Following the success of Tangled, it seems only right that Disney would create another film in a similar style. And once again, they have nailed it with another big success. Frozen, roughly based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, is a moving, exciting film with stunning animation, a vast array of loveable characters, and a plot which is both unpredictable and refreshingly different from the Disney norm.
The story follows sisters Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell), who are separated from each other when Elsa’s icy, snow-bringing powers begin to get out of control. Following her coronation as queen, Elsa accidentally triggers an eternal winter that consumes the land in snow, and then flees to the mountains. In an attempt to save both the land and their sisterly bond, Anna goes after her with the help of ice-seller, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), and his reindeer, Sven. Of course, they are joined by a friendly but clueless snowman, Olaf (Josh Gad), who wants to see what summer is like.
Let me just take the time now to congratulate the writers. They really got the balance right on this one. The story is engaging and thrilling. Just when you think it’s going one way, it slides in another. There is a mix of the typical Disney values, along with hilarious jokes, engaging action and the most facially expressive reindeer I’ve ever seen. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Disney film if it didn’t have some cheesy but cheery songs thrown in. A particular favourite of mine was when Olaf was singing about his desire to see summer, despite being clueless about what happens to snow in the sun.
The scenes are visually outstanding. The way that Elsa’s icy power spreads and builds is beautiful and enchanting. It must have taken hours making the snow look as charming and cold as it does, but it was certainly worth it. The characters themselves are also well animated and instantly likable, particularly Olaf and Sven. I didn’t think Disney sidekicks could get much cuter than Tangled’s Pascal, but they’ve surprised me once again.
Kristen Bell was a very good choice for voicing Anna. Her tone perfectly conveys the right sense of clumsiness, awkwardness and confidence, making us instantly warm to her character. It was also brilliant being able to hear Idina Menzel unleashing her brilliant voice in the songs. Alan Tudyk, who plays the scheming Duke of Weselton, and Santino Fontana (Prince Hans), are also well suited to their characters.
This is probably the first time I have been so surprised by a twist in a Disney film. I won’t tell you what it is, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who gasped at it. It is something I was glad to see in a Disney film, and poked fun at an issue that their more cynical fans are always tutting at.
It seems that, for Disney, Hans Christian Andersen equals a huge success. First The Little Mermaid, and now Frozen. It is good to see that their success can carry on with the advancement of animation. Let’s hope they continue to keep up this high standard in the future.
Frozen (2013), directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, is released on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Certificate PG.