, Amy and Rory were extremely well done. Their characterizations felt spot-on, enough so that I could hear the actors saying the lines in my head. I had read accounts from other people before buying the book that said essentially the same thing, and overall I was impressed by the author’s efforts to capture them.

There are a select number of Morphans we get to know, and three in particular spend time with the Doctor and his companions. These characters, sisters Arabel and Vesta and a young man named Samewell, were my favorite side characters as we got to know them the best and they had relatively distinct personalities. This could also be said for a couple elder Morphans; however, I mostly found that many of them blended together personality-wise and at least one was plain annoying due to her set-in-her-ways attitude. This didn’t taint the story for me, though, and while they weren’t the most interesting beings for our heroes to come across, the plot surrounding their plight worked well.

Then there are the Ice Warriors. I will admit, I’ve only seen clips of the original ones and had watched the recent re-imagining of them in “Cold War.” That being said, the book does describe the original Ice Warriors, Lego-like hands and all. It took a little to get used to, but I did find them interesting to follow as a change of pace. I like them basically for the same reason I like the Sontarans, in that they have a huge emphasis on honor. It plays a good part in this story as well, though I won’t spoil why. Even though this book originally came out before Moffat’s “Cold War” episode, I thought it was a great choice to focus on a lesser-used Doctor Who villain. The author could’ve probably used several for the snowy setting, but the Ice Warriors seem to fit perfectly for it.

Overall, for my first Doctor Who novel and also 11th Doctor novel, I would recommend “The Silent Stars Go By.” The sometimes slow-ish pacing might not be for everyone, but if you’re interested in a novel that has pretty strong characterization and a good plot, give it a look. It’s the right kind of book for this time of season. I give it a solid 9.5/10.

My Current Obsession: Neil Patrick Harris

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I don’t usually regret things. At least, I try not to. But as of recently, I’m wishing I had put Mr. NPH on my previous “Hottest Guys” list. Why? Well, it was an exclusion that didn’t cross my mind but really should have. So, to sum up what I might’ve said quickly: Neil Patrick Harris is not only cute (and very much unavailable), but he’s also uberly talented and charming. Singing, dancing, acting, magic – he’s like a one man show of awesome.

Now, onto why I’m currently obsessed with him and his works (yes, it’s not ALL about him). Having recently rekindled my love for “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” I found myself starting to look first into other web things NPH was involved in, namely a series on The Nerdist called “Neil’s Puppet Dreams.” It’s a weird, perverse, offbeat little series that drew me in with a concept involving dreams and tons of fun with Neil and often his partner, David Burtka.

From there, I started looking into TV appearances (no, not “How I Met Your Mother”). Things like talk show appearances I missed, award shows I’ve missed (really should start watching the Tonys), and even bits in movies I’d either seen before or was never interested in. I realized through all of this that I’d underestimated Neil. I had initially thought of Nathan Fillion that way once, though my exposure to Buffy, Firefly, Castle, and the aforementioned Dr. Horrible musical kinda pulled him into my personal limelight. It’s weird that I basically thought of Neil in that respect, because I thoroughly loved his appearance as Dr. Horrible. I guess I just considered him as being on “How I Met Your Mother” and left it at that.

Though he’ll doubtfully see this, I can safely say that I’m glad I exposed myself to more of his work. Through all the interviews and self-deprecation I’ve seen, I’ve grown to easily love and respect the man and everything he’s accomplished. I like that singing and dancing seems to come so naturally to him. I like that he’s a legit magician and just how comfortable he is doing it. I like that he’s proud to be out and that he’s gained more success than ever before. Heck, I just like everything about the guy.

I honestly feel bad for not paying him much mind up till now. I feel like I’ve missed out on a ton of entertainment because of it. Thankfully, I now feel I’ve made amends toward that. He joins my (pretty specific) list of people I’d gladly meet if given the chance. And even if the meeting were brief, the opportunity to see him (and maybe get a pic) would be all I need.

“Frozen” Review

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Well, by late tomorrow night I’ll be back in Canada. I’ve had plenty of options to blog about. I started watching and enjoying Avatar: The Last Airbender. I saw the first two Hunger Games movies, which were pretty enjoyable even though I’ve never touched the books. My fiance and I saw The Book of Mormon musical and enjoyed it. I hate South Park, but the play was a fun time and didn’t offend me. But today, I’m going to talk about the final new movie I’ve viewed while in the sunny land of Florida – Disney’s “Frozen.”

I will start off by admitting that I had no huge urge to see this movie despite being a Disney fan. All of the blame can be placed on the trailers, which don’t do the movie NEARLY enough justice. I don’t usually like to rely on critics’ opinions before I see something new, but I had higher hopes after the good reviews started pouring in. And while I can’t fully agree with some aspects of them, I will definitely say this movie is worth seeing.

As always, I’ll try to keep this spoiler-free. The plot is effectively pulled off. Two sisters, Anna and Elsa, come from royalty and love spending time together as children. Elsa has an unexplained ability to create snow and ice, and they use it to play often. One day, Anna is accidentally injured, causing their parents to seek help that ultimately leads to Anna forgetting about Elsa’s abilities. After their tragic death, the two sisters are forced to grow up together with Elsa becoming distant from her sister due to her abilities and guilt. When Elsa is to be crowned queen, everything goes wrong as her abilities are exposed and she’s forced to flee. She accidentally causes an endless winter to freeze her town and surrounding areas. Through the movie, Anna tries to reconnect with her sister in an effort to bring her home and bring summer back to their town.

That plot doesn’t even include the comic relief, romances and other Disney staples, but what “Frozen” does surprisingly well is alter conventions like true love and even your typical Disney princess. Both Anna and Elsa had distinct personalities (aside from Elsa’s abilities) and felt like real people. All of the characters were well-acted and served a purpose, though I felt the Duke was a bit lackluster as a villain. His motivation was extremely weak. Even Olaf the snowman, who the trailers put focus on and who I was sure I’d despise, wasn’t the worst comic relief I’d seen and had a innocent personality. I was very pleased that the movie tried to keep focus on the two sisters, whether they were together or apart.

The songs were (kinda ironically) done by one of the composers for The Book of Mormon, and while it kinda showed, I didn’t really notice it as they occurred. The movie’s set up a bit like a musical, with songs coming about 5-10 minutes apart from each other. It was a bit much and made the movie feel uneven as the third act has basically no songs. That being said, there were quite a few I liked and a couple that, while decent, kinda felt unnecessary. Still, I felt each song was sung strongly and there was good animation supporting each one, especially during Elsa’s big solo “Let It Go.”

Speaking of animation, this is one of the prettiest Disney movies to date. It borrows the style of “Tangled” for its characters, which I didn’t have a problem with, but the standout here is the ice and snow. It looks realistic and they play around with it to create some very beautiful visuals. Even if they weren’t explained, I loved that Elsa had her powers if only because of the creativity involved with them. Having seen it in 2D, I could spot a few moments that were clearly meant to show off the 3D for 3D screenings, but they didn’t bother me too much.

Going back to them altering conventions, there are a couple twists in the final act that took me and apparently everyone around me by surprise. It was an awesome change from the usual Disney formula and felt like a big step forward for their princess movies. It reminded me a little of “Brave,” but a much bigger step up even from it. I hope it’s a trend that continues, though I hope and pray they don’t fall into Dreamworks territory too often. There were times here (mostly very modern references) that felt a tiny bit out of place. But that’s a minor complaint at best.

Overall, whether you’re a kid or adult, I would highly recommend “Frozen.” I disagree with the critics that claim it’s the best since “The Lion King,” but it harkens back to those old, fun Disney movies despite the animation style. For what it’s worth, I got a very satisfying movie despite initially having extremely low expectations. I only hope Disney will keep up on introducing us to cool princesses or at least female leads in the future.

My rating for “Frozen” is a solid (no pun intended) 9/10.