If you look at the Walt Disney Feature Animation films of the last 13 years, you’re going to see why I have been on sort of a “Disney Sabbatical.” Apart from the greatness of Pixar and what they have been able to accomplish in both story and wonder, it has seemed like Disney Animation films have fallen flat. It wasn’t until I saw Tangled that my interest in what Disney can put out there was rekindled. What Tangled did for me was open up my heart to the possibility that “animated-films-that-weren’t-Pixar” could be great again…and it looks like Frozen has just upped its game!
This movie is an absolute delight to watch. It’s adventurous, thrilling, heartfelt, and timeless in its story. It falls right in line with the artistry of Tangled and the beauty of the scenery, specifically ice. (I’ll try to keep the comparisons to Tangled to a minimum but it’s hard not to) Gone are the days of Disney musicals where the songs felt out of place and extremely “formal” in their “Broadway-ness” and here today are songs that are so seamlessly mingled with dialogue that it’s a natural progression to go ahead and sing them. This film will no doubt draw a lot of comparisons to “Tangled”, by more people than just me, in how the characters look, the song styles, and even the visual layout of the land.
What separates the films, though, is that Frozen feels to me like a more classic and timeless story but with modern themes and dialogue. The story follows Princess Anna, (voiced by Kristen Bell), and Princess Elsa, (voiced by Idina Menzel) as two royal sisters who grow up very close together as kids but because of some magic that could potentially harm one of them, they care kept separated for most of their childhood. Elsa becomes Queen and shows herself to the world and to her sister for the first time and from that point on the story is off and running…or sliding on ice, if you will. I felt the pacing of the film was dead on and it kept me engaged and excited the whole way through. One of the most interesting and enjoyable aspects of the film was the dialogue.
Frozen is a loose adaptation of the 1845 Danish fairy tale “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen so the story is “as old as time.” But what I love about it is that the film maintained its fairy tale feel with integrating more modern conversations and songs. It is a genuine pleasure to watch something as lush as this, and the character work on a visual level is just impeccable. The character that’s going to be talked about for months to come is “Olaf.” He’s the goofy snowman voiced by the great Josh Gad that’s featured in all of the trailers for the movie that has people initially put off. But let me tell you, he’s not featured that much in the film and the parts and scenes that he is are gold! His comic punctuation is perfect and he was the source of all of my laugh-out-loud-moments. His song “In The Summer” has just enough wit and irony to satisfy my adulthood while swimming in silliness and glee for the kids.
It’s also nice that Disney didn’t overdo it with the “goofy sidekick” and instead created a lovable and wonderful character to root for. Frozen is enormously entertaining and surely to become a staple in Disney’s long creative history. Trust me, you’ll want to go see this and take your kids!