Just in time for Thanksgiving, Disney is unveiling their latest princess tale: Frozen, an animated musical sure to appeal to families seeking some cinematic fun while tripping out on turkey-induced tryptophan overdoses. Loosely inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," Frozen focuses on the endlessly optimistic Princess Anna (Kristen Bell), who--along with a gruff woodsman, a chipper reindeer, and a scene-stealing snowman--sets out into a cruel and icy wilderness to find her ousted sister Elsa (Idina Menzel), whose incredible powers have thrown their kingdom into an eternal winter.
As you can clearly gather from Katey's four-star review, Frozen is a movie well worth the price of admission, but what about a 3D ticket? Well, that's what To 3D or Not To 3D is all about, breaking down a film's use of 3D as a sort of consumers guide for moviegoers. By looking at every aspect of the 3D implementation, we provide you the tools to decide if Frozen's 3D is good enough to be worth the padded ticket price. Plus, our poll offers you a chance to weigh in on how you plan to see the movie, 3D or not.
Does It Fit?Computer animated films are basically the best base 3D can ask for. With all the planes within the frame having been created by computers, it's far easier to isolate them and break them out to create 3D's enhances depth of field. So, by medium alone, Frozen is a good fit. Add to that its adventure plotline, full of grand landscapes, fluttering snowflakes, and jaunty action sequences, and the use of 3D is a no brainer.
Planning & EffortDisney's a big fan of 3D releases. Not only are their newer ventures--like Tangled, Planes, and Wreck-It Ralph--released in 3D, but also they've been re-releasing classic Disney titles like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Finding Nemo in post-converted 3D. Basically, Disney filmmakers nowadays are definitely aware going in that their film will be released with an extra dimension. So directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee planned accordingly, avoiding out of focus foreground elements, swish-pans, and other camera choices that choke in 3D.
Planning & Effort Score
Before the WindowThis part of 3D is what most people associate with the device. It's the aspect that has the appearance of reaching out into the audience. Frankly, aside from some snowflakes flying about, I noticed little use of this in Frozen. However, "Get a Horse!", the opening Mickey Mouse short that precedes it, has a lot of fun with before the window, the most gimmicky part of 3D. To avoid ruining the surprises of the short, this is all I'll say.
Before the Window Score
Beyond the WindowBy contrast, beyond the window is the portion of 3D that extends back into the world of the characters, and this is beautifully utilized in Frozen. The castle where Anna and Elsa live is luxurious and cavernous, and the 3D not only highlights its grandeur but also underlines how big and empty it feels to the lonely sisters in the film's first act. Once they take off into the woods, there is a chance the 3D could get lost in so much snow, but Buck and Lee thoughtfully designed the icy world with lots of texture that lends itself well to 3D.
Beyond the Window Score
BrightnessThis is most often an issue with moody action movies that drape their key battle screens in the inky dark tones of night. But Disney cartoons are made to be brightly colored, and you won't miss out on any of Frozen with the addition of those dimming 3D glasses. "Get a Horse" however could have stood to be a bit brighter. The look of old black and white cartoons reads especially murky with 3D glasses on.
The Glasses Off TestThis is a simple way to essentially see how much 3D your getting for your buck. You just slide your glasses off, and see how blurry the images on screen are without them. Basically, the blurrier they are, the more 3D you're getting. Frozen's many planes assured it would pass this test with flying colors.
Glasses Off Score
Audience HealthBad 3D isn't just frustrating; it can be sickening, causing nausea or headaches. Neither of these were a problem in Frozen. The only arguably negative side effect I experienced was getting their darling songs stuck in my head, resulting to me singing snippets around my home for days afterwards. Luckily, the film's soundtrack is now available, and makes for the perfect remedy. Well, okay. They are still stuck in my head. But at least I know all the words now so I'm not just chirping the phrase "Would you like to build a snowman?" over and over. I regret nothing.
Audience Health Score
3D SCORES RECAP
P & E
Before The Window
Beyond The Window
Glasses Off Test
Final Verdict: All in all, the Frozen 3D experience is pretty good. It's been thoughtfully put together, considering the impact cinematography has on the device and the audience, accounting for the dimming effect of 3D glasses, and taking advantage of its ability to enhance the depth of field. But despite this pretty high final score, I must admit I'm reluctant to encourage you to see it in 3D. Honestly, if it weren't my job to pay attention to the 3D elements of the film, I don't think I would have noticed them much. This is not so much a criticism of the 3D, more a commentary on how engaging and entertaining Frozen is on its own, regardless of this device. But hey, as charming as this world of singing sisters, dashing princes, talking snowmen, and lovable reindeer is, I can understand if you want to get as close to it as possible.
Will you see Frozen in 2D or 3D?
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