Movie Name: Frozen
Studio: Walt Disney Animation Studio
Release Date(s): November 27, 2013
MPAA Rating: PG
Princess Elsa of Arendelle was born with a gift…she has power over the cold though it is out of control. When she accidentally injures her young sister Anna, Arendelle and her parents decide to hide Elsa’s powers forever. After her parents are killed in a shipwreck, Elsa finds herself the heir to the kingdom. When Elsa accidentally forces her to reveal her powers at her coronation, Elsa freezes Arendelle and flees to the mountain. Though Anna has just found love with a young prince named Hans, she is forced to team with an ice harvester named Kristoff and his reindeer Sven to get Elsa back and save Arendelle.
Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, Frozen is a loose adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen which was first published in 1845. The film is part of Walt Disney Animated Classics line and followed Wreck-It Ralph in 2012. Receiving very positive reviews and a strong showing at the box office, Frozen became a Christmas holiday hit. Also included with the film is a Mickey Mouse short (in classic Mickey Mouse style) called “Get a Horse!” which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short. The movie won Academy Awards for Best Animated Film and Best Original Song (“Let It Go”).
Frozen is a bit of a disappointment to me in one aspect. I always thought a really good story to adapt would be The Snow Queen and even dreamed of penning an adaptation…now with Frozen it would be impossible for Disney to make an honest adaptation of The Snow Queen and hard for another company without it being considered “a copy”. Despite this minor upsetting aspect of the movie, Frozen is a rather enjoyable animated family film.
The story of The Snow Queen has virtually been gutted for the movie. Yes, you have a queen who has the power over snow and cold, a frozen heart, and an elk. It has been re-crafted into a rather strong story about sisters (the primary theme) and also a slightly different love story when compared to other Disney films. The story was strong in that I wasn’t quite sure where it was going to go throughout the ending though the basic “love heals” ending was a bit of a cop-out for a smart script.
The characters are quite likeable in the film and have strong voice actors. While it is usually pretty obvious who the “star” of a Disney film is, Frozen shares the title a bit more between Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) and Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel). I felt the movie’s trailers sold the story a bit short by focusing on the comic relief of the snowman Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad) and the reindeer Sven. Both Jonathan Groff and Santino Fontana are good as the male leads and the movie also feature voice work by Alan Tudyk and Ciarán Hinds.
Visually, Frozen remains strong. I love the old days of traditional animation, but computer animation has gone a long way. Frozen is one of those perfect films for the technology with all the snow and ice effects and the film utilizes it well.
I think that another slight issue with the film is the music. It has a bit of a schizophrenic feel in that the movie couldn’t decide if it was a stage musical or a musical with popular music. There are some songs that feel like they are supposed to be singles or Oscar nominated songs, and the other songs feel like real musical songs. I prefer the musicals songs to the “stand alone” songs and wish that the movie stuck with them.
Frozen is one of Disney’s better recent outings. It feels a bit like Pixar’s Brave…which I didn’t particularly enjoy. There are few things I would have tweaked, but for the most part the film is strong. Check out Frozen…with its winter release and themes, I think it could become a holiday film in the future despite no true holiday aspects to the story. Disney followed Frozen with Big Hero 6 in 2014.