Review: Frozen in 3D at Standees
Knowing that many families (mine included), hold a holiday tradition of treating the kids to a film when school's out, the studios release some of their best family-friendly flicks just in time for the holidays.
This year, Disney's Frozen is the star of the season and we were able to enjoy a showing on Opening Night at Standees in Prairie Village. This was the first family-friendly film shown at Standees, one of the metro's newest theaters just now breaking into the family market. So, this review is about both, the venue and the show!
Standees (3935 W. 69th Terrace Prairie Village, KS. www.standeeseatery.com) is home to a beautiful restaurant for delicious pre- or post-movie dining (you don't have to catch a film to dine at the restaurant, but it's certainly more fun if you do), and three immersive, state-of-the-art movie theatres. When Standees first opened, it was welcomed as a comfortable and relaxing theatre for a date night. Now, expanding their business vision, they are showing family films as well. The atmosphere is beautiful quality entertainment and the prices are affordable, making it one of the best "bang for your buck" theaters in town!
The restaurant and theatre entrance are one-in-the-same. If you choose to dine at the restaurant prior to your film, reservations are recommended, though not required. The theatres are small and intimate (with only 85 seats), so advance ticket purchase for popular films is also recommended (Frozen sold out on opening night!).
We arrived at the restaurant at 5:30 for a 7pm movie and that worked perfectly. When taking our order, our server asked if we were seeing a film and what time it was showing, which also helps keep you on schedule.
The centerpiece of the restaurant is a bar surrounded by translucent screens projected with shows. Perhaps a dozen shows play at the same time on the screen (I did not count), with soft music playing. Yes, my children have watched television before. In fact, they are known to play or color or do other things while television is showing. However, there was something special about these screens which seemed to have a hypnotic effect on them. They were mesmerized and I was relieved that they did manage to eat while watching the shows.
The menu at the restaurant is quality chef-inspired food. My husband and I enjoyed a steak and bacon burger and a pastrami sandwich (we split each and shared), and our kids ordered from the kids' menu (mini burgers, mac 'n cheese, hot dogs, fries, fruit cups, etc). The kids menu (designed for kids 12 and under) is $5/child and includes one entree, one side, and one drink. If your children have reached an age to eat adult portions at dinner, they may prefer to order from the adult menu ($8-22 / entree). Our food was delicious and beautifully presented - and the adult portion was large. More than that, our server was very kind and helpful. He knew to bring the kids' food out first (without our asking), and everything came out quickly. We were very impressed with the service and the food was fantastic.
Knowing that our film was sold-out, my husband stayed to pay the bill while I took the kids to the restroom and secured our seats. I should note that my children were fascinated by the beautiful and spotless restroom as well!
Note: They also have a café-style concession stand offering traditional movie snacks as well as drinks from the bar and select appetizers and desserts from the restaurant. We didn't stop by for concessions after a hearty meal at the restaurant.
The theatres are smaller than the local mega-plex, but they are fabulous. Some quick stats on the theatres:
- 3 theatre auditoriums: stadium seating, 250 total seats, average 85 seats per auditorium
- Digital projection systems
- All auditoriums equipped with 3D technology
- Dolby 7.1 sound; 8 discrete, full range audio
- 30’+ screen width
- State-of-the-art central control room
We found the seats to be very comfortable and nice, the sound system was terrific, and the quality of the film projection and showing to be top notch.
The restaurant was very nice, the theatre was terrific, but the most impressive thing of all was the prices. For such a nice, high-quality venue, their ticket prices for Frozen are great for families on a budget this holiday season:
Disney's FROZEN is at Standees — in 3D! Children's tickets are $4.75, adult tickets are $6.75 before 6 p.m. and $8.75 after — and there's no 3D upcharge! And you can receive one free children's meal when you purchase an adult ticket to FROZEN and spend $10 or more in the restaurant. Just present your same-day adult ticket to your server, and your child can choose from mac & cheese, hot dogs, mini burgers or chicken tenders, plus a side and a drink. Offer is only valid same day as ticket date. Limit one offer per guest. Coupon is not redeemable for cash. Not valid with any other offer or discount. Original tickets only, no reproductions. Offer begins 11/26/13 and expires 12/31/13.
Confession: our family LOVES Disney films. We own many/most of them (there are a few we don't enjoy quite as much as the rest), and we love Tangled. When Disney announced that the same creative team behind Tangled was working together to create their newest animated feature, Frozen, we were thrilled! When I, an avid fan of Broadway's musical Wicked, learned that the Snow Queen Elsa would be voiced by the talented Tony-winner and original Elphaba herself, Idina Menzel, I was thrilled! And, yes, Idina does sing a powerhouse epic ballad Let it Go - a song with fantastic lyrics, musical score, and gorgeous dramatic animation to match Idina's powerful strong voice. Other talents include Kristin Bell as Elsa's sister Princess Anna, Jonathan Groff as Kristoff (the ice salesman), and Josh Gad as Olaf (the snowman).
As Disney-philes know there are certain expectations for Disney films: outstanding animation, terrific music, comedy and humor, a love story, a cute sidekick, and some magic. Frozen follows the formula, then takes a screeching left turn presenting a story that is less about romantic love (in fact, that's more of a sidebar than a main theme), and more about family and sisterhood most of all. As the oldest of three sisters, and mother to four girls, I am accutely aware of truly magnificent and powerful bond of sisters - for those who have been blessed to experience it, you know what I mean. It's a relationship you can only understand if you experience it, and it is a relationship that Frozen captures so beautifully that it brought tears to my eight-year-old's eyes and a late night family conversation with my oldest girls who were truly moved by the story.
We watched the film in 3D, and unlike many 3D films, the 3D was not used so much to throw things at the audience or startle you, but to actually add depth and beauty to the art of the animation - which was spectacular!
Prior to the film, Disney showed a Mickey Mouse short, Horsin' Around which showed one of the most creative and ingenius uses of 3D I have ever seen. A fabulous pre-show bonus!
In Frozen the viewer is taken on an epic adventure in an Norweigian country. Two sisters born into royalty, one with magical powers to freeze things with her hands when her emotions are stirred, the other an "ordinary" girl with an infectious smile and loveable personality. They love to play together and be together, but when the older sister accidentally hurts her younger sister with her magical power to freeze things with her hands, the two girls are kept separate so no more harm will be done. Years pass, and the older sister is to be coronated Queen Elsa. The coronation will be the first public appearance for Elsa, she takes care not to freeze anyone or anything on this special day. Meanwhile, free-spirited and dreaming Anna means the Prince of her dreams and becomes engaged. Seeking Elsa's approval for her marriage, she unleashes a series of events which puts in the entire country into a permanent state of extreme winter storms and sends Elsa into exile.
Anna, on a quest to persuade her sister to bring back Summer, meets Kristoff, a mountainman and ice salesman, and his sidekick reindeer Sven (reminiscent of Maximus from Tangled if not a bit more charming). They encounter a snowman, Olaf, created by Elsa when she and Anna were children, showing Elsa's childhood magical talent (simple and fun) in stark contrast to her mature gift (an elaborate ice castle in the sky). Olaf is the trusty comedic sidekick, a snowman who dreams of summer.
The adventure leads to a quest for true love and what, exactly, that is.... and in the quest Disney surprises us all by showing that perhaps true love is not a passionate kiss from a love-at-first-sight handsome prince, perhaps it is something much more.
The characters in this film are rich and complex - villains and heroes aren't always who you think they may be - and the true friendships and family bonds that grow on an epic journey are beautiful, real, and relatable. Elsa seems to be icy (literally and figuratively) and standoffish, but we come to know that she simply does not know how to control her power without hurting those she loves. Anna seems to be free-spirited and carefree, but we come to know that she is adventurous, witty, decisive, caring, and truly, genuinely, loving and forgiving. Kritsoff, our heroic mountainman, is a loveable and friendly guy. And, Olaf reminds us of the Genie in Aladdin, that quick-witted sidekick, with a more cuddly and warm affectionate side.
My only complaint is that the story didn't flow quite as smoothly as Tangled,a few elements almost seemed out of place or not as fine-tuned, but they are easily overlooked with the overwhelming message of love, sisterhood, and friendship.
Parents need to know that there are a few sad and scary scenes (a storm at sea, a snow monster known as the marshmallow man, chases, and fights with swords and icicles). Also, there are elements of magic, both Elsa, the Snow Queen's ability to freeze things, and trolls who are "love experts" and help heal Anna. And then, there is the magic of "true love."
This is a story filled with heart. We can relate to Elsa's predicament (or at least, I, an oldest sister certainly can), we cheer for Anna, we'd love to be pals with Kristoff, we're laughing with Olaf, and the finale is a surprising and beautiful happily-ever-after unlike any Disney's ever told!
Frozen is a holiday must see!
Frozen Review Break Down
- Animation: 9 / 10 - The film is gorgeous and the graphics are truly impressive.... the ice looks like ice, the snowflakes are elaborate masterpieces, the characters appear to be near-human, but there are a few elements that do not quite fit with the rest.
- Music: 10 / 10 - The voices are incredible, the songs include humorous songs (Kristoff singing to his reindeer, and Olaf's dream of summer being two favorites), and ballads (Idina's Let it Go is sure to be a standout favorite).
- Voice Talent: 10/10
- Story: 8 / 10
- Kids' Comments: We would love to see it again!
Let us know what you think of both Standees and Frozen this holiday season!