The Rundown: Frozen is highly entertaining, well animated, and has great music. The characters are engaging, distinct, and fleshed out. The biggest criticism I have for this movie is that it strays a bit too far from the source material, but even that can be forgiven as it is simply a pleasure to watch.
Disclaimer here: I am a Disney fanboy.
I have been watching animated Disney movies my whole life, and find them to be some of the best films, animated or otherwise, out there today. That being said, Disney has put out some real crap (Home on the Range anyone?) in recent memory and this makes me skeptical whenever Disney Animation releases a new film to entertain the masses. This skepticism has been tempered by Disney’s recent trend of once again releasing quality movies with quality animation. Tangled was the first film Disney put out in the last decade that I would qualify as a true Disney Classic, in line with the Silver Age of Disney films like The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, and Aladdin.
Frozen seeks to replicate that success with another movie based on a classic fairy tale.
Frozen tells the story of Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell), two princesses of the fair country Arendelle. Elsa has been born with the power of ice magic, and a tragic event when she is younger convinces her that the power inside her needs to be strictly controlled. To better facilitate this she hides herself away, estranging herself from Anna and the rest of her kingdom, so that no one will ever know her secret. But on the day Elsa is to become queen, she loses control and freezes Arendelle in an unnatural winter before fleeing for the mountains. It is up to Anna, along with her new friends Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his moose Sven, and the magical snowman Olaf (Josh Gad), to find Elsa to convince her to free Arendelle from permanent winter.
Now, there are two ways to approach the success of this movie, one is as a retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s famous tale, and one as a story of two sisters. The story of the two sisters and their reunion after years of estrangement is told very well, and the humor interweaves with that story very well. The characters are all engaging, each with their own motivations in a variety of intensities. As a retelling of the fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” it is a bit disappointing on a couple of levels.
For those of you unfamiliar with the original story, it revolves around two friends, Kay and Gerda. One day Kay is abducted by the Snow Queen, a mysterious magical figure from the North Pole, and Gerda sets out on a quest to save him from her icy clutches. It really stands out as one of the few female-empowered fairy tales, and it was something I thought would be a nice change from your run-of-the-mill fairy tale story to come to the screen.
Unfortunately, very little of that strong heroine comes out in Frozen, being a story mainly focused on the power of love, romantic and otherwise. Add that to a couple of male characters thrown in mainly as heroic figures, and you are left with very little of the original in this adaptation.
Though it is not a great retelling of a classic fairy tale like Disney has been known for in the past, it’s still a great movie. The music is great, and hearing a snowman sing about how awesome summer is going to be is hilarious. The jokes hit, the dialogue is snappy, and the animation is gorgeous.
I think children and adults alike will enjoy this flashy, musical movie, only loosely based on a classic fairy tale.
Jeffrey Roth, is an award winning animator, all around badass, and is now writing for your amusement. When not wrestling with the mysteries of the universe, he is watching anything and everything and having opinions on it. ALL THE OPINIONS.