Loosely based on the story The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, the latest Disney animated film Frozen tells the story of the royal sisters Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) in the kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa has the magical ability to create snow and ice, but she is forced to hide these powers and isolate herself, in fear of endangering her younger sister Anna. One day Elsa leaves isolation to be crowned as Queen of Arendelle and gets in a fight with Anna, for her spontaneous decision to get engaged to visiting prince Hans (Santino Fontana). This results in Elsa inadvertently revealing her powers, which results in her running to hide in the mountains, while also plunging Arendelle into an eternal winter. Anna sets out on a quest to retrieve her sister and reverse the effects of the spell on the along. Along the way, Anna is joined by mountain man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his reindeer Sven, and talking snowman Olaf (Josh Gad).
When I was growing up in the 1990s, Disney had a streak of highly successful animated musicals, most of which were based on well-known fairy tales. These included films, such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. Frozen is the latest effort from Disney to recapture the magic of that era, with previous efforts including 2009’s The Princess and the Frog and 2010’s Tangled. Even though I haven’t seen the previous two films, I do have to say that Frozen is one of the better animated films I have seen from Disney in quite a while.
When the Disney animated renaissance was happening in the 1990s, there were very few animated features released each year. Now it seems like these types of films are a dime a dozen and, based on a few of the trailers I saw for upcoming film, they are getting increasingly generic and “safe.” Many animated films released these days seem only meant to please the kids they are aiming for and not much else. In comparison, Frozen was a breath of fresh air.
Don’t get me wrong, Frozen is still very much a kids film and features comic-relief characters, such as Olaf and Sven the Reindeer, who are solely in the film to please the kids in the audience. It was probably no coincidence that the original teaser trailer for the film featured only those two characters. However, in many ways that trailer didn’t properly advertise the film that was shown on screen. The actually story of the film features some pretty deep themes and is in some ways a female empowerment film. It also features some of the best songs seen in an animated film in quite a while, including the showstopper “Let it Go,” which is almost sure to get an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.
Overall, I have to say that I really enjoyed Frozen. It’s not a perfect film, but it is most definitely the closest Disney has gotten to revisiting the magic of their 1990s prime.9 | REALLY LIKED IT