Trailer Tuesday: Frozen

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies.

We have a new trailer for Frozen, which gives us a much bigger look at the film than we got from the teaser trailer from a few months ago.  The question, however, is whether this bigger look is an accurate representation of the final film.  Take a look below and read on for my comments:

When Tangled was released in 2010, it was immediately clear that the film we got was very different than the one presented in the trailers that played for months before its release.  The trailers focused on Flynn Rider, leaving Rapunzel mostly in the background and never even hinting that the film was a musical.  The theory was that “princess movies” no longer have a wide enough appeal to be successful on their own, and that the marketing needs to draw in a wider base by presenting the film in a way that makes it appear similar to other animated fare being offered by other studios.  The marketing was obviously successful, as Tangled more than doubled the box office take of The Princess and the Frog while also being a critical success, benefiting from excellent word of mouth, and selling an extreme amount of merchandise.

Disney is clearly hoping for similar results with a similar strategy.  (I haven’t even mentioned the title change fromThe Snow Queen to Frozen mirroring the title change from Rapunzel to Tangled.)  This new trailer for Frozen makes no reference to the film being a musical, and focuses heavily on comedy and goofy secondary characters.  We only get the briefest of references to the relationship between Anna and Elsa (aka the Snow Queen), which will theoretically be at the heart of the film.  Instead we get snowman antics, wolf attacks and battles with giant snow monsters.  It emphasizes the adventure aspect to the film, while being sure to hit lots of comedy beats.

That’s not to say there aren’t good moments in the trailer.  We definitely get a good sense of Anna (Kristen Bell) as a character.  She’s adorably awkward with the handsome, prince-looking guy (who I can’t imagine having much of a role, considering he’s only seen in a scene without snow), but she has a fiery spirit too, telling the giant snow monster that it’s not nice to throw people, all while Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) calls her “feistypants”.  We don’t get much of a sense of Kristoff, except that he’s a mountain man who sold ice for a living before the climate change rendered his job pointless.  I imagine most people’s opinion of the trailer will reflect their reaction to Olaf (Josh Gad), the snowman.  Having a character who can come apart and be reshaped is a great setup for comedy, with lines like, “Do me a favor, grab my butt” or “I don’t have a skull.”  It would be easy to see a character like that wearing a bit thin after a while, but then we get that moment where he tells Anna that, “Some people are worth melting for,” which is very sweet.

The visuals also get an opportunity to stand out in this trailer.  The animators based the setting on Norway, and the scenery and weather are gorgeous to behold, particularly the lighting effects of the snow.  Visuals mean nothing if the story is no good, but it’s nice to know that Frozen looks to be continuing to push the boundaries of animation.

In all, though, I feel like we haven’t gotten a full picture of Frozen.  I have a vested, emotional interest in seeing Disney succeed, so I won’t begrudge them copying Tangled’s marketing strategy, even if it’s not exactly what I want to see from the trailer.  Besides, if people now can associate Tangled’s trailer with moments like this, than perhaps they’ll assume there is more to Frozen than we’re being shown.  After all, the trailer for Tangled wasn’t exactly misleading, it just wasn’t telling the full story.  I would expect the final film to be a more emotional (and definitely more musical) experience than the trailer would indicate, especially as we haven’t heard from and have barely seen Idina Menzel’s Elsa.

What do you think?  Are you excited for Frozen?  What do you think of this marketing strategy?  How close do you think this trailer is to the overall tone of Frozen?  Do you wish we lived in a world where you didn’t have to pretend your movie isn’t a musical?  Let me know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “Trailer Tuesday: Frozen

  1. I tried to give this trailer another chance but every time I watch it I am just grimacing by the end because of that annoying snowman. The chameleon in Tangled didn’t talk. Wish they had taken that page from their playbook too.

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  2. Wellllllll……. I grew up on classic Disney, and I too have an interest in seeing them succeed.

    I’m still rather more of a Pixar fan, something about what they do seems more… well, less conventional. Less marketty. Less “How can we sell more crap to kids?”

    This is a classic tale. The Norwegian setting is cool (yeah, pun intended). I have dorked around in Living History for eons, especially the Viking Age. How to Train Your Dragon did Vikings beautifully: they understood things Norse… then ran off into far left field with it. It worked wonderfully.

    As a artist/horseman, I notice things like horrible animated horses (those gawdawful “Arabians” in Aladdin…. oooooooooooooo the pain, they were…..o,O the pain!!!). One of my pet peeves is eyeballs on the front of the head. Horses have their eyeballs on the sides of their heads so they can see the wolfpack coming. The eyeball thing works OK with characters like ShrekDonkey, who talks and is anthropomorphic, yet still walks, trots and canters like an equine. Nice design. Not sure about these in Frozen yet.

    Whatizfacehorse in Tangled, not so sure. Not a BAD design, just… too doggy. Horses are hilarious enough on their own, you don’t need to turn them into 1000 pound dogs. You are Disney. You are being paid a gazillion bucks for this. Go do like the Finding Nemo guys did, and DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! (they went scuba diving and it showed).

    I am impressed that one of the heroes is riding a Fjord pony (the breed association once had a campaign that went: “Have you driven a Fjord lately?”… they are popular for driving in carts). Not only is this a distinctive breed, but quite cute and unique.

    The animation on the reindeer is pretty good too. There’s another animal that we see lots of badly done representations of, around this time of year. It appears Disney may have done its homework.

    But really, do we need more Big Bad Wolves????? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! At least Lord of the Rings used wargs. Make them some sort of mutant Evil Queen monsters. Wolves, like sharks, have enough bad press. We don’t need to reiterate a useless bit of fairy tale crap.

    One of the things you do as a storyteller is introduce kids to worlds they are unfamiliar with, and in this age of Nature Deficit Disorder, a film with a natural world setting and animals needs to have its roots firmly in the true natural world. Fantasy works best if the real elements are accurate. (Let me rant about dysfunctional horse anatomy, ridiculous tack, and riders who’d fly into the ether if they really rode that way). Disney has always been at the forefront of this idea: of nature adventures, and wonderful natural world settings in its animation, let’s hope this film is among the best.

    I’m not a fan of extreme goofy characters, but we’ll see. Maybe four year olds will like the snowman. Nobody can beat Dory… or Sebastian.

    Yes, the visuals seem to be great. Snow, ice and water are notoriously hard to do, but respond endlessly to variations in light.

    hoping for a great heroine too…….

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  3. Pingback: Trailer Tuesday: Frozen | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

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