7:00 PM, 1st March, 2014
I gather Disney had been toying with the idea of adapting Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” for years. My first thought was: Why? The story begins on one intriguing track, screeches without warning onto another, ends a completely different way again, and is withal so disjointed and bizarre that nobody short of David Lynch could really get to the heart of it.
So a faithful rendition of the subject matter wasn’t on the cards, and to be frank, would have been a stupid idea. What we have instead is something Andersen might have liked, but certainly wouldn’t have contemplated writing: a feud between two sisters, one of whom (Anna, voiced by Bell) is the go-getting optimist whose fortunes we follow; the other (Elsa, voiced by Menzel) is the ice princess, holding an entire kingdom in the grip of a fierce winter. And a visually spectacular winter, at that. The artists soaked up the look of Norway – clearly the most beautiful country on Earth – so maybe the winter is more lovely than any spring could be.
And of course, there’s a scene-stealing animal. It’s a reindeer, who could win prizes for eye-rolling.
It would be easy for contemptuous critics to dismiss what they’ve twisted as “yet another Disney princess story” – but, rather surprisingly, it’s hard to find any such contemptuous critics at all; the film is just too disarming, heartfelt, thrilling and funny for anyone to strike such an attitude.
8:58 PM, 1st March, 2014
David (Vaughn) is a loser, working as a delivery man for his family’s meat business, racking up parking tickets, debts with dodgy dealers and generally failing in life. When his girlfriend Emma (Smulders) gets pregnant, David thinks this could be his wake up call. Then he finds out that, due to a mix up, the sperm he donated back in his 20s has been used to conceive over 500 children. Suddenly David’s gone from being an unexpectedly expectant father to a very in-demand one – his biological children are suing for his identity to be revealed to them.
David is determined to prove to himself that he is capable of being a good father. So he makes it his mission to get to know some of his newly discovered progeny – despite the misgivings of his best friend and lawyer (Pratt) – without telling them of their unique connection.
This is a hard film to describe. Despite the presence of a number of famously funny actors, it’s not really a comedy. If Vaughn’s comedy shtick is not really your thing, I recommend giving this a go; it’s quite a subdued turn for him. It is actually quite deep and moving in places, although it doesn’t quite know whether it wants to be a heart-warming film about family ties that bind or a legal drama and tries to have it both ways. It doesn’t always make it but it’s still an interesting and at times thought-provoking film.