When Princess Elsa (Idina Menzel) was a little girl, her parents closed the doors to the castle because they feared their kingdom would not accept Elsa’s snow magic. On the day of Elsa’s coronation ceremony, no one is more elated than her sister, Princess Anna (Kristen Bell), since the castle doors will be open for the first time in years. Excited to meet someone special, she runs into Prince Hans (Santino Fontana) , who quickly proposes to her. When the two ask for the new Queen’s blessing, an argument erupts between the two sisters, causing Elsa’s powers to surge out of control, cloaking the entire kingdom in an eternal winter, and Elsa to run away. After gaining the help of Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), an ice salesman, and the talking snowman Olaf (Josh Gad), Anna heads off on a journey to find her sister and convince her to end the curse that has befallen the land.
Finally. Finally Disney is starting to regain its musical glory from the 1990s. The Disney Renaissance (the time between The Little Mermaid and Tarzan) gave us some of the greatest animated musicals, and Frozen successfully recaptures the magic that made them fun, entertaining, and heartwarming. It appears Disney has learned from the last few years and has created an animated musical that could propel them back to the King of the animated feature.
Frozen is different than your normal princess movie because it has not one but two princesses: Anna and Elsa. The two sisters are very different, but their contrast is what drives their relationship. Anna is without a doubt my favorite of the two. She is quirky, outgoing, and awkward, whereas Elsa is more reserved and poised. However, both sisters have aspects to their character than anyone can find something to relate to. It’s such a refreshing take on the Disney Princess.
Despite what the trailer or my synopsis may portray, Elsa is actually not the villain. Rather, she is more of a catalyst for Anna’s journey. Eventually, she becomes comfortable with her gift and accepts what she can do. Never once does she have any malevolent intent to her actions. The true villain doesn’t reveal themselves until about the last third of the movie. It was a good reveal and it took me by surprise.
Olaf, the hard-not-to-love snowman, almost single-handedly stole the show. I would say he is great as the comedic relief, but that is not really true since every character has some comical elements to them. He is, however, the funniest character of the bunch, not just in what he says but also his actions. Kristoff is fun, particularly when he is “conversing” with his pet reindeer, Sven.
The animation is gorgeous. It is amazing to see how far the computer animation has improved over the last fifteen or so years. Some of the ice effects are some of the best I have seen. These amazing effects help evoke emotions that really bring you deeper into the story. Disney’s other recent computer animated films, Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled, were well animated, but Frozen improves on them to create one of the most visually pleasing movie since How to Train Your Dragon.
The moral of the story is unlike Disney’s previous princess movies. One of the character’s actions make for a good jaw-dropping moment. It still has to do with “true love” but isn’t exactly what you would expect. I’m not going to say any specifics, but it was a good twist that is more inline with modern views.
The songs can make or break a musical and the score in Frozen is the best since the aforementioned Disney Renaissance. The husband-and-wife songwriting team of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez did great penning the songs. They were reminiscent of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, but still felt like their own. Elsa’s song “Let It Go” has become one of my favorites. I may or may not have once listened to it on repeat for an hour and a half… Anyway, I’m hoping Lopez and Anderson-Lopez write for the next several Disney musicals because I can’t wait to be wowed by the pair again.
Frozen is one of the best Disney movies in years. Anyone can relate to the bond between Anna and Elsa. The animation and score do wonders to enhance the already stellar story. If Disney Animation continues to create movies of this magnitude, this could be the start of another Disney Renaissance.