- Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
- November 19, 2013 (El Capitan Theatre) / November 27, 2013 (US)
- Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s 1844 fairy tale The Snow Queen
- Anna-Kristen Bell
- Elsa-Idina Menzel
- Kristoff-Jonathan Groff
- Olaf-Josh Gad
- Hans-Santino Fontana
- The Duke of Weselton-Alan Tudyk
- Grand Pabbie-Ciarán Hinds
- Oaken-Chris Williams
- Bulda-Maia Wilson
- Marshmallow-Paul Briggs
- The King of Arendelle-Maurice LaMarche
- The Queen of Arendelle-Jennifer Lee
When a young princesses powers freeze her entire kingdom, her sister must warm her heart to save the day.
I went into Frozen with a great deal of hesitation. Considering it was one of those things that every child of a certain age was hooked on and how some of it had even entered into popular culture to be parodied, I thought what I would get would be something painfully awful for adults yet thoroughly enjoyable to children.
I am happy to say that I was wrong. Not only do you get a good story here but there are numerous songs you will hum along to or that will get stuck in your ear. It has thoroughly stunning visuals coupled with an engaging story. Visually they do just enough to tell the narrative but avoid going for things that are simply cool and have no bearing on what they’re trying to say. That is a long way of saying they focus on story.
I will not call Frozen perfect. I do have some issues though none that I feel detract from the general enjoyability of one of the better Disney productions. The first is the parent’s Elsa and Anna’s initial solution to the frost power issue. Elsa while playing with Anna injures Anna so their parents take Anna to the stone trolls where the stone trolls erase Anna’s memories of Elsa’s magic. While it certainly sets up the issues that propel the story, I am unclear as to how a case of selective amnesia is a good idea. Can somebody explain that to me?
Anna has no control over her abilities yet is able to freeze an entire kingdom (though by accident), build an ice palace with a wave of her hands, and create not one but two golems (Olaf followed by Marshmallow) made of snow. How does that work exactly? Then again amnesia is a solution to their problems so…
I’m not expecting deep characterization or significant explanations of plot elements as this is a Disney film and more for children than adults but some of these things I think do require a little bit better explanation. However, what we do get is generally the cute and charming type of film that has managed to endear fans to Disney for over 100 years. Olaf, Elsa, Sven, and all of them are just a pleasure.
The story itself doesn’t get super tense or super exciting but it is evenly peace and intriguing enough that you will care what happens to the characters. And there are certain things you expect in a Disney movie that it manages to subvert your expectations in a good way. All too often these days movies seek to subvert your expectations and end up just being a massive bore or disappointment or both.
For example we expect Prince Hans of the Southern Isles who is 13th in line to the throne to ultimately be a nice guy. I knew very little about this movie other than there was a plot twist but the twist involving Hans was rather unexpected yet blatantly obvious in hindsight. This is an example of why this gained popularity: even imperfect it does proceed forward as if the audience is intelligent. It does not talk down to anyone. Its twists and turns come about intelligently and organically rather than being forced in.
In general during the film they do hang a bit of a lantern on the expected tropes and clichés. They do not do so in a mocking way though. These are people who loved the works that proceeded Frozen but know that they are overused and have become a bit of a punchline. It doesn’t detract from things. Rather it’s an endearing quality that either makes you laugh or makes things in the story that much better.
Frozen is hands down a great movie. I don’t get the level of obsession some children and even adults have with it, but I do get why people like it. There are great songs and an interesting story and it’s visually satisfying without being just one cool scene after the other. From start to finish this is a well-done film and you certainly need to give it a look if you haven’t already. I definitely regret sitting on it as long as I did.